MasterChef – Immunity challenge – May 24

It’s Mimi, Karmen and Harry’s chance to compete for an immunity pin.
The blurb says: Matt Preston and Nigella Lawson arrive at the contestant house in the middle of the night as the three best from Nigella’s invention test are asked to create a midnight snack for a chance at immunity.
Please tell me Matt will be wearing a red velour dressing gown, black satin cravat and uggies.
Here we go – because everyone wants to be on national TV in their PJs.

We start with Matt and Nigella creeping into the MC house and waking up Harry and co. Bit sad the judges aren’t wearing their PJs because I would have loved to see Matt’s night-time get up. Peter Alexander missed a sponsorship opportunity there.
They have to make a midnight feast and Nigella wants it to “feel like a snatched pleasure”. They only have 30 minutes to cook.
Harry works in hospitality and says he usually turns to chocolate for his late-night snack. He’s making a “brookie” – a cross between a cookie and a brownie. Nigella is going to love this.
Karmen is going American diner with fried chicken with waffles.
Mimi is doing brioche French toast with maple bacon, which is probably too simple.
The other contestants have wandered into the living area to watch the action and look very sleepy.
Nigella is worried Karmen’s chicken won’t cook through but she’s cut it small. She’s also doing a chilli-infused maple sauce – yum! The girls are moving fast but poor Harry is stuck staring at the oven, willing his biscuits (I can’t bring myself to call them cookies) to bake in time. He cranks the heat to 220C and makes a Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) cream to go with them.

These are the three finished midnight snacks:


The judges taste …
Mimi’s French toast with maple bacon and bananas: Is a worthy contender, says Nigella.
Karmen’s chicken and waffles: Matt loves the crunch but Nigella says it needs salt.
Harry’s “brookies”: Nigella is digging in and loving the gooey centres.

And Harry wins and gets the chance to cook for the immunity pin. He looks good in chef whites but check out his teeny top knot:


He’s up against Lachlan Colwill of Hentley Farm, who’s a young gun SA chef who’s won a lot of “best new” awards here recently. Here’s a link to the restaurant Hentley Farm
Harry has to cook between Christmas Sweet and Savoury and goes sweet, so he can do a take on his mum’s pavlova – a move which surprises everyone who thought he’d go ape for the seafood. However, he may also be thinking that it’s likely Lachlan doesn’t do a lot of desserts, as he’d have a pastry chef to focus on those.

He sketches out his idea for a meringue “sandwich” with berries and ganache but Shannon does not look happy. Shannon explains how he plates pav at Vue de Monde and it sounds all deconstructed bits and bobs. But Harry isn’t keen. Fair enough – not everyone can pull off modern fancy pants plating. At least if he gets all the elements ready he can think about the plating as he cooks.

It’s Lachlan’s turn to start and, while he’d much prefer to be cooking savoury, he decides to do an ice cream pudding for an Australian summer-friendly cold Christmas dessert – a wise choice given that Shannon said that’s what he made for the Bennett household this year. And he’s using almonds because they remind him of home – heaps of almond growers here in SA.
Harry takes his meringues out of the oven but they are not sturdy enough for him to fill as he’d planned. is it time for Shannon’s idea with meringue blobs and a brulee torch?
But it’s ok – Lachlan’s having trouble, too. He’s tempering chocolate but has spread it out on a stainless steel bench to cool – not realising the oven is underneath. The onlookers on the gantry are worried for him. Eventually Cecilia tells him of his silly mistake.
Harry pulls his meringues into little artsy blobs and whips up a white choc ganache with passionfruit.
Lachlan has grabbed the compulsory red silicon moulds to slop his ice cream into – will they set in time? Yep, they do.
Harry is slowly plating up – tweezers are involved and George would be so happy – and Shannon tells him he needs more of the passionfruit cream and to fill the plate with the elements. But Harry only puts a few delicate bits of everything on. It looks cute but it’s barely a mouthful.
Lachlan is happy the ice cream worked but is regretting not doing a brandy syrup for a boozier flavour.

Time for the judges to taste


They like the festive look of Harry’s pav. Gaz finds the meringue very sweet so the dessert needs more tartness to balance it. The port-soaked cherries get the tick of approval.
Gaz is licking his chops at the look of Lachlan’s pud. “I think it’s a fun idea of putting a snowball on the table,” says Matt. Gaz loves the choc and the nut “snow”. Nigella wants more booze and George thinks it needs more fruit to be Christmassy.

The scores
Harry’s pav: Gaz 6, George 6, Nigella 7, Matt 7.
Lachlan’s pud: Nigella 6 (the crowd is shocked), Gaz 7, George 7, Matt 7.
So, Lachlan wins – and he’s relieved to have survived the pressure of the TV cameras.
And it’s a win for us, the viewers, us there were no items from our “MasterChef should ban this” lists. yay.

Tomorrow night: It’s a team challenge at some kind of show or festival where they have to serve heaps of people. And Matt is wearing an amazing magenta suit with a white fedora so we can easily spot him in a crowd.



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49 Comments

  1. I must say, all three dishes look delicious. This is the first time in MC that I have been happy to watch. No back stories, no tears, no drama. Just good cooking.

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    • Yes, I would have been happy to watch 20 minutes of everyone cooking for this, then sitting down together to share their midnight feast, then having to pretend to be asleep when Gary No Fun walks by.

  2. Harry’s dish looked liked a mess on a plate, and the chef’s plate looked cheffy.
    If they make this look close, then this is rigged.

    • “contractually obliged”?
      Ie frankly worried that she hadn’t checked fine print in contract and she might be licking Gary’s spoon before the night is out.

  3. So only Nigella scored the guest chef less than the contestant. Is she just trying to prove that home cook is better than chef.

  4. Is anyone going to watch Kiss Bang Love? A friend tells me it’s awkward yet fascinating but don’t think I can see it til tomorrow night.

  5. Adam Liaw – who is definitely one of the wittiest cooks Evah – tweeted something like “is it me or do the MC man buns get smaller every year”.

  6. I watched the midnight snack bit, figuring there would be no time for drama and sob stories. And I was enjoying it, until the chick in the stripey t-shirt licked her fingers and then continued to handle food. Blech, dirty cow. Anyone who licks their fingers should be made to put the offending arm in a sling and have to cook the rest of the competition one-handed.

    Harry’s little topknot looks stupid, but at least he has his hair under control.

    I would pay for Karmen’s fried chicken and waffles with chili maple syrup. No surprise, though, that Nigella chose the chocolate dish.

    • Guess chef was licking his fingers, too.
      Wasn’t surprised that Nigella chose the brookies but I don’t think Harry deserved to win. Karmen’s and Mimi’s dishes were better.

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  7. Has anyone noticed that Mimi is getting a lot of airtime? I’m concerned that this means she’s around for the long haul.
    I find her annoyingly entitled and have taken an irrational dislike to her smug air of complacency.

    • I agree, Brus. But I think it is a justified dislike, not an irrational one.

      And she is also a nasally talker, like the other girl who was eliminated earlier. I keep wanting to yell “blow your nose…or get your adenoids removed!” at her.

  8. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    Gee, it’s lucky they don’t sleep naked with Matt barging in on them in the middle of the night. If someone barged into my place in the middle of the night expecting me to cook them a midnight snack I’d tell them to fuck off.
    Out of those 3 I liked the look of the chicken the most.
    Harry says before they remove the covers he hopes they have seafood, then when they reveal them there is seafood & he picks the sweet one. Was this episode filmed at Christmas time? Wonder if that’s why they had a Christmas theme. To me a pavlova is a big meringue base with cream & fruit on top. Not little meringues like what he made. It’s a shame it didn’t turn out how he described it as that sounded great. Why didn’t he put more cream like Shannon told him to?
    Wow, they were low score on both sides tonight. That’s twice this year the chef has got 6 or 7’s. Usually they get 8 & 9. If only he’d done it the way Gary likes it he would have got a 10.

  9. So they’ve decided to make the scores between the pros and ams ‘really close’ this year. Is this a joke? Nigella’s feeble excuse for scoring the chef’s dish lower because it was too stylish … she could barely keep a straight face.
    Lachlan seemed lovely btw.
    Could’ve done without the pierced one giving her sage advice ad nauseam.

    • Did nigella said the dish was too stylish? What a joke. Maybe she will give a higher score if Lachlan just served the ice cream in the silicon mould and she can dig into it.

      • She wanted less style, more substance – ie, booze. Hanging out in the MC kitchen for a week requires one to be tipsy to cope, apparently.

  10. I was glad that Harry did not win. He was rude towards Shannon, ignoring his advice, not looking at Shannon when Shannon was trying to explain things to him. His dessert looked like a mess, not at all appetizing. That was NO pavlova. Couldn’t believe that Nigella scored him higher than the professional chef. In fact, couldn’t believe that the scores were so close. Another BS immunity challenge but at least a pin was not awarded.

  11. I don’t like the immunity challenges in general, but last night was barrell scraping.

    1) Harry winning the midnight feast challenge with a freakin’ chocolate biscuit. Ooh ahh, what a chef. Knocking up fried chicken & waffles in 30 mins should’ve won, salt or no salt.

    2) Giving the professional award-winning chef 6’s & 7’s just to manufacture some tension. When in reality he could’ve played with himself for half the cooking time & still beaten Harry’s piss poor pav. He only made 2 things on the plate- meringue and ganache. Again, ooh ahh.

    This is getting to be a bit of a yawn, yes? Possibly I’m just grumpy at 35w pregnant, but I’m so hoping this improves. Tonight SHOULD be good, the
    big challenges can be entertaining. Me hopes.

  12. As if an amata couldn’t hear Jowl$y tip toeing down the hall, like a herd of water buffalo.

    I’ll cop a bit of this encore because it’s amazingly bad.

  13. Tattoos are forever ,baby. The poor ammunity chef has a bar of music inked on his neck but it doesn’t have the right number of beats in it or is properly notated. Oops. I guess only musos will know.

  14. How disgusting did Matt look at the beginning of last night’s challenge – no loose jacket to hide all that fat. And George and Gary are getting more and more dour, unfriendly and rude.

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