There’s something about pregnant guest judges in the MasterChef kitchen bringing a sense of pure joy to a tense situation.
Returning to the place she took out last year’s Back to Win prize, pastry queen Emelia Jackson was a breath of fresh air in the competition on Wednesday, harking back to Katy Perry’s delightfully wacky display on the show.
Introducing herself to the new contestants, Jackson started by joking that she’d spent the last three months “vomiting her guts up”, before announcing she’s expecting.
“As reigning queen I thought it best I produce an heir,” she joked as she cradled her small bump.
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Going on to unveil the night’s mystery box, she described each item with several cheeky reminders of her 2020 MasterChef win.
“We’ve got some pistachios, paying homage to my finale dessert … which I won on,” she said to laughs from the contestants.
“Some Sichuan pepper because finale main … which I also won on,” she said again.
“And the quail was the very first mystery box I won in Back to Win,” she repeated, prompting judge Andy Allen to add: “Did anyone know Emelia won Back to Win?”
“Guys I won Back to Win,” she called out to the contestants.
Elsewhere, she and Melissa Leong were spotted dancing and chanting “disco” as the cook began, and at one point, she bent down and whispered “I miss you” to a countertop appliance.
“So you feel this type of crippling anxiety when you’re cooking at home?” she jokingly asked a contestant who had commented that they “felt like they were just cooking at home”.
When it came to judging the dishes, her feedback was constructive and friendly, but not without more reminders of her pastry prowess.
“It’s just a matter of finding a recipe that suits you … My one is on 10play,” she mock-whispered again to one contestant.
Another moment saw her shovel an eclair into her mouth before telling its creator Depinder: “My baby wants more.”
(We did say almost).
Elsewhere in the episode, Melissa dished out her second dose of harsh criticism of the season, telling self-proclaimed “hot mess” Trent: “You are super entertaining to watch, you have so much energy and I know you inspire everybody around you to cook really well and have a really great time … But, technique and focus is going to be the difference between being a punchline and being a player.
“If you want to be a player, it’s cute to be a hot mess for a minute but you have to be able to bring it. Tempering your chocolate, if you aim to temper it, temper it. If you can’t temper it, do something else.”
She added: “I know you can do this. I need you to back it up and show us why you deserve to be here.”
It comes after the beloved judge called out another contestant for not listening to feedback in the premiere episode, to praise from fans on social media.
MasterChef Australia continues tomorrow night at 7.30 on Channel 10.