Intimidating… MasterChef judges Marco Pierre White and Matt Preston took to slicing through the finals fat. What did you expect? Plenty of tears and “umm, yeahs” in the first of the finals eliminations.
It’s Finals Week of MasterChef: The Professionals, with the episode that will once and for all answer the question burning in viewers’ minds: Is MasterChef: The Professionals still on?
We begin with the opening credits, which are looking more and more like the In Memoriam segment of the Oscars. We then go straight to MasterChef headquarters, where a lonely red scooter sits, trying to forget the things it has seen. As the chefs wander down the alley like Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, we reflect on just how far we’ve come (not very) and what we’ve learnt (not much).
Into the locker room, where the chefs get dressed but yet again we see no nudity – what’s even the point of the locker room if we don’t get to see them naked?
Rhett informs us that the biggest threat in the competition so far is himself: he fears getting distracted and letting his food burn while he’s busy kissing himself in a mirror.
Into the kitchen they go, and Matt informs them of a variety of things they already know. Michael drops the bombshell that he would like to win $200,000; Sarah proffers the controversial opinion that she would as well.
The main element to remember in Finals Week is that every night someone will be going home – if they’d cast a couple of hundred people to start with, they could’ve done this from the beginning and made the whole series a lot more interesting.
Marco then begins speaking with the silken tones of a python seducing a pig, and introduces a line of overdressed waiter bearing…
And by the sound of the music playing, one can’t help feeling that the producers have somewhat overrated just how exciting we all find the mystery box concept.
These mystery boxes contain some extremely expensive ingredients: champagne, abalone, white truffle, caviar, Zokoko chocolate, and the tears of a mermaid.
Rhys is scared of the truffles: a truffle killed his father. He’s also worried about the price tag, having misunderstood the nature of the challenge and believing that he has to reimburse Channel Ten for the ingredients.
“We’ve given you the best, now give us your best,” says Marco in yet another abortive attempt to create a catchphrase, and dispatches the chefs to the pantry.
Bonny goes for the ricotta, but it’s not fresh ricotta, so she decides to make her own. This seems a literally insane plan.
“Come on brain, work!” exclaims Rhys, hoping against hope that his plea will finally be heard.
Status Quo then leaps out of the pantry and tries to murder us all.
Back in the kitchen, Rhys explains the challenge again because god it’s been almost five minutes since we found out. Rhys seems to be panicking a bit, really earning his nickname “the beardy one who panics”.
Marco and Matt wander over to Bonny’s bench to waste her time and let her know that her plan to make her own ricotta is made and destined for a sad and pathetic end.
They ask how many times she’s made it before. She says she’s made it “for practice”. There is an awkward silence and it becomes clear that nobody really understands what they’re all talking about.
Meanwhile Michael, played by Merrick Watts, tells Marco and Matt that he’s making biscuits and a bunch of weird chocolate rubbish.
Marco thinks it’s risky to make something he hasn’t made before, but maybe if you want them to make things they’ve made before, you shouldn’t give them ingredients only millionaires can afford, HUH MARCO? Geez.
As Michael runs aimlessly around the kitchen and Rhys haplessly bangs on his bench with a hammer, lost in the swirl of madness, Rhett is keeping his hair at that irritating angle and showing off his knife work.
At Sarah’s bench, Sarah is engaged in infusing the words “Hello Marco” with a lifetime’s worth of savage loathing. A lesser man than Marco would’ve committed suicide after being told “hello” in that tone.
At Nathan’s bench, Matt and Marco approach meekly, in awe of Nathan’s beard. They question Nathan’s decision to use truffles in dessert, but the beard is impervious to their doubts, and repels their queries with calm, hairy equanimity.
Speaking of calm equanimity, Michael has none, as he mainlines Prozac and skids about the floor like a drunken figure skater.
He may be doing better than Bonny though, as she has fundamentally misunderstood the nature of cream. And she in turn may be doing better than Rhett, who has fundamentally misunderstood the nature of “cooking”, telling Marco and Matt that he is making a raw dish.
“I’m cooking for me, not Marco,” says Rhett, apparently unaware that this is the exact opposite of what is going on. Marco points out that it is a cooking competition, but Rhett wants to take the food industry to exciting, disgusting new places.
We take a quick break for a sneak preview of Ten’s new season of Making Fatties Run On Treadmills, and it’s back to the kitchen to see what just happened. Rhett admits that he may have done a little bit less than he should have: Marco’s classic Confidence-Undermining trick triumphs again!
Meanwhile Rhys loses control of his Krug, and Michael continues to run. Michael tells us it will take 10 minutes to plate his dish up: has he re-buried the truffles? Ten minutes!
He then tells Matt and Marco he will also be making a sorbet: they are a little surprised by this news, as they don’t know Michael well enough to realise he’s not that bright.
Bonny is worried about her ricotta, as well she might be: it looks like…well I dunno, it looks like ricotta to me, I have no idea how it’s supposed to look. Anyway she puts stuff in water and it bobs around and something’s going wrong but I don’t really know what. God cooking is boring isn’t it?
“It’s a disaster,” says Bonny: ah, THAT’S more like it! Disaster I understand!
Rhys lets us know that his main weaknesses are garnishing and presentation, selling himself short on all his other weaknesses. Time is running out.
Bonny is hoping for the best. Michael is trying to do something which looks a lot like picking seaweed out of chocolate. Bonny tells Rhett she’s failed miserably. Rhett gives her five, excited by her failure.
Rhys stares at the small piles of unidentifiable substances on his plates and wonders where his life went wrong.
At the dining table, Matt tells Marco that this should be an interesting tasting, because he’s had his memory erased after every episode.
First up is Rhett, who is so confident no jury would convict you if you kicked him in the nuts. He’s served up scallop tartare with white truffle, or as it is known to people who are looking at it, a stack of raw fish sprinkled with breadcrumbs and confetti and possibly some vomit.
Marco doesn’t like the dish: he can’t see the truffles. Maybe Marco needs glasses, because seriously they’re right there.
Do you know in those Coles ads they’re actually admitting they’re annoying, and making JOKES about it, like it’s CUTE? Can we go down to Coles and smash some stuff up or something?
Anyway we’re back in the tasting room and Marco is still telling Rhett how much he sucks before he’s even tasted the food. Marco doesn’t really “get” food, does he?
He finally takes a mouthful and tells Rhett he likes the “idea of the crumb”, but Rhett can’t take credit for that – crumbs were invented centuries ago.
Matt tells Rhett his dish is “a little bit chefy”, and everyone just throws up their hands because what the hell is he talking about? Chefy? Isn’t that … I mean the show is called … they’re SUPPOSED to be.
Next is Sarah who has done white truffle three ways because she’s a smarmy little show-off. Marco loves the fact that she’s shaved the truffles over, once again judging a dish he hasn’t eaten. You’re not an art critic Marco, shut up and eat the bloody thing.
Matt thinks it’s a spectacular dish. Marco’s mind is blown by the explosion of flavours – Sarah gets an all-time record high score of Nine and a Half Creepy Murmurs from him.
In comes Rhys, who has produced stuffed zucchini flower with seared scallop and abalone, whatever that means.
Matt notes how terrible Rhys is at plating, making Rhys chuckle: he doesn’t really know what’s going on.
His abalone is the hero. He’s done the abalone proud. The abalone will be very happy with Rhys. Rhys and the abalone will surely have a joyous future together.
Marco asks Rhys how old he was when he started cooking. Rhys tells a story about all the drugs he’s taken. Everything is extremely uncomfortable.
“If it wasn’t for Mum and food, I’d be pretty much gone,” he says, though to be fair this is just basic biological fact.
Bonny steps in with her truffle ravioli. She hopes to achieve a lovely effect with it, but she knows full well she won’t. Bonny is crying. Bonny, don’t cry! I love you, Bonny! I’ll always love you. Even if your raviolo looks like kind of like a semi-inflated caramel pancake.
The raviolo is cut, and it oozes like a great open sore, just as it should, apparently. Bonny wipes a tear away – OH BONNY! Marco is of the opinion that what spoils it is the home-made ricotta. Oh Bonny, you fool, let this be a lesson to you: ricotta comes from supermarkets. But DON’T CRY!
In comes Nathan and his phlegmatic facial hair, and a truffle and pear cake which looks pretty good but how would I know. Marco and Matt eat some. They eat some more. Pigs.
Matt thinks the truffle sits perfectly at home in the dish – his offensively assimilationist attitudes are reinforced yet again. Nathan has succeeded and his beard remains unruffled. And “untruffled” – GET IT?
In comes Michael, humming like a tuning fork, to serve up a biscuit and a red blob and some other brown stuff on a plate.
He tells the judges he’s put his heart and soul into the dish, which is a bit of a downer when you look at the thing. He also wants to prove to his family that he’s not a failure, and tells a touching story about how he’s always too busy to pay attention to his children.
Marco empathises with this, and reassures him that his parental neglect is the right way to go.
They tuck into this tiny little assemblage of chocolate and whatever. It’s very good, but Marco didn’t get his bubbles – gross.
Matt thinks it’s brilliant, adding “and I’m not a big chocolate person”, although frankly he looks a bit like a big chocolate person.
Judging time, and Rhys hopes he’s not going home. Whoa, Rhys, way to wear your heart on your sleeve.
The judges name the best chefs of the day: Sarah, Nathan and Michael. Michael and Nathan smile: Sarah looks like she’s just been told she has to clean out a sewer.
And the dish of the day is…oh no let’s have an ad break to build suspense for this completely meaningless announcement.
Finally we return to the kitchen, and the dish of the day was Michael’s, so thank God we don’t have to die wondering. Michael is pleased, but also a bit teary. He still remembers his bad parenting.
Now Bonny has to step forward, no not Bonny please don’t make her go away! And then…
Oh, Bonny’s going home. Just like that? We built up suspense over a whole ad break for the dish of the day which means nothing, and then it’s just, “Bonny you’re going home”? Who’s editing this nonsense?
Marco lies extravagantly to Bonny about how great she is, and Bonny cries as she wonders how her dish could possibly have been worse than Rhett’s horrible pile of puke. Oh Bonny don’t cry.
In a cutaway Bonny says she’s really happy – does she understand what just happened? And just like that, she’s gone, slipping out the side door to wander the alleys searching for scraps.
And then there were five. It’s getting tense now: tune in tomorrow night, when MasterChef will, according to the sneak peek we’ve just seen, be on television!
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.