Jenna Clarke May 23, 2012
Mindy thought ducks were smaller - unlike Darren Robertson and his crew from Three Blue Ducks.
Cute boys, cheese and cold spaghetti – just another rocking Saturday night right?
Firstly, it's a school night. Secondly, this isn't an episode of 30 Rock, this is a fight – a fight to win the immunity cheese challenge.
Remember this is MasterChef. A serious cooking show about serious people who are serious about cooking.
We know this because this week's contestant up for kitchen supremacy is Mindy and she's very serious. Even her "OMG" and other excitable exclamations frighten the rest of the cast.
The physio pulls on the crisp white coat as the doors swing open to reveal Sydney's spunkiest most exciting cooking co-op from Bronte's Three Blue Ducks.
While the others look worried last year's heart throb Hayden Quinn has returned with his Bachelor of the Year mates, Mindy's ready to "pull out something special" to stay in the competition a little longer and "nail" the three former Tetsuya chefs, including ex-head chef Darren Robertson.
Once the awkward introductions are over, Mindy discovers she'll be assisted by two other home kitchen heroes to plate up an entree, main and dessert while Matt Moran will watch over her for the 90-minute challenge.
Chill out Media Watch, kangaroo and Thousand Island dressing are not the hero ingredients, however the contents of Kath Day-Knight's fridge are on offer.
Cheese and a drop of "Cardonay" wine anyone?
Mindy is given the option of choosing what or who she cooks with. She takes the latter option and asks the "princess of desserts" Julia and Amina to join her in the kitchen for a cube of Jarlsberg and slurp of Cabernet.
The boys choose cheese as the core ingredient as the peanut gallery get rowdier than Emilio Estevez in the Mighty Ducks movies.
"Go shoot some ducks!" Audra yells as Darren and the guys learn they'll only get an hour to create something "creative".
Gary, Matt and George encourage Mindy to "listen to what Matt Moran has to say" – but only about cooking do not take his suggestions for weekend getaway locations.
"We're looking for a clean fight with clean flavours and stacks of creativity," Gary chimes in.
Once the pantry is opened for the girls they race to pillage the shelves for their ground breaking beetroot and goat's cheese salad, four cheese ravioli and poached pear stuffed with ricotta.
As Amina whisks together the goat’s curd and some unidentified herbs Mindy has a taste and describes it as "oh my god".
Amina's confused face then pops into the frame, "so is that good?"
Thirty minutes in and the girls are already cooking with gas (and cheese) when the boys are finally allowed to visit the pantry.
They wander around with the same amount of comprehension Brendan Fevola had at the 2009 Brownlows before deciding on a cold herb tagliatelle with buffalo mozzarella, a mushroom risotto and a pumpkin puree, pear, blue cheese and burned meringue to finish.
"RISOTTO!" booms a chorus from the balcony before the jibes akin to those heard at a footy game start and end with Daz putting the "baby hecklers" in their place telling them "we don't forget a face".
So while the humbled peanut gallery apply Aloe Vera to their burn Julia asks for Mindy's approval of her citrusy ricotta she plans to stuff her Packham with.
"Oh my god," she offers.
"So is that ok?" the bemused dessert princess asks.
Meanwhile, as the boys take it in turns to distract the girls with cheesy grins over the pass, Chef Moran informs Daz he's whipping up the "death dish". The warning is drowned out by the blow torch which is browning the peaks of the pumpkin, pear and blue cheese meringue. A sweet dish he's worried the judges will confuse for gourmet baby food.
Time is up, tools down and the judges are ready to taste the six dishes with their Sharpies poised to document their favourites.
The girl's salad trumps the Three Blue Ducks cold pasta which reminds Matt of stumbling home at 3am after a night out, cravat askew, raiding the fridge and singing Liz Lemon's Bob Seger inspired ditty, Night Cheese.
The main is a highly political course. Gary "hates" the four cheese pasta pockets garnished with "a pile of silly baby greens" but no one has ever won a challenge in the MasterChef kitchen with Arborio rice. Craig Thomson and Slippery Pete think they have it rough. Imagine grappling with issues like these?
After much deliberation it's decided the boys have given good short-grain and win the round.
Tied at one dish a piece, it’s time for sweets.
It's the ultimate classic verses creative conundrum with words like "wacky" and "tricky" being thrown around to describe the Three Blue Ducks and their vegetable, fruit, cheese, egg white concoction however Julia's shortbread "felt good".
While Moran points out the girls were "hygienic and clean" the mighty Ducks snatch the immunity challenge from Mindy who says she's now learned how to "use ingredients" and just wants to go home and eat a toasted cheese sanga – preferably fried in duck fat.