Recap MasterChef: Tears and disbelief when a dosa bad luck packs a fan-favorite package

As the commercials have warned us, A FAVORITE is going HOME tonight. They obviously mean ‘favorite’ in the sense of ‘fans versus favorites’, so don’t worry too much: it will probably be one of the things you don’t like. Like that one. You know who I mean.

Tonight it’s an all-in elimination, with everyone but clever immunity winner Ali on the chopping block. It’s “time”, because in the episode it takes so long that you lose all sense of it. “Today is a long-distance race and unfortunately one of you won’t make it to the finish,” says Melissa, who doesn’t understand how races work.

The other participants say cheese. Photo: Delivered

In the first round, the teams have to cook in ten minutes to prove that that’s basically all you need to cook a dish and that all the fiddling they do with every other challenge is a total waste of time. The ten minute best dish creator saves their team from round two.

And they are off. After ten minutes, of which Keyma usually runs around the kitchen yelling about corn, the challenge is over and everyone has to put their terrible dishes on the table. The food served ranges from disgusting to almost edible, and in the end, the dish that the judges are most hyperbole about is Melanie’s, which has tofu in it, so you can be pretty sure the judges are lying.

So the fans are safe, which we knew because of the ad telling us a favorite was going home, so over half an hour into the episode we learned nothing. It’s now round two, which will take place in two days, and since the first round was a ten minute cook that lasted over twenty minutes, only god knows how long this is going to take.

The chefs have 45 minutes to prepare a dish that they let develop overnight — to marinate, rise, slow cook, or other swanky mess — before coming back in the morning with 60 minutes to finish it.

Michael has a pin but hopes he won’t have to use it, and to keep it safe, he knocked out his big flesh. Julie responds with her lamb shoulder. Minoli goes to marinate her pork belly instead of slow cooking it, until Jock tells her she can do both – which is unfair because Michael makes tacos, so if anyone is going to do any of both, it has to be him – and Minoli makes the surprising discovery that the MasterChef kitchen has slow cookers. A whole new world opens up to her: a world of sitting and waiting and taking far more time than the dish is worth.

Aldo makes an octopus, a risky move, as it is a notoriously impatient animal and could very well try to escape at night. As he describes the dish to Andy and Jock, Aldo collapses and cries, remembering a story from his past that is frankly far too depressing to sum up. Suffice it to say, after hearing about it, it’s going to seem horribly cruel if Aldo doesn’t win the entire competition.

Julie worries about the time her food has to stay warm, but she’s misunderstood: she has to cook the lamb on her own, she doesn’t have to coax it into brooding. Meanwhile, Sashi is fermenting his batter, which is not really allowed in this timeslot.

Letting their dishes settle and fester and mold grows everywhere, the cooks retreat for a restless night. Julie has nightmares in which she is chased by angry shoulderless lambs. Michael hallucinates that his pin is trying to kill him in his sleep. Sarah sleeps through without anything interesting happening.

In the morning, Julie checks her lamb and notices that it is very lame. She goes crazy with power and decides to make couscous. However, Michael’s chest is a bit tougher than he’d like, so he decides to tease it until it cries. Sashi is very happy and has his face covered because he has been involved in something terrible. The judges visit Mindy and strongly indicate that she has no chance. Mindy thanks them for their help. They go to Billie’s bank and are deeply impressed that she has made duck feet look like oysters, which was presumably intentional.

At Minoli’s couch, her experiment of marinating and slow cooking at the same time goes well, and she laughs maniacally as the lightning cracks overhead and the pork belly slowly rises from the plate and Minoli asks if she’s his mother.

Meanwhile, Aldo is still crying, oh god. Happier news: Michael’s chest is dry. I mean, not happier news for Michael, but compared to Aldo… at least Michael is playing his pin and continuing this season’s alarming trend of contestants doing intelligent things.

Time is ticking away as round two – which lasted two days but took up less screen time than round one, which was ten minutes – is coming to an end. Sashi is stressed by his dosas. “You got this, Sashi!” someone shouts from the balcony, possibly sarcastically. Sashi is in big trouble, a fact emphasized by Melissa pulling that face she does when she’s pretty sure something sad is going on. “I’m losing sight of my cook,” Sashi says, as his batter begins to sneak out the back door. But then, suddenly, everything is fine for some reason. Phew, that was a slightly tense 30 seconds.

The sands are running out. “I love the flavors of my Peking duck broth,” Mindy says, as if someone asked her. Up on the balcony, the agitators cheer Julie’s lamb. “I wish it was me, that lamb,” Matt says wistfully, in what could easily be classified as the most disturbing statement made by anyone this season. He seems to want Julie to cook it. An intervention may be requested.

The time is up. All that’s left is to taste the dishes and find out which is better: not taking enough time to cook a dish, or taking way too long.

Julie serves her Moroccan lamb shoulder. It’s damn amazing. “It’s like butter,” Jock incorrectly says: it’s actually very tasty lamb.

Aldo serves his octopus. He cries some more. Melissa does her face. The octopus is quite tasty assuming you like sea monsters.

Minoli serves her pork belly curry and some other stuff. “This is just so pork,” says Jock. “It’s so pork,” Melissa says. “So pork,” Andy says. They sit and think for a while about how pork it is.

Billie serves her duck leg confit. It is fine. Alvin serves his tofu and pork and eggs etc. It’s fine. Sarah serves her vindaloo with pork. Everyone has a short nap, but it’s fine.

Then Mindy steps in with her chicken and duck dumplings. Somehow she has found a way of not having enough time. Her broth is beautiful. Her dumplings have raw dough, a bad decision because few people like the taste of raw dough.

Sashi serves his fish curry and problematic dosas. “Does everyone think what I think?” asks Jock, and indeed: Sashi’s curry is worthless. He spent so much time trying to get his dosas coming out right that he forgot to make his curry taste like burnt garbage. It happens to the best of us.

To no one’s surprise except the rest of the contestants who didn’t see the judging, it comes down to a choice between Sashi and Mindy, or put another way, Sashi goes home and Mindy has to stand next to him for a bit to create tension . It’s a little sad, but not a big deal because he’s already won this show once, so no biggie.

“There will be a giant sashi-shaped hole in our hearts,” says Melissa, who thinks anyone who is eliminated will be immediately killed in the yard. And with that, Sashi returns to his restaurant to surprise thousands of diners with hopefully unburnt curries.

Tune in tomorrow, when the gang sets out to solve mysteries.

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