MasterChef recap: when Tim Tams go wrong

Dan serves salted caramel and chocolate tart with Tim Tam ice cream. Nicky serves savoury Japanese egg custard with salmon and shiitake mushrooms.

Samira served koshary rice with chickpeas and nuts with fried onions.

It’s already 7.06pm and there are only 24 minutes until we enter the MasterChef house. I’m entering my house, late on a Tuesday after drama club for one child and maths tutoring for the other; there’s still homework to be done and permission notes to be signed; dad’s at touch footy and I’m starting to regret volunteering to write a MasterChef recap. What? I’ll need to file by midnight, that’s when I’m usually watching it after everyone’s in bed, the washing’s done and I finally get a little me time.

“Come on,” I shout, in a George-like fashion, madly clapping my hands. “The clock’s ticking and there’s only 20 minutes to go, let’s cook!”

I open the fridge. All I can see is a tray of defrosted mince (but there’s no way I’m cooking cottage pie tonight, thanks Michael), a carton of eggs, three nights worth of leftovers and half a bottle of red wine on the bench top.

The kids get a special Tuesday night leftover buffet, I drink the wine, and we’re ready for the recap.

Tonight they’re doing what every Australian does at the end of the day, says Matt. What? Polishing off half bottles of wine and eating leftovers? No, looking in the fridge, says Matt, and thinking what the f**k’s for dinner? Or is that just me?

Michael, Kelty, Dan, Nicky, Samira and Neha are up for elimination. It’s the first dark day of MasterChef, says Gary. (What, the first two weren’t bleak?)

There are only two things that will get you through tonight, says Matt, the dream you hold and the joy you get from cooking for friends and family. It appears that actually being able to cook isn’t important this year, it’s all about the joy.

The contestants enter the MasterChef pantry to find their own actual fridges and contents of their own pantries on display. We’re given a little tour of their lives. Dan’s university roommates like pug dogs, Nicky has a sumo fetish, Kelty misses his kids. (No he doesn’t. What stay-at-home parent wouldn’t kill for a few months away on their own?) Only Samira and Neha have fridges clean of clutter. While I promised myself I wouldn’t buy into the boy versus girl thing, any woman worth her salt knows that fridges covered in useless s**t make your house look messy.

But it’s what’s inside that counts. Dan has Tim Tams, Neha has eggs, Michael has a human head. (Is it just me who thinks he has serial killer tendencies and is glad that he didn’t get the liver in last night’s challenge, worried that he might have served it with fava beans and a nice chianti?)

Back to the kitchen. Nicky is ready to do something that makes his fiancée happy. It’s a family show remember Nicky. The gallery upstairs screams orgasmically when Dan reveals he’s going to cook salted caramel and chocolate tart with Tim Tam ice cream. Everyone falls asleep when Kelty says he’s going to cook Irish stew. Neha talks herself up when she says she’s cooking an egg curry but she hates eggs because her mother used to shove them down her throat when she was a child. No wonder her gag reflex is so good.

Most people seem to have forgotten the boys versus girls thing. Noelene’s maternal instincts kick in and she’s offering Kelty, who she caned in the Awful Offal Challenge of 2013 the previous night, plenty of advice; Vern’s turned on Michael, saying his steak is rubbish, and that’s almost as bad as telling another man his penis is small; Jules has given up destroying the joint and is barking instructions at Michael at every chance, and you know he just wants to tell her to shut the f**k up you two-faced bitch.

And the judges chime in. If Dan dare disrespect the Tim Tam he’ll be heading back to the University of Canberra quicker than the Gonski Review will be implemented.

Thank God for a quick ad break. I scrape the leftover leftovers into the bin, get the kids into bed, open another bottle of wine, all in time to watch Lynton riding a mechanical engine in a Castrol Magnatec commercial; a stay-at-home dad, one with more confidence in the kitchen than Kelty, serve his daughters Latina fresh pasta (note to self: that’s a good idea for tomorrow’s dinner); and an ad for the Cyclery in Fyshwick, a bike shop cum café across from the office, where just at lunch time I noted they had barramundi on the menu, do you want that recipe Samira?

Back to the action. Michael’s gone AWOL. At first I worry that he’s off somewhere making a suit out of the excess skin that George has shed this season, but he’s only out in the herb garden, frolicking. One minute to go. Dishes are being plated. (Really, who plates at home?)

Time for the elimination.

Now if we were on Channel Nine, we’d cut to Tom Waterhouse, who would offer us odds on who might get eliminated tonight. Think about that Ten.

Nicky Serves: Savoury Japanese egg custard with salmon and shiitake mushrooms. Finally he’s cooked something, says Gary, adding they’re the best version of Chawan Mushihe’s tasted on the show. Has someone cooked Chawan Mushi before? Mythical Tom says 50-1 Nicky will go home.

Kelty Serves: Traditional Irish stew and no soda bread. Who doesn’t have bicarb soda in their pantry? Haven’t you ever done that volcano experiment with your kids, what sort of stay-at-home dad are you? George says fine but aint amazing. While we rankle at his grammar we have to agree. Mind you Kelty’s cooked tea in 15 minutes, not counting the extinguishing of the first pressure cooker, so as a parent you have to admire that. Gary says it will depend on what the other contestants do and mythical Tom says a wary 3-1 Kelty will go.

Michael Serves: Eye fillet and roasted body parts, sorry vegetables, and a hollandaise sauce. His arrogance makes us want to poke him in the eye  fillet but his steak slices cleanly and is pinker than a baby’s bottom and we writhe in pain when the judges says his meal is close to perfect. Mythical Tom says put your money on this favourite at evens to stay.

Samira Serves: Koshary rice with chickpeas and nuts with fried onions. We don’t want to like her but when she tells us about her battles with post natal depression, anxiety and only being able to leave her house once she rekindled her love of cooking we soften a little. Tonight’s sob story is brought to you by Huggies. An outside chance of going at 10-1.

Neha Serves: Spicy egg curry and rice. Talks herself up again by saying it’s a mutated version of what her mother used to serve. Matt loves it. Safe at 20-1

Dan Serves: Salted caramel and chocolate tart with Tim Tam icecream. The women in the gallery are still orgasming at the recipe’s name. Gary says it looks pretty good but it’s rock hard. He’s talking about the dish, not Dan. The women are still orgasming.  Mythical Tom says 2-1 Dan will go. You can paint a horse with hair colouring but you can’t make him run.

The six contestants line up to face the firing squad. Dish of the day goes to Michael who lives to kill, I mean cook, another day. Nicky and Neha are safe too.

The judges reveal the bottom three. They say Samira’s onions were burnt; they tell us something we don’t know, that Kelty is boring; and that Dan looked good but was rock hard. (And really what is wrong with that, as we cut to the women in the gallery who look shattered, realising that they’re going to have to grate all their cheese on the other Daniel’s abs now.)

And drumroll … it’s Dan, the 19-year-old student from Canberra who’s the first to leave the kitchen for 2013. Cut to Daniel, Lynton and Xavier who realise their chances of being the first crossover contestant to appear on both The Bachelor and MasterChef have just increased.

Matt tries to soften the blow by telling Dan that it’s hard to go so early in the competition but he should be able to tell from the reactions of the other contestants that he made a big impact.

“If there’s something to hold on to, it’s you’ve got the skills, you’re young, if you really want to follow your dream you can do so.”

In typical Gen Y fashion Dan says “Yep”, and that’s the end of it.

Tomorrow night, the promo goes, the gang’s off to the Barossa Valley … tomorrow night? Tomorrow night? Bugger, what will I serve for tea tomorrow night? That Latina pasta is looking pretty good.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲学校.

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