GUYS. Last night’s elimination challenge marks the final “traditional” elimination for the year. With six left and five spots to fill for Finals Week, we’re culling the last of the non-elite before sending the remaining handful through to the gruelling last few days of the competition.
After personally recovering from the damage caused by Matt Preston‘s sexy biscuit, we’re all now back in the familiar kitchen again – for the ELIMINATION CHALLENGE, and for the final day of Marco Week Marc 2.
Four black aprons march through the doors – Jessica, Reynold, Sara, and Matthew – leaving Georgia and Billie to watch on from the gantry above. They still applaud though. Even though there’s only two of them, which makes it sound less like stoic encouragement, and more like a pair of cows fucked up on Metamucil.
It’s just Marco, George, and Gary in today. Matt Preston is off somewhere – presumably dealing with some sort of fishy line that’s formed out the front of his house ever since that biscuit shot went to air.
You can never escape it!
Today’s challenge, an open pantry monster, is apparently all about reconnecting and representing your childhood and family, which causes instant tears from Sara, to which Marco observes “Sara, it’s obvious that you’re very emotional,” with all the warmth and compassion of Hannibal Lector.
To be fair, Sara’s tears are accompanied by a short little video package of her Nonno and Nonna who are both massively adorable. Pitch for next season: Nonna and Nonno come in for Sauce Day, and the contestants spend 12 hours rendering down a metric tonne of tomatoes to make enough pasta sauce to last Lygon Street through the winter.
Everyone runs off into the pantry to start this Dish of their Childhood. If it were me, I’d be running out of that bad boy holding a tin of Spagasaurus and a loaf of Tip Top to make an entire battalion of toast soldiers out of.
Lo and be-freaking-hold, Reynold‘s decided to make a wildly complex dessert, because apparently his entire childhood was spent moulding his own toys out of leftover fondant.
Matthew‘s off cooking a lasagna, which is an absolutely peak-Dad meal. Like, Mum’s in bed crook with the flu so Dad’s cooking dinner tonight and if we’re real good he’s gonna take us down to Blockbuster and hire out Last Action Hero on VHS. Classic Dad move.
Jessica has her spicy seafood broth on the go, which Marco tastes and nearly has his head blown off, causing George to spontaneously break into a sweat and light several candles in order to coat his tongue with the wax.
Sara is making broccoli pasta and weeping at intervals of five seconds or less. Meanwhile, we get maximum shots of Anxious Georgia from up on high, and *literally zero* shots of Billie, who has decided to cruise into Finals Week with maximum chill.
Reynold’s genius idea for this particular challenge is to attempt a dish that he’s never successfully completed before. The kid is nothing if not ambitious. An idiot too. But ambitious nonetheless. And in this all important challenge for a spot in the final five of a life and career changing reality cooking TV series, Reynold decides to dive headlong back into honeycomb.
You know the old saying. If at first you don’t succeed, just fuck it up again, fam. Which he does without any effort whatsoever. It’s a complete mess. He ditches batch number one and for batch number two declares “I’ll use a thermometer this time and do it properly” and my head explodes.
Are you SERIOUSLY telling me you’ve made MULTIPLE failed batches of this shit this season and only just NOW has the thought “FOLLOW THE RECIPE” crossed you mind? I can throw flour, eggs, and Vegemite into a pot but I’ll never expect to pull out toast.
Meanwhile Matthew has completely lost his freaking mind, and has begun straight-up hurling cheese all over the freaking place. Cheese in his bechamel sauce. Cheese inside the lasagna. Cheese on top of the lasagna. Cheese in his hair, his clothes, his socks, his jocks. He’s dancing around the kitchen going full C.R.E.A.M. on it. “CHEESE RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME.”
At this point Marco saunters up to Jessica’s station, who is currently cooking up a batch of the most ungodly big prawns you’re ever likely to see – so big they’re probably better off dead, for if they’d been left alive they would’ve mounted land and overthrown man. Marco looks at the dish and ponders aloud, “I’m wondering, how do I eat this?“
Probs with yr mouth, hey m8.
Seriously though, Jessica hasn’t thought this through and is just steering straight into the end game of serving up unshelled prawns in a hot broth. She might as well commit 100% and name the dish the Soupy Hands Surprise.
Reynold plates up his dish – a circle of chocolate ganache with a circle centre cut out and orange jelly put in. As appetising as it sounds, it’s the garnishes that are necessary to hide the fact that at its core it looks like a weepy bum. But that’s the only fault to be found in what is otherwise a flawless dish. The kid knows his way around his desserts.
Despite Jessica sticking it to the man/judges by plonking her prawn soup down in front of everyone and boldly declaring “Burn your fingers, fuckos!” she too is safe after concocting a bang-up broth that spares George’s backside the indignity of going full Johnny Cash and falling in to a burning ring of fire.
Sara’s broccoli mess is simple and full of herbs – resembling something you’d probably bash together in the kitchen after a hard session on those other herbs. But Marco is a simple man with simple tastes (lest we get through one whole bleeding episode without being explicitly told what Marco likes and doesn’t like) and approves.
And thus, it’s Matthew, with his cheese explosion lasagna, who has to pack his bags and head on home as the 6th placed cook on this year’s MasterChef Australia.
Fare thee well, Ultimate Dad. Wherever there’s a bloke fumbling his way through scrambled eggs at 7pm while and responding “Hi Hungry, I’m Dad” to the kids pangs of mild malnourishment, the name on the wind shall whisper “Matthewwwwww.”
NEXT TIME ON MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA: IT’S FINALS WEEK!
It’s all come down to this. Who will rise to the occasion and emerge victorious? Who will fall like a poster hung with old Blu Tac? Let’s check the form guide.
The strange/unique/head scratching thing about this year’s Final 5 is that there *really* isn’t any clear standout or favourite. Each one has their own pitfalls, foibles, and general missteps. And the Vegas odds? They reflect that accordingly.
GEORGIA BARNES – 10:1
Perhaps a favourite earlier on in the competition due to her creativity and ingenuity in Invention Tests and Mystery Boxes. But the pressure of the competition clearly snuck up on her about halfway through. Has avoided elimination by the skin of her teeth on a couple of occasions, but earned her way into the Final Five with some smart cooking when it mattered most this week. A victory is not entirely out of the question from this point, but the pressure of finals week has got to be a factor. A long shot.
BILLIE McKAY – 8:1
The darkhorse of the pack. Could be gone come Monday. Could bolt through the week in a blaze of glory and take out the whole thing. Has barely stuck her neck out all season long, playing the odds and cooly avoiding the rear of the pack perhaps more than anyone else. The lack of testing in pressure-filled situations could be her undoing, but that’s hard to get a read on. One tough task draw will likely stand as her defining moment either way.
SARA OTERI – 5:1
Confidence is everything at this stage of the competition, and if nothing else Sara has that. A strong nose for flavour balance and a staunch Italian background have served her well up until this point. And her fierce competitive side will see her most likely make a deep run into the week. But it’s shortcomings in improvisation that remain her achilles heel, particularly her ability to think on the fly when unexpected errors occur. A clean run with a clear head should see her sail into the final two. Mental hurdles are her only major roadblock.
REYNOLD POERNOMO – 4:1
If Finals Week were all desserts, he’d win in a canter. It wouldn’t even be close. Hell, if it were all desserts we could’ve wrapped this shit up back in week two. But unfortunately during finals week you have to cook things that aren’t Sugar Nirvana. Prone to error when going off-book, which he does often and repeatedly (see: the Honeycomb incident above). If he makes it to the final two, he’ll come home with a wet sail in the third round of the last cook-off – usually reserved for some sort of ridiculous dessert nightmare. Whether that’s enough to overcome whatever happens in rounds one and two, remains to be seen.
JESSICA ARNOTT – 3:1
The favourite at this stage, but not by much. Arguably the most well rounded of the bunch whose skills have improved about as closely in-line with the progression of the series as anyone else’s. Also the most likely to produce food that will satiate three eternally hungry rotund middle aged men, which is ultimately what the goal of the show is. Improvises well, adjusts to expert advice on the fly, multi-tasks like a fiend. She’s gotten hot at the right time, and that could well see her lift the plate come Sunday week.
ONE WEEK TO GO, FRIENDS. It’s do or die.