MasterChef Australia, Season 4, Episode 37 Recap - Mystery Box: Winning Recipe
In tonight’s Mystery Box “with a twist”, the past winners of MasterChef Australia return to set the challenge. The three of them choosing the ingredients of the box, the culinary protégés must decide which box to cook from before the contents are revealed.
So we have Julie Goodwin, renowned for her delicious, budget family fare; mini samurai, Adam Liaw who loves to cook familiar Asian flavours and Kate Bracks, the dessert specialist.
There are some predictable lines formed before each past winner. Adam has Audra, Amina and token blonde white girl that thinks she’s Asian, Mindy (also see Courtney from Season 2). Kate has Kylie, Emma and Cupcake Barbie within her group.
Julie’s box contains the humble chuck steak, tinned tomatoes, ricotta, eggplant and onions. Adam has pork belly, kimchee, rambutans, spring onions and shiso cress. Kate chose figs, dark chocolate, vanilla pods, honey and vincotto.
They have ninety minutes to cook and it’s revealed that there will be no Invention Test tonight, the three worst dishes will go straight into the elimination.
Mindy admits that Adam’s Mystery Box was chosen because he cooks with Asian flavours, loves contemporary Asian cuisine and that’s what she’s all about. It’s good you cleared that up, Mindy. We didn’t hear you the last 36 times.
Audra’s cooking a braised pork belly served on homemade egg noodles. Her main concern is achieving that “melt in your mouth” pork in a short time. Out comes the trusty pressure cooker.
Wade is flying by the seat of his pants, not really sure how to cook the pork belly. He’s experimenting with boiling it and then frying it.
Filippo’s making a chocolate pudding and tells us he’s confident as long as he gets the ratios right. This, of course, foreshadows what’s to come.
Sam is soaked through with sweat as usual. He’s making a chuck steak strudel with pomodoro sauce. Both Matt and Julie love his idea.
Kate and Gary approach Emma, who’s cooking a vanilla bean ice cream, honey caramelised figs, chocolate mousse and served in a delicate cone. Gary’s main concern is that the cone is so thin that it will disintegrate with so many wet ingredients.
Andrew’s doing something out of his comfort zone by cooking Adam’s ingredients. He’s cooking pork two ways - roasted with crackling and twice-cooked stir-fry.
Wade’s just about ready to deep fry his pork when an explosion of hot oil pops out and burns Audra’s arm. She screams and yells the one swear word they allow in the time slot. Wade chuckles and half-heartedly apologises. It was his strategy all along to take out his competition with volatile ingredients. Especially because his pork and roti just aren’t working.
Filippo’s pudding hasn’t come out properly either. He didn’t put enough flour in. And you call yourself the Bread King? Shame on you! He tries to salvage it by taking the best parts of the pudding and placing them in a cylinder mould.
The lid comes off Audra’s pressure cooker and the pork is perfectly soft. She’s uncharacteristically nervous as her hands tremble while plating up.
Sam’s first up with his savoury strudel. He says he was inspired by Julie’s family meal ethos and cooked something that can be shared for dinner. Apprehensive at first, Gary is won over by the flavours and creativity of the budget one-pot wonder.
Audra’s braised pork belly, egg noodles and soft boiled egg is next and she drizzles her dish with a rich sauce before Gary tucks in. The egg oozes perfectly onto the noodles. Both Gary and Adam praise her deceptively simple, yet elegantly presented dish, that is full of flavour and technique.
Debra shows off her sticky fig and caramel cake with vanilla custard and cream. It possesses a wonderous sheen. Preston slathers the cake with the custard and all six of them dig in. A succession of exclamations and lip smacking ensues. The uplifting piano score kicks in.
Filippo serves up his chocolate pudding, vanilla ice cream and figs. Gary immediately notices the sad pudding. When he eats it, none of the components are very good. The pudding in particular has a “bready consistency”. All that bread making has come back to haunt you, Fil. George gives him another dose of tough love, by now bordering on bullying, telling him to cut out the “restaurant-look” act and just serve himself on the plate.
Mindy brings her pork belly two ways with spring onion pancakes to the tasting bench. Gary salivates instantly. There’s loads of complimentary flavours and textures. It receives universal praise. Preston even says it’s the most exciting dish she’s done.
Wade anxiously walks up with his salt & pepper pork belly with roti. His pork is tough, the dipping sauce is just pure salty fish sauce and the roti is totally brittle. The ever empathetic George then asks him what’s up. Wade reveals his thoughts are plagued with issues like time management and choice of ingredients etc. George and Adam give some encouraging words of wisdom.
Emma’s vanilla bean ice cream cone is next. Gary asks how they’ll share the single cone. He cuts it open so they can inspect and share it. He likes the flavours but thinks she misused her time and should have been able to plate up at least three so they could individually hold them, the whole point of having the cone.
Andrew’s roast pork two ways finally hits a home run for the serial elimination participant. It’s a roar from the crowd as Preston breathes a massive sigh of relief. He’s plated it beautifully, nailed the flavours and cooked the pork perfectly.
The top dishes are from Mindy, Audra, Deb and Andrew. He cockily steps to the very front before Matt tells him to get back with the other three top cooks.
Today the winner is Audra who is seriously shocked. It’s been a long time coming for the potential next MasterChef and she finally gets to cook for immunity.
The three least impressive dishes belong to Filippo, Wade and Emma. She, of course, blubbers because that’s pretty much all she does and becomes resolute in making a comeback. Julie closes the show by telling them not to go down without a fight. Wade concocts a devious plan to take out his two opponents in seemingly accidental cooking incidents.