MasterChef recap: Lynton proves he’s no seafood basket case

Devastated: Lynton is convinced he has ruined his fish. Photo: Network 10 Thought to be doomed, Lynton’s dish surprisingly impresses the judges.

Redemption: Lynton’s dish is declared the best-cooked of all dishes from the seafood challenge.

It’s day three of MasterChef’s Barossa adventure, brought to you by the South Australian Tourism Commission’s “Come to the Barossa and be murdered by Nick Cave” campaign. It’s the final Boot Camp Relay, and it’s hard to believe we’ve already reached the end of this made-up thing.

We begin, as always, with Christina serving dinner to all the competitors, who each suffer a severe psychotic episode. We then head to the Barossa, where the rooster, symbol of imminent death, crows its grim warning to all.

In the dank torture dungeon in which the contestants are staying/will be slaughtered, the girls complain about the boys snoring and Jules takes advantage of this opportunity to act out her S&M fantasies.

Meanwhile Kelty is angry about his teammates’ failure to deliver and has apparently been unable to find a mirror.

A quick ride in stylish yet affordable Jeeps, available now from your friendly Jeep dealer, and they have arrived at the Seppeltsfield Wine Estate, the only estate in the world which releases a 100-year-old vintage every year. Hopefully the publicity from appearing on MasterChef will boost business so they can start producing some new wine.

George informs them that this is the second-last stoush in the battle of the sexes, emphasising his point by violently grabbing invisible bugs out of mid-air. We take a moment to contemplate the end of this wild, brief, vaguely interesting exercise in attempted sexism.

Suddenly in steps world champion oyster shucker Jim Wild, a man who looks exactly like you would expect someone who’s devoted their life to competitive oyster shucking to look. He’s joined by Wendy Parsons, Australia’s fastest prawn peeler, and lightning flathead-filleter Daryl “Macca” McAdam. Clearly today’s challenge is to see whether men or women are better at mocking people for their stupid jobs.

Jim demonstrates his skill by shucking a dozen oysters, and everyone is in awe at the speed at which he performs such a meaningless task. Wendy then peels half a kilo of prawns, and the contestants begin to panic, fearing they may be forced to stand here watching seafood get dismembered for the rest of their lives.

Macca then fillets five flathead, a good opportunity for Nicky to reveal that knife skills are his strong point, and for everyone else to quietly take a step away from Nicky.

Today’s challenge, which apparently there is still time for, is in two rounds, an oyster-prawn-flathead relay race. As Gary notes, it’s not just about speed: it’s also about not vomiting at the revolting job you’re doing. The second round will see the losing team cook off against each other.

The teams discuss who would be best to take on the roles. Totem notes that Kelty would be a terrible choice because he always stuffs up, which is a fair point; and that Lynton would be a terrible choice because he lives inland, which is a stupid point. Eventually the team ignores Totem, choosing Kelty, who has never before shucked an oyster, to shuck oysters, apparently on the basis that eventually even Kelty must do something right.

It seems to have paid off, as Kelty flies through his dish of oysters and presents them and is told he has to do some of them again and so Pip finishes first. But it’s neck and neck as we enter the prawn round, and Emma faces off against Vern to see who is the champion at tearing off the skins of gross sea beetles. Vern comes out in front, but it’s still so close you’d almost think it was designed that way for a TV show, as Totem goes up against Jules in flathead-filleting.

Xavier claims he can almost smell victory, but it turns out to just be Nicky’s armpits, as Totem, king of the fishermen, proves not as able with a knife as one might have guessed from the crap he keeps spouting about himself. It quickly becomes obvious that Totem is finding it difficult to restrain the urge to mutilate that comes over him whenever a knife is in his hand. As he throws fish after fish away, the boys panic and Vern doubts whether Totem even owns a boat: the cruellest taunt a man can throw at another man.

Jules has finished her fillets, but has left some bones in, so goes back and starts again with a new fish, because every contestant at the start of the show took the sacred MasterChef Oath to waste as much perfectly good food as possible throughout the course of the competition.

Totem has finished his as well, but they’re not good enough, and having already destroyed more fish than a sunken oil tanker, he has no more to fillet. And so the girls win and Nicky falls into deep self-loathing because he didn’t step up even though he actually knew how to do it. And of course Kelty, being Kelty, has a bit of a bitch.

And so the men must cook against each other, using seafood, the most nauseating of culinary categories. Daniel announces his intention to make a fish pie, causing Gary and George to assume their patented “who dropped you on your head?” facial expressions. The girls are worried about Daniel, particularly Lucy, who is English and doubts whether Daniel has the accent to pull off a fish pie inside an hour.

Totem is quite happy to be cooking with seafood, which shows he is nothing if not severely amnesiac. Kelty tells us it’s time for Totem to put his money where his mouth is, a figure of speech that doesn’t seem to make any kind of sense, but that’s Kelty for you: his determination to never shut up is almost admirable.

Samira is so glad she’s not cooking: she doesn’t know what she would have done with fish. So she’s looking good for the title of Australia’s MasterChef: an inability to cook with fish is a prerequisite for any culinary professional.

Kelty now cuts himself, because in 2013 nobody is even able to look at a knife on this show without opening a vein.

It’s now time to have a look at Lynton riding a horse. This isn’t really relevant to the show, but it’s the best thing any of us has ever seen. Lynton reminds us that he has a tragic backstory and is a wonderful human being. If Lynton doesn’t win this series, I’m marching on parliament.

As the girls cheer and clap as if they give a crap, a variety of intestines and viscera spill out of a variety of fish and remind us just what a revolting exercise cooking really is. The judges think Xavier has too many elements and should focus on one. Xavier goes for a walk in the fields to contemplate his future. He decides to be true to his stupid self and ignore the experienced professionals who have told him that what he has planned is literally impossible.

Meanwhile, Vern is getting flustered in the heat and makes an attempt to attack Nicky with a frying pan. Gary is worried about Xavier’s fisherman’s basket, and also that Lynton’s dish is too simple. Screw you Gary, Lynton is beautiful in his simplicity, much like Jesus.

The pressure starts to get to the competitors. Kelty is wearing one white glove. Vern is rolling leaves into little balls. Totem is starting all over again, which is becoming his signature move. Kelty is now missing coconut milk, but nobody cares about his nostalgia, there’s cooking to be done.

Lynton is stirring egg in a bowl in a gentle yet vigorous motion, almost erotic in its stylish masculine energy. George informs Lynton that if the fish is overcooked it’s a disaster, which throws Lynton completely out of whack, because he had been planning to overcook his fish as a point of difference. George and Gary go into detail about how terrible overcooked fish is, deliberately crushing Lynton’s confidence because let’s face it – they are just bad people.

Xavier busily pours flour over his fish, losing his grip on reality. Lynton begins talking about releasing juices and OH MY GOD LYNTON.

“Can you save yourself with seafood?” George yells, having given up on even trying to think of clever things to say. Totem might have to answer in the negative, as he is unable to find either a steamer or any hint of talent. Totem lets us know that elimination is not where he wants to be, clarifying a point that had been driving us crazy.

Amazingly, after being told that his pie wouldn’t work, Daniel’s pie is not working. Gary tells them that though it is hot in here, it’s not nearly as hot as the elimination, in which the contestants will be pelted with glowing coals.

Time is up, and the kitchen is filled with the smell of sweat and despair. A more depressed group of men would be impossible to find. Lynton looks devastated. I am devastated too. I don’t want Lynton to suffer. Don’t give up Lynton. You’re our only hope. Lynton believes he’s failed. Australia weeps.

Tasting time. Daniel steps up with his terrible fish pie. He confesses he would’ve liked to have his pie in the oven for a bit longer: if only someone had warned him that pies take longer than that to cook.

Rishi has made a Konkanese fisherman’s platter and was hardly seen throughout the challenge so he is definitely safe. Matt loves it so much that he immediately says every word in his vocabulary in a row.

Nicky has served pan-fried flathead and accusatory prawns staring up at your face. It’s too salty, possibly from the several gallons of saltwater that have dropped off his skin into the pan.

Prawn shumai from Totem looks good, but in some ways how it tastes also matters.

“That could be a spectacular dish,” says Gary smugly, making it clear that it is not. It is good enough, though, Totem benefiting from the blatant ineptitude of his castmates.

It’s Kelty’s turn to disappoint his family now, and he presents his laksa which is too thick to be a laksa according to Matt. Kelty then bursts into flames and NCIS LA crash through the kitchen door. We have a brief break to be reminded that MasterChef: The Professionals was a thing, and then we’re back to watch Kelty’s doom.

The laksa is undoubtedly too thick. In many ways it is less a laksa than a basketball. But Matt likes it nonetheless and it looks like Kelty lives to talk nonsense another day.

Here comes Vern with his prawn parcels … if you know what I mean. George loves the little parcels and the springy prawn inside, but he is in heaven with a big bag of prawn heads, therefore confirming that he does fit more than 10 of the major indicators of a serial killer’s personality.

Next is Xavier who has put sea salt on his oysters like some kind of drug-addled maniac. George tells him that it is hard for him because Xavier is a nice person, and it is clear that being a nice person is no substitute for having the first idea what the hell you’re doing.

It’s time to taste Lynton’s dish. Oh I would love to taste Lynton’s dish. Let me taste your dish, Lynton. Lynton sets his dish down and sadly informs the judges that Offspring follows MasterChef 8.30 Wednesday on Ten.

Lynton is embarrassed to serve his fish up to the judges, not realising that all we really want from him is his smile. But wait! He has cooked his fish better than anyone else!


“Don’t doubt yourself,” says George, having earlier spent a whole minute telling Lynton about everything that could go wrong with his dish. But the main thing is Lynton is safe and beauty lives again.

Not safe, however, are Xavier, Dan and Nicky, or as they are known, the Barossa Three, wanted for crimes against digestion. Xavier is immediately through to the elimination, punished for being so nice and making George feel uncomfortable. Nicky gets a reprieve however, on the strength of his work ethic and a strong sense of pity among the judges, and Daniel must also cook in the elimination, meaning tomorrow night will be a lot handsomer than it might have been.

And so it’s time to go, slavering with anticipation of that elimination, in which we’ll find out what’s stronger: Daniel’s face; Clarissa’s incompetence; Noelene’s hatred of humanity; or Michael’s ability to assume his true form at the full moon. Exciting!

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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