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Welcome, ça va? Do come in. Can I get you a café au lait? Champagne? Please settle in and take a seat for tonight’s episode of “The Pastry Shop of Pain”.
The Pepé Le Pew of Patisseries, Vincent Gadan, is in the house and his cloche is bulging with charming confectionary just for you.
For tonight’s elimination challenge, Gadan is the culinary equivalent of François Truffaut and he’s whipped up something a lot like a French New Wave film – it’s a sexy tale which takes about two hours to fully comprehend.
Scissor-wielding Andrew, pipe layer Beau and nurse Amina failed (epically) in front of His Royal Heston and now must pay the price and risk having their “I want to pursue a career in the food industry” dreams smashed by “not just a dessert but a way of life”.
This ain’t going to be a cake walk.
“This is a dish for all the pretty ladies out there,” Gadan coos as he unveils a bottle of perfume made of parfait.
He explains the inspiration for the red-cocoa-covered creation, titled “Essence of Woman”, is his mother’s birthday. While the peanut gallery looks perplexed and Freud has a field day, Andrew and Sean take a closer look as Amina whips out her high school French to wish Chef Gadan’s mère a happy birthday.
Well played Miss A – Gadan bounces over and plants a smooch on her hands. “Show off,” mutters Andrew, who’s clearly worn his cranky pants today, as Beau holds his paw out for the same bromantic treatment.
“I tried to make it as beautiful as a woman,” Gadan grins as Matt, Gaz and Curious George back away from the dessert that looks like something van Gogh has thrown up (and successfully bank rolled).
After tasting the frozen salted hazelnut parfait, rhubarb coulis, crystalised violets (for floral crunch) and sugar bubble, Andrew, who considers himself the “black ninja” for facing four elimination rounds, and Amina, who hates pretty things, get started while elimination virgin Sean cracks under the scrutiny.
“It tastes like perfume but in a good way,” he exclaims.
Blame it on the raised blood sugars or the heat in the kitchen, but Beau has opened the tear flood gates. In the peanut gallery, Audra is sobbing over the railing as Beau delves into his back story. Turns out the day he was handed a Top 20 apron he was also accepted into the fire brigade – a dream he previously spent five years chasing.
George pipes up to inform the troops that tonight’s challenge has three “pressure points”. They are: 1. the salted parfait 2. the tempered chocolate and 3. the icomoulds which, once melted, look like the sickly sweet coating of a toffy apple or hot wax found at the beautician.
The trio have two hours to recreate the perfume bottle dessert. As eggs are whipped and gelatine is prepared, Chef Garan approaches Beau.
“Have you ever made parfait?” he asks.
“Nah,” Beau replies.
“Have you ever tempered chocolate?”
“Have you ever used isomoulds?”
And MasterChef 2012 is back! Looking forward to next week’s elimination challenge where they attempt to recreate Vegemite on ciabatta.
“Well did you taste your parfait?” he asks through clenched teeth.
“Slightly,” the tradie says.
Gaz steps in to diffuse the situation dragging Chef Gadan away. He’s staring Beau down like a French bulldog ready to pounce on Coq au Vin left overs.
Once he’s calmed down, the four judges have a CWA meeting to discuss and dissect the intricacies of the intricate dish, while Andrew snaps angrily at his support crew and abandons the recipe by doing four things at once. Meanwhile, over on the next bench, Amina’s dish is beginning to erode as she dumps fistfuls of salt into the parfait mixture, which is meant to taste like salty peanut butter not the Pacific Ocean.
The parfaits are now freezing and its temper time – enter death by chocolate.
Andrew decides to grate “three million grams” of the dark chocolate before boiling it and throwing it onto the transfer paper. As the peanut gallery shriek in terror at his disregard for the art of crisp and shiny chocolate, Amina and Beau go about expressing themselves on the cocoa-covered canvases.
Andrew’s woes follow him into the next phase – making the nozzle and pipe of the perfume bottle.
His sweaty palms are turning his gold-dust-covered shapes into what a box of Cadbury Roses looks like after spending an afternoon in the December sun.
MasterChef Beauty School then begins when Amina spray tans her parfait with the red velvet cocoa butter. The boys follow as she sets about melting down her isomoulds. As Andrew questions which planet these crystals come from, Beau chooses to make his goo with a gold hue.
“Why yellow?” Chef Garan asks.
“It looks like honey, you know, it’s sweet like a woman,” he grins as knees around the nation buckle and bile rises in some throats.
The melted isomoulds are poured onto a silicon mat where they react with vodka, dry and turn into a sticky, wax pot mess.
With less than one minute remaining no one is close to plating up, Amina has a minor existential crisis when her hardened isomould structures and tempered chocolate towers don’t stand to attention and Andrew can’t stop admiring how sexy the zebra print chocolate transfers are.
Times up! Step away from your beauty/cooking benches!
The judges want Andrew first and so off he trots to serve his version of the “Essence of Woman”.
Chef Gadan smashes through the creation like a bully smashing through sand castles on the beach, while the others nod in unison that it lacks texture and the chocolate has not been treated right.
Beau’s isomould has them captivated as does his crunch, salt and all round presentation.
“What’s the story behind the flame?” they ask.
“It represents the time I missed out on an opportunity to be a fire fighter,” as the tears begin to well again.
Matt believes it’s now time for Beau to join Julia and Jules for a dessert ménage a trios.
“He needs to start hanging out with the ‘I can nail tricky desserts’ gang, he’s no longer with Ben and Andy in the beefy, bloke gang.”
As the strains of the cello come to a crescendo, the judges determine that what Amina’s dish lacks in presentation she makes up for with flavour and they can’t get enough of her salty parfait and freeze-dried rhubarb.
Ultimately, Andrew’s lack of acidity and soft chocolate shards stop the clock on his time in the MasterChef kitchen. It’s a blessing because he’s got an arsenal of inspirational postcard messages he’s been waiting to use.
“Be fearless!” he cries.
“Just because you don’t think you can, doesn’t mean you can’t,” he adds.
Back at the house and the news of his departure hits Mindy and the other long-haired lasses like a “ton of bricks” – possibly because there’s no one left to touch up their highlights or create an on-trend immunity challenge up ‘do tomorrow night.
Once he finishes making his kids’ pizza and he realises he isn’t the 15thDalai Lama specialising in dining, he plans to open a ready-made meals business for foodies who can’t be bothered to cook.
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