The final 12 is somewhat of a milestone in the MasterChef kitchen, and we will watch one form before our very eyes tonight. But to get a final twelve going from a final sixteen, four juniors will have to be sacrificed! Let the battle begin!
The kids all arrive at the kitchen where lambs are huddling around the MasterChef logo hedge. The kids pat them before entering the kitchen where Gary, George and Anna welcome them. They are asked to scream to the top of their lungs and Gary congratulates them for getting this far. He then says that to progress, there has to be eliminations and today is one of those days. We have a look at the scoreboard and are reminded that Chandler, Lily, Zac, Greta, Indigo, Alysha, Madi and Miraede are all safe.
That means they all get the day off cooking, and they are asked to go up to the balcony to watch. George tells them that today; the rest of the cooks will be fighting for their place on the show. He tells them that today, there will be two challenges. In the first challenge, two contestants will be saved with the final six going into battle number two where another two will be saved. The remaining four will be eliminated.
Gary tells them that The Perfect will be the first challenge for the day- making the perfect dish with the perfect presentation, flavours and cooking. Today, they will be cooking the perfect…curry! This makes the contestant’s eyes widen.
What type of curry? Well, any type they want and Anna tells them that it doesn’t have to be hot (as we know, George hates hot curry). With that, we are introduced to tonight’s special guest, Kumar Mahadevan (clarified!) but he is most commonly known as Kumar (and no, not THAT Kumar!).
He enters the kitchen and gives them some tips to begin with and use.
The kids will have 80 minutes and they start now! They are all off and running, bashing into each other and in the mess, we hear some dish ideas from the contestants. For time purposes, I’ll detail these when they are presented.
Harry has butter chicken and Kumar wants him to use a lot of honey. Italian Marcus is not too happy with having to do his ‘Kari Curry’, but it is his own dish, so he is confident. The judges are intrigued.
This is Steven’s first curry and he will be doing a fish curry. Kumar gives him some very vital tips that Steven did not know about and he is very happy.
Dee is doing a beef curry a la his grandpa, who grew up in India. Tom is doing a vegetarian curry and he is mostly worried about George eating it. They have 30 minutes to go and the judges are talking about Jack’s Massaman Curry and how watery it is.
Meanwhile, with only 10 minutes to go, Harry has just realised- he’s forgotten to put the cream and yoghurt into the mix!
After the break, we review this problem where Harry begins to scoop out the butter chicken (and taking some of the rice as well) and put it back into the wok to mix in the yoghurt and cream. Who knows how this will go down.
With two minutes to go, Gary goes to try some of Tom’s curry and he is blown away by the heat. Tom tries to cool it down a bit with coconut milk. Soon enough, his and everyone else’s time is up. Jack is happy with his dish tasting almost perfect according to him!
With that, tasting begins and first up is Jack and Marcus. Marcus has an Eggplant & Chicken Kari Curry and Gary calls it a beautiful curry, loving the texture and the cooking of the chicken. Jack has Massaman Chicken Curry and hey, Kumar loves it! He loves the sweet taste and calls it an ‘excellent curry’. Gary thinks he has nailed it.
Kieran and Steven are next up and Steven has his Golden Fish Curry for tasting first. They all seem impressed and Gary asks them to chat amongst themselves as the judges take another bite. Kumar praises it and George mops up some of the curry with bread and he gets a round of applause.
Can Kieran impress with his Duck and Lychee Curry? It looks very watery but I’ve heard this is what they are meant to be. Gary loves the look of it and the balance of flavour. He would have loved a bit of spice and George would have liked some rice.
Harry and Gracie are next with Gracie’s Lamb Rogan Josh to be tasted first. Anna praises the presentation but would have liked a little more sauce but Kumar says everything else is well balanced.
Harry has butter chicken which looks a little dry. Kumar says it is not overspiced but Gary doesn’t know if it is quite butter chicken.
Tom and Dee are next up with Dee’s Beef Curry first. Gary says his presentation is spot on and loves the delicate curry. He also loves the use of spices, calling it clever.
Tom has a Thai Red Pumpkin Curry which has a little extra chilli. George gets a bit sweaty just as Tom says his mouth is still burning after tasting it earlier. The kids chant as George has a mouthful. As we go to ads, his head nearly explodes!
He gives a bit of a cough before reaching for the water and the yoghurt. Gary, with amusement, shows everyone the sweat on his head. Despite the hotness, it was a wonderfully presented curry.
With that, tasting is over, and Gary announces that the two contestants safe due to the challenge are… Steven (who can’t read an autocue to save his life, but he’s a junior so he gets a pass) and… Jack.
They get some compliments before they head upstairs to join their fellow ‘safees’.
With that, it is time for the second challenge. George reminds them that two more will be safe after this. It will be…the pressure test!
Gary then introduces the brains for the invention test… Matt Moran! Yeah, they’re a bit short on guests.
He has a cloche with him nonetheless and when he reveals the dish below the lid, we head to an ad break. What is the dish? It is Mango Cheesecake with Mango Tapioca. Kieran doesn’t even know what Tapioca is and Harry is a bit nervous to be making ‘Matt’s cheesecake’.
Matt gives them some ‘pressure points’ before they are made to taste it. They are in dessert heaven but Dee and Harry try to provide some autocued comments.
They all then head to their bench where their recipe cards await. They have 80 minutes and their time begins. They already have their ingredients there for them and most of them are pureeing their mangoes to begin with, if not all of them.
Kieran is a bit nervous as he starts off very slow in a bid to make it perfect.
Harry is going well when Matt and George come over and give him some support. They head to Gracie where she is about to measure out some sugar. Matt asks her to save some of her Mango to make some cubes but she has already pureed BOTH her mangoes. She needs to pour some out for the gelatine to work. Because of this, Matt brings up the issue of the kids not reading their recipe cards properly.
She is not the only one to have done this with Tom also making the mango mistake.
30 minutes remain as the kids upstairs cheer the danger kids on! The judges go over to Marcus who seems very nervous. They offer him some advice and some compliments and he seems a whole lot more confident.
Gracie’s cheesecake is not setting properly and she fears that she won’t get her cheesecake onto her cheesecake based dish!
After the break, we see Gracie as she takes her cheesecakes out of the chill blaster unset. George points out the obvious that the cheesecakes won’t set and Tom is also having troubles.
Ten minutes remain and Dee and Marcus are getting cheers from above. Marcus finds out that his cheesecake has set after he removes the ring and Dee has the same luck. With two minutes to go, plating is well underway but it is now time for perfecto Kieran to plate up his cheesecake. Will it fall apart? No; and neither does Harry’s. Haha, I love this climax of cheesecake reveals.
With that, time is up and tasting begins with Harry’s rendition of Matt’s cheesecake. He is very happy with how the dish turned out and he hopes it saves him.
They cut it up and Gary proclaims that ‘THAT, is a cheesecake!’.
Matt starts by saying that he has ‘reproduced his cheesecake’, saying he nailed it. Anna calls his attempt ‘stunning’.
Tom is next and his cheesecake didn’t set. He has put it in a glass which actually looks really clever. Can the taste prevail? Well, Gary calls it ‘bowl and spoon licking pleasure’ but it isn’t a cheesecake.
Dee is next and George calls it spectacular as soon as he places the dish on the table. The judges taste and Gary calls the texture ‘soft’ and says it is delicious. Matt says it needed to be a bit firmer.
Next is Gracie whose cheesecake is also in a cup but looks more rounded and fuller. Can she win? Despite being in a cup, Gary says it is well set.
Matt still thinks it is more like a mousse but thinks it is the best they have tasted. Kieran’s cake is next and it looks the most round and most perfect (so, it all paid off) of the lot. Matt says it looks like the one he produced himself and as they taste, their faces light up with Matt saying it is a ‘true’ cheesecake. He is super impressed, as is George and the rest of them.
Gary has a big problem with it however- it is better than Matt’s.
Last up is Marcus and his cake also looks very nice with the attention to detail.
Again, this cake is praised by all. This is going to come down to the wire according to Matt.
In the kitchen, the judges gather the contestants for the results. Anna debriefs on the challenge before reminding them that four will be going home.
Matt calls forward as the first person through to the final twelve…Kieran. No surprises.
The second is… Harry and therefore Gracie, Tom, Dee and Marcus will all be going home. Poor them.
They all receive some prizes and a trophy each before they all leave.
With that, the twelve gather before the judges who wonder what is coming next. The contestants are full of questions as the judges tell them it is a big secret. They let Jack into it and he is over the moon to hear it but before telling the kids, he is more preoccupied in high fiving the judges. He then turns around excitedly and tells them that they are all going to America!
With that, the contestants jump up, run around and scream in 100% pure excitement and unbelief.
So that ending was pretty well shot and so was the rest of the episode with some great dishes and some very wonderful ideas. I love curry and cheesecake so this was a perfect episode. But looking back, I can see how someone who would look closely at the preview may pick up who was eliminated because they did air the scene with the screaming exciting kids; so that offered something in the way of a spoiler.
There was a bit of repetition and the use of one of Matt’s dishes, despite him being a well known chef, was a bit lame.
Courtney’s Verdict: 9.7/10