Culture

‘MasterChef Australia’ Recap: Boring Beetroot, Glorified Sunday Roast And Confusing Critiques

Jock calling Reece's beetroot and goat cheese too basic while frothing over Laura's lamb and peas sums up the entire season, tbh.

masterchef recap finals jock

Following last night’s hotly debated elimination, we have officially entered Finals Week.

Walking into the kitchen, as immunity winner Reynold waltzed right up to the gantry to safety, Sweat King Callum, Vegan Reece, Pasta Lover Laura and Emelia were met with a commercial kitchen set up, a dining room behind the judges, and Andy in a salmon pink button up.

Learning that they’d be cooking for not only the judges, but six of the hottest chefs in the country too, each contestant pulled a course out of a bag in standard MC fashion to determine what they would be cooking. Keen for the vegetables, Vegan Reece managed to bag the vegetable entree course, Emelia landed the fish course, Pasta Lover Laura got meat, which left Callum with dessert.

With two hours to cook, each chef had a staggered start and were required to make nine identical plates each.

Kicking things off with the vegetable entree, Vegan Reece decided to go ham on beetroot with a poached beetroot with pickled beet, roast beet, goats cheese mousse and a Shiraz vinaigrette. But because it’s Reece and he can’t stay away from desserts, the Tart King decided to add a pretty feral-sounding hazelnut, chocolate and honey crumb on top too.

After 45 minutes of Reece playing with beetroot, Emelia was able to start on her fish course. Beyond not really being a seafood cook, Emelia also shared that she was worried because she doesn’t have service experience like the others because, well, she makes cake all day. Powering through, Emelia started on a crispy skin barramundi with wilted fennel and Japanese broth, and decided to treat her course as a redemption cook, which is rarely ever a good thing.

Visiting Reece, Bench Demon Jock shared his opinion that beetroot and goats cheese sounded too safe even though, you know, he was putting chocolate on top of it and cooking his beets three ways. Andy, as usual, agreed with his father Jock and added that Reece should be showcasing the skills he’s learned during the competition, which made very little sense when the judges have harped on about not trying new things during eliminations throughout the season. But hey, that’s Andy for you.

Freaking Reece the fuck out, the vegan angel decided to switch up his dressing to try and steer his dish away from classic flavours. Running to the garden, Reece grabbed some lemon myrtle for a vinaigrette and started to whip up a beetroot gel, to make his dish more modern for the grumpy father and son judging duo.

Also playing it mad safe but hearing nothing about it, Emelia started roasting off her fish carcass to be the base of her Japanese broth. Then, finally starting on the meat course, Pasta Lover Laura decided on her own take on peas, mint and lamb, which sounded pretty damn safe too.

With Melissa paying her bench a visit, Laura admitted that she was going for simple techniques and simple flavours, but planned to perfect them. And instead of making her feel terrible for her choice of dish, Mel just told Laura to make sure she plated something exciting, to which Laura said she would. Amazing what leaving talented cooks alone to make what they want can do, hey?

Hitting a snag during her very simple cook, Emelia realised that her Japanese broth was cloudy, and considering her dish was literally just, well, fish and broth, there was no way that she could bin it. So with no Plan B, Emelia decided to make an egg raft in the hopes of clarifying her broth.

As Emelia did her best Poh impression by staring at her stovetop in hopes of her broth clearing up, the guest judges entered and took their seats. As the nine judges sat at their weird Last Supper-esque dining table, Jock announced that Vegan Reece only had 15 minutes before his dish was due.

Using up all his time, Reece spent his last few minutes whipping up his goats cheese mousse and chocolate crumb, and accidentally called his entree a dessert as Jock walked past, which sounds about Reece. Going on to present his beetroot dish, Reece was AGAIN questioned over his ~cLasSiC DiSh~, with Mel asking whether it was “classic or cliche?”….. sorry? Where was this constant questioning for the other people cooking simple dishes? *Cough* Laura *cough*.

Anyway, while the judges found that the beetroot was cooked perfectly, they thought the dish itself was “timid”, disjointed and needed some acidity to balance the flavours. Balance, hey? Perhaps Reece’s original dish would’ve had balance but alas, the Tart King was bullied at the start of the cook into changing his dish. King of Negativity Jock agreed with the other judges too, sharing that his beets were under-seasoned and that he wanted more goats cheese, which are the very things he made Reece question at the start of the cook. Interesting that.

With Vegan Reece finished cooking, Callum was able to finally get started on his native ingredient-packed dessert of a chocolate cremeaux, Davidson plum sorbet, aniseed myrtle rocks and toasted macadamia.

Also still cooking away on her ~classic~ meat dish, Laura decided on the risky move of hacking away at her rack of lamb to make her dish more sophisticated. Adding to her admittedly simple dish, Laura choose to make some *checks notes* boring brown butter roasted celeriac instead of going for a *checks notes again* boring celeriac puree. Groundbreaking.

Still staring at her cloudy pot, Emelia scooped her raft out and found that it worked and cleared her broth. Now that she had averted that crisis, Emelia got started on frying her fish. Despite saying that the cooking of the fish was so important, Emelia decided to shove all her fillets in the same damn pan like an absolute lunatic.

Also cooking her protein, Laura begun to sear her giant, bone-less lamb rolls. Visiting at the worst time possible, Jock asked Laura whether she was nervous with so many big names ready to eat her food, and when she said yes, he asked why? Like sir, you brought this up? You made her nervous? Honestly, I’m about two more comments away from starting a petition to stop Jock visiting the cook’s benches at this point.

Anyway, presenting her fish dish next, Jock told Emelia that cooking fish was a big risk. Asking what “led her down this path”, as though she wasn’t literally forced to cook fish after pulling it out of a hat, Emelia went on a tearful spiel about her MasterChef journey. After her cheeky sob, the judges tasted her dish and said that they loved her perfectly-cooked fish, flavourful broth and well-balanced dish.

Next up, preparing her meat course for service, Laura nervously carved into her lamb logs to find they were cooked perfectly. Presenting her dish, which was just essentially meat and two veg, the judges didn’t drag Laura for her basic dish as they did with Reece. Instead, they all absolutely beamed about how much they loved the glorified Sunday roast. And, in a shock to absolutely no one, Jock added that the only negative comment he had was that he would’ve loved to see the lamb on the bone.

Ugh, anyway, back in the kitchen sweating his life away, Callum realised that he had overestimated the time it would take for his dish. So with some extra time up his sleeve, the Sweat King decided to whip up even more elements to add to the 103 he already had with an aniseed myrtle oil, to balance the sweetness of the dish, and a Davidson plum sherbet, for shits and giggles.

However, while tasting Callum’s multi-element dessert, Jock felt that there was just far too much going on. Feeling like the cremeaux shouldn’t have been on the plate with all the other elements, the sentiment was echoed by the guest judges who thought there was a lack of cohesion and lack of restraint, which likely came down to the pressure of the competition.

But once the tasting was over, it was clear that Reece hadn’t done enough and that Callum had tried to do too much. But the judges felt that more was better than less, so we had to say goodbye to the King of Tarts, beetroot lover and absolute “tits” of the competition, Reece.

On the next episode of MasterChef: Back To Win, the top four take part in the final Mystery Box of the season, sent to them by none other than Gordon Ramsay.


MasterChef: Back To Win returns tonight at 7.30pm on Channel Ten. 

Michelle Rennex is a Senior Writer at Junkee who can’t cook, but enjoys judging people like she can. You can follow her on Twitter at @michellerennex