The top 50 began with a barbecue challenge, with the freedom to cook whatever they wanted. The 10 worst performers were sent into a pavlova pressure test led by Donna Hay. The 5 contestants who produced the worst pavlovas were eliminated from the competition.
The remaining contestants were asked to prepare their signature dish. In a first for MasterChef Australia the contestants did the judging, with the men voting for their favourite dish from the women, and vice versa. The top 7 vote-getters (4 women, 3 men) were then put into a beef wellington pressure test, with the best man and woman progressing directly to the top 24. The winners, Claire and Jimmy, were the first pair to advance to the Top 24.
The 10 contestants who performed worst in Tuesday's signature dish challenge were split into 5 groups of 2 and given 7 hours to drive out to local farms, collect fresh produce, and return to the MasterChef kitchen to prepare a main and a dessert. One contestant, Andrea, found the challenge difficult, and realised that MasterChef was not for her; her withdrawal from the competition forced her partner in the challenge, Philip, to prepare both dishes on his own. Despite this setback, he and 4 others kept their spots in the competition, while 5 contestants were eliminated.
With 10 spots in the Top 24 on the line, the remaining contestants competed in a mise en place challenge. The challenge had 4 stages, with the worst performers in each stage removed by Gary and George. The first stage involved separating egg yolks and whites. The second asked the contestants to julienne carrots. In the third, the first 10 contestants to shuck 12 oysters satisfactorily moved onto the final stage, wherein Marion, Adele, Courtney and Daniel successfully cut 6 fillets of salmon weighing between 170g and 190g first, gaining their places in the Top 24. Following the mise en place challenge, the remaining contestants had to follow a recipe from Matt Moran, with poor performers gradually eliminated in stages. 10 contestants had their dishes tasted, with Jonathan, Peter, Aaron, Adam, Kate B. and Philip impressing the judges the most, winning their spots in the Top 24.
The six contestants who won Top 24 spots cooking against Matt Moran are treated to a Masterclass with him in ARIA's kitchen. Matt shows them how to make seafood canapandeacute;s. The other contestants learn how to cook a dish of baby vegetables and techniques for grilling meat by George and Gary. George also makes a raspberry dessert with jelly, granita and champagne.
After a mystery box challenge, 4 contestants will be through to the Top 24, and 4 will be sent home. The contestants cook a Neil Perry fish dish in a pressure test and Neil also judges the dishes.
The Top 24 arrived at the MasterChef house and then headed to the MasterChef kitchen. The contestants had 90 minutes to create a dish that was a childhood memory for them. The winner will now cook off against a celebrity chef and if they win, will be given an immunity prize, which can be uses to escape an elimination if need be.
The off site team challenge, to take over the running of two Italian restaurants, saw the Red Team conquer despite having a simpler menu. From the Blue Team, Jonathan and Devon were selected by the judges as the two worst performers and were up for elimination. Sarah withdrew from the competition to return to her family.
As the Red Team enjoyed their reward: lunch and a mini MasterClass with Luke Mangan, Jonathan and Devon faced off in the Elimination Challenge; a best of three challenge with the theme: eggs. Jonathan won the first round; to correctly name different birds' eggs. The next round Jonathan and Devon raced to be the first to beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
The judges share their own food memories in this week's MasterClass. A good old English Sunday Roast was Gary's dish of the day while George cooked up lasagne with a twist.
Japanese theme. The Mystery Box challenge saw the contestants making the 'perfect burger', with only five selected to taste by the judges. Marion won the challenge and picked tuna as the core ingredient for the Invention Test. With a Japanese theme, Adam was favourite to win the challenge but it was Callum who triumphed.
Carrie, Kate and Fiona faced off in the Pressure Test after cooking the three least impressive dishes in the Invention Test. They were asked to replicate a chicken dish from chef Peter Gilmore. Fiona had a slow start but she finished strongly and cooked the chicken perfectly but her dish lacked detail. Despite a strong start, Kate failed to read her recipe thoroughly, she wrapped up her chicken too much that it didn't cook properly and she ended up serving the judges raw chicken although her vegetables were perfectly cooked. Carrie struggled through the whole challenge, she cooked the chicken perfectly but all the flavour leaked out in the water bath because she left a hole in her chicken's skin and her vegetables were undercooked.
This dessert is no piece of cake
In an unprecedented twist, Callum as winner of the weeks Invention Test was granted the power to pick his entire team first. The off site challenge was to put on a children's birthday party for 150 people, who would vote for their favourite dish. The Blue Team proved to have too great an advantage and won easily.
As the Blue Team enjoyed their reward at Sails on Lavender Bay with Nathan Darling, Jonathan and Adele faced off in a 'fix the dish' challenge. They had to fix a poorly made dish (a bolognese sauce) in ten steps, each step adding their choice of a range of ingredients.
Shaun Presland shows how simple Japanese is.
Indian theme. The Mystery Box challenge saw the contestants choosing between a main and a dessert, with Skye's Crispy Duck winning her the challenge and picking goat as key ingredient in the Invention Test. Jimmy was the favourite to win but in the end it was Jonathan whose invention impressed the judges the most.
Dominic, Joanne and Matthew faced off in the Pressure Test; to make a black forest cake. Joanne was able to put off a shaky start and finish strongly, leaving the judges to pick the least impressive of the two men. Dominic's cake only had three layers instead of the five in the recipe, while Matthew left a cherry pit in his cake.
The two teams were tasked with preparing a Classic French 3-course meal for Matt Preston, Tetsuya Wakuda and Guillaume Brahimi. Michel Roux mentored the Red Team, Tony Bilson mentored the Blue Team.
While the Blue Team enjoyed their lunch with Giovanni Pilu, the Red Team faced off in a two-round Elimination challenge. The first challenge was to make a traditional Genovese Pesto completely by hand in ten minutes, from which, only Marion's was of an acceptable quality, with Sharnee, Courtney and Daniel as the worst of the rest. Those three then competed in the second round of the challenge: naming herbs.
The judges serve up duck two ways and invite guest chef Kumar Mahadevan to cook a spicy prawn curry. Justin North also helps the contestants make crackling pork.
'Around the world' theme. The Mystery Box challenge saw the contestants tackle a complex range of ingredients and a time of just 25 minutes. Peter took out the challenge and was given a significant advantage in the Invention Test, which for the first time would see the contestants competing in trios. Peter was given the power to not only pick the core ingredient for each country's cuisine, but also to pick the members of each team.
Alvin, Daniel and Fiona faced off in the Pressure Test; to recreate a Pork Schnitzel with chips and coleslaw with no recipe to follow. While each contestant cooked the correct meat, Daniel and Fiona were under the impression that they were cooking veal. Aside from that, each dish had its shortcomings: Alvin failed to flatten his meat and it was undercooked, Daniel's meat was overcooked and he used shop-bought mayonnaise in his coleslaw, and Fiona used packaged breadcrumbs instead of fresh.
Team 'Restaurant Arras' (Adam Humphrey, Lovaine Allen, Aaron Eady) face off against Aaron, Joanne and Matthew.
The two teams were tasked with preparing a 3 course meal for a normal family and judges Matt Preston and Curtis Stone, on a tight budget and time limit. In the end, the families rated each team equally and the judges could not agree on a winner, so the challenge was ruled a tie. Therefore, a bottom 2 was selected from each team,
As the Blue Team and Red Team enjoyed their lunch at Sailor's Thai, the four contestants were asked to name the ingredients of a traditional Bouillabaisse in a taste test Elimination Challenge. Over half of the ingredients had been correctly named when a contestant incorrectly guessed 'white wine' and was eliminated.
Gary cooked braised BBQ'd ribs with homemade sauce and George offered up a Waldorf salad. Guest chef Peter Kuravita from Sydney restaurant Flying Fish, showed the contestants two completely different bug dishes- one with an accompanying shaved fennel and edamame salad and a main dish featuring a spicy ginger and chilli sauce.
'Modern Australia' theme. There was no Mystery Box challenge this week, instead the contestants faced a pizza making challenge. Fiona was the victor and picked tropical fruit as the Invention Test's core ingredient. Many struggled with this sweet choice, while Marion's risky recipe paid off and she was declared the winner.
Their task was to recreate a dish by Australian food icon, Stephanie Alexander, a confit duck-neck sausage with grilled duck breast in sour cherry sauce, potato crisps and buttered spinach. Peter, being from Melbourne, was able to source ingredients from Queen Victoria Market quickly and make his way to the Langham Hotel first, followed by Carrie and then Jimmy. In the end, each dish had its problems: Peter's sauce was too floury, Carrie's sauce was too thin, her sausage grainy and she failed to plate up the spinach, and Jimmy's spinach was gritty and his duck breast overcooked.
The two teams were faced with their toughest challenge yet: to take over the running of George Calombaris' own restaurant The Press Club on its relaunch, serving a variety of Australian food royalty and celebrities. Each team struggled early with the stresses of running a restaurant.
In a mystery box Elimination Challenge, the Blue Team members were tasked with creating a dish to complement a specific bottle of wine.
Gary and George showed the contestants how to make the perfect pizza, while Gary also served up an English rice pudding, and George cooked up some chicken oysters with homous and fatoush.
Pasta theme. After a trying Mystery Box challenge featuring lambs' brains, Marion emerged as winner and picked seafood as the core ingredient for the Invention Test. Most contestants thrived in making their own pasta, leading the judges to award a Top 6, with Aaron wowing with his remarkable invention.
Jake, Jimmy and Matthew faced off in the Pressure Test; to recreate a Rick Stein seafood platter worth 0.
Aaron cooked off against Maggie Beer, making her pheasant pie.
In the biggest Off Site Challenge ever, contestants were faced with preparing 8000 canapandeacute;s for 2000 guests on the PandO Pacific Jewel, who would vote for their favourite team's menu. Under the guidance of a PandO sous chef (plus an extra helper for the Red Team to make up the numbers), each team prepared 1000 of four different canapandeacute;s. The Blue Team struggled early and opted to buy the help of another chef for 100 votes.
Marion, Jake and Joanne face an elimination taste test. They must identify 23 ingredients to stay in the competition. Will this be Marion's one and only chance to use her immunity?
The red team goes to Red Lantern for lunch and a impromptu master class. They learn to make a quail entree.
The 3 up for elimination have to taste a Thai green curry, naming ingredients that are contained within.
George cooked up ravioli with potato and leek as well as a quail dolmatha with tahini and yoghurt dressing. Meanwhile guest chef Matt Moran had quesadillias on the menu and a berry and frangipane tart.
Vegetarian theme. In a meaty Mystery Box challenge, it was Claire who managed to impress the most and was given a significant advantage in the Invention Test, which would be contested in pairs. As well as picking the core ingredient, Claire was given the power to choose the pairs for the challenge. In a further twist, they would be cooking to impress six staunch meat-eaters, and the two judges, with their vegetarian meals. Aaron and Adam emerged as winners with their curry, and won the chance to face off in a mystery challenge for immunity.
Callum, Joanne, Peter and Skye faced off in the Pressure Test; to recreate George Calombaris' oyster terrine. Callum's terrine was described as a dog's breakfast but was closest to George's dish in flavour.
In a twist on the traditional format, Aaron and Adam competed against each other to win immunity. They had 1hr 45min to complete three dishes with three core ingredients for three Celebrity Chefs, Matt Moran, Kylie Kwong and Ian Curley. The Chefs would then pick their favourite of the two dishes, and the contestant with the most votes would win immunity.
Teams were tasked with creating a dining experience using principles of molecular gastronomy. With the help of two leaders in innovative cooking, each team was tasked with a specific theme to shape their dining experience.
In a two-round Elimination Challenge testing basic skills, members of the Blue Team were first asked to cook Chicken Korma. They were provided with all the ingredients but were left to choose which spices to use. Out of the six contestants, only Alvin's attempt was of an acceptable quality with Jonathan and Skye the worst of the rest. They were sent into a sudden death challenge to name spices.
Callum and Sharnee were treated to a masterclass on Cheese by Australian cheese expert Will Studd, while the remaining contestants were treated to a steak and kidney sandwich by Gary Mehigan and stir-fried Aubergines in Chili sauce by Kylie Kwong. Chef Darren Purchese also demonstrated his 'fruit carnival'.
'Australian Food Icon' theme. The winner of Masterchef Australia 2009, Julie Goodwin, returned as a guest judge for the Mystery Box Challenge, the ingredients of which were also chosen by her. Marion won the challenge and she chose Chiko Rolls as the food icon contestants had to 're-invent'. Jonathan's dish was the most impressive while Callum, Matthew and Sharnee were chosen as the Bottom 3 contestants.
Callum, Matthew and Sharnee faced off in the Pressure Test, where they had to recreate a Beef Stroganoff with Parsley Fettuccine without a recipe to follow. Each of the contestants identified the correct meat, but each contestant's dish had flaws; Callum's Stroganoff lacked enough sauce and his pasta was overcooked, Matthew put too much tomato paste in his Stroganoff and Sharnee incorrectly used nutmeg instead of paprika.
Teams were tasked with creating a 3 course menu suitable for Qantas business class passengers. They were required to prepare the food at the MasterChef Kitchen and reheat it in the galley of a Qantas Airbus A380. The judging panel in addition to Gary and Matt included chef Neil Perry and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
In a taste test Elimination Challenge, all members of the Blue Team were asked to name the ingredients to a carrot cake.
Aaron and Marion are treated to a masterclass in artisan baking by Michael Klausen, while Gary and George cook up a dish of lamb backstrap fillet cooked in a Barramundi skin with flesh from the fish, along with a shiitake mushroom sauce and hash browns. Julie Goodwin then returns to the MasterChef kitchen and conjures up a dish of scallops with bacon crunch and cauliflower puree, and Gary and George round it off with an extravagant dessert of bitter chocolate ganache with peanut ice cream, peanut toffee caramel and a honeycomb.
'Afternoon Tea' theme. It was revealed to the contestants that this Invention Test would take place in London. After settling in at the Langham Hotel, the contestants first challenge for the week was to invent a pastry, drawing inspiration from one of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Callum won the challenge and was rewarded with a private MasterClass with Jamie Oliver as well as attending the announcement of the World's 50 Best Restaurants with Matt Preston. Jonathan was chosen by Callum to share the reward.
Contestants competed in pairs to recreate Heston Blumenthal's elaborate signature dishes. Heston praised the contestants' attempts at dishes he'd taken years to perfect with Alvin and Marion's recreation of 'Sound of the Sea' deemed the most impressive.
In the first ever Super Challenge, contestants raced from London to Paris, France with the task to create a two-course meal based around the French favourite, the truffle. For the first time, the judges picked the teams: Callum and Marion (Yellow), Adam and Alvin (Red), Jonathan and Joanne (Green), and Aaron and Claire (Blue). Teams had to travel to Paris by the Eurostar, find the truffle shop, buy their ingredients from the market travelling via the Eiffel Tower, and prepare their meals on the banks of the Seine, all in 5 hours. Teams struggled with the language barrier, navigating a foreign city and finding necessary ingredients. In the end, each team faced criticism for their dishes.
In the Elimination Challenge, Joanne and Jonathan both recreated one of Brett Graham's dishes. Although both dishes had positives and negatives.
Back in Australia, George cooks up a seafood dish of Char Sui salmon with stir-fried winter melon and wood ear mushrooms, while Gary cooks a rhubarb and blackberry crumble souffle. Joanne returns for that masterclass. Later, the remaining seven contestants, without Joanne, visit Donna Hay for some styling tips.
Eleven of the 17 eliminated contestants returned to the MasterChef kitchen to compete for three second-chance spots. Devon, Kate, Courtney, Daniel, Philip, Jimmy, Jake, Peter, Skye, Sharnee and Matthew competed in four rounds testing basic skills. In the first round, the eleven contestants had to correctly peel 400 grams of prawns. Sharnee was slowest and was eliminated. The second round saw contestants making the perfect potato mash. Kate was slowest and was eliminated. In the third round, the remaining nine contestants had to make 10 French-style pancakes as quickly as possible. Matthew was eliminated. The final round saw the contestants making Eggs Benedict and Hollandaise sauce with a twenty-minute time limit.
Devon, Courtney, Philip, Jimmy, Jake and Peter competed in the final round for one of 3 spots back in the competition. They were faced with an Invention Test, with the freedom to choose from an extensive range of ingredients. In a twist, it was the Top 7 contestants who were unknowingly deciding their fate; judging the six dishes under the pretence of learning how to critique a dish. The seven plus Matt Preston were unanimous in their decision.
Unlike other Celebrity Chef Challenges, Orr was cooking against all of the remaining 10, with the amateur winner (should there have been one) to receive immunity.
Teams were faced with a seemingly simple challenge; to bake five traditional Australian afternoon tea staples made famous by the Country Women's Association. They had to impress a crowd of 100 CWA members as well as the judging panel which included CWA veteran Allison Mutton. Each team member was responsible for one dish with the judges picking which team made the best of each separate dish. The contestants struggled with this challenge, to the point where the judges granted them extra time to finish so as to not lose face. When it came to scoring the teams, Claire and Jonathan's Fruit Cakes and Peter and Marion's Neopolitan Cakes were judged to be of such poor standard as to not warrant scoring at all.
While the Red Team enjoyed their lunch at Bilson's, Aaron and Jimmy were required to 'fix that dish', an unappetising coq au vin. George favoured Jimmy's finished dish but Gary preferred Aaron's.
While the Red Team enjoyed their lunch at Bilson's, Aaron and Jimmy were required to 'fix that dish', an unappetising coq au vin. George favoured Jimmy's finished dish but Gary preferred Aaron's.
'Home-style cooking' theme. Contestants were faced with snails under the Mystery Box, and it was Alvin who impressed the judges with his dish, creating a unique balance of complex flavours. He gained the power to pick the pairs for the Invention Test, and the core ingredient of chicken and oranges. Contestants had to impress renowned Australian cook Margaret Fulton with their home-style inventions and many struggled under the pressure. In the end, it was Adam and Claire who really impressed and Claire was nominated to take part in the Celebrity Chef Challenge
Alvin, Aaron, Marion and Peter faced off in the Pressure Test, where they had to recreate Adriano Zumbo's Macaroon Tower. Each contestants had to build their own tower consisting of 120 macaroons. Such a monumental challenge saw the contestants really struggle, each of them forced to cut corners. Half of Aaron's macaroons were 'like cake batter' while half of Marion's were 'hard as a rock'.
Teams were faced with preparing a hearty buffet lunch for 100 Australian soldiers. Starting at Holsworthy army base, contestants trekked to the field kitchen where they tackled creating a suitable menu. Teams came up with a few similar dishes and were forced to negotiate compromise in their menus. The Red Team struggled with their dessert, and Callum was chastised by the judges for his poor handling of the situation.
Marion, Jonathan and Aaron were required to name a variety of nuts to progress to the next round. Jonathan won the first round and was safe. Marion and Aaron progressed to the second round where they had to recreate a Thai satay sauce. Although both dishes impressed the judges, Aaron's had better flavour and presentation, and Marion's was thicker and considered to be 'gluggy' by the judges.
'Seven Deadly Sins' theme. Contestants struggled to produce stand-out dishes from a simple Mystery Box, with the two women left in the competition emerging as the strongest performers. Claire was declared the winner and won two big advantages: the power to skip the Invention Test, which would only have a Bottom 3, and the chance to face off in the Celebrity Chef Challenge. The Invention Test was based around the 'seven deadly sins', with each contestant creating a dish based on one of the sins.
Guest chef Christine Manfield set the most technically difficult dish seen so far in a pressure test: spice roasted squab with a turnip cake, with a recipe including 55 ingredients. In a close elimination.
Contestants were tasked with creating a dish that represented themselves and their cooking philosophy. After planning overnight and shopping with a 0 budget, each contestant had two hours to cook their signature dishes on five plates for Matt Preston and four other guests: Alla Wolf-Tasker, Mark Best, Kylie Kwong and Jacques Reymond. Each contestant was determined to impress such an illustrious panel, and the intense pressure lead to some potentially fatal mistakes. Overall, the judges were very impressed with the calibre of the dishes put forward, but only four contestants would automatically win their spot in the final week and a reward at Marque restaurant.
Aaron, Alvin and Jimmy faced a Basic Skills Test in a two-round Elimination Challenge. The first round saw contestants identifying different types of fish, with the two lowest scoring contestants moving into the second round. Jimmy named the most fish correctly, leaving Aaron and Alvin to face off in the second round; to cook the perfect fish and chips.
Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai was a guest judge for the invention test. The core ingredient was crustaceans and the contestants, working in two teams, had to cook a banquet.
The contestants have four hours to recreate Adriano Zumbo's V8 cake, which features eight different textures of vanilla and tempered white chocolate on the outside. The winner's prize is choosing the ingredients for tomorrow's mystery box challenge.
Vue de Monde's Shannon Bennett was a guest judge for the mystery box challenge. Jimmy had picked the ingredients, which included spices and lentils. The contestants had to make two dishes - one sweet and one savoury.
The final four cooked three dishes that would appear in their cookbook if they became Australia's next MasterChef. Maggie Beer was a guest judge. Each contestant explained the concept of their cookbook to the judges.
Cooking dinner for the Governor-General and 30 guests, the contestants were judged on their dishes and their performance in the kitchen.
Callum and Adam each spent time with a chef, from the markets to service, with Justin North and Peter Kuruvita. The top 24 contestants returned to the MasterChef kitchen for the last MasterClass. Alvin showed how to make his Drunken Chicken with Bruised Cucumber Salad and Fiona demonstrated her Chocolate Ganache Tart with Lavender Cream and Fresh Raspberries. Gary and George then felt the pressure in their own mystery box challenge.
Adam and Callum faced three rounds in the finale, worth 100 points in total. The first round involves basic skills tests. The second round is an invention test. The final round is a pressure test, cooking a Peter Gilmore dessert.