The Black Sheep speaks: 'Don't be a lamb in the kitchen'

<i>MasterChef</i> family challenge
MasterChef family challenge

They've been blanched by Zumbo, baked by Oliver and beaten by Blumenthal but nothing could prepare them for the Brady Bunch elimination challenge.

Tonight, the woman who gorged herself on immunity pins, Mindy, faces her first elimination alongside Andy, Julia and "oh Alice" and this time the judges want their hearts – not plated up but marinated with inspiration following the arrival of their loved ones.

It's scripted show-and-tell heaven the minute the family of the final seven storm the MasterChef kitchen.

So many questions, such little time!

Will Mindy's military dad rock his cammo gear? Is Alice's wackiness genetic?

But we got the answers to these and so much more – Andy's mum Marie steals the show after appearing to be genuinely shocked her son was involved in a cooking show as opposed to the Australian version of The Bachelor.

"Oh he's just amazing, he's the best, he's got the best personality, I didn't think he'd get this far,” she says between sobs.

We also discover Mindy's dad Gaz is a cook in the Air Force, Alice has a boyfriend named Nick who enjoys her word plays and likes cable knit sweaters and Julia and her husband Justin are the real life Sheldon and Amy from The Big Bang Theory.

"Wow. This is so surreal," deadpans Julia.

"Yeah, it's very surreal ... so the dogs have lost weight ..." is all Justin can offer.

After their passion-fuelled reunion, it's back to business. Come on, there are dreams to shatter here people!

Tonight the four have to cook the favourite dishes of their loved ones.

Garry suggests to "cook them the food they've missed and show off how much you've learned" or risk being booted out of the competition before finals week.

And by "food they've missed" he means "just read out the name of this dish we've written down when prompted".

Marie grew up on a potato farm and is craving a crusted lamb rack with crispy potato galette, pine nut veloute and mushroom mousse. Andy's never cooked nor heard of this - a fact which is made all the more obvious when the two are in the pantry and Marie morphs into a female Darryl Kerrigan wandering around asking "what do ya call this love?" pointing to a stray kipfler.

Julia's hubbie, who admits that he "chased Julia for her cooking", wants a slice of her pie – her lemon syrup cake with ice cream to be more specific, although judging by the icy look he cops from her you would've thought he asked for a vital organ or worse, a cake baked from a packet.

"Isn't it nice having someone holding the basket?" Justin asks as they peruse the pantry together.

"It's also quite distracting," she replies, hip and shouldering him out the way in the citrus section.

Military man Gaz keeps it general, requesting a Thai curry from Mindy while Nick is missing his Sunday spice with Alice – spiced lamb roast that is.

He continues to compliment her improved knife skills as she goes about her business roasting fillets and sheep shanks while yelling the word "freekah" at the top of her lungs.

The judges regroup as Gary can't handle the terror that Alice is invoking in him. He doesn't think she'll plate up and he'll have to live through another of her revolting dishes – remember the tongue episode?

Meanwhile back in Stepford, Julia is practically plated up 15 minutes after starting and is still seething about having to make ice cream.

"Any crumbles, foams or squidgy things to keep George happy?" Gary asks.

"No, there's only one man I want to keep happy today and it isn't George," she says as the audience squirms.

Meanwhile, Andy is creating every condiment known to the metrosexual man to accompany his fancy take on chops and mashed spud – anyone for red wine reduction? How about a mushroom mousse?

He admits that Marie likes her meat served slightly grey and if he were to serve it up like that the judges would laugh at him (then probably sue him for damaging their taste buds).

Time is up and Andy's number one woman is crying like a Justin Bieber fan, while Alice poses sweetly with her man informing us that cooking is an expression of love and a marriage of flavours.

Julia and Justin smile at each other from afar, with his gaze darting between her lemon blouse and her lemon tart.

Now for the tasting with each contestant's respective "loved one" sitting in to offer criticism, or perhaps pay off the judges.

Andy's lamb is up first and while the judges wonder if it needs more "greenery" on the plate, mummy bear is quick to point out that the dish is absolutely perfect, just like her son.

Mindy's up next and admits that cooking a roast duck curry with lychee sauce to make her dad proud is the best thing she's ever done.

As the judges taste, Mindy's old man doesn't even look at his plate and instead chooses to intimidate watch over them as they tuck in before crowning her the "flavour magician".

George can't control himself around Julia's moist cake and admits to craving it all day, while husband Justin throws together a sentence of culinary buzz words which don't make any sense.

Alice's spiced lamb fillet with freekah, figs and yoghurt foam would only impress an orthodontic surgeon due to its tough texture. It's so tough in fact that Nick gets more than his fair share of 15 minutes of fame purely for the time it takes him to chew his mouthful.

Back to the kitchen where one of them is about to face the firing squad.

Mindy is crowned chef of the day.

Andy's lamb and potato dish sees him through to the next stage, much to the relief of Marie, who starts to cry ... again.

Alice turns to Julia to wish her luck and receives a "thanks" as sour as her citrus syrup.

Julia - the Kate Middleton to Alice's Pippa - is safe for another week because her dish was "simple, clean and elegant".

"Alice, you tried so much," the judges commiserate in unison.

"We love seeing people produce food that is true to who they are and that's why you're going home," Matt adds, kicking the steel-cap kitchen boot in a little further.

George appears to be her only fan screaming - "Alice, Alice, who the freekah is Alice?!" - and tells her that every Aussie kid should be taught by her.

As she pirouettes out of the competition with her knight in shining cable knit, Andy and Ben reignite their bromance at the MasterChef McMansion with a glass of Moet.

Alice's homecoming is marked by her equally quirky friends toasting her return while she comes to realise cooking what she loves is what life is all about.

She's now planning a cross-country school bus journey to teach kids about food and cooking while looking for an eyewear sponsor.

This story The Black Sheep speaks: 'Don't be a lamb in the kitchen' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.