MasterChef – Sun, July 24 – Who will be final three?

In this quarter-final mystery box challenge and invention test, contestants cook off for a place in the semi-final using ingredients chosen by their loved ones.
Let’s hope Harry, Intense Matt, Glowing Elena (why I didn’t call her Serener Elena I’ll never know – maybe because the judges sometimes pronounces her name Ell-en-a) and Elise had a chat with their loved ones before MasterChef started and teed up lots of parfait ingredients, seafood, chilli and vegies.

We start with everyone getting ready back at the house and they are all so close to achieving their dreams, yadda yadda yadda.
The eliminated contestants are up on the gantry, applauding the frizziness of Harry’s fringe. Three people are missing – hard to tell who.
There are two rounds and the winner of round one is straight through to the semi final. One person from the three in round two is eliminated.
It’s the loved ones mystery box challenge first and they all get a letter from home – and Elise recognises the handwriting straight away. MasterChef loves nothing better than seeing contestants weep as they cook. It’s not quite on the level of Survivor loved ones letters but on the balcony even Theresa is crying. And we learn Harry’s real name is Harrison.
Usually there’s one person who gets screwed over by their loved one in this challenge and this time it looks like it could be Elise. Her box is half full of savoury items (including thyme, which no doubt is growing in the MC garden), and freekeh, which she’s never used before.

Everyone has eight ingredients in their box.
Elise’s fiance chose: Freekeh, gelatine, thyme, strawberries, quail, leek, almond meal, vanilla bean. (And we learn his nickname for her is Vanilla Bean. She’s stunned by the freeken but luckily they only have to use one ingredient – although I’d be worried round two is to use what you already haven’t.)
Glowing Elena’s mum chose: Almond meal, mud crab, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, vanilla bean, apples, bacon, lemons (A good all rounder box).
Harry’s mum chose: Tassie salmon, dry sparkling wine, sesame seeds, avo, lemons, asparagus, chilli, peas. (Surprised no crab of prawns).
Intense Matt’s wife selected: Longan, limes, peanuts, daikon, green papaya, snapper, chillis and Vietnamese mint. (Luckily my local supermarket was giving customers free longan tastings a while back or I’d be scratching my head right npw. They’re like a lychee.)

GE is making crab with cauli and Brussels sprouts and seems to be using many of the ingredients.
IM is doing a fish broth with snapper dumplings, and he and his then fiancee used to travel around Asia eating soup.
Elise is making vanilla and thyme panna cotta (it’s been a while since we’ve seen one of those) but the gelatine her fiance picked is not as strong as her usual variety so she’s taking a punt on the ratios. This could be vanilla custard. Can’t she just yell to Con the panna cotta king for help?
Harry is having a Mimi-style brain freeze and hasn’t started. He’s very sombre in the talking head … he’s either sick of he’s been eliminated.
He starts with a wine granita but still has no idea what his whole dish will be. Time for a George and Gary pep talk. He decides to do salmon two ways, peas and dumplings. Will he even use the granita?
IM’s dumpling skins look glorious. I want dumplings! Elise is making a strawberry jelly to go with her panna cotta (and using rectangular moulds – not the red moulds of death!) and bravely decides to have a crack at the freekeh. Luckily there are directions on the box. She pops it in the microwave and hopes it will puff up. Gaz likes the idea.
GE’s prep is excellent – she has everything lined up in little bowls, chef style.
Elise’s freekeh isn’t cooked enough so she whips up a thyme crumb for crunch and a black pepper tuile and praline. What’s next: spun sugar?
IM is making noodles out of his daikon. We call zucchini noodles zoodles, so does this mean he’s made doodles?
Harry is throwing all kinds of extra elements at his dish to add substance to it, including a lemon curd. Did he burn the lemons, as per usual?
Elise’s panna cotta seems to have set and it looks pretty good.The Brussels sprouts on GE’s plate give an amazing pop of colour. Even if it was a blind taste test they’d know it was her dish.

The judges taste

Elise’s panna cotta: The judges like the look of it. You can tell they like it – and, indeed, Gaz seagulls in to snag the last piece. The pops of pepper and thyme are great. Matt does say there’s a bit too much gelatine in there.

Harry’s salmon with dumplings and granita: Gaz says it looks pretty and sophisticated. “The things that throws the whole dish is that granita of champagne, because it’s raw.” Matt says the pasta is the best they’ve seen in the comp. So, he’s not the winner.

IM’s snapper with dumplings: “Lots of technique. The noodles for me are a hit,” says George. Matt says the fish is well cooked but questions the amount of chilli and Vietnamese mint. Seems like they were just trying to find something to balance the positives.

GE’s crab with Brussels sprouts: The judges adore her arc presentation and Gaz demands extra soz. Here comes the loud angelic music. She’s won. Gaz raves about her soz and while he goes on about “the alchemy of a sauce” the other two polish off the dish. “You bastards,” he says. Ok, I like Gaz a bit more today. Matt says the crab and apple combo was genius.

And the winner of round one is …
GE. She’s through to the semi final. Well deserved but if IM goes home after the next round I’ll be throwing a sous vide machine at the TV. I just have to buy one first.

Round two
They get to choose from types of ingredients, techniques and equipment. They do a knife pull for the order and they all must use the same selection.
Matt lists off some of the options: skewering, candying, juicing, using tea, grilling, aerating …
IM is first and he chooses “liquefying”, which involves juicers and blenders. As he says, this could be used for sweet or savoury dishes.
Harry picks “aeration”, which is whisks and siphon guns.
And Elise picks, surprise, surprise, gelatine.
The guys won’t be happy with the gelatine – time for a savoury jelly?

Gaz says Elise has chosen well by picking something that narrows the choices to favour her skill set.
IM is doing a dessert, a blackberry sorbet with honey nougat, tempered choc and port jelly – sounds like he’s using some of the skills gained in the Alla Wolf-Tasker challenge.
Elise picks an aerated choc parfait (ABC!!!) with an orange sorbet and jelly. Mmm – love Jaffas. On the gantry, dessert specialists Mimi, Charlie and Chloe aren’t keen. “I know Elise is always wanting to do something with parfaits but this is for a place in the semi finals … you have to make sure you’re showing the judges you’ve learnt so much,” says Mimi in a talking head.
Harry is making passionfruit sorbet, Aperol and grapefruit jelly and a coconut something – he needs to work on his enunciation.

The judges come over to Elise’s bench to freak her out. “Why are you doing another parfait again?” Gaz asks. She freaks out because she knows he’s right and he actually comes back to her afterwards to say “I don’t want to put you off, but it has to be said.” She agrees as tears plop into her sorbet mixture. “It’s MasterChef, not Average Chef,” she tearily tells the camera. Then whips out the smoking gun. “Smile – you love making desserts,” Anastasia tells her from the gantry. Because telling someone to “smile” always cheers them up. GE tries to cheer her up from the sidelines.

The judges remind IM how far out of his comfort zone he is.
Matt suggests to Harry he is trying to do too many things at once and Harry bites back: “I’m going to fight for the top three, Matt.”
So Matt moves on to Elise, who is still buckling under the pressure. Everyone on the gantry is worried about her.
Gaz reminds Harry he needs to add something crunchy to his dish, which is all soft textures. D’oh – that’s basic MasterChef, up there with seasoning and tasting as you go. With 12 minutes to go he decides to try and temper white chocolate. Oh Harry – why not just do a quick crumb or toast some nuts? White choc is hard to temper, whereas IM’s dark choc looks lovely and glossy.
So far everything we’ve heard from IM is that he’s happy, so it’s between weepy Elise and Harry.
It’s time to plate but Elise says her sorbet is too icy while Harry’s is not frozen enough. And his white chocolate “chips” are too soft, so he wisely leaves them off. And he hasn’t tested his coconut foam.
IM’s dish looks awesome. Winner pick! Elise’s dish looks a bit clumsy and GE comes over to give her a cuddle.

The judges taste

Harry’s passionfruit sorbet with jelly: “I feel like a shell of myself,” he tells them. His foam (which I’ve worked out is an espuma) is meant to stay fluffy but it melts away. The judges say he made a mistake by keeping the foam warm in the siphon gun. Gaz says it’s more of a pre-dessert cleanser than a dessert and it’s crying out for texture. George says the ice cream is “nice”. Faint praise.

IM’s blackberry sorbet with port jelly:
“You get to that point of the competition where you can’t hide behind a savoury mask any more,” he tells the judges. They love the presentation. George says it’s like something a top chef would make. “The sorbet is spot on,” says Gaz. Matt says he’s like a boxer who’s switched hands midway through a fight and he’s excelled.

Elise’s choc parfait with orange sorbet: “It’s a bit clumsy, isn’t it,” says Gaz. The glaze is dull, the jelly roughly cut. The sorbet is icy and flat and the choc too hard. George loves the flavour of the smoked choc parfait. They’re disappointed but you can tell Gaz especially likes her – he’s come a long way from barking at her in the early rounds of the comp.

The judges decide
And it’s Elise. She’s not surprised. The judges say nice things about her. They don’t show her saying “wongtongs” in the montage – dammit. “I’m going to have my own cake store,” she tells the camera. Harry is a lucky boy.

Bye Elise!
So top three is IM, GE and Harry. we may have to rename IM Glowing Matt – he’s so happy.

Tomorrow night
Gaz tells them tomorrow is a service challenge, They have to cook a main and a dessert for 20 people in the MC kitchen. We see one dish with perfect granny smith batons, so that’s Elena’s.



  1. So who’s the odd one out by a mile?
    Yes Elise, time to pack up the wongtongs, jews, silicone moulds, ice cream churners and head to a blast chiller far away.
    Ce serait parfait.

  2. lol – “why are you making another parfait?”
    That was a bit mean, though. Yes she makes too many parfaits but they did say “open pantry”. As long as you use the chosen methods.

    • Because I don’t know how to make anything else.

      Has it jumped the shark? Smoked parfait. Just missing the beetroot and fennel.

  3. Matt made a dumpling , Harry makes a dumpling.
    Matt tempers chocolate, Harry tempers chocolate
    Elise follows her usual formula but her first dessert looked great

    For a quarter final they should have given them 90 mins

    • Agree – considering how “crucial” it is, the time allowed should have reflected that.
      Harry looking very pale in the recaps.

  4. All that unnecessary bloody screaming at the end of the cook. Can’t stand it. Harry looks tired. Stupid Elise crying again! I’m bored with Elise.
    IM for the finals please.
    Masterchef needs to change the whole format. Less loud crazy music. Less manufactured drama please.

  5. No mention of what Elise is doing since leaving MC. None of those desserts were really top looking dishes.

  6. Juz, you’ve smashed that recap within a half hour of the show finishing. Well done. “Seagulls” as a verb to describe Gary’s hovering and squawking about “alchemy”. Perfect.

    • Ta BDD. Only took short breaks to scarf down olive ciabatta and check the gutters aren’t overflowing in this freezing rain.

  7. has this:
    Elise wants to combine her job in the pharmacy department at Cairns Hospital with a planned online cake website.
    Elise and Emanuele are set to be married in 2017.

  8. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    So Elise usually uses platinum gelatin not gold & her boyfriend should know that. I haven’t heard of either of them. I just use plain old powdered gelatin. She says she’s going to do something different so I think good no parfait then. So she makes a panna cotta which is almost as bad. When she was first unpacking it & I saw the quail I thought oh no, no dessert stuff. But then saw the strawberries & stuff.
    Good on Elena, her dish looked fantastic. That yummy crab. So finny Matt & George polishing it off.
    Good on Matt making a dessert. He said he needs to do something different from savoury. Someone should have told Elise. When Gary said why are you doing another parfait Twitter went off. He asked what everyone at home was asking.
    Harry said he kept the coconut mixture warm because it had gelatin in it & thought it would set if it got cold. But unfortunately the whole thing melted. He was lucky Elise’s gelato was icy & her chocolate was too hard.
    All the highlights of Elise’s dishes were parfait after parfait.

  9. I think the boyfriend sent Elise the freekah for a joke ’cause she always says ‘I’m freakin’ out.’ Don’t think she appreciated it.

    The actual joke is that Elise made it this far. Quite nice and bubbly, but one-dimensional to the point where even the judges and gantry were rolling their eyes.

    Elena can be inventive, but hit and miss at times, and I can’t remember the last dessert she made.
    Harry’s too erratic and prone to overplaying his hand.
    But Matt continues to show he’s solid and can turn his hand to anything.
    He’s the master, and I fully expect him to take command of the Starship Masterchef.

    Harry to go next … and straight to the hairdresser’s, I hope.

  10. Most boring cook evah…Elise. Good for Gary for calling her out, “Why are you making another parfait?” Viewers have been asking that question for several weeks. So glad she is gone. The only thing she did differently was use black silicone molds instead of red ones, although maybe that was all that was available.

  11. I don’t get Elise saying she wants to open a cake shop. I cannot recall a single cake she made. All they can feature on her montage was an endless succession of parfait domes! Although she did do a meat and chips in LA I think.
    She did say ‘play to my strengths” about three times – before getting soundly beaten by a savoury specialist!!
    Love the recap Juz. Excellent.
    Harry totally dodged a bullet – clearly he was slated to go but it was (literally) up there with puddle pie!

  12. Can’t believe Harry got through, his dish disintegrated right before the judges. Perhaps it was the taste – so important to the judges:) It does worry me that they will be judging the finals. I would like Elena to win but I don’t suppose she will – IM’s stare gives me the willies, and I wonder why he wears those awful earrings. Just a thought.

  13. Harry very very lucky…. but Elise didn’t shine either… but I still think a really tasty parfait would beat a dodgy palate cleanser.

    After reading Matt Preston’s critique of the final four in the paper over the weekend it was evident Elise was next to go… and from his words I fear Harry wins it. Elena and Matt would be the most deserving…. but Harry being 21 (tick), Male (tick – male year), has a weird hairdo (tick), has a nose ring (tick), is gay (tick)…. just meets all those lovely criteria that makes him a producers selling point. If Matt wins would he be the first married male to do so?? Just seems in these kind of shows married males never win, but more often than not married females do.

    At least Matt has the obligatory chef tatts, so he’s well on his way to being a successful chef.

  14. The judges probably eliminated Elise not only for the issues with her dish but also because she was not pushing herself and her dishes had become boring and predictable.
    As for Harry, he can cook and has some creativity BUT I don’t see him (or want him) in the finals. Would like an Elena vs Matt final. It’s too bad they couldn’t have just eliminated both Harry & Elise and moved on to the final two.

  15. Oh, I hope Harry doesn’t win.
    Either Elena or Matt – both contestants have been the most consistent cooks over this very loooong season.

  16. I fear they are totally setting up Harry for the win. Would be very happy with either GE or IM but I greatly fear that the ‘crazy out there/genius risk taker who sometimes fails but usually dazzles ‘ vibe they are setting up for Harry will deliver him the win. Hope the producers can resist and content themselves with weird earrings and sleeve Tatts as their street cred story this year.

  17. Basically, Harry has been luckier than Oscar Pistorius to get this far. Golden Brookie Boy. Protected bird.

    Hygiene and humility are beyond him. Ignores the advice of the so called greatest chefs in the world. Scant regard for team mates in challenges. He’s a piece of culinary driftwood with a fancy haircut.

    Last night’s “beautiful” offering deconstructed before our very eyes. Fail. Go home.

    Yet the producers have persisted in force feeding this culinary charlatan to a bored audience.

    I think Harry’s got this now. $hame, Ch 10.

    • Yep- all we can do now is hope we are wrong & IM grabs the win for the male’s turn on the podium.

  18. Gary was the biggest bastard on display. He could easily have mentioned to Elise about her parfait fetish last week or prior but he chose to grandstand about it right when Elise begins cooking and she’s crying in no time. She was domed from then on. By and large, he’s treated her like shit during the season.

    So Gaz steps up to the plate to head**** Elise just when Harrison needs all the help he can get. “It had to be said”, quoth grunting Gaz. Maybe , but right then?

    • Dave, I remember there were a couple of comments from the judges to her last week about using domes again and I think another one about making the same style dish again. Even when she picked gelatine last night, what was said should have given her a clue that she was not showing any versatility. Perhaps it was too late then, but she could have switched it up some. Maybe they were too subtle, but she shouldn’t have needed to be hit over the head to realise that she has been making slight variations on the same few dishes throughout the whole competition. Playing to her strength was playing it safe, and showed her lack of imagination and unwillingness to take a chance. That attitude won’t, and shouldn’t, get a place in the final.

    • Fair enough. It hasn’t really registered with me that the judges had sledged Elise before about parfaits etc, even though it’s been the talk of the town here. I’m down to captions only, trying to avoid the awful music. I did hear Jowl$y’s snipe about the gelatine during today’s encore, which Lulu mentioned above.

  19. Well if Harry survives tonight, then he’s surely slated for the win, and that’d be ridiculous by even MC standards.
    They can hardly say he’s ‘peaking at the right time’ after last night’s debacle.

    Every exit interview I’ve seen has them picking Matt. Chloe said he was the most considerate in the house, helping people with sauces etc. and everyone would ask him to taste their food.
    He’s been the most accomplished, pleasant performer I’ve seen in a long time and thoroughly deserves the big one.
    The earrings … not so much ..

  20. Wonder if the people they are cooking for tonight are family and friends – but they won’t know about it until they’ve finished serving!!

  21. Thank you BDD – you took the words right out of my mouth (words I wouldn’t have even thought of). Time and time again, Harry stuffs up and surprisingly someone else stuffs up on a grander scale. Grrr!! Be gone Harry

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