MasterChef – Tues, July 5 – immunity challenge

The three contestants who did well with their apricot chicken reinventions – Elise, Brett and Harry – are competing for a chance to go up against a chef. We’ve had some weak offerings in immunity pin challenges this season, so hopefully this will be better than usual.

This is Elise’s first crack at an immunity pin and she reckons she can grab it, but Brett is firing on all cylinders at the moment.


The mystery box ingredients are cauliflower, venison, bay leaves and elderflower cordial. And they get 20 minutes. Or if they decide to use the second, smaller box, they get 40 minutes and but have to use what’s under there (it turns out to be quandongs), plus an ingredient from the main box. And there’s a third box (with mastic) which gives them a total of 60 minutes. Brett sticks at the first box while the younger and less wise contestants go the whole hog. Harry doesn’t recognise the mastic. Elise has used it before – she must be a superfan.
Why does MasterChef keep trying to make mastic “happen”? Does George have a mastic plantation at an ancestral farm in Greece? Next to his giant tweezers factory.

Elise is using the mastic, quandongs and elderflower cordial to make a tart and mastic ice cream.
Harry is making quandong and elderflower pavlova but has yet to work out how to use the mastic. He’s got a thing for pavs – he made one that was not well received in the Christmas-themed Nigella Week immunity pin challenge.
Elise is masticating over how much mastic to add to her anglaise for the ice cream when George actually gives some helpful advice for once. He tells her the flavour will intensify once the mixture cools.
Both of them are making quandong jam. Brett has enjoyed 40 minutes of thinking time while Elise and Harry cook and has exactingly planned his dish. He’s doing cauliflower several ways, including roasting the leaves in the oven. It will go with pepper-crusted venison with a bay leaf butter sauce. Yum!
Harry takes his “pavs” out of the oven and his little meringues are browned while his bread-and-butter-plate sized ones aren’t cooked. Couldn’t he have done a meringue-topped brookie?
Harry things his use of elderflower syrup stuffed up the pav texture. He decides to use his mastic in a custard.
With five minutes to go Brett has cooked his venison and cauli puree. He looks cool as a cucumber.
Elise’s ice cream has worked (hooray – not ABP) but the mastic is very strong. Harry decides to do the bleeding obvious and turn his flopped meringue into a Mess.

The judges taste


Brett’s venison with cauli (20 minutes): Matt says the venison is beautifully cooked. It’s delicious. “Bloody good understanding of food. You’ve come a long way,” says Shannon.


Harry’s Mess with quandong jam and mastic custard: Harry pretends he’s in with a chance but knows deep down he’s got Buckley’s. George loves the jam but the meringue is sticky and gluey. Shannon says he’s done his best to save the dish with his plating up.


Elise’s quandong tart with mastic ice cream: “That’s beautiful,” says Gaz of the tart, with its vibrant red topping. Shannon praises the textures of the pastry and ice cream and says she was brave to go for the final mystery box.
Yeah, telling someone they are “brave” is code for “it’s not the winner”.
The winner is …
Brett gets it for great food in only 20 minutes. He’s thrilled. Good one, Brett. At the start of this comp I would have said you’d have been eliminated by now but you’ve proved me wrong.
He learns he’s up against mentor Shannon – who cracks up as Matt Preston talks him up in the intro.
Tonight, there’s no time advantage for the contestant. Both have 60 minutes and an open pantry. Seems a but unfair that Brett doesn’t get a little leg up.
Gaz tells Brett to focus on his strengths, saying he makes great sauces and purees and likes to hero a protein. Brett is doing lamb rack with parsnip puree.
Shannon decides to braise something in the pressure cooking and initially seems a tad nonplussed by not having a theme. He’ll do lamb two ways with pickled veg.
Poor Brett is chopping bones for his jews when he cuts his thumb, which will put him behind. Shannon is doing some fancy kind of mustard cream to put in a siphon. He talks about all the things that could go wrong with it, but then it works perfectly.
Brett is a little flustered after having to call for the nurse, knocking stuff over, including throwing his crispy shallots on the floor. He’s leaking blood out of his blue glove, poor bugger. “The first day I’ve ever cut myself in the MasterChef kitchen has to be today,” he notes.
Now he has to trim his lamb rack without full use of one hand.
Shannon has his shoulder braising in the pressure cooker while he panfries the loin then pops it in the oven. He tells Gaz he’s worried about the timing of the braise but no doubt it will be fine. He heads to the garden looking for a bitter herb to go with his dish but doesn’t head back the minute his timer goes off. By the time he gets the loin out, he says it’s cooked more than he wanted. The herb he grabbed was chickweed. I’d never heard of it so thank goodness for Wikipedia\
Shannon checks his lamb and Gaz gives it the seal of approval – he was worried about nothing. Shannon pops over to peel some asparagus for Brett, good lad that he is.
Shannon takes the lid off his pressure cooker but his lamb isn’t tender enough. “It’s a disaster,” he says. But then he finds some little pieces swimming in the stock that are fine. So that’s twice you’ve predcited a lamb disaster tonight, Shannon, and both times it was much ado about nothing. Now he gets cracking with his soz.
Brett is plating up and Gary seems to be giving helpful advice.
Shannon, super chef that he is, has laid out all his garnishes on a baking tray in orderly fashion. He finishes his dish and runs round to Brett’s station for the last few seconds.

George and Matt taste


Brett’s lamb with smoked parsnip puree and enoki mushrooms: George says it looks beautiful and thought has gone into it. Matt loves the flavours. He’s frenched well. Neither ones mentions that the blood from the lamb has stained the parsnip mash from not being rested enough.
Lamb with mustard, onions and fresh herbs: It looks very modern but Shannon’s mustard cream is now a puddle. Perhaps that’s what he meant it to look like. Matt says it’s classic French flavours. Hmm, could it possibly have been cooked by someone whose restaurant is called Vue de Monde. Matt thinks the braised lamb doesn’t really add anything to the dish.

The scores
Brett: George 8 (even though we didn’t hear any criticism), Matt 9. So, Shannon’s won, then. And, yep:
Shannon: Matt 9, George 9
Poor Brett – that dish looked so much better than some of the dog’s breakfasts we’ve seen in past immunity challenges.


Tomorrow night

It’s a service challenge at MasterChef HQ and there are four teams of two, using ingredients from north, east, south and west. The bottom two teams will be up for elimination. The preview shows the teams are:
Green: Glowing Elena and Chloe
Yellow: Trent and Elise
Blue: Brett and Harry
Red: Mimi and Matt



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42 Comments

    • It’s not a parfait. It’s not in a sphere. (yet)
      At least it’s not fennel. We must take our pleasure where we can find it.

  1. So mastic is used in meringue and nougat (amongst other things). So I’m thinking it would be a good idea for Harry to think about using it before he cooks his pavlova rather than after.
    Again, another ingredient that favours the dessert cooks. Pffft.

      • What no Mastic in that name mix! I like Shannon but those kids names are not good.

        Just because you like the letter X – you don’t have to include it in the spelling of each name. Kids will be sick of spelling out their names constantly when they are older.

      • Numerologically, if there is an x in your name then you are a creative person who engages with people easily and you soak up information like a sponge.
        It also matters where you place the letter (first or last) but this all becomes a bit too complicated for me.
        Or something *sprinkles with fairy dust*.

        • The Ku Klux Klan sure are creative and engage easily with people….

          I’d swear Oscar Pistorius has an “X” in his name the way that bent judge is crawling up his criminal arse. Fail for justice in SA . Six years is utterly piss weak. RIP Reeva Steenkamp.

          • At least he’s actually going to jail now (goal, but it didn’t look right for some reason). Unforgivable that he was allowed to serve his sentence in that mansion.

  2. Juz, noticed the lamb cutlets bleeding out, too. So obvious, surprised no comment from judges unless that was edited out. Glad that Brett went to the challenge rather than Harry or Elise but no way was Shannon going to lose.

  3. I have eaten at the Shannon Bennett cafe in Heidelberg modern art museum.
    It was good – lobster roll was indeed tasty.

  4. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    Those baby mystery boxes were so cute. I’ve never had quandongs & wouldn’t have a clue what to do with them. As for mastic never even heard of it let alone know how to cook with it.
    I did wonder if Elise might have won due to using those unusual ingredients. But Brett did deserve it.
    Poor Brett cutting his finger. I really think they should stop the clock when someone gets injured & has to have it tended to. It’s not their fault & it’s not fair to lose time. Glad to see Gary being useful for a change & not being negative & snarky. And how sweet was Shannon helping him by cutting his asparagus for him.
    A pity Brett didn’t win the immunity pin. If he’d been up against some of the previous chefs he would have won. Some of them only got 7 or 8.

  5. Harry and Elise basically handed it over to Quagmire…. gave him 40 minutes think time while the 2 of them spent time thinking and running around like headless chooks.

    Elise so in love with her dish… her pastry cases looked terrible, but she thought they were awesome.

    So we had Anna’s mess, the copy of that in Melbourne Wheel challenge.. and now another mess… surprised he didn’t drop the plate on the bench for more effect.

    Shannon would never lose that challenge… the other judges wouldn’t insult one of their own by making him lose.

  6. The scores were again more for drama than real scores. Brett’s dish was good but not a 9. The lamb bleed into the parnip puree and you get a 9??

    Judges also mentioned both dishes were so good, no negatives, then why no 10?

  7. Meat bleeding on a plate or white purée- immediate 3 point deduction.
    We don’t need to see murder on a plate where the protein was basically undercooked and not heroed!

  8. The only thing I know about mastic is that it is used in making chewing gum. Wonder if Elise’s ice cream was chewy? Both George and Elise had trouble remembering where the ‘g’ goes in quandong/quangdong/quandon.

    I enjoyed the immunity challenge. While I’m surprised that Brett is still there, he is a relief from the egocentric dolts who have been given far too much air-time lately. Shannon is always relaxed and seems to communicate that to the others when he is around; even Gary was mostly bearable last night.

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