Furthermore, Georgia accidentally cops and eyeful of cayenne, but refuses to be the only one to burn, turning her chicken wings into evil beasts laced with the Merciless Pepper of Quetzalacatenago that transforms George‘s head into Mount Etna and presumably sends him on a heat-induced psychotropic quest to find his soulmate, as dictated to him by a Mystical Coyote voiced by Johnny Cash.
AND NOW, TONIGHT.
With 9 people left in the competition, ELIMINATION DAY starts to get a little more serious. Wednesday’s meat masters Jessica, Sara, and Reynold are all up on the gantry, safe from the baying jaws on the Three
Rancors Judges below. And before proceedings begin we’ve already got tears, as Ashleigh struggles with decision to cash in her Immunity Pin and save herself from elimination.
Again, I wonder, why the hell is doing this such an emotionally fraught choice? You’re choosing to use a thing that you’ve earned to not do a thing that could send you home. Rejoice in it! Own it! BE PROUD. I know they’re your mates and all, but this is a competition, god damn it. Hell, you beat an acclaimed chef at cooking. A get-out-of-one-challenge free card is undervaluing that achievement significantly. If it were me, I’d be making demands. I don’t just want to dodge elimination. I want to watch the challenge in style. I want a banana lounge, and a Mai Tai, and several mixed platters of fruit and cheese and cold meats, and two attractive bald people of indeterminate gender dressed in gold morphsuits to rub duck fat on my belly as I bray and guffaw with bloodlust while the carnage below me unfolds.
Sigh. The tears. Every time with the tears. Humility is such an asshole.
So Ashleigh heads up the stairs, leaving 5 to face the executioner’s wrath – Jessie, Amy, Georgia, Matthew, and Billie.
In strolls old Fishy McGee Rick Stein to oversee proceedings and a gushing Matthew remarks “What a way to have an elimination,” which FFS is a peak Dad sentence. At this stage old mate might as well drop all pretence and commit 100% to it. Y’know, put on Birkenstocks. Change his ringtone to Yakkity Sax. Ask if the MasterChef pantry accepts Diners Club.
The Three Rancors ask Stein to impart some culinary wisdom on the cooks in black, to which he responds “You have to have that hunger before you start cooking.” Mate, every time I’ve had *that* hunger before I’ve started cooking all I’ve wound up making was undercooked chips and things with cheese melted over them. At least gob down a bit of bread before you start banging away at a MasterChef challenge.
Today’s task is something of a seafood lucky dip – everyone dips into one barrel and pulls out a fish, and another for a regional cuisine. Matthew pulls out John Dory and Indian, Jessie cops Murray Cod and English, Georgia scores herself Snow Crab and French, Billie gets Red Snapper and Spanish, and Amy draws Squid and Malaysian.
Immediately we’re hit with multiple talking heads from Amy, which is never a good sign. MasterChef is a game of flying under the radar and doing and saying as little as possible until you’re in the final five. Reynold‘s doing a bang-up job of it this season, and Amy had that shit licked until today.
But it should be fine, right? She’s travelled to Malaysia a bunch of times – as she keeps telling us over and over – and it’s seafood, and she’s Tasmanian.
A Tasmanian losing a seafood challenge is like Warrick Capper losing a speckie contest. It’s like Lee Carvallo losing a putting challenge. It’s like Big Bird losing a “Who’s the biggest bird on Sesame Street?” competition. THAT SHIT JUST STRAIGHT UP DOESN’T HAPPEN.
The clock begins ticking and Jessie starts staring at her fish in the way the you just kinda open the fridge and stare inside it. You know there’s food in there. But nothing registers as appetising. And before you know it, half an hour has passed.
Billie starts virtually garrotting her snapper with knife skills that border on the scary. The camera zooms in and a dull glaze has fogged over eyes as she expertly picks apart the flesh, completely devoid of feeling – that is until Stein and the Judges approach to compliment her on her skills. Instantly the eyes burn red and the knife shoots out “YOU COME NEAR MY TURF AND I SLIT YOU FROM EAR TO EAR, YOU HEAR ME. I WILL GIVE YOU GILLS.” And as the men slowly back away, hands raised in the air, Billie spits on the floor. “You goddamn right you’re backing off. Next time you come near me I make a mask out of your skin, comprende?”
Meanwhile, Jessie is still having a think about what to cook.
Matthew has absolutely no idea what to do with – or indeed, how to cook – a John Dory. So he puts that aside and begins work on a curry. Because India. At one point he again does the bolt for the door and into the front garden. Cue: Seven production designers just out of shot screaming “IT’S FOR DISPLAY ONLY YOU DICKHEAD.”
As Matthew rustles through the veggie patch in the roundabout, he hears a soft rustling over to his right. Curious, he investigates. As the rustling grows louder, he parts the branches on a thyme plant to find the face of a fully camouflaged John staring back at him.
“What the… how long have you been here?” Matthew enquires, to which John simply raises a finger, says “Shhhhh….” and slowly lowers himself back down to ground level. Though he doesn’t verbalise it, judging by the smell of urine and adobo, the real answer is “a while.”
Back in the kitchen, and Amy has made some sort of curry sauce that looks like you could stick a country’s flag upright in it and claim it as territory.
And Jessie is still having a good long thing about what she’s going to cook. At this point Rick Stein comes up and basically slaps her with the tail of the fish and says “IT’S COD AND ENGLAND. JUST MAKE SOME PUB FOOD. FRY THE FUCK OUT OF IT. CHRIST.“
Matthew attempts to cook his John Dory fillets, but the first one curls up in the pan like a petulant child refusing to eat its greens. It’s the chefs that John Dory rejects which make this part of his cook a mess.
George drops in with some handy advice for Amy – “I don’t wanna throw you, but at the end of the day someone’s going home after this.” YES THANK YOU VERY MUCH GEORGE WE ARE WELL A-FUCKING-WARE OF THAT. Honest to DOG why don’t you just hover two inches in front of her face all challenge whispering “Don’t screw up don’t screw up don’t screw up don’t screw up…” Bloody hell.
Problem is though that even that manages to psych poor Amy out, and she decides – with literally one minute left – to char grill some of the calamari tentacles and throw them on the plate as well. There’s not even REMOTELY enough time left to do that properly, but she does it anyway because ¯_(?)_/¯ .
And, ultimately, that’s the nail in the proverbial for Amy and her time in the MasterChef kitchen. Because despite Jessie accidentally short-sheeting herself in the challenge, it’s that ages old adage that rings true once again – Wise man say: “Forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for undercooked squid.”
Amy leaves the competition your ninth placed contestant, proud of the fact that she made the top 10.
From one Launcestonian to another: Onya, Luttrell. You did those City Park Monkeys damned proud.
NEXT TIME: The Return of the Mystery Box! It’s like Return of the Mack, except instead of a stonking great mid 90s R’n’B hit, it’s a wooden box full of food!