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‘MasterChef Australia’ Recap: Split Sauce, Callum’s Unlucky Streak And Poh-Induced Stress

With Poh gone, there goes 2020's last chance at redeeming itself.

masterchef recap poh

Last night Australia was rocked by, what was easily, the worst MasterChef elimination yet.

Walking into the kitchen, the remaining six contestants were greeted by Andy in a terrible green jacket and guest chef Phil Wood, who held a fancy wooden cloche for the day’s Pressure Test. As Dessert King Reynold watched from safety above thanks to his immunity win, Chef Phil unveiled a potato duchess with cauliflower and mushroom, which scared the cooks but none more than Callum, who was already sweating fucking buckets.

Giving Chaotic Poh, Vegan Reece, Pasta Lover Laura, Emelia and Sweat King Callum 75 minutes to recreate the glorified crunchy pile of mashed potato, Andy revealed that the top two from the first round would be safe from the next cook. While simple-sounding, the judges shared that balancing the flavours was important and that time needed to be managed properly, so that totally ruled Poh out from doing well.

With another huge fuck-off long menu, the cooks learned that the potatoes had to be prepared literally four different ways, which is frankly just far too much work.

Calling Chef Phil a “saucier”, which is definitely and 100% made-up, the judges made a point to the cooks that the sauce was one of the most tricky parts. Unfortunately for Callum, right after they said this, Jock visited his bench and Chef Phil’s face dropped as he looked down at the Sweat King’s bubbling, foamy attempt. Taking a hint from Chef Phil’s expression of pure disappointment, Callum decided to change tact and adjust his sauce.

As everyone begun to throw their potatoes into the oven, the Bench Demon and his new sidekick, Phil decided to visit Emelia. Having a totally different experience to their one with Callum, Emelia impressed the pair by reciting the entire recipe off the dome like some type of human Wikipedia page, as she just motored past everyone else.

Freaking the cooks out with her super-human speed, everyone rushed to get their potato mixture sieved and into the oven. Sweating his life away again, Callum’s potato mixture started to flop and sag as he piped away, and it honestly just started to look like little piles of soggy shit.

Not holding their shape, it was clear that Callum had not taken out enough moisture from his potatoes as he tried to catch up. After realising that his mixture wasn’t holding itself together, Callum resorted to frantically piping in to moulds, which just made everything about 50X worse. But with no time to spare, the Sweat King just put what he had into the oven and hoped for the best.

Moving onto one of the trickiest elements with the beurre blanc, Laura was certain that she wouldn’t split her sauce as she makes it at her pasta bar all the time. Did you guys know Laura has a pasta bar? Just in case you forgot, Laura’s letting us know owns a pasta bar again.

Sadly this wasn’t the case for pasta bar-less Poh, who was struggling to catch up. Realising she was falling behind, the Queen of Chaos begun freaking out and started to add the butter too fast, cooking it at too high temperature and mixing it far too aggressively, which, of course, resulted in a split sauce.

This was also the case for Vegan Reece, who got zero screen time, but somehow managed to also split his butter sauce with only three minutes to go. As the pair continued to stressfully blitz their beurre blancs, everyone else started to fry their little perfect potato towers — except, of course, Callum, who’s piped potatoes were now looking like piles of dried out dog shit after they finished baking. Tough.

To make his cook even worse, despite making a perfect beurre blanc, Callum somehow managed to drop his container into a bucket of water. Taking a page out of Gordon Ramsay’s insult book, Callum described his new sauce tasting like “insipid bath water” but there was literally nothing he could do but accept defeat with mere minutes to go.

Presenting her perfect replica first, in a shock to no one, the judges sung praises about Emelia’s dish, calling it well-balanced and harmonic. The same was said about Pasta Lover Laura’s version, which Chef Phil claimed he’d be happy to serve at his own restaurant.

Up next, despite splitting his beurre blanc, the judges shared that enjoyed Vegan Reece’s potatoes and the flavour of his sauce. Also presenting her split sauce, Chaotic Poh regretfully brought up her take on Phil’s potato duchess. But unlike Reece, Jock felt that Poh’s dish was a “miss” and that, even worse than the splitting, the sauce was under-seasoned.

Saving the worst until last, Callum brought up his plate, which was essentially just mash and a few drops of bath water. Deciding to not even bother giving feedback, Andy just told Callum to write the cook off and prepare for round two. He knew it was coming but still, fucking ouch.

Obviously, Emelia and Laura were sent up to the gantry as Reece, Poh and Callum learned that they would have to use the same core ingredients from the first cook in round two. Armed with 75 minutes and the news that they only had to use at one of the three ingredients, the bottom three got stuck right into it.

Going for the potatoes, Vegan Reece decided to whip up a savoury dessert with a *checks notes* a potato stack?? with *checks notes again* potato cream?? and, thankfully, the more normal accompaniments of beetroot and raspberry granita, and a smoked chocolate ice cream. Opting for the mushies, Sweat King Callum basically settled on ramen, with a mushroom bonito broth, buckwheat noodles and a soy-cured egg yolk.

Meanwhile, deciding to do a redemption cook at easily the worst time ever, Poh threw it all the way back to her failed culurgiones — from the live audience challenge earlier in the season — paired with the beurre blanc she literally just fucked up. But after 30 minutes of cooking, Chaotic Poh started to um and ah over her choice, thinking she should’ve stuck to her strengths in Asian cooking with a Chinese mushroom dish instead.

Wasting mad time as she paced around her bench, Poh eventually decided to unconfidently stick with her Italian potatoes and butter sauce. But to make the dish more ~FiNe DiNinG~, Poh made her life even harder by choosing to make her dumplings two-tone, with one side green and one white.

Visiting Callum’s bench as Poh suffered through her crisis of choice, Chef Phil told the Sweat King that he’s a snob for buckwheat noodle textures, which is always exactly what you want to hear when you’re cooking buckwheat noodles! Also starting to prep her pasta dough, Andy decided to share the oh-so helpful advice that Poh should make sure she left herself enough time to get everything done. As if her plan was to fuck around for no reason! Just always so helpful, that.

With only 15 minutes to go, Reece realised that his chocolate ice cream was overpowering his hero ingredient — which literally anyone could’ve told him considering, you know, potatoes truly don’t even taste like anything. But instead of ditching it completely, Reece decided to re-work his ice cream ratio because he knew that the flavours went well together.

Then, with 12 minutes left, Chaotic Poh had a severe case of déjà vu when she realised that, just like in round one, she didn’t leave herself enough time to make her beurre blanc emulsion again. As the time dwindled down to two minutes, Poh made the executive decision to bin her emulsion and just whip up the world’s quickest (and shittest) burnt butter sauce in just 60 seconds.

Proving she still deserved her chaotic title, everyone just started at Poh as she ran around the kitchen trying to salvage a new dish. With some help from the MasterChef sound mixers and editors, Poh’s final 60 seconds begun to feel like a poignant death scene in a war movie, full of slow-mo shots and a score that sounded like it belonged to the Titanic sinking scene — which, tbh, is a pretty good summary of Poh’s journey this season.

Presenting his choc-potato creation first, Chef Phil thought that Reece’s dish was a lot prettier than he imagined it to be, which makes you think… what the fuck was he expecting? A whole potato on a Cadbury Marble block? Anyway, tasting the pretty dish, the judges thought it was an “interesting” plate of food with the taste of potato, surprisingly, managing to shine through everything else.

Taking in his noodles next, Callum was clearly safe from elimination as Chef Phil shared that he loved the mushroom taste, while  Andy called it a “near-perfect” plate of food. Sadly for Poh, Chef Phil absolutely tore into her culurgiones, saying that her confusion over which dish to cook was her demise. This feedback, paired with her lacklustre sauce and spots of raw pasta dough, made it clear that the Chaotic Queen’s time in the MasterChef kitchen was up.

So, in a very tearful and shocking goodbye, we said farewell to the heart and soul of MasterChef Australia with some kind words from Melissa and from human golden retriever and Poh’s 10-year-long friend, Callum. Some truly upsetting scenes.

On the next episode of MasterChef: Back To Win, the top five take part in nature-inspired cook for a spot in tomorrow’s immunity challenge.


MasterChef: Back To Win returns on 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