‘MasterChef Australia’ Recap: Cheese Toasties, Raw Cake And Callum Pulling A Bradbury

"I love that we’ve reached the ‘fuck it, just make a toastie’ stage of the competition."

masterchef recap callum laura

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It’s safe to say that this week has been very confusing.

After we said our tearful (and way too premature) goodbyes to actual angel on Earth, Jess, we learned that the next few days were part of hEaT wEeK.

What’s Heat Week? I hear absolutely no one ask. Well, it was a week where the contestants were split into groups to do three entirely different cooking challenges for a spot in last night’s immunity cook off.

Despite not being really fair sounding at all, on Monday night, Reynold, Callum and Brendan had to cook a sweet and savoury dish using one citrus fruit. Sadly for Brendan, he was kicked out after round one when his sticky orange boxing chicken failed to impress as much as Reynold’s lime curd ganache and Sweat King Callum’s mandarin bavarois — whatever that is.

Then, after treating the heat like a game of Survivor and using mathematical calculations to figure out a strategy, Callum’s glazed duck breast noodles managed to beat Reynold’s charcoal face mask dish using scallop skin — again, whatever that is.

In heat two, the challenge got progressively worse. Following the schedule of a typical Tuesday Pressure Test, guest chef Coskun Uysal brought in a dish for Tessa, Khanh, Emelia and Reece to taste. Unfortunately for them, this dish was a rice pudding dessert filled with tasteless, boiled chicken, which Khanh understandably mistook for coconut strings.

The judges then asked the contestants to draw inspiration from the Frankenstein dish and produce their own meat-filled dessert. Naturally, everyone struggled and whipped up some absolutely bonkers combos that even the guest chef struggled to fathom.

With an anchovy ice cream, Khanh reigned supreme over Emelia’s pork, fig and raspberry brûlée, Tessa’s fried chicken topped roasted rice ice cream and Reece’s plum and rosé sorbet served with duck floss.

Bringing Heat Week to its peak, the remaining contestants aka Poh, Laura, Vego Simon and Sarah Tiong, had to take part in a Bingo Mystery Box. Despite the table being full of amazing ingredients, the cooks ended up with no proteins and durian — which was basically Pasta Lover Laura’s worst nightmare.

For some reason, the ingredients provided meant that three of the four cooks decided to essentially cook the same dish — potatoes and onions. And proving that the world truly is ending, when Laura brought literally another famous chef’s her version of potatoes and onion to the judges, Jock actually said that he didn’t love the dish. But don’t stress, he still said he liked it, so it wasn’t too crazy.

Despite wanting to cook with the durian, Poh opted against it because she knew the white palates probably wouldn’t be able to handle it — and she was right.

Instead, as the only one to cook something different, an oddly calm and prepared Poh managed to whip up a whole ass lemon meringue cake in 60 minutes. For this, Poh secured the third and final spot in last night’s immunity challenge.

Moving into last night’s immunity challenge, Sweat King Callum, Chaotic Poh and Khanh learned that they were taking part in a three-round scored cook — a nice lil’ throwback to the old George, Gary and Matt disgustingly good days.

Kicking it off with a 15-minute humble toastie challenge, the top three bolted into the pantry to grab their ingredients. Despite the cooks all making different versions, all three kept it classic with a base of cheese and bread.

Going for varied levels of wanky, Khanh kept his version the most chilled out with a triple cheese-filled sourdough toastie, with a crunchy burnt cheese outside. Meanwhile, getting increasingly more unnecessary, Sweat King Callum choose to turn his casual white bread jaffle into a salt fest by drowning it in anchovy butter and packing if full of mushrooms, cheese and porcini salt.

Finally, placing at the top of the wank pack, Chaotic Poh decided to mix her sourdough with fruit butter, gruyere, honey, walnuts, rocket, raisins and prosciutto — which is definitely no longer a toastie in my eyes.

Exciting Anchovy King™️ Andy with the sound of his creation, Callum rushed to get his four elements done in the allotted 15 minutes. With five minutes to go, Callum again doused his already sopping wet bread with even more anchovy butter and struggled to get his trusty ol’ jaffle maker shut.

Back over in sourdough town, both Chaotic Poh and Khanh were at the finishing stages of grilling up their bread. But, with a minute to go, Sweat King Callum ran back into the pantry to add some ~fresh elements~. This meant that he left his janky jaffle maker unattended as it just oozed out cheese and miscellaneous anchovy-related liquids.

Lucky for Callum, however, the judges actually loved his funky ass salt bomb, scoring it a 23/30. Similarly, Poh’s very extra excuse for a toastie also impressed with a score of 25/30, while Khanh’s simple cheese lace creation bagged him a 24/30 — even with his dry ass bread choice.

Moving into the next round, the contestants learned that they would have just 20 minutes to craft a quick and delicious savoury dinner meal.

As soon as the cook started, Sweat King Callum sprinted in and out of the pantry in about two seconds flat, only grabbing flour and eggs to bring back to his bench. Taking a page out of Pasta-Laura’s book, Sweat King Callum decided to try his luck and whip up the world’s fastest pasta served with the world’s most finicky protein: Blue Swimmer Crab.

Also deciding to cook dishes that are far too complex for a measly 20 minutes, Chaotic Poh settled on intricate pork and cabbage potstickers. Meanwhile, Khanh decided to “take a risk” and cook bánh xèo aka savoury Vietnamese pancake, despite the prep work involved and all of its many elements.

With all three deciding to cook dishes that definitely take much longer than 20 minutes, Callum, Poh and Khanh had absolutely zero time or cares for Andy and Jock’s shitty walk through chats — and, honestly? Fat mood.

As each of the cooks scrambled to make it in time, they all somehow managed to finish and plate their super quick dishes within the allotted time — even Last-Minute Poh, who pulled her potstickers out of the frypan with literally about nine seconds to go.

When it came to tasting, the judges could barely even tell that the dishes were whipped up in 20 minutes. Chomping down on the bánh xèo first, the judges rated Khanh’s crispy pancake an almost-perfect score of 29/30.

Up next, the judges absolutely frothed over Sweat King Callum’s bonkers idea of tagliatelle in 20 minutes — with Jock even getting confirmation of Callum’s insanity from Pasta-Lover Laura from the gantry above. But while impressive, Callum only managed to bag a 26/30 from the judges.

Absolutely wowing with her dish of fresh dumplings, Last-Minute Poh impressed the judges with the amount of technique and flavour she managed in such a little amount of time. And after round two, with a score of 28/30, Poh levelled out with Khanh to lead the pack with 53/60 as Callum tracked behind with 49/60.

In the final round, the judges decided to be a little more generous and gave the cooks 30 minutes to whip up a top ten-worthy dessert — much to the delight of Chaotic Poh.

Four points behind everyone else, Sweat King Callum decided to throw what sounded like the entire pantry at the wall and hope it all stuck. Settling on a desert lime marmalade, gin, tonic and kumquat granita, and a gin and lime mousse, all served with a bay leaf oil and fresh citrus, it was safe to say that Callum lost the plot.

Despite Melissa imploring the cooks to not do a Last-Minute Poh by trying to squeeze a 60 minute recipe into half an hour, Khanh decided to whip up an orange sponge cake with chocolate honeycomb — a dish that normally takes about 45 minutes to set.

One-upping everyone else, Chaotic Poh decided that one dessert in 30 minutes was simply not enough. So, to stress out absolutely everyone watching at home, Poh explained that she was whipping up both a French clafoutis (sour cherry crepe) and Malaysian kuih koci (pandan glutinous rice filled with coconut).

Going back to his mathematical brain from earlier this week, Albert Einstein Sweat King Callum realised that he could easily beat Poh and Khanh if he got straight 10’s while they only received 8’s — which sure was a strategy.

But while sounding like a case of wishful thinking, Poh’s decision to split her time between two whole separate desserts might’ve actually made Callum’s equation a lot more believable. Plus Khanh’s extremely poor time management in only putting his cake in the oven at the 13-minute mark increased Callum’s chances at pulling a Bradbury.

However, Callum’s chances levelled back out when Chaotic Poh finally made a sensible decision to scrap her second dessert with five minutes to go. After realising that she couldn’t manage to do both dishes well, Poh scrapped her Malaysian dessert and chose to focus on her French one instead.

Now with time to spare, Chaotic Poh assumed the trusty Poh position: Staring at the oven just waiting for her dessert to bake.

Meanwhile, taking his dish out of the oven, Khanh discovered that his cake, in a shock to absolutely no one watching, didn’t actually manage to cook in 13 minutes. To replace the main element of his dessert, Khanh decided to just whip up a crème fraîche as a replacement — which made very little sense because the two are literally nothing alike.

This whole “uhhhh? cream is not a solid replacement for cake?” thing is something that the judges also noted while tasting Khanh’s dish. Before tasting, the judges shared that the dish looked incomplete and after giving it a go, agreed that it was just essentially a plate of garnishes.

Similarly, as Chaotic Poh brought in her one dessert, it underwhelmed the judges — not because she decided to focus on only one of her two dishes, but because the dish she did present was just lacklustre. Despite calling the dish “quietly perfect”, the judges agreed that they were wowed by the execution, not the dish itself.

Dragging four points behind, MasterChef’s unofficial mathematician Callum actually managed to do what he set out to do, and made up the huge difference in scores.

Being the only one to present the dish he had planned to do at the start of the 30 minutes — that was not only delicious but smart — Callum ended up with his three 10’s and a final score of 79/90, followed by Poh landing a 75/90 and Khanh scoring a 71/90.

This meant that Sweat Math King Callum won immunity and secured the first spot in the top 10 of MasterChef: Back To Win.

On the next episode of MasterChef: Back To Win, the vulnerable contestants battle it out in a two-round, Australia-themed Pressure Test.

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