Now that the top ten has been decided and the inadequate have been publicly humiliated and banished from our lives forever, we can breathe more easily, knowing that from now on we’re only going to be watching people who can actually cook, rather than the kind of hapless rabble that isn’t in the top ten – eg Simon.
Today is the Twin Challenge, in which each contestant must give birth to and raise to adulthood a pair of twins. Before that, though, they have to do this stupid thing where they pair off and cook identical dishes while being separated by a wall. This means they have to yell at each other to find out what their partner is doing. This is an important challenge because it’s something that happens a lot in the food industry so they have to learn how to do it.
And before THAT they have to answer the judges’ questions about “what it means to be top ten”. Laura responds that it means even more opportunities to benefit from nepotism. Poh responds that it means she won’t be giving an actual answer to the question.
The cooks pick cloches to get their partners and their “hero ingredients”. Reece gets corn and Poh, meaning he will be subjected to 75 minutes of intense psychological torture as Poh gets increasingly bored with the competition. Brendan gets celeriac and Sarah, who is going to have to strain to hear her partner, who has never shouted in his life. Khanh gets peas and Laura and celebrates because he knows he can’t lose now. Tessa gets sweet potato and Reynold and there’s going to be a really foul dessert turning up here. Emelia gets fennel and Callum which seems extremely apt.
Khanh and Laura immediately decide that Laura should be the head chef, as it’s the head chef’s job to suck up to Jock. Callum announces that Emelia and he are being quite strategic, inasmuch as they are sprinkling arsenic on the other team’s benchtops.
Meanwhile the judges do some awkwardness. Melissa asks Andy and Jock what they’d make if they had to team up and cook with peas. Andy and Jock stare blankly at each other for a length of time that a decent editor would’ve cut down.
“I’m feeling really good about this,” says Poh, the sweet tang of her lies dancing upon her hellbound tongue. “I’m completely confident in Reece,” she adds, as on the other side of the wall Reece undergoes a slow nervous breakdown.
Emelia is finding it difficult being shorter than Callum, a cruel trick for Masterchef and God to play on them. Callum explains that when “heroing” fennel, the biggest challenge is completely eliminating the revolting taste of fennel.
Reynold and Tessa can’t hear each other either. Also, they don’t like each other. The first thing they do is bake their sweet potatoes in the microwave, which doesn’t seem quite right. “Microwaving a sweet potato” is not the kind of thing you expect to see on Masterchef. Feels more like a Ready Steady Cook kind of vibe. Tessa decides to let Reynold take the lead due to his greater knowledge of how to make food taste good.
Reece’s popcorn is nearly done. He takes the lid off his saucepan and the popcorn tries to escape. Having given the popcorn a taste of freedom, he sadistically clamps the lid back down and denies its greatest wish. Poh asks him how far he wants to take the butter. Reece says what. Poh says she thinks the butter should be taken far. Reece says he’ll take the butter as far as it can go. Poh agrees, and then burns her butter. Reece has his butter in his ice-cream, but Poh can’t put her butter in her ice-cream because she’s ruined it. There’s only one option: a suicide pact.
Brendan orders Sarah to add a cinnamon stick. Sarah knows that what she’s doing is against nature and God, but Brendan’s psychological grip is complete. Meanwhile, Emelia tells Callum that she’s putting three fennel tops in her granita, and Callum just accepts that as if it’s normal. A heart-rending scene follows:
EMELIA: Callum? Callum?
EMELIA: Is that you?
Can anyone recover from this?
Melissa asks Laura how she’s communicating to Khanh. Laura explains that she has emailed Khanh a La Porchetta takeaway menu so that he knows where she’s coming from, food philosophy-wise.
Tessa has a headache, ironically enough. She describes her dish. “It’s vegetarian,” she admits, filled with shame as she should be. She tells Reynold what she’s done so far. Reynold finds her actions distasteful in the extreme. Tessa wants to make a basil and caper emulsion and hesitantly informs Reynold that she’s utterly given up on life. Reynold is right fed up with her bullshit.
Sarah explains that celeriac is the root part of a celery, which I genuinely never knew before. How about that? Masterchef taught me something! That hasn’t happened for years: not since Billie taught us about the human skeleton. Brendan utters the immortal words, “It’s really important to hero the celeriac”, and feels dirty as soon as he’s said it. Jock drops by to ask what the hell they’re doing. Sarah says she’s making a pancake. “Is the celeriac the hero?” he asks. Sarah says yes. “It sounds like the pancake’s the hero,” says Jock, like a total douche. “How about you just fuck off and see what it’s like when it’s finished, dickwad?” says Sarah, inside her head. Out loud she just sort of smiles and agrees that Jock is right about everything.
Andy and Jock meet to compare tart shells and kiss each on the lips. “Imagine if we swapped!” says Andy, giggling like an extremely easily-amused hyena. Melissa is calling Andy and Jock “my very own twins”, and it’s…it’s not wholesome. Jock tells Melissa that he’s afraid of Reece doing a Poh because Poh is currently doing a Poh. Poh’s not worried, though: dragging innocents down with her is why she got into this game.
It comes to my attention now that Callum calls Emelia “Meals”. This is short for “Emelia”, but it seems like a problematic nickname to be using in the context of a kitchen scenario where clear communication is crucial.
Meanwhile, Brendan flips his pancake and Sarah flips her pancake and everyone’s just so goddamn happy they could burst. Less happy is Reynold, who has found that no matter how hard he tries, Tessa is still his partner. “I’m just basting my sweet potato with the butter,” Tessa tells him. Reynold can barely believe her barefaced stupidity. She hasn’t been frying off her sweet potato. It’s like she’s deliberately trying to ruin Reynold’s life, but that can’t be so: she’s not Poh. Reynold orders her to fry the sweet potato until it’s just a little bit golden. Tessa begins to weep for her lost potential.
Andy stands on the balcony and screams inanities at them as per his contract.
Callum tells Emelia to be louder. “No one needs this voice this loud on TV!” she calls, which is untrue as she has a lovely voice I think.
“You’re back to win and now you’re back to back!” Melissa screams, simultaneously making a mental note to sack her writers.
Tessa has no idea what she’s doing because Reynold won’t tell her, believing that she will never develop resilience if she’s not made to fend for herself. Tessa still begs him to tell her what to do because she is on the verge of taking up alcoholism. Meanwhile, Poh tells Reece not to brulee the tart, just as Reece is bruleeing the tart.
Time is up. Everyone’s weird dishes must be left as they are for the judges to decide who has performed this weird and dumb challenge the best.
“If we thought we were going to get chaos at the start of the cook, we definitely got it,” says Andy, which almost qualifies as a thought. The first team to serve is Khanh and Laura, who we haven’t seen much of tonight, so they probably did OK, unless it was just to spare the viewer. Jock loves their dishes which are very similar so that’s that I suppose. “It heroes peas,” says Andy, bafflingly meaning this as a compliment.
Next is Sarah and Brendan, who may not have heroed the celeriac enough due to their natural inclination towards not doing stupid crap and just cooking nice food instead. Jock notes that Sarah put twice as much celeriac into her dish as Brendan did, so they’re basically fucked. Melissa notes that Sarah is good and Brendan is not.
Next is Emelia and Callum, who both require hearing aids now. They have both made some green gunk with a creamy lump next to it, so that pretty much fits the brief. The judges declare that the green gunk and creamy lumps taste the same as each other. “Creme fraiche and fennel? Get in my mouth!” Jock exclaims, completely insane.
Poh and Reece step up to serve their popcorn ice-cream from the bowels of hell. They have both made a tart and some ice-cream but Poh is not happy. “The brulee’s melted,” she whines, and you can tell Reece is getting a beating tonight. “This is a surprise,” says Jock – the tarts are not the same, and the judges hate Poh now.
Tessa and Reynold step up, and Tessa is worried that her family will disown her when they see how woefully they have fucked up. “Do you want us to put you out of your misery?” asks Andy. Tessa says yes, but instead, the judges just lift the cloches and eat the food. One of them has made a bowl of what looks like orange hair with big chunks of stuff in it, while the other has made a bowl of what looks like orange hair with smaller chunks of stuff in it. So they literally could not be more different. The judges vow their revenge.
It is now time for Jock to lie to the contestants. “Everything was delicious!” he enthuses, degrading himself for all to see. Melissa explains that Laura and Khanh did extremely well by getting Laura a job with Jock, so they win dish of the day. Khanh is incredibly excited even though the achievement means nothing.
Melissa tells Callum and Emelia that their granitas were both green and cold, which is all they have to be. They’re safe. She tells Poh and Reece that their tarts were different and they’re in the pressure test. Poh looks at Reece as if to say, “I will fuck you up, bitch”.
Andy tells Reynold and Tessa that their dishes were delicious but nothing like each other. Then tells Sarah and Brendan that their dishes were not only nothing like each other, but made him vomit blood. So Sarah and Brendan go into the pressure test along with Poh and Reece.
Who will be eliminated tomorrow? Brendan the dumpling king? Sarah the champion of South-East Asian cuisine? Reece the teen heartthrob? Poh the woman who has been guaranteed a spot in the final by the producers? Tune in to find out!