Phew, that was one hell of an elimination last night, wasn’t it? Tonight, we should just be able to relax and enjoy a bit of fun, light hearted cooking from the top six! Well, maybe for one of them this night will be a little special- as they are granted a position fit for a finalist… and for two it will in fact mean, ANOTHER ELIMINATION!
The kids arrive at the kitchen knowing they are in the top six. Their excitement is pumped up when they come out to see a conveyor belt hooked to a massive mystery box. As they gather at their benches, George ignores the elephant in the room and invites them warmingly into the top six. And now to business.
Matt tells them that there is no need for a scoreboard (happy for Harry, not so happy for Greta) and tells them that at days end, one of them will be into the grand final. However, two of them will be going home!
Anna asks them what their next challenge is, and it is obviously a ‘mystery box’ challenge; but Anna introduces it as the Mystery Box Conveyor Belt Challenge. Matt tells them that as usual, they will have 50 minutes to prepare a dish and tells them, 30 ingredients will come down the conveyor belt for their use.
George explains that the maximum amount of items they can take off the conveyor is 5. Matt tells them that picking ingredients early gives them longer to cook but their wanted ingredients may not arrive until later. George tells them the prize is a ‘massive advantage’ going into the next challenge.
With that, their 50 minutes and the conveyor belt begins with the first few ingredients being potatoes, garlic (a favourite for everybody but Zac), Cannellini Beans, Mushrooms, Parsley, Okra, Lebanese Cucumbers, Chicken, Tofu (Greta wants this), lamb (Alysha’s choice), cherry tomatoes (most people take this), prawns, George’s luggage (wait, what?), Brussels sprouts, Pak Choy (and at this point, Zac has nothing to cook with) and chilli (and if they want to spike George, get them! Harry sure does). Matt goes to Indigo who is making a puree for her dish. She is excited for the top six.
Back to the conveyor and Zac is still waiting for something. Protein would be ideal but the next thing to come out is Pigs Ears. Eww. To Alysha and George finds out she is doing some nice lamb chops just over well done. George hopes the lamb isn’t chewy and tough but says it smells wonderful.
The conveyor belt spits out salmon which Zac (along with Greta and Jack) grabs and begins to cook it (maybe a bit too early). Ciabatta bread comes out with no takers (of course, without Kumar in the kitchen, there probably wouldn’t have been) and baby carrots with asparagus. Pancetta is next and Zac is still waiting for a herb. The next thing to come out is basil which is the last thing to come out of the conveyor. They all have 20 minutes left.
George goes to Zac and tells him his fish is overcooked (and it hasn’t even gone in the oven!).
After the break, the heat is on with ten minutes to go. Zac has another piece of salmon to use and George walks him through the steps to cook it perfectly.
Anna goes to Harry and his prawn puree sauce thingy does have enough chilli for George.
Greta is working on her marinade for her salmon. She pours it on the salmon and chucks it in the oven. Anna comes over and is happy with her idea.
Zac is working on his salmon but with five minutes to go, there’s not too much time to oven it. Harry is a bit so, so with his sauce, but hopes the judges don’t pick up on it.
With 30 seconds to go, Greta takes her salmon out, hoping it is cooked and soon enough, time is up anywhere.
Alysha has forgotten her Pak Choy which annoys her, but it is tasting time.
Indigo and Zac are first up with Zac’s Crispy Skin Salmon dish. Is it overcooked? No. George calls it spot on. Matt echoes these compliments but tells him he could have added some acidity or something.
Indigo has a ‘Lamb Spring Garden’ for them to taste and George loved how she cooked it in her own way but says the lamb may be a bit overcooked.
Alysha and Jack are next with Alysha’s Sweet Lamb Cutlets and tells them that the Lamb is well done. No question about that. Anna loves the plating up but says it is a shame the Pak Choy isn’t there. Anna says the mushroom was undercooked.
Zac has Pan Fired Salmon and Pak Choy. Anna thinks he has put together some great ingredients but thinks the presentation could be better.
Last are Greta and Harry and Greta’s Salmon on Pak Choy but she thinks she has undercooked the salmon.
After the break, the judges taste and in pure Greta-form, it is cooked beautifully. The judges taste and Matt loves the sauce and describes it nicely with some nice piano music in the background. He gives her a few tips for her asparagus.
Chilli, Garlic & Soy Prawns are on Harry’s menu and to finish off the judging, Matt calls the dish perfectly cooked and compliments most of the dressing. Matt then condemns his other garlic sauce which is a source of laughter.
With that, it is time for the results. George tells them that the winner is…Greta. So what is her advantage? Now, onto the next HUGE challenge and a one last stop for one finalist and two eliminees.
Anna tells them that the challenge is an invention test! The theme for this invention test is… Thai Food. Anna gives them a few tips and they then have 50 minutes to work, except Greta, who will be given 5 extra minutes and gets to choose the core ingredient everyone has to use in this dish. Off to the pantry she goes.
The ingredients to choose from are prawns, duck and snapper. She doesn’t like the snapper determined by her reactions.
Out in the kitchen, she reveals her choice to be… (well, we find out after an ad break, but judging by Jack’s cutaway, it’s gonna be Duck) Duck! Yes, Jack is not impressed.
Matt gives them some tips and pointers before their five minutes in the pantry begins. Greta will then go to the bench for her five minutes before the others go for their 50 minutes. Off they go.
People are running everywhere and as usual, I will detail the dishes later on.
When they are all done, Greta’s time begins and she drops a lime; wasting a bit of time. She will be doing roasted duck if I hear correctly. Alysha is nervous watching Greta get a start on her dish. Soon enough; they are down to 50 minutes and they rush to their benches.
Alysha is happy with duck and George heads to her bench to find her cooking a Thai Duck and Coconut Curry. She has a lot of spices and herbs in there which George loves. He is amazed she is doing all this at her age.
Matt goes to Harry who is doing Crispy Skin Duck Breast with a salad and Matt calls his cooking style ‘smart’. He thinks he can win the challenge if he gets everything on his plate.
Anna heads to Indigo who is doing a marinated Duck salad and she is hoping for fresh flavours. It’s all sweets and smiles right now but there’s still 30 minutes to go, anything could happen. The judges speak about the challenge and they seem to love Alysha’s curry and the smell coming from it. George thinks his will be Alysha’s winning challenge.
Matt confirms Harry wants this to be the challenge he wants to win.
Harry found a bug in his mint and needs to wash it! Greta still thinks this guy will be tough competition.
After the break, Anna goes to Zac’s bench who is doing a smoked duck and Anna encourages him to the finale.
With ten minutes to go, Zac’s duck isn’t cooking and George gets him to fry it or his duck will be raw.
Cooking is coming to a close as plating begins in the final five minutes. Zac cuts into his duck and it is raw so he cuts it up even more and puts it back on the pan. He doesn’t have much time- only 10 seconds remain! Ooh, the pressure. Sure enough, time is up! For two people, it’ll be the last time.
Greta and Harry are first for cooking. Greta has a very dirty apron. Harry has Crispy Skin Duck and Herb Salad. The judges think it looks good and George calls his dish like ‘Santa’s Sack’ and Matt calls him confident and tells him to make Greta nervous.
Greta has Duck Laab which looks interesting and Matt says she keeps surprising them! He calls her dish, restaurant quality. Next is Jack and his Pan-Fried Duck but with little confidence going into the challenge, can he come out of it all guns blazing. They seem to love his sauce with Anna calling it a beautiful dish, finding it astonishing he has never tried duck.
Alysha is next with her curry and George calls her the curry queen. Matt loves the duck but thinks the curry needs a bit more texture.
Last two are Zac and Indigo and it is make or break for Zac. He has Tea-Smoked Duck but it wasn’t smooth sailing.
Matt tells him it is perfectly cooked and a lovely piano background begins as he gets top accolades for his duck and his top save.
Indigo is happy with her Thai Marinated Duck Salad dish. Anna calls the salad vibrant but says the duck is a bit overcooked.
Now to the all important result of the year (minus the actual winner result). The chef through to the finale is… Greta. Yeah, I should be on The One…a bit predictable.
So, she is through to the 2011 Junior MasterChef finale. Only three of them will be battling it out for the second position tomorrow. These contestants will be… Zac…Jack…and…Harry. Aww, Harry was so happy, but I feel that sometimes they make too big a joke of him. Still, he has consistency.
And with that, Indigo and Alysha will be heading home.
We see their back story and their best bits before they exit the kitchen for the final time.
A very good yet possibly too predictable final six episode there and all these eliminations are really building up the suspense for that grand final on Wednesday. For some reason, I felt the elimination was handled better tonight and I do think everything was deserved.
Courtney’s Verdict: 9.2 (yes, again!)/10