Culture

‘MasterChef Australia’ Recap: Gifts From Gordon Ramsay, Bay Leaf Overload And Choux, Again

"Reynold is so confused. The dessert Emelia put up was what he used to make back in high school for an after school snack."

masterchef recap gordon ramsay finals

With only four contestants left in the MasterChef kitchen, it was only fitting that week one guest chef, Gordon Ramsay, made another appearance to close out the season.

But because of cheeky COVID-19 restrictions, our Cranky King couldn’t be there in person. So instead, Ramsay sent down his own British-packed Mystery Box and a video message to match, which just ended up looking like one giant add for Evian water.

Ramsay ended up gifting the contestants ingredients from ~his own fridge~ which included bream fish, hand-dived scallops, Cornish rhubarb, hand-picked strawberries, mortadella cheese, Branson pickle, cabbage, paprika and a bottle of Pimm’s.

Along with his random fridge tour, Ramsay also featured his tiny son and a message of good wishes, which was all oddly far too wholesome for the man, who literally yelled at Fedora Chris for cutting meat the wrong way at the start of the competition.

Anyway, throwing it back to the regular judges, the boys explained that the top four would have 75 minutes to cook their sweet or savoury dishes. Having to use at least one ingredient from their Mystery Box, the cooks were also given their regular pantry staples and one extra ingredient of choice from the garden. So generous!

Surprisingly, Reynold decided to shy away from dessert and instead went for a chawanmushi aka savoury Japanese custard served with bream fillets, seared scallops, buttered cabbage, smoked paprika oil and a French beurre blanc (RIP, to our chaotic queen Poh). Choosing spring onions as his extra garden ingredient to act as the base for his fish stock, the Dessert King Savoury God was just aiming to beat his standing in his original season, which was fourth place.

Also going for savoury, Laura grabbed some garden broccoli for a dish of fish and brassicas, whatever the hell that is. Describing her dish a little more, Laura shared that she’d be creating salted cabbage, pickled and braised broccoli stems, roasted fish broth, fish head oil and grilled fish, which all sure did sound like… a choice.

Meanwhile, sticking to what she knows best and never really doing much else if we’re honest, Emelia decided to do yet another version of choux pastry. Stating that she was “pulling out the big guns”, Emelia decided to change her choux technique by using a ~different mould~ and by ~compressing her dough~, which isn’t really that big a change, but sure.

Pairing her same old pastry in a fancy new shape with some whipped cream, strawberry gum sorbet and rhubarb, the choux lover was certain that she could bag the win with her simple and boring classic flavours. As expected, Bench Demon duo, Andy and Jock, decided to approach Emelia to do nothing more than remind her that she fucked up her choux pastry during one challenge, deciding to totally ignore all the other times she aced it — which is pretty much how mid-cook commentary has gone over the last few weeks, tbh.

Proving that he had learned nothing from yesterday’s cook where he did absolutely far too much, Callum also settled on a dessert with his extra garden item of bay leaf for a bay leaf ice cream, bay leaf and rhubarb granita, rhubarb and paprika meringue, strawberry and Pimm’s consomme and strawberry jam mousse.

Coming over to Callum’s bench, Andy and Jock looked visibly horrified at the Sweat King’s weird flavour combinations and massive number of elements, and so decided to taste everything mid-cook. Talking in riddles, Andy said that “It’s definitely something I’ve never had before… all of it”, which, understandably, just confused the shit out of Callum.

However, like the king he is, Callum decided to back himself and stick with his dish to show the judges not only techniques he’s not done before, but also flavours they’ve yet to encounter. In fact he was determined to have either “the best dish or the worst dish” but just didn’t want to fall in the middle, which is pretty damn admirable for the top four stage of the competition.

With 30 minutes to go, Melissa decided to take a page out of the boys’ book and visit Laura’s bench, just to question whether fish and veg was enough to get her through to the semi-final. And, I mean, of course it is? Y’all literally let her slide yesterday with boring ass lamb and peas, so what harm can a bit of simple fish and veg do at this point?

Anyway, dropping down to 15 minutes, Emelia pulled her compressed choux out of the oven and despite all the dramatic music playing in the background, it was, as we all suspected it to be, perfectly fine. She’s a pastry chef for God’s sake. Of course the choux pastry that she’s spent years perfecting was going to be, well, perfect.

Moving onto assembling her dish, Emelia started to hollow out her pastry and fill it up with all her miscellaneous creams and gels, which seemed to wildly excite Jock and the sound mixers, who basically played uplifting gospel music for her entire segment. Which was a clear sign of what was to come.

Also preparing the finishing touches on his Japanese and French fusion dish, Reynold begun to sear his scallops to place on top of his chawanmushi. With just five minutes to go, Laura also started to torch the skin on her bream and slapped her fish onto the hibachi. Thank God she did — we had gone a few cooks without Back To Win’s honorary 25th contestant, and I was starting to get worried that the hibachi had been retired for good.

Tasting Reynold’s savoury custard first, the judges cleared their plates, which is always a good sign. Andy shared that he loved the dish, and thought it was creative and full of umami flavours and Melissa thought it was subtle and restrained, but still packed a punch with flavours.

Switching over to sweet, the judges dipped into Callum’s bonkers bay leaf creation, with Jock and Andy death staring the bowl like the dish had just shot them in the arm.

After actually tasting all the elements together, Jock shared that he liked where the dish was going, but that the bay leaf flavour was far too strong. Andy also “applauded” Callum for his dish, but felt that the flavours were just too conflicting, while Mel commented that the presentation was beautiful and commended Callum for stepping outside the box.

Going for Laura’s dish next, Melissa shared that the fish dish had a whole lot of complexity and benefitted from all the broccoli textures. Of course, Andy and Jock also shared the same sentiment, but Jock added that a splash of lemon could’ve elevated her dish to perfection.

Saving Emelia’s safe and boring dish choux pastry for last, the judges absolutely frothed over her dessert. With Jock calling the choux pastry “extraordinary” and Melissa describing the dish as “perfect”, it was very clear that Emelia had won the challenge. Which was all a bit strange considering it was literally just like every other choux she had made before, just chucked into a tart tin. But hey, guess that’s why I’m not a MasterChef judge.

On the next episode of MasterChef: Back To Win, the bottom three compete in a two-round “ordinary” and “extraordinary” pantry elimination cook.


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