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‘MasterChef Australia’ Recap: Fairytale Desserts, Raw Rice And Reynold’s Rabbit Hole

"Yep Andy can’t read, lol. Guess this explains his vocabulary."

masterchef recap fairytale reynold

This week has been quite wholesome, now hasn’t it.

On Sunday, after we had to be witness to ‘Guess This Fish’, easily the world’s worst game, we said goodbye to Tracy and her dry-ass kingfish. Then on Monday, we started the dreaded COVID-19 filming stage of MasterChef: Back To Win, which meant no more real hugs, separate judging plates, extra hand-washing and very awkward shots of the contestants standing 1.5 metres apart.

After learning that this week would feature two immunity challenges and only one elimination, the cooks sighed a fat sigh of relief. And thank God it wasn’t an elimination challenge because the whole thing was a MESS. Working in three teams of four, the top 12 competed in a two-dish blind relay.

No team really wowed with both dishes thanks to overcooked octopus, boring lamb and un-set panna cotta plaguing different groups. The episode, however, did feature the return of Chaotic Poh, a significant lack of Melissa, and a snide comment from Pasta Lover Laura regarding Reece’s treatment of the team’s fish.

But even with all the chaos, the Green team somehow managed to come out on top after ditching their chewy octopus and replacing it at the last minute with some grilled prawns. This sent Emelia, Brendan, Simon and Khanh into the Meljito immunity Pressure Test the next day.

Tasked with having to recreate a fully edible watermelon by chocolate master Kirsten Tibballs, it was clearly pastry God Emelia’s challenge to lose. Almost all the boys stumbled over each technical step, but no one more than Khanh, who presented the loosest take on a “watermelon” I have ever seen.

As expected, Emelia didn’t even break a sweat and ended up bagging immunity with an essentially flawless recreation. This left the remaining 11 contestants fighting it out for a spot in the next immunity cook-off with the Memories Mystery Box.

Giving the contestants photos from their childhood instead of ingredients, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house — both in the kitchen and for the viewers watching at home. The challenge was particularly emotional for the Asian contestants who reflected on their immigrant struggles, which was the raw and real representation Australia’s been waiting for.

Anyway, the dishes were so good that not a single negative critique was shared and the top four became a top five with Reynold, Poh, Jess, Khanh and Brendan bagging a spot.

Entering into the Fairytales Immunity Challenge, the top five were given seven different classic fairytales to base their dishes on — which really excited little creative geniuses Reynold and Jess, who just couldn’t stop bobbing up and down as the judges explained the challenge.

With 75 minutes, the only rule was that whatever dish the contestants came up with had to be inspired by one of the fairytales.

Sweet Baby Jess settled on Goldilocks And The Three Bears to go along with her dessert that featured three spheres of varying sizes — but because she’s insane and wanted to make the judges their own plates, this meant she had to make nine balls in just an hour and a half.

Also going for sweet, Khanh took inspiration from the ugly aspects from Beauty And The Beast for his Swedish kladdkaka (sticky chocolate cake). Khanh also decided to try and bring beauty back into the dish by adding a rose ice cream. But while he had all his elements figured out, Khanh couldn’t quite wrap his head around how to plate his cake so it wouldn’t look shit.

Breaking up the cooking for a hot second to have a chat about what they would do, the judges huddled together near the books.  Andy, determined to prove he’s just a full on, true blue, sporty Aussie bloke, then pretended that he had never read, watched or heard of a fairytale before. Like, sorry? Are you an alien?

You cannot stand there with a straight face and tell me you don’t know what Goldilocks or Little Red Riding Hood is about, Andy. Anyway, Jock, being a normal person secure in his masculinity, said he’d go for Hansel And Gretel and try for a carrot cake and gingerbread concoction.

Back to cooking, deciding on Alice In Wonderland, specifically on the first chapter, the Dessert King™️ refitted his safety goggles to whip up a “down the rabbit hole”-inspired sweet treat.

Describing his dish to Jock, Reynold explained that he was planning on a 3D dark chocolate tree with an accompanying garden and hot caramel sinkhole to mimic the idea of Alice falling down the rabbit hole. And look, I don’t understand it, but it’s Reynold and dessert so I can’t help but trust it.

Back over on Earth and toying with the idea of savoury, Poh chose to create a tofu lily in chicken and scallop broth served with a smoked butter fried rice inspired by The Ugly Duckling because she identified with the story as a migrant kid who was different to everyone else around her. And I–excuse me while I go sob in the corner AGAIN.

Also going for savoury and covering the same fairytale as Khanh, Brendan took inspiration from Beauty And The Beast and his Mauritian roots to make hakien aka traditional spring rolls. Deciding to make me cry once more, Brendan then told Melissa that hakien is something that his grandmother had always asked him to cook on MasterChef but he felt it had been too ugly to present in any other situation.

Continuously repeating that he isn’t known for desserts, Khanh was clearly just using the immunity challenge for a bit of fun and as a chance to talk about the one time he and his gay friends watched Beauty And The Beast together, which was quite cute actually.

Meanwhile, actually known for her desserts, Sweet Baby Jess begun moving like a madman to blitz approximately 113 mangoes to turn into puree to turn into foam to turn into spheres. Similarly, Dessert King Reynold got stuck into his three million elements for his miniature edible ecosystem — and I have decided that this man cannot possibly be human.

Starting his witchcraft for the day, Reynold begun creating sheets of tempered chocolate to form his trees. While Jess started sprinting around the kitchen and frantically scooping out her 18 half-spheres to prep them to be filled with her three different fillings, which is just far too much work in 75 minutes.

Determined to serve each judge their own separate plate, with 30 minutes to go, Jess madly melted her spheres together to create the base for her dessert.

Also using mad gadgets for her dish, Poh begun smoking butter for her fried rice. But in typical Chaotic Poh style, she just stared at her pressure cooker as the broth, that she needed to cook her rice with, continued to boil. With all other prep done and only 20 minutes to go, the cook became a real *Poh stares at oven* and *Poh cooks a five-minute egg in four minutes* moment.

Despite rice taking 20 minutes to cook, Poh only started to decompress the pressure cooker at the 15-minute mark. This left Chaotic Poh with only 13 minutes to boil her rice and then fry it, which… just sounds about Poh.

Getting their elements ready to plate, Khanh begun carving strawberries into little roses and then finally figured out a way to serve his dish. After finding a glass cloche, like the one that houses the rose in Beauty And The Beast, Khanh decided to slide his whole damn cake in the bottom of the glass.

Meanwhile, Poh dropped her tofu lily into the broth and it bloomed like an actual flower, while Reynold started building his chocolate tree with flowers from the garden stuck onto the branches like a real tree.

Adding their finishing touches, Dessert Queen Jess begun filling her spheres, Chaotic Poh pulled her rice out at the last second and Kladdkaka Khanh dusted as much pink onto his plate as possible to add a little beauty to his huge beast.

Kicking off the tasting with Khanh, the judges all got themselves a huge slice… and sorry, I was distracted by Jock eating his slice of cake with a knife and fork like a serial killer???? UM??? Anyway, beyond that horrifying scene, they loved the cake.

Jock took a page out of Andy’s book and called the cake a “sexy belter”. And, of course, Andy “I Hate Cake” Allen chomped down on the kladdkaka because well, he’s a liar.

Up next, Reynold brought forward the dish that the judges had been waiting all day for. Theatrically pouring the hot caramel to reveal the rabbit hole, for a moment there it appeared as though Reynold’s trick might not work. But we are all fools to even doubt the sorcerer anymore at this point. Of course it worked. It’s Reynold.

And because it’s Reynold, the judges obviously called the dish a “bombshell” in theatrics, flavour and on any and every other level.

Following two desserts, Poh presented her tofu lily dish to the judges as a cheeky little palate cleanser. Sadly for Poh, while the flavours of the rice were good, it was still a tad undercooked at the hands of her absolutely horrid time management skills.

Similarly, with barely any screen time, Brendan brought forward his Beauty And The Beast-inspired hakien, which didn’t receive rave reviews either.

Beyond spots of raw pastry and the lacklustre presentation, Andy said that the dish felt like something that Brendan just wanted to cook in the competition and that he used this challenge as an opportunity to do so, and like, yeah? That’s exactly what he said he was doing at the start of the cook?

Anyway, last but not least, Sweet Baby Jess presented her nine Goldilocks balls, including the small ones which were empty because they “weren’t quite right” — a smart attempt to try and cover up her mistake by tying it into the Three Bears story. Unfortunately for Jess, she received an opposite critique to Brendan, with the judges feeling like she thought about the challenge too much and just ended up doing way too much.

This meant that Dessert King™️ Reynold was finally shown the respect he deserves and was given immunity for the week — something the other contestants knew was going to happen as they stared at Reynold, who was just nervously looking at the ground during critiques. Ugh, we stan a humble king.

On the next episode of MasterChef: Back To Win, the ten vulnerable contestants battle it out in an elimination challenge based on ice cream and odd flavour combos.


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