MasterChef – Sun, May 29 – Mystery Box

To quote Brad Pitt: What’s in the box?

Matt Preston is back in purple but it’s more of a strong lavender shade tonight, with an Impressionist-style white, purple and green cravat. The contestants have 60 minutes to produce a dish and – here’s a twist – the winner gets a shortcut straight to the immunity pin challenge. And they are told not to waste too many mystery box ingredients. Anyone who’s watched the show before knows they’ve previously cooked with kitchen scraps, so the savvy ones should stockpile some ingredients for the next round. Here’s what’s in the box:

Mmm, pork belly.

Mmm, pork belly.

I expect we’ll see a lot of fish or pork dishes with Asian flavours, as everyone always goes straight for the protein. I hope someone does a lime dessert – Charlie? Karmen?
Will Anastasia get airtime tonight? We haven’t seen her for a while. Who else? Elena? Cecilia? Electrician Trent?
We get a talking head from Brett about his barra bromance, so it will be great or dreadful. Intense Matt is getting airtime about hispork belly so perhaps there’s yet another victory in store for him – go Intense Matt!
Nose Ring Chloe is getting the ditherer edit usually reserved for Theresa but decides to go with a smoked nougat.
Oh, here’s SWishy Pony Tail Zoe – we haven’t seen her for a while. She’s doing sponge with smoked vanilla ice cream. Smoking is hot, hot, hot this season. Anastasia gets to speak – the editors are giving some of the usual suspects a rest. She’s doing pork belly.
Wow – and Trent can talk! He’s never been tasted – but he’s never had any shockers. He’s making miso pork and corn dumplings with miso caramel sauce. Matt Preston is pushing him to make a broth so there’s no repeat of the dry ravioli-style dishes they’ve been seeing.
Brett is getting the flashback about his pilot background and his food dream of running a gastro pub in Victoria with his daughters. So he’ll get tasted.
The edit is focusing a lot on Intense Matt’s pork belly and whether it will be tender or not. I predict a triumph. Anastasia is getting the same edit (again pronouncing it missoo) but I reckon her pork won’t cook.
Trent is having dumpling dramas – they don’t look right so he rolls more dough. Zoe is staring at her cake as it’s not cooked in the centre. It’s a small cake but why didn’t she do a second one that was just muffin sized? They always need a back-up plan. George tastes her smoked ice cream and loves it, so even if her cake flops she’ll get tasted – as has happened before.

Time to taste five dishes
Pilot Brett is up first with his crispy barra with corn two ways and pickled beetroot: Matt says it’s classic, delicious and well rounded.
Anastasia’s vanilla sticky pork with beetroot: “This is a cracking dish,” says George, but it needs salt. Matt says it needed more time in the pressure cooker to be perfect. Gaz likes her.
Trent gets his first tasting for his pork and corn dumplings with a miso and caramel broth: Gaz loves the presentation. Matt says the balance of flavours is great. They all love it.
Zoe’s sponge with miso glaze and smoked vanilla ice cream: “That is one of the best ice creams I’ve tasted in this competition,” says George. But her cake sucks. Matt says she should have just served the ice cream with the miso caramel sauce.
Chloe’s smoked lime and vanilla nougat with lime crumb and beetroot caramel: Ooh – she gets the Matt tap of the spoon. And then from George. And then even Gaz comes to the party. They think all the elements are in balance. “I do want to lick the bowl,” says Gaz. And, yes, Chloe has won. She’s been a bit up and down this season but has done quite well when put in a pressure situation.

Invention test
There’s no pantry and no herb garden but they do get the usual staples. They’re cooking with whatever’s left in that mystery box, including their scraps – and they get extra credit for using scraps creatively.
Elena gets a talking head – she and Harry both have some barra left. Given most people would have cooked with either pork or barra in the first round, they still have opctions.
Heather is doing barra mornay with coriander root and corn cob-infused bechamel.
Mimi us making coriander ice cream with lime syrup cake – quick, get some smoke in there, Mimi, or you won’t have a chance.
Pilot Brett is doing a pork sanger with flatbread and miso mayo.
Intense Matt is making san choy bau with barra wrapped in beetroot leaves.
Karmen is doing a savoury dish for once and it sounds interesting: barra with pickled beetroot “scales” and a burnt miso sauce. If only we knew what she’d cooked in the first round – presumably a lime dessert.
Charlie is making miso ice cream but it may not set.
Brett is making a miso mayo to go with his sanger but he is running out of ingredients (presumably egg) and stuffs it up. It’s because you didn’t drizzle in your oil, Brett!
Oh – here’s Theresa. She’s doing vanilla miso ice cream with a corn custard. The judges are a little worried she’s doing two soft-textured. Gaz as much as tells her to make pastry.
Charlie’s miso ice cream is too runny so out come the trusty red silicon moulds.
Matt is making floss and crispy skin with his barra for crunchy textures. No sign of many of the contestants featured in the first round, so they’re out of the running.
Elise is making a parfait and a soil – haven’t had one of those for a while. What’s the difference between a soil and a crumb?
Heather is trying to make a rough puff to go with her mornay and Matt pops over to give her instructions on using the smoking gun. Smoking guns are the new sous vide – expect to see a lot of them on MKR next year.
Mimi’s dome-shaped lime syrup cakes look delish, but Elise is having cake trouble – she’s doing one of those siphon microwave cakes in a paper coffee cup but her siphon isn’t charging. George and Gaz tell her it’s because her cake mixture is way too thick. Uh oh.
Intense Matt says his dish is “a texture bomb” and it does look inviting. Karmen’s fish with beetroot scales also looks fabulous.

Uh oh - nose wipe alert - hope that was sweat, Theresa!

Uh oh – nose wipe alert – hope that was sweat, Theresa!

Time to taste
Will we see what people like Miles and Elena have made?

Intense Matt’s barra san choy bau:

Good one, Matt.

Good one, Matt.

The judges love the look of it. “You have no idea of the pleasure of this dish … I’m just thrilled that you’re putting up beautiful food,” says Gaz. “That is making the hair on the back of my head stand up.” So Gaz is Team Intense Matt, too. They even liked that he did two sauces.
Happy intense Matt and a rare Cecilia sighting.

Happy intense Matt and a rare Cecilia sighting.

Charlie’s miso ice cream with corn crumb (but his caramel has seized): George tries to smash the caramel with his spoon just to rub in to poor Charlie how much he’s ballsed it up. The ice cream is a bit funky – and not in a good way. He’s usually perfect hair is all floppy. So he’s bottom three.
Heather’s barra mornay: Matt likes the idea of the dish. And he loves the flavour and textures.
Brett’s roasted pork in coriander flatbread: Matt loves the pork. “Is it a disaster dish? No.” George says the bread is undercooked and “blanket-like”. Ouch. As Brett already knew, it needed soz.
Elise’s vanilla parfait with lime curd and coriander sponge: Ok, but it could be better.
Trent’s lime and vanilla tart with semifreddo: (This plating with mini meringues torched with a creme brulee torch must be hot right now) Gaz loves the tart.
Elena’s corn fritters with miso pork fish floss: “Very impressed,” says Gaz. Just to remind you, here’s what Elena looks like.

Zoe’s pork belly with miso butterscotch: “Another great dish,” says Gaz.

You can see her dessert plating come into play here.

You can see her dessert plating come into play here.

Karmen’s barra: “It just utterly makes sense,” says Gaz – his cranky pants must be in the wash. George says it’s incredible and she can win the comp.
Theresa’s sweet corn milk tart and miso ice cream (she whispers “sorry” as the judges taste): Matt says it tastes like tuna mornay: “I really don’t like it.” She’s bottom three.
Mimi’s coriander ice cream with lime syrup cake: Gaz thinks it’s clever and moreish. “It’s as if the coriander says ‘I need to be in ice cream always’,” says Matt.
That’s it – no Anastasia, no Nicolette, no Miles and no Harry all episode.

Top three
Going through to the invention test and a chance to fight for immunity with Chloe are easy picks: Intense Matt, Karmen and Mimi.
Bottom three are also obvious: Charlie, Theresa and Brett

Tomorrow: Chef Jason Atherton sets the pressure test and it’s a quail afternoon tea. What? Google says he received a Michelin star and previously worked for Gordon Ramsey. And he hosted the UK’s version of MKR, but doubt that will get a mention. I don’t know how Brett will go in this as it looks quite fiddly and he’s more about bold flavours, not flashy techniques.



  1. Matt has complained they have seen too many raviolis this year.

    Brett’s backstory and food dream has just been featured. He must be a gonna.

  2. I don’t understand when you have limited time to cook, why don’t you just make a smaller cake?

    • Best cooks evah , best cooking show evah. They are a…maz…ing.


      $implicity. Dreams. Flavour.

    • Ha, LP – totally said that in my recap! Yes, do a muffin-sized cake. In fact do lots of differently sized cakes so you have options.

      • The cake Zoe plated up was a small one compared to the one in the oven. How did that happened?

  3. Why don’t they just spare us the suffering and let the judges pick who they want in finals week and fast forward the comp.

    Can’t believe that metal snot is through to the immunity challenge.

  4. The comments from the contestants are a bit repetitive. Have we run out of clichés, or are we padding for time?

    • I noticed that too, Maz. I wonder sometimes how the judges can bear to taste food made by hands that they have seen also wiping sweat, rubbing noses, pushing hair back, and, for all we know, scratching balls.

      It’s so easy to keep one tea towel aside for wiping your brow, etc.

  5. Is my memory failing me or is this like double dipping? Don’t they normally just do a mystery box and then do top 3/bottom 3?
    Is this a way of making sure that the judges get the bottom 3 they want?

    • Yes, it is usually mystery box and winner gets to choose the ingredient for the invention test except this time as it was ‘left overs’ the winner went through to immunity challenge.

      But it is BS as it doesn’t take a genius to see who the judges are picking off. Charlie + the older contestants.

        • We know that Charlie sucked…but it is getting to the point, Charlie don’t bother cooking as you will be in the elimination.

          WTF was Gary’s prep speech? ” This is not the last time you will in an elimination” It was akin to saying, “You will be in an elimination until we get rid of you because we don’t like you”.

    • I’m totally there! She defines smug “I’ve improved so much”. But my favourite quote was “not many people would think of this combination”…well toots that’s because coriander in ice cream is truly disgusting.

    • Plus – I’ve watched it all now- she is loving herself sick. I’m vomiting.
      I swear she used the word perfect about herself approximately 76 times. ‘It’s perfect. It’s perfectly consistent’ and even …’I’m a perfectly hideous human being who should not be permitted to gesticulate on national tv.’ Okay, I made the last one up. But in my defence Mimi’s patronising explanations of how perfectly she crafted her disgusting combinations are grounds for execution.

      • Mimi’s profile on TenPlay: State: Victoria
        Age: 26
        Occupation: Product Manager

        Mimi enters the MasterChef Australia kitchen not only with skills nurtured by her beloved grandmother, but with a competitive edge born from being a girl with two brothers.

        Having grown up in Melbourne with mum, dad and two older brothers, Mimi always held her own with the boys around the house and the three siblings enjoyed their sports, with Mimi excelling at tennis, skiing and running.

        Having inherited her love of food from her grandmother, Mimi has memories of visiting her and grandad at home in Adelaide and spending all their time in the kitchen.

        Following school, Mimi completed a Bachelor in Media and Communications at Deakin University, before taking on a marketing role in a children’s book publishing company, where she has worked ever since. While she enjoyed her work, Mimi could definitely hear the call of the kitchen.

        With plans in the pipeline to launch a brand of sports leisure clothing or “sweats” alongside brother, it is clear that Mimi is happy in the role of both creator and entrepreneur. In fact, she and her brother would love to one day open a trendy Melbourne café together, with a focus on fresh and simple produce. If Mimi has her way, that day will not be too far off: she is already dreaming up menus and picking out the décor.

        In addition to her grandmother’s teachings, Mimi is inspired as a cook by the likes of Daniel Wilson, Margaret Fulton, Brent Owens, Yotam Ottolenghi, Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, Marco Pierre White and Jamie Oliver.

  6. Brett also on the annoying list.
    Hope he goes tomorrow as I don’t think I can listen to his litany of cliches that comes out of his mouth.

    • LOL, Lola. I feel sorry for you. Your list of annoying contestants is getting longer and longer.

      • There does seem to be an unusually high number of obnoxious contestants this year.

        Previous years I’d have had one or two people I’d be barracking for by now. This series…*crickets*…
        I like Trent after tonight. Yep, Trent.

        • I was thinking that the commenters seem to be unusually picky this year. Masterchef overuse, maybe?

          • Your tireless tirade on Laurina was as unusually picky as anything I’ve read here. Forgetful, maybe?

          • No, I was actually remembering that myself. I really despised her, but she was a single contestant. And IACGMOOH was a show designed to create controversy around the personalities – it didn’t have any other premise. These MC threads are getting overloaded with negative comments about nearly every contestant.

            I’d prefer to be discussing the food, the challenges and the judging. I can understand personal dislike of single contestants, but it is becoming a bit of a drag. My annoyance, though, and if it gets intolerable, I can just stop reading the comments.

          • Love to discuss the judging for example, Fijane but do a couple of buffoons placing a spoon backwards into their mouths and then mindlessly banging it on a table to indicate quality get in the way of serious discussion? For me it can.

            I hate the personification of food as the judges describe it , for example ,such and such a dish has “aggressive” flavours. The nouveau art of “heroing”, too.

          • Definitely on the same page there, BDD. Analysing the judging is generally a “what the…?” moment.

          • I think with Gary you can tell he’s going to scare low and bag a dish just by the way he looks at it before tasting.

            I think Gary and to a lesser degree George have, over a period of years, nurtured a bias in favour of younger female contestants. Mimi and Elise can pack their bags for ‘Frisco.

  7. Throw intense Matt on the annoying list as well. Just for a change of pace can’t he take a “slight risk” ??

    • Ah, now, I have to defend Intense Matt. He did some interesting dishes tonight and he’s not just churning out runny ice cream and cakes ad nauseum.

    • Gary really likes Mimi. Creepy. She’ll be safe for ages yet.

      I like the list. Heather’s not annoying me yet….but Zoe is. Miles, too.

      Anyone with tatts , piercings or discs in ears is annoying now. Not a body art show.

      • I’m terribly worried we’ll have Smug and Superior Mimi for some time.
        I can do without Miles and feel quite confident I’d cope without him on my screen.

    • Sorry, can’t join that party. I like all of those, and Mimi is one of my favourites. The only contestant who irritates me is Zoe.

  8. If Matt took a risk, then he wouldn’t be intense Matt anymore. At least the dude can cook and he really really wants it, like his life is depending on it.
    I sort of don’t mind Matt just wish he would lose the discs out of his ears.

  9. Chloe, Zoe, Mimi, Heather, most annoying for me. Also Karmen at times, when she’s whining about her confidence issues. Are any of these women capable of saying ‘perfect’ instead of ‘perfict?’

    Matt’s a very good cook, but yep, needs to lose the dinner plates in his ears – otherwise he’ll soon be serving food on them. Are they spares?
    I’m tipping Whispering Theresa to go home because it’s a female’s turn and she’s pretty useless.
    If not, then Brett because he got his little backstory in, and his daughters got their 15 minutes of ..

    Elise and Elena still seem to be the elusive, phantom contestants. Don’t they know how to make miso, parfait, crumb ravioli with crunch and acidity?

  10. It looks as though Matt and Mimi will be teachers’ pets this year. I seriously dislike Mimi; she’s an arrogant little snot. If she were any further up herself she’d disappear completely up her own ass. As for Matt, well, I can’t see past his stupid earrings, even when he is putting up a good dish.

    Has anyone else noticed how sullen Miles looks the last few shows? They might be showing episodes out of order and he’s been eliminated, or he has finally realised that older guys usually don’t last long on MC.

    The judges were so effusive in their praise of good dishes tonight, particularly Matt’s, that I wanted to gag. Settle down, guys, your gushing is putting my teeth on edge. I felt sorry for Charlie and his failure of a dish, which was mercilessly picked apart by all three judges, right down to his choice of plate. Gary and George especially can be quite scathing and hostile when they decide they don’t want a particular contestant.

    The invention test wasn’t really “cooking with scraps”. I thought they would be given carrot and potato peels, beetroot tops, limp lettuce,egg shells, fish bones, fat trimmings from meat, and squeezed-out lemons to get creative with. I was looking forward to some real ingenuity with them cooking with actual scraps.

    • Agree that judges were over the top with their praise. I also did not consider this a cooking with scraps challenge since there was so much that was unused during the first round. Scraps would be only items you would toss aside. Haven’t they done actual cooking with scraps challenges in the past?
      I know I have seen that on MC USA.
      I didn’t see what was so impressive about Karmen putting some pickled beets on top of the fish and then making the corn puree, but the judges went to the extremes with praise for that dish.
      I do think some of the dishes that we saw were better than Karmen’s and Mimi’s. Mimi’s cake looked like it had deflated. Would like to see what all of the contestants had cooked.

  11. I agree with you Von, they really went to town on Charlie. He was just not having a good day in the kitchen. I don’t mind Charlie but I think he will mentally combust soon.
    Hope boastful Brett goes. He annoys me.
    But I think it will be timid Theresa with her second guessing.

    Harry, top knot is an automatic inclusion on the annoying list. Let’s not forget his Brookies

    • Brookies….not original. Plenty of recipes for brownie cookies. I hope we don’t see any more Brookies.
      Not impressed with Charlie and still don’t think he even should have been chosen based on his first dish, a poached pear. I was surprised that got him into the competition.

  12. I think you are all amazing! I have no idea who is who, except Matt and that’s because I find him annoying and too intense😁

  13. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    So we saw someone called Trent tonight. Where has he been? I knew for sure he would be tasted since they showed him a lot & we’d never seen him before.
    There was a lot of hatred for coriander on Twitter. So funny reading people’s comments.
    Yeah it was obvious who the top & bottom 3 would be.
    Why do they keep cooking a huge cake? They don’t serve the whole thing. Put it in a smaller tin. Smoked vanilla ice cream sounds pretty ordinary to me. Give me blueberry any day.
    The promo was misleading. I thought they were going to do like previous years & just be given scraps to cook with. Most of them still had a whole fish/pork belly depending on what they used in the first round. So those whose food didn’t get tasted in the first round, why didn’t they just serve that?
    So quail afternoon tea tonight. What the fuck is that? Is it a quail that looks like a cake or a cake that looks like a quail?

  14. Nice to hear that there are other people in the world who dislike coriander.

    Been watching Trent for a couple of weeks. Seems nice, and may be one of those who moves along in the middle of the pack until close to the end.

    • Agree, coriander is vile. Apparently there’s a genetic component, something like 30% of people can taste a violently bitter oil in coriander that the other 70% can’t detect. Or something like that 🙂

    • I was wondering whether that genetic thing also applies to other food. I’m always bemused by people talking about the flavour of chilis, because to me chilis are completely tasteless. They certainly have heat, but no flavour, so I usually don’t bother using them.

      • Chili does have a taste, but you don’t notice it if you’ve no heat tolerance. All you taste is burning. Once you build a tolerance to the heat factor you can taste the flavour, truly!

        I once lived with an Indian family for 2 months and went from ‘can’t take this burny crap’ to pretty chili-tolerant and it opened up a new world of flavour. Mind you, I lost the tolerance fairly quickly once I stopped eating it daily. It’s almost like a drug of addiction really.

        As for genetics applying to other food, it apparently applies to the “Asparagus makes urine smell peculiar” rule too. Although they can’t decide if some people don’t produce the odour or some people can’t smell it. It’s all very interesting 🙂

  15. The repetition in the cooking (soil/crumb, smoke, miso caramel, ABPC, wacky ice cream) is pretty woeful really. They’re just copying each other much of the time.

    I want one of them to go full blown Iron Chef and start making things like crab ice cream with bird-snot toffee and pancreas sauce etc etc. Entertain us damn you.

  16. Yesterdays episode further enhanced that this is the worst season evah.

    Do not like one contestant… I’m just hoping the judges eat the finalists instead.

    Boring dishes… nothing really exciting.. and Zoe really frightens me.

    And the boys hairstyles are just plain ridiculous.

  17. Oops, I completely forgot about watching this last night. Once I was out of the habit for a week… Besides, Dr No was fun. 😆 I had only seen it 7,342,676 before, after all!

    But back to MC. I could have watched it on tenplay, or come here and read Juz’ amusing and brilliant recap, which, let’s face it, I was going to do anyway. So, I never did get around to watching it.

    Al of which is a ridiculously longwinded way of saying: thanks for your recap, Juz! Much appreciated.

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