Risotto, aka “the dish of death”, strikes again

The remaining eleven contestants visit the Fitzroy Hotel in Melbourne, only to receive an unpleasant shock: the judges are there, ruining the contestants’ plans for a nice, relaxing lunch together. Jock informs them that the hotel has an Italian restaurant upstairs and a Japanese restaurant downstairs. The contestants’ job is to build a German restaurant next door to complete the Axis.

Once again you have been misled by one of my little jokes! In fact, they will divide into teams, one to cook a three-course menu for the Italian restaurant, one to cook a three-course menu for the Japanese. Sarah, who had the best dish on Burning Stuff Day, can choose which team she wants to be on, which MasterChef calls “an advantage”. She chooses Japanese. Everyone else is randomly assigned an apron – red for Japanese, brown for Italian. The red team has six cooks and the brown team five, so the former has to cook for 40 guests while the latter cooks for 34. Or to put it more precisely, both teams have to cook for three guests: the judges, because that is not enough. it doesn’t matter whether restaurant customers like the food or not.

On the brown team, Julie suggests making risotto, which, as all MasterChef fans know, is a sure sign of madness. The Italian restaurant is immediately filled with huge vultures perched on the cupboards, just waiting for you.

Meanwhile, Montana is made captain of the red team, so naturally Sarah takes control while Montana stands in the back trying to be as quiet as possible. The red team has a long discussion about which dishes to cook, with their captain performing his duties by letting them.

Meanwhile, the judges come together to tell each other things they already know, a crucial part of the process.

Upstairs, Julie notes that cooking risotto for 34 people is quite different from cooking risotto at home, where she usually only tends to 28 to 31 people at a time. This will require careful measurement to avoid the fate of the show’s former risotto cooks, all of whom are now dead.

Back downstairs, Montana notes, for the sixth or seventh time this episode, that there are “a lot of good cooks” on her team. As captain, it is her responsibility to make these strong cooks work in harmony, which she does by keeping quiet and doing what Sarah tells her to do. She doesn’t know what her team is up to for the main course, but as captain she makes a firm decision that the others will probably come to understand. Jock and Andy come over to ask Montana how it’s going. Montana asks Dan how you are. Dan tells the judges. Andy is confused. Jock tells Montana to maybe look up the definition of “captain” in a dictionary and then start over.

Billie is in charge of the brunette team’s dessert, and she combines chocolate, pistachio, and beer, a clever move because if people hate pistachio and chocolate, beer will ensure they don’t care. While working on the dessert, Captain Tommy has a genius idea: why not make the main entrée and the main entree? He asks Julie if she’s okay. Julie agrees. “Actually, I think it works better,” she said in a voice of pure terror. Michael thinks it’s a great idea too, and Keyma agrees not to speak in this episode. The brunette team gets back to work, feigning confidence as best they know how.

Meanwhile, the judges come together to tell each other things they already know, a crucial part of the process. Jock notes how difficult it is to cook a meal for so many diners, and the judges all agree that it’s lucky the teams only really have to cook a meal for three. They make a pact to continue pretending the other diners in the restaurant mean nonsense.

Melissa bursts into the red kitchen to find out how Montana handles the burden of captaincy. Turns out she’s doing pretty well, mostly because she didn’t hire any. Melissa gives Montana some helpful tips on how to run a kitchen, drawing on all her years of experience as a food blogger. Filled with newfound confidence, Montana returns to the kitchen determined to say “Strong Cooks” more than ever.

Back on the brown team, Julie expresses her wish not to traumatize the rice, insisting that all cooks avoid bringing up rice’s troubled past within earshot of her pan. “You have to give it a little love,” she observes, wondering if she would dare to show love between a woman and a risotto in a family time slot.

Montana, now mad with power, suggests a small change to Sarah’s entrance. Sarah, struggling to contain her burning rage, grits her teeth and agrees. Montana and Sarah share a passive-aggressive hug.

It’s almost time for service but the brown team is not ready. If it was a challenge where it mattered, they would be in big trouble. Tommy screwed up trying three different seafood in the entree, a task only suitable for Aquaman or maybe Namor the Marvel Submarine.

Finally, the food begins to flow to the patrons of the Fitzroy Hotel, who don’t suspect that the chefs are cooking just for the three judges and don’t care if the audience gets a decent meal or not. And so it happens that the judges eat the red team starter, which is little pink cubes with bits of something green in them. “Not a bad entry,” Jock said in his usual hyperbolic manner. The portions, however, aren’t big enough and the judges watch their stomachs start to swell.

He pulls out the brown team entrance, which is a small puddle of brown water with white chunks sitting in it. “Smells pretty amazing,” says Melissa, but sadly, it’s one of those dishes that has to be put in your mouth. Even more unfortunately the fish is raw which is a shame as they were supposed to cook Italian style not Japanese style. The judges love broth, but “I love broth” is as always the code for “Let’s try to find something to like in this trash.”

The reds present their main course, which is beef and mushrooms with string on top. The judges love it, and Montana’s redemption story, the girl who was content to watch cooks screw up but learned to be a girl who just stands there and watches cooks do good things, is complete. .

The chestnuts present their main course, just as Julie recalls why making risotto is a terrible idea. The risotto has mushrooms and truffles fresh from the snout. The rice is overcooked which is apparently something the rice is not meant to be. This is problematic because in many ways, rice is a pretty important part of risotto.

Just in case anyone cares, dessert is also served. The brown team semifreddo is fine except for the sucky parts. The red team cake and sorbet is very good and Melissa says “brilliant”.

In the end, the brown team’s decisions to stop cooking the fish too soon, continue cooking the rice too long, and make a bad dessert cost them dearly. Not for the first time in history, Japan proved better than Italy, and Montana now knows that the ability to make exaggerated hand gestures while talking does indeed reside in it. The red team will cook for immunity tomorrow, when dear friends become mortal enemies. Which, again, is very similar to what happened between Italy and Japan.