It’s MasterChef Australia 2023 episode eight and it was the first team Service Challenge of the season.
Tonight, judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa “Mel” Leong, and Andy Allen welcomed back past contestants Sashi Cheliah and Matt Sinclair to be team captains.
The MC kitchen was turned into a restaurant as the cooks were put into two teams.
Declan, Jess, Robbie, Adi, and Theo were in blue captained by Sashi, and in green, Cath, Rhiannon, Phil, Alice, Grace, and Antonio, captained by Matt.
Brent, Rue, and Andrea were sitting this one out for “a rest” while Melissa was up in the gantry with Immunity.
Mel announced that there were three ingredients per entree and main, each group had to feature.
The contestants also had 2.5 hours plus 30 guests to feed as well as the judges.
After the Green Team chose eggplant for the entree and pork belly for the main, they struggled to choose what to cook with Cath taking control of the team.
The Blue Team chose cucumber for the entree and coral trout. They also chose to serve prawns.
Cath was tasked with the pork belly and had to work out how much they needed for service.
“I’m not a finance person, this is not my brain,” she said.
“This is a good hour and hour and a half process,” Matt said, saying there was no room to make a mistake.
With 90 minutes until service, the pork was finally in.
Over on the Blue Team, Declan was in charge of the fish while Robbie was in charge of the curry. At home, he cooks over a campfire, so cooking in a restaurant was a daunting experience.
Alice, Antonio, and Grace worked on the eggplant while Jess called for help with shelling prawns for the Cucumber and Prawn Deconstructed Raita and Adi struggled to pickle the cucumber because she was unsure of the ratio between water and vinegar.
Once again, numbers were an obstacle as Declan counted how many coral trout to use, while Ralph “massacred” the fish while trying to fillet it.
“I’m nervous I’m going to cost us this challenge,” he said.
Sashi effortlessly showed Ralph what to do before the judges talked to Matt and Sashi about what their teams were cooking.
Then, “FINALLY” the prawns were completed and ready to be marinated and the first cook of the pork belly was finished before being strained and cooked again to become crispy.
Over on the Green Team, there was still a lot to do but the granita and the raita on the Blue team were prepped and ready to go.
Adi’s pickled cucumber was too salty with everyone pulling a face and she was concerned there wasn’t any time to fix it.
With 20 minutes until service, the diners arrived.
The Blue Team were still struggling with their pickled cucumber and had to remake it, stressed about time.
Then it was time to plate.
Entree from the Blue Team: Prawns with Cucumber Raita.
The judges loved it. The prawns were cooked “perfectly” and everything was “light and fresh” and consistently plated.
While the Blue Team were serving their entree and getting their plates out quickly, the Green Team was behind.
The Green Team entree: Miso Glazed Eggplant
The judges said that it was “beautifully cooked” and it was “even Stevens” at this point.
The Blue Team main: Fish Curry with Cumin Rice
“The fish is cooked unbelievably,” Andy said while Mel added: “It’s outrageous!”
Jock said that the cook of this fish really “surprised” him.
“Oh my god, what a good competent plate of food,” he said.
The Green Team main: Braised Pork Belly
Being a main, the judges were shocked that there was only a small amount of pork on each plate.
Mel called it “rustic in appearance” and “inconsistent” in portioning; however, there were a lot of great flavours.
“Every single piece of fish was cooked to perfection and that’s why blue team, you’ve won the challenge!” Jock said.
The Blue Team will now be cooking — alongside contestant Melissa — for immunity.