Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The MasterChef opening montage has arrived. Which means, now we have something to dance to as we go and fetch the wine.
Our top 24 contestants are welcomed to the MasterChef kitchen with a mystery box challenge, selected by Back to Win champion, Emelia Jackson.
The contestants have 75 minutes to create a dish that features at least one of the ingredients, which include barramundi, quail, cherries, saltbush, dark chocolate, potatoes, pistachios, silverbeet and Sichuan pepper.
“I don’t think I gave them a very easy box,” Emelia says.
“I want them to suffer as I have suffered,” is what she is thinking.
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The prize? One of three immunity pins. No longer just a piece of memorabilia to flog on eBay later, this time around the pin has real power — and not just for stabbing people in the eye.
For the first time, contestants will be able to use the pin at any time during an elimination cook.
Coming from the country’s barra capital, Minoli uses her advantage to create crispy little barra bites with pickled cherries.
“You’re definitely in the mix for it,” says Andy, even though she definitely isn’t.
Kishwar announces that she is going to cook the kind of “comforting, homestyle, simple food” that she cooks at home.
For most people that means a box of Old El Paso, not an exquisite barramundi with scalloped potatoes, silverbeet noodles and a quail broth.
Apparently, she’s not feeling like the dish is fancy enough to be there and it reminds me of the time I bought cocktail frankfurts to a picnic and nobody ate them. I think we all know what that feels like.
Someone who is definitely not doubting themselves is Tommy, who is extremely confident in his bowl of handmade noodles with crispy barramundi and saltbush, which looks great by the way.
Self-proclaimed hot mess Trent has decided to go all out with a Black Forest dessert, made from a tempered chocolate log, pistachio diplomat cream, macerated cherries, cherry coulis, saltbush ganache and chocolate crumb, none of which actually ends up on the plate.
Instead of the magical, whimsical Bavarian forest, we end up with the kind of creepy state forest where people like to dump bodies.
Is it possible that Trent was supposed to be on Nailed It, and just walked on to the wrong set?
Melissa doesn’t let him off easy.
“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. If you’re tempering chocolate, temper it. If you can’t temper it, do something else. I need you to back it up and show us why you want to be here.”
But not it’s not a disaster for everyone.
Three perfect dishes are awarded pins.
Therese gets her golden badge for a stacked pistachio sable, with chocolate Sichuan pepper ice cream and jaconde (which is my new baby name, by the way), Elise earns another for her roasted quail with smoked ricotta, and the third goes to Wynona for her toasted pistachio ice cream with cherry granita and saltbush tuille.
The pin also guarantees immunity for tonight’s elimination round, where one contestant will suffer the ultimate indignity of going home on the first night.
Erina Starkey is restaurant and news editor for delicious.com.au and will be recapping all the action from the MasterChef kitchen