MasterChef Aus S12E01 – Recap

Oh. My. GOD! It’s the first episode of Back to Win, and I’m keen as a bean to see what’s going to happen.

Fortunately for me, we know who everyone is and I don’t have to do that whole auditions thing again (last year was a bit dry) because we know who’s who in the zoo (and in case you missed it, here’s a thing I wrote when the contestants were declared).

So, let’s settle down with some left over Easter chocolate and get into it!

Just a reminder: it is essential to run down to woolies and grab some snacks for when you watch MasterChef (disclaimer: ScoMo probably doesn’t agree with me, don’t forget to be safe and practice social distancing).


We start with some background info of MasterChef being born in the UK, a little snapshot of our first season (what a mess lmao) and omg Gaz, George and Matt look like babies! Very sweet.

This is like a goodbye to Matt, George and Gaz, aww. If I had feelings I might cry, but that’s not the kind of person I am.

Alright, I’m going to be honest, we’ve got the new judges doing stuff with slow music in the background and I don’t really care. Then, some contestants tells us a bit about themselves and that they want to win. I don’t know who, I don’t know how many, I couldn’t be bothered.

Blah blah blah…

Everyone walks to the entrance of the MasterChef kitchen, and I’m so excited to see food happen.

Waiting in the dark, arms crossed, is Gordon Ramsey, standing right next to the MasterChef Plate of Victory.

“We good?” he asks. “You sure? Reece, you look like you just shat an egg roll.”

Everyone laughs, and he introduces himself, and tells them he’ll be here for the week. There’s a bit more of excited laughter.

He threatens to shove them, before introducing the new “phenomenal” judges.

First is Jock, who rushs in in a blue suit, eminating a bit of a Matt look, before yelling at the contestants as he passes.

Next is Melissa (Mel?). She’s got really cute earrings on, and has a red dress.

Finally, young Andy, who’s really gone for a George-esque look wearing a blazer, white tee, pants, and sneakers without socks. It’s a #Look.

Gordon and Jock have a chat about honesty in food. I like his accent, and I’m looking forward to find out if we can’t understand him at any point this season. I believe in us. I’ve watched enough Scottish comedy to understand it at this point. Don’t worry, Australia, I’ll translate if needed.

Here are the stakes – someone goes home with AUD$250,000 and the Plate of Victory gets their name on it.

“Prove to us you’re really back to win,” Jock says.

“This is important,” Andy says, “whoever cooks the best dish of the day gets this.” He holds up an immunity pin. “The only immunity pin of the season.”

Mel tells us they have 90 minutes and all the resources, such as the garden and pantry, at their disposal to cook whatever they want. Time starts and they rush off.

Ok, while they all try to remember how to cook and how to make blenders start, I’m just going to brush over the fact that the stakes are high – the contestants are receiving $250,000, which is how much a regular season of MasterChef Aus, Big Brother Aus, and Biggest Loser Aus gets.

So, that’s all well and good, and of course I don’t know the finances of these contestants, however when one of the judges was an old contestant and has many MANY different bonds with current contestants (working professionally with, being friends with, and competing against several of the contestants), it feels a bit unfair? I know we’ve heard from the ads that there won’t be bias, but also… there will be, even if it’s not conscious.

Gordon comes over to Poh and they chat as friends, which is nice to see, she’s a queen. He tells her she’s the favourite, and she says, “Stop it, stop it!”

“Poh,” Gordon says, watching her as she makes the dish that initially got her into the competition almost 12 years ago, “you got this.”

Reynold turns up! Yay! I liked him as well. I think I was pretty gutted when he went home in his season, so I boycotted for a bit haha. Melissa is talking to Reynold about what his dish will do and I’m excited.

Someone has balloons dipped in chocolate? I don’t know who he is, they didn’t show the name.

Dani is getting frazzled and is in the pantry for the third time, and I think we’re about half way through the 90 minutes…

Jock tells Dani that pineapple curry is one of his favourite dishes and she’s regretting her decision to come onto the show.

“If it doesn’t taste good, there’s going to be nowhere to hide,” she tells us.

The cooking is heating up, and someone is having chocolate issues. I am also having choclate issues – should I be opening some more eggs or not? Hmmm…

Poh realises one of her elements is not good and she’s starting to freak out.

Reece’s chocolate balloons aren’t happening good and he’s freaking out.

Renold is using liquid nitrogen and I’m so excited to look! All the judges are watching as well.

As the judges walk around, it’s easy to remember that they’ve got a lot of connections to contestants…

There’s one minute to go, and I’m very pleased to report that someone is yelling out how long to go.

Poh is happy that everything’s going right, before realising she forgot a sauce, which is why it’s not tasting quite right.

The judges start yelling as the seconds run out and clap for everyone. There are hugs and high fives, and it’s starting to feel a lot like MasterChef.


First up is Hayden with Rib-eye on the bone with sides.

Ooh it looks yummy! I’ll have to get someone to make that for me. After the noodles incident of last year (busy watching MasterChef, I killed the microwave), I’m no longer trusted to cook anything in my house.

The rib-eye is perfect, and they start to serve up the foods. Everyone’s munching on the goods, and Gordon calls the steak perfection.
“All these sides are lovely, but maybe just condense it,” Mel says.
“Please don’t do this again,” Jock says. “Just focus.”
They applaude him, and Hayden heads to the back.

Next is Reynold.

He’s cooked “White Noise” with a lot of intricate elements. Gordon calls it technical.
“It makes you want to dive into the bowl,” he says.
“Is there a particular element you invite us to break first?” Mel asks.
“Go for the little white pebbles,” Reynold says.
They crack it open, revealing the red. What a crack.

I’ll do my best to get back in and take my own photos of the foods.

Gordon says it looks better than it looks, which is surprising.
They all agree that it’s delicious and amazing.
“You have made it very clear that you’re here and you’re serious about taking [the Plate of Victory and MasterChef title] home,” Mel tells him, before he’s dismissed from the front.

Jess starts to cry without, like, a prompt as far as I can see – they’re all clapping still for Reynold, he just got back to his bench.

Looking down at her dish, Jess’s voice over says, “I’m feeling really devastated, it doesn’t have the theatrics that I want.”
“Next up is Jess.”
Why would you put a dessert after Reynold, of course she’s feeling self-conscious!

She comes up and Jock hugs her, saying it’s ok.

Jess tells them it’s called “Pink Petal” but without the tempered chocolate.

“Fuck the petal,” Gordon says. “I didn’t travel here for petals. I love it.”
“Everything sings together beautifully,” Jock says.
Mel says, “You nailed it.”
She’s clapped back to her bench.

A few other people come up, but their dishes don’t get the little captions. Which reminded me, like last year, when it’s everyone putting up their foods, I’ll only talk about the ones that get a caption. It makes it easy, and also I’m food illiterate, so I’m not going to try and remember and dissect every single food brought up.

Next up is Laura (from season 6). It’s called “A Native Winter”, a dessert.

Just watch to see the food lmao

She worked with Jock for a few years.

“Jock, I feel like you should comment first,” Mel says.
Me too, Mel, me too…

“There is no favouritism, just to be clear,” he says… we’ll see.
“You’re using ingredients to the best of their own natural flavour. It’s beautiful.”

It’s Poh time, and she is not keen to be there right now.

She gets up and tells the judges what wasn’t there and what the flavours would have been.
“This would have been an immunity pin dish,” Gordon says.
They all agree that the chilli sauce was what it needed to tie it all together. RIP.

Ben went too fast, so let’s keep going, a few more contestant without a caption, and then…

Emelia comes up with her “pistachio and strawberry eclair”.

“That’s front page of a magazine right there,” Mel tells the other judges, before tucking in.
“You’ve nailed the eclair,” Jock says.
Compliments all around, and Andy calls it flawless.

Next up, Dani with her curry.

Jock asks if she’s happy and she just sort of blabbers for a second before saying the flavours are there.
Everyone gets stuck in, cracking crab, picking up stuff with their hands.
Honestly, I’m having an out of body pandemic experience where I can’t even imagine this happening today. I’m looking back in time.
Jock says it’s a, ‘Lock-In’, and honestly if I wasn’t an essential worker, I’d be here to have a food lock-in.
Mel drums her hands on the table.
“You’re on point,” Gordon says.

Everyone’s kicked out of the kitchen so the judges can evaluate.


They’ve made a decision – it’ll be between Reynold, Dani, Laura and Emelia.

Gordon gives them a rundown on their dishes and what they created.
Jock says that Reynold and Dani’s dishes stood out more than the others.

But who’s the best?

“It’s going to the one who’s dish we’d eat again and again and again…” he went on for a bit before announcing the winner.


There’s applause and hugs.

Young Andy gives Gordon the pin to give to Dani and it’s pinned onto her apron and then Gordon and Dani hug.

“It’s the best way to start the competition,” Dani says.

Andy then says that she’s the only person to hold 3 pins (two in her season and now this one), which sounds fake but I don’t know enough about MasterChef to dispute that.

And that’s the episode!

One more tweet before we go:

So here’s this years format:

Sunday: Elimination
Monday: Service Challenge
Tuesday: Pressure Test
Wednesday: Mystery Box
Thursday: Immunity Challenge.
MasterClasses are also set to return.

As usual, this recap was written as I watched the episode, so there will be spelling and grammar mistakes.

You can read last years recaps here.

If you have a Hot Tip or want to suggest a show for recaps, tweet me, leave a comment, or head over to my contact page, and let me know what’s good.

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