It’s a tense time in Masterchef Land, as the victims of Tessa’s disastrous attempt at leadership are pitted against each other in a savage battle for the ultimate prize: being allowed to go home.
This being suburban week, the contestants gather once again at a drab, depressing location. This time it’s a house. Just a house. Not even a very nice house. The kind of house you might imagine one of the Masterchef contestants themselves might live in, but not one of the ones who’s done particularly well in their career.
They are greeted on the front lawn by the judges and the contestants who were good last night. “I guess you’re wondering why you’re in the front yard of a house in a suburban street,” says Andy. The answer is simple: an increasingly desperate search for novelty.
The other reason is that apparently this house is an exclusive dining experience called Enter Via Laundry, with a waiting list of over 1600 people: yet more evidence of the necessity of a cleansing fire to eliminate the human virus from the earth.
The proprietor of Enter Via Laundry emerges: Helly Naichura, a tech company employee who cooks weird food for snobs on the side, and who got her name from the fact she is a direct descendant of Satan. She quickly proves the truth of this by revealing the dish at the centre of today’s challenge. The contestants will have to taste the dish and name as many of the 20 ingredients within as they can. The three contestants who perform the worst in the taste test will go into round two, when they will have to cook the hellish concoction.
The dish in question is called “pasta not pasta”, a name that causes Laura’s heart to soar and then immediately plummet in a matter of a second. It looks like pasta, much like Helly’s house looks like a house, but just as Helly’s house is not actually pasta, neither is the pasta.
The contestants come forward and eat the weird pasta that is apparently not pasta. Emelia notes that the texture of the pasta is silky, and quickly writes down “silk” as one of the ingredients. Ben takes a bite and is confused: it doesn’t taste like ice-cream at all, yet it is edible. What could it be? They’ve been told it’s some kind of Indian dish, but Tessa notes that it doesn’t taste like any Indian dish she’s ever had. It also doesn’t look like any Indian dish. On what grounds it can be called “Indian” is a mystery that I have very little confidence in being…