‘MasterChef Australia’ Recap: Pimped Out Two-Minute Noodles And Failed Five-Minute Eggs
"Poh adding lobster to instant noodles is the level of extra I aim to be."
Following Twist Week, it’s been quite an uneventful week in the MasterChef Kitchen.
In case you’ve forgotten, on Sunday we said goodbye to Backwards Cap Hayden after he whipped up some undercooked dumplings followed by some overcooked beef during an elimination challenge based on different cuisines around the world.
Kicking off the week with a savoury vs sweet service challenge, the cooks split themselves into two teams dedicated solely to desserts and mains. To help, each team was given a mentor in Jo Barrett and
Mr G from Summer Heights High Matt Stone. And to lead, best friends Brendan and Reece volunteered to be team captains — probably in an attempt to redeem themselves from the previous challenge, where neither of them knew a fucking thing about Spain, Spanish cuisine or general geography.
Anyway, both teams flopped pretty hard, so the judges had to critique the menus dish-by-dish. Ultimately, however, Melissa, Andy and Jock felt that dry sponge cake at the hands of Reynold was better than the imbalanced squid of the savoury team, so Brendan’s team were sent to elimination.
— anya_namous ⁷ (@crackheadinc) May 18, 2020
Then, in the most ironic turn of events, the savoury team walked into the MasterChef kitchen to find that their Pressure Test featured the season’s most intricate dessert yet: Peter Gunn’s Black Box.
With over two and a half hours to cook, the contestants had to battle tempering black chocolate into the shape of a cube along with nine other complex elements. While some thrived in the challenge to reproduce almost perfect versions, Redhead Sarah and Sarah Tiong both fell behind massively after the first few steps.
This resulted in Redhead Sarah not making any chocolate soil at all and Sarah Tiong having no time to chocolate dip her mandarin puree before assembly time. Despite the cook being high-pressure and both Sarah’s being visibly upset, Pasta-Lover Laura angered people online when she floated around the kitchen to gloat about her success once the time was up.
Even though she could see Sarah Tiong crying, Laura continued to pester by asking her what she missed in the dish over and over again. Choosing to not read the room, Sarah had to tell Laura she needed a moment, and Laura coldly replied with: “I’m going to go hug someone else”.
To make matters worse, Wannabe Gordon Ramsay Jock, then called Brendan a “dumpling guy” while judging, blatantly ignoring the obvious “pasta girl” in the room. But despite all the episode’s snarky comments and tears, it was actually Redhead Sarah who was sent home as her lack of soil threw off the balance of the dish completely.
Laura reminds me of kids at school who as soon as they got their test results ran around the whole class asking how everyone else did so they could say they got an A+ #MasterChefAU
— Laura Jensen (@LauraJcookies) May 19, 2020
Then for this week’s mystery box, guest judge Shannon Martinez came in to task the contestants with cooking a vegan meal with no animal-based products — including the under bench staples. And if I’m honest, the challenge was quite boring. To sum up what happened: most cooked veg while a few tried their hand at vegan desserts, and, as expected, Laura whipped up yet another version of pasta.
However, the judges weren’t fans of the flavours she used nor were they loving Tessa’s skewered veg or Reynold’s beetroot. Instead the judges picked Jess’ celeriac cake, Simon’s celeriac tacos, Poh’s double dish of sweet potato pastry and seitan, and Reece’s carrot cake to take part in last night’s immunity challenge.
Once again the #MasterChefAU guest judge excites the gays, confuses the hetros and lets Simon make a some weird dish that includes carrot.
— domeanddodders (@domeanddodders) May 20, 2020
— jackson langford (@jacksonlangford) May 20, 2020
Jumping right into the immunity cook-off, the top four realised their first task of the day was to jazz up a packet of humble two-minute noodles with only 15 minutes. Ignoring the lack of the superior instant noodle Mi Goreng, Andy wheeled out a trolley full of more ramen packets that Simon and Reece — the only two non-Asians competing — had ever seen in their life, which made them lose all hope.
With absolutely no clue where to start, Vego Simon just started grabbing random shit out of the pantry in an attempt to try and plate anything to hit the brief. Meanwhile, Jess decided to bowl over everyone in the competition by deep-frying her pre-packaged noodles to create khao soi, a Thai curry dish.
Discussing what the judges would do, Jock said he’d look for cured meats and egg if he were cooking – which is literally the recipe for a fucking carbonara. And now Laura’s pasta mindset finally makes a whole lot more sense.
[under breath while weeping quietly]
“This … this is the real on-screen diversity we’ve all been waiting for.” pic.twitter.com/yhKhuFfEfU
— Benjamin Law 羅旭能 (@mrbenjaminlaw) May 21, 2020
Before anyone asks, there are no IndoMie Mi Goreng noodles on the table because: a) it was the very early stages of Covid and y’all bulk bought them out of circulation. b) we needed to challenge these talented contestants a little further than the OG. 🍜 #MasterChefAU
— Melissa Leong (@fooderati) May 21, 2020
Anyway, back at the benches, deciding to absolutely max out Channel 10’s food budget, Last-Minute Poh started boiling a whole-ass lobster in her pre-boiled pot to jazz up a packet of seafood ramen.
Utilising his basket full of random items, Vego Simon decided to combine shallot sauce, chilli oil and smoked sesame oil to create a bed of sauce for his noodles and egg to be mixed into. Reece on the other hand, who we actually discovered was vegan last episode, chose the “oriental-flavoured” Maggi — the worst noodles on the table — to make a dry spicy pork noodle with egg.
With 10 minutes to go, Poh’s station was expectedly chaotic. Adding pork, egg, tofu, enoki mushrooms, nashi pear, oysters and squid on top of her already cooked lobster, Poh’s bench begun looking like its own Coles store. Calling the dish “something that Crazy, Rich Asians might eat”, Poh basically said fuck this station’s budget babyyyyy.
Poh adding lobster to instant noodles is the level of extra I aim to be #MasterChefAU
— Anya 🏳️🌈💃🏽 (@anyasaravanan) May 21, 2020
Then with five minutes left, Jess finally begun frying her noodles despite the oil not being quite hot enough yet, and Poh was just somehow strangely calm while cooking all of her miscellaneous proteins. In the end, Jess decided against her crispy noodles as they didn’t work out how she had hoped them to.
But when it came to tasting, the judges didn’t care about the lack of crispy noodles. Between Melissa doing a weird noodle dance with Andy and Jock twiddling his fingers like a maniac, it was clear that the judges were frothing Jess’ “rich, layered, flavour-packed” curry creation.
Next up Reece’s dry pork noodle, while nice, didn’t have the same balance that Jess’ curry did. Similarly, Vego Simon’s chilli oil noodles missed the mark because he was too thoughtful and believed the judges deserved more than one packet of noodles. This mistake meant that while the sauce was super delicious, the noodles themselves didn’t mix well because the ratio of sauce was totally out of wack.
Finally tasting Poh’s million dollar bowl, the judges got all the luxury she was trying to sell. Despite having so many elements, Andy thought everything Poh included did belong in the bowl. As a result, the judges picked Poh and Jess to advance to the next round — something we, and the boys cooking, all knew was going to happen when the episode started.
Nothing would be more on brand for sweet, smiley Simon than him losing out on immunity bc he gave the judges extra noodles bc he didn’t want them to go hungry 🥺😩 #MasterChefAU pic.twitter.com/Fn3oRJ7qjs
— Michelle Rennex (@michellerennex) May 21, 2020
For the second round, the judges tasked the girls with cooking their favourite comfort foods. With 60 minutes on the clock, the dish could be sweet or savoury, so long as it was comforting and nostalgic.
To hit the brief, Jess decided on a childhood favourite of red duck curry with roti canai, coconut rice and chilli jam — a dish that reminded Jess of her dad and her parents restaurant. But five minutes into the cook, while Jess had already prepped her duck and threw it into the pressure cooker, Poh was still taking her sweet ass time in the pantry and shopping like it was just a random Sunday arvo.
When she finally emerged, Poh shared that she was cooking a fish custard cooked in banana leaf (otak otak) and nasi lemak with an accompanying sambal — something that she remembered eating everyday at school for recess.
For the most part, the cook was relatively calm until the half-way mark. With 12 minutes still on her pressure cooker, Jess was cutting it fine for her curry and so decided to totally abandon her planned Thai chilli jam for the sake of the curry flavours. Meanwhile, with 20 minutes to go, Poh finally started steaming her otak otak and had only just begun her nasi lemak, which probably made her regret her leisurely shop at the beginning of the cook.
Poh is casually sauntering through the pantry like the Asian aunty she is #MasterChefAU
— Josh 🌈 (@abangpinoy) May 21, 2020
As the time continued to count down, Last-Minute Poh decided to start cooking her five-minute egg with literally only five minutes left on the clock. With everything else on her plate ready to serve, Poh pulled out her signature move — just staring at her stove and hoping that her food would cook in time through the power of manifestation.
Taking inspiration to the queen of last-minute additions, Jess changed her mind and decided that she did want an element of the chilli jam she originally scrapped. Running to the pantry, Jess instead grabbed the necessary ingredients for Thai chilli and prawn powder in an attempt to balance out the sweetness in her dish.
With literally 10 seconds left on the clock, Poh took her egg out of the boiling water and used her fingers of steel to peel the piping hot bomb — and actually managed to do so, but broke it in the process of slamming it down on the plate.
If anyone can hard-boil an egg in five minutes, Poh can. No wait, that is physically impossible. #MasterChefAU
— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) May 21, 2020
Staring down at her busted egg, Poh knew full well that her attempt at way too many elements was going to be her downfall. Ignoring the egg, the judges felt that while everything on the plate was delicious, the sambal for the nasi lemak totally overpowered the otak otak.
Meanwhile, Jess’ red curry impressed the judges with its depth of flavour and balance, thanks to the last-minute decision to whip up a prawn chilli salt. Calling the comfort dish “genius” and “switched on cooking”, Jess received nothing but praise from the judges and so took out the immunity win for the night (and for the second time this season).
On the next episode of MasterChef: Back To Win, the vulnerable contestants compete in a two-round fish-based elimination cook-off.
MasterChef: Back To Win returns on Sunday 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.