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‘MasterChef Australia’ Recap: They Straight Up Forgot To Feed 12 People

MasterChef Australia Season 11

MasterChef Australia just served up a great big helping of schadenfreude.

In last night’s episode, the remaining contestants gather at Margaret River’s Leeuwin Estate Safari Club to cook a three-course menu that “celebrates the forest”. 

Using ingredients such as purple tomatillos, which are apparently different from tomatoes, and foraged native ingredients they don’t actually forage themselves, the two teams must each serve 25 people. 

With Nicole having already won a place in Finals Week, Tessa, Prince Harry and Anushka make up Yellow Team while Christina, Simon and Larissa are the Green Team. Both teams have two and a half hours before the first course must go out.

It turns out that a lot can go wrong in two and a half hours.

MasterChef Australia Season 11

Even without the absolutely colossal screw up during service, this episode of MasterChef Australia is packed. 

First, both teams decide to cook pan-seared scallops for their entrees and lamb with pumpkin for their mains, ensuring the judging will be even more scrutinising than usual. 

George questions both Yellow Team’s Tessa and Green Team’s Christina on their choices, as scallops need a lot of attention and can easily overcook. However, both blondes are confident they can do it as long as their teammates pitch in and they manage their time.

Of course, time management is the undying poltergeist that haunts MasterChef. Civilisations fall while Christina peels a small mountain of Jerusalem artichokes for her puree, and Gary swings by to do the MasterChef judge routine of making mild observations that are really criticisms. “Interesting you’re peeling those.”

Apparently, the skins are delicious once roasted, which Christina didn’t know because she’s never worked with Jerusalem artichokes before. She abandons her peeling, but the loss of time means she doesn’t do a tester plate.

MasterChef Australia Season 11

Meanwhile, Prince Harry seems determined to bury the Yellow Team under an avalanche of ingredients. He’s become enamoured with all the ingredients in the pantry, and is putting every single one in his dish. Gary and Dan strongly suggest he simplify it, but HRH “can’t bring [himself]” to drop any, like a dude who insists he loves all his secret girlfriends.

Finally, on Green Team, Larissa’s attempt to smoke her ice cream with paperbark produces only the subtlest whisper of smokiness. She smokes it again with regular hickory smoke and a smoking gun, but the failure meant even more of Green Team’s time was wasted.

But you’re not here for all that. You’re here to find out how three MasterChef contestants could just straight up forget to serve 12 people.

The warning signs come fairly early. With 40 minutes to go, Green Team’s Simon notes that they’re in danger of falling behind if they don’t pick it up. Unfortunately, they do not — or at least not enough.

With five minutes until service, Yellow Team are plating up while Green Team hasn’t even set up their pass. They are absolutely not ready and very much freaking out, scrambling to get their scallop entree cooked. 

“Green Team, where are your plates?” yells George, as though they don’t know they’re screwed. They eventually get the dishes out, but they’re running behind.

MasterChef Australia Season 11

Yellow Team’s entree of scallops with cauliflower puree, romanesco, chestnuts and watercress oil looks lovely, and the watercress oil they added after seeing their tester plate has made all the difference. Only having two scallops instead of three is a bit of a letdown, and the judges are ambivalent about the chestnuts, but overall it’s delicious.

In comparison, Green Team’s late scallops with Jerusalem artichoke puree and crispy saltbush isn’t really worth the wait. It needs more acidity and it isn’t salty enough even with the saltbush. There are three scallops though, and the puree is lovely, so there’s that. Plus, everyone gets a plate.

Yellow Team’s main of lamb backstrap with pumpkin, mushrooms, Warrigal greens and jujube red wine reduction helps keep Green Team in the running. Prince Harry’s dish is predictably discordant, with just too much going on. Further, while the lamb is beautifully cooked, the reduction is not quite reduced enough.

While Green Team’s lamb with pumpkin and chilli tomatillo jam may be a little late, it is comparatively simple and delicious. It needs more black barley, but the lamb is cooked and seasoned well.

MasterChef Australia Season 11

It’s when the teams move on to dessert that everything falls apart.

Green Team is relieved to have finally caught up, and have turned their collective focus to Larissa’s dessert. For one bright, shining moment, it looks as though things might be OK. Then, like an apocalyptic horseman, Gary enters the kitchen. “How we going? Are you on dessert already? 

“How many main courses did you serve?”

Green Team freezes. “We had 30 plates, didn’t we?” asks Christina.

“I dunno, who counted the plates? ‘Cause apparently there are 12 customers missing meals.” 

That’s right. Green Team neglected to feed nearly half of its customers, and somehow failed to notice. Christina finds the empty plates still warming in the oven, which I have discovered is a thing you should only do if you’re 100 percent certain your plates are oven-proof.

“Oh, you’re joking. Seriously?” says Larissa as the earth opens up and they tumble into Hell. Simon, who was in charge of the mains, is mortified, and going through a massive face journey.

MasterChef Australia Season 11

Still, it’s Larrisa who steps up to apologise to their neglected diners, while Green Team abandons dessert to quickly come up with something, anything, to feed them. Leaving people hungry is an unthinkable MasterChef sin, on par with raw chicken, and it cannot be allowed to stand.

Green Team’s makeshift dish of leftover lamb and chutney with pan-fried kale and cauliflower is a far cry from what they had intended, but at least everyone is fed.

MasterChef Australia Season 11

The judges love Yellow Team’s dessert, called “Forest Floor”. It looks great, has lovely textures, isn’t overly sweet and actually captures the forest, which everyone but Anushka seems to have forgotten they’re meant to be doing.

Sadly, Green Team is almost half an hour behind by the time their wattleseed milk cookie with smoked chocolate ice cream and lilly pilly syrup comes out. It isn’t helped by the fact that Larissa overfilled the ice cream churners, slowing down the freezing and prompting her to scoop some of the mixture into the blast chiller. 

“If I can pull this dish off we might be in with a chance,” says Larissa, because sometimes you just need to find a reason to go on. 

MasterChef Australia Season 11

Unfortunately, she cannot. Though the ice cream is set, the smokiness isn’t nice, the dish is too sweet, and the cookie is overcooked. “There are elements on there that I really enjoy, just not really together,” says Leeuwin Estate Safari Club’s head chef Dan Gedge.

By the time service ends, Green Team is deliriously depressed. “I hate my life,” mock sobs Simon as Yellow Team watch sympathetically from the sidelines.

After that trainwreck, it no surprise that Yellow Team wins easily, sending Tessa, Anushka and Prince Harry to join Nicole in Finals Week. Christina and Simon will face off for the last spot, because there is absolutely no chance that Larissa will not use her Immunity Pin.

MasterChef Australia Season 11 MasterChef Australia Season 11

Amanda Yeo is a Sydney-based writer, lawyer and MasterChef enthusiast who still thinks Reynold should have gotten an immunity pin for his 30/30 dessert in season seven. Follow her on Twitter: @amandamyeo.