Tassie devils Jock, Melissa and Andy rug up for some oyster tasting.

MasterChef Recap: Raise Your Glasses For The True Fan Favorite Who Didn’t Make The Last Five

Six contestants battled all the way to Finals Week and as punishment for their hubris they are sent to Tasmania. This island was once the destination for the British Empire’s worst hardened criminals, but at least they didn’t have to cook oysters when they got there.

Tassie devils Jock, Melissa and Andy get ready for an oyster tasting. Photo: Delivered



On an icy deserted shore, the judges greet the final six and inform them that they’re there to reenact Series 6 of Vikings. But first, they must walk into the water and meet Giles, a local madman who has devoted his life to growing water snot. Giles teaches the chefs all about oysters, and they are fascinated to learn that oysters are actually extremely uninteresting. The contestants then have to take six oysters from the cages where Giles keeps them as slaves, and cook them.

Julie has immunity today, so she gets the greatest gift a cook can receive: not having to handle oysters. The other five must first present their six oysters, dressed as they please: smart casual, evening wear, bathing suit, whatever. They have half an hour to do this, and the worst three dishes go to round two, where they have 75 minutes to cook more oysters the way they want. The worst cook in round two will be sent home, which isn’t such a bad prospect considering they are currently in Tasmania.

MasterChef 2022 - the album, coming soon.

MasterChef 2022 – the album, coming soon. Photo: Delivered



The challenge takes place at Devil’s Corner Winery, named for the fact that Satan lives there. They have to cook in the open air which is terribly crunchy and invigorating and a bit silly because why would you? The five hopefuls immediately start doing whatever chefs do when they try to make oysters that are vaguely food-like.

Just seconds after the cook, anyone playing the MasterChef drinking game is forced to take a chance when Sarah mentions Indian flavors. Meanwhile, Keyma is shelling an oyster for the first time, and discovers how valuable the process is. As the only contestant willing to tell the truth – that oysters revolt – Keyma is at a disadvantage, as today’s challenge focuses heavily on lying to yourself and others. Everyone else, who goes along with the pretense that oysters are somehow good, are happy to get their brains out.

Half an hour goes pretty quickly, although it feels much longer as we get to hear Sarah talk about her growing confidence and classic French techniques, an experience that always results in massive time lag. But eventually the challenge is over and the judges risk their lives by tasting the oysters.

Billie has coated her oysters with chicken fat. They are disgusting and the judges love them. Daniel has coated his oysters in smoky soy sauce and coconut vinaigrette. They are downright nasty and the judges love them. Alvin has slathered his oysters with brown butter. They’re sickeningly horrific and the judges are like “um, whatever”. Sarah has dressed her oysters in pretentiousness. They’re totally horrible and the judges think they’re pretty nice in a way. Keyma has dressed her oysters… I don’t know, something yellow? They’re mean. The judges are confused. “Had the passion fruit been sharper and less bright, that would have given us a greener base,” says Melissa, proving she’s been out in the cold for too long and gone frantic.

Mel's right, you can never undo this.

Mel’s right, you can never undo this. Photo: Delivered



Finally, safe from round two, Dan and Sarah have Keyma, Billie, and Alvin celebrate oysters in a dish, a task akin to celebrating woodworm in a log cabin. Keyma opens with a soft-focus flashback, revealing that she was an engineer in Venezuela, but for the sake of her family gave up her job and made the ultimate sacrifice: touching oysters.

Billie is disappointed: She hoped to win in the first round, but not for the first time, her inability to be Sarah cost her dearly. She sets to work with an oyster custard, which is as horrifying a combination of words as anyone has ever heard.

“This is a very interesting cook,” says Andy, hoping to convince himself. Melissa asks the other judges what they would cook if they were in round two. Both Andy and Jock agree that they would do something with oysters. Melissa agrees that this would be smart.

Alvin makes an oyster omelet, which doesn’t sound as nightmarish as oyster custard, but comes close. “It’s so pedestrian-friendly yet tasty,” says Alvin, knowing that pedestrian food is always a crowd pleaser. Andy ramps up the pressure by telling Alvin that his dish is Melissa’s mother’s “death penalty”—the dish she’d cook if she had to execute a criminal with food. Can Alvin really kill his omelet?

Keyma is stressed, because she has never made her dish with oysters. “I have a heavy feeling in my stomach, and it’s not nice,” she says, suggesting she actually ate her oysters instead of cooking them. Meanwhile, the judges are deliberating again. “You know what’s great about this?” says Jock. ‘They’re oysters,’ he answers himself, summarizing things fairly neatly.

Alvin has prepared all of his elements perfectly and it feels pretty good. “I’m in a good place,” he says, forgetting he’s in Tasmania. Suddenly a disaster: his wok does not heat up properly. This is because they are cooking in a field in the Antarctic Circle, a location selected to test the participants’ ability to cope with an environment where no professional chef will ever actually have to work. Alvin may have picked the wrong dish to make in a freezer.

But at least he has the consolation that Keyma is also in a panic. The taste of oysters doesn’t come through strongly, which is of course a good thing, but she is still concerned. She starts to panic. Melissa comes up to her and grabs her wrists, which some might find comforting, I think. ‘You’re a woman,’ Melissa tells Keyma, and because she finds this impossible to contradict, Keyma sets to work.

“You’re on the straight!” Melissa exclaims with ten minutes to go: a line that lacks the pucky humor of earlier catchphrases like “You’re coming out of your shell” and “Why aren’t you all gutted?”

Meanwhile, Alvin turns out to have made some scrambled eggs. “It all melts into one big, messy mess,” he says. Fortunately, this is an oyster challenge, and oysters are naturally big, soggy mess. What better way to celebrate horrific gunk than by mixing it up in an even bigger pile of horrific gunk?

Billie is very happy with her job. She’s almost done and her oysters smell like smoke, which is definitely better than smelling like oysters. Also, unlike the other two, she hasn’t had a full-blown panic attack in the past hour, so she’s fine. She does admit that there is a risk of the custard being undercooked or overcooked, but since this is true of literally anything ever cooked anywhere, it probably isn’t worth worrying about.

The cook is over and it’s now time for the judges to pretend oysters are food again. They eat Billie’s custard, which she says is too firm. Jock thinks it’s fantastic. Billie’s oysters are a triumph, and everyone agrees that given the dish’s inherent repulsion, it’s great.

Next, Alvin. He bursts into tears when he admits that he’s always surprised when the judges like his food, because he’s been trying to poison them since episode one. They taste his oyster omelette. It is not good: the wok that is too cold has dealt a terrible blow.

Finally Keyma, oyster hater and therefore the only sensible person on the show. Her dish is an oyster pisca andina, which is Spanish for “I wish I didn’t have to put oysters in this”. She, too, bursts into tears when she thinks about her family and how much they hate oysters, and how much she misses being in an environment where there are no oysters. Melissa tells her that she is very happy to see Keyma crying. “There’s a lot going on in this dish,” Andy says. There’s then an ad break, after which Andy says, “A lot has gone into this dish.” The judges eat Keyma’s oysters and declare them awesome beyond their wildest dreams.

Sadly, this means the end of the road for Alvin, but at least he has the comfort of knowing that he was only eliminated after being forced to cook something that isn’t technically food. He also has the consolation of not having to stay in Tasmania, so overall it could really be a win for him.

Tune in to tomorrow, when hopefully we can all put behind us the memory of adults voluntarily ingesting invertebrate mucus.


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