Masterchef Recap: I Am Curious: Yellow
A pressure test with a terrifying twist — the contestants will have to cook the entire meal while underwater.
I’m joking, of course: in fact it’s a pressure test with the kind of terrifying twist that isn’t very terrifying at all.
It’s funny how, looking at the opening titles and all the people we’ve lost, none of them is Chloe even though she’s basically the worst cook out of any of them. Huh. Anyway.
The pressure test is engaged in by Samira, Ben and Jess, or as fans of the show affectionately call them, “the three big fat losers who always lose”. Matt tells them that the pressure test is unlike any pressure test they’ve ever faced. Hope springs in their hearts: maybe it’ll be a pressure test where they just have to toast some bread, or maybe it won’t involve food at all, they’ll just have to sharpen a pencil or something. But alas, no: he means it will be unlike any other pressure test in the sense that it will be harder.
Some dude walks in and shows off his shiny hair and babbles about French traditional contemporary modern Australian or something, and then Matt tells the losers that they won’t see the dish, they won’t taste the dish, and they won’t get the recipe. They will have to figure out how to make the dish purely based on an interpretive dance that Matt will perform for them.
The above is a lot closer to the truth than you might think: Matt has written a review of the dish, and the amateurs have to cook it based on the review and the ingredients they are given. It’s a tough challenge, but one thing is for sure: it does not test any practical skills that any professional cook would ever find useful at any point in their lives. Why not get them to bake a cake using only parts salvaged from a helicopter? It has as much relevance to actual cooking practice as this nonsense.
Anyway Matt reads out his review and it’s all about mandarins and gel and stuff, so there are already some clues there. But is it sweet or savoury? Is it meat or veg? Is it a tiny ball of densely packed rice served in the mouth of a freshly-slaughtered possum, or is it a tube of imported toothpaste? Nobody knows.
“I just have to trust my instincts today,” says Jess, repeating the same mistake that has cost her throughout the competition. Meanwhile Samira claims that sorbet has jumped out at her, which is genuinely a terrifying twist, like the Babadook.
The judges get to see what the dish actually is, which is horribly unfair. What it is is some yellow stuff on a plate. Some of the yellow stuff is sort of round, and some of it is kind of like cake but not quite. Some it is more yellow than other bits. It truly is a masterful symphony of yellow things that look a bit like the offcuts that are left over after someone makes a meal. George says it’s perfumed and citrusy, so the losers can thank god they didn’t have to rely on clues from a review he wrote.
Ben starts with the sorbet, which I think is actually a thing that is in the dish. In fact, Matt’s review explicitly said sorbet was in it, which is making things much too easy. He should’ve included more metaphors. Like, instead of sorbet, he should’ve called it “a chilly lemon turkey breast”. That would’ve fucked them.
Jess finds mandarin problematic. It needs to be stabilised apparently. She infuses her mandarins with anti-depressants.
Ben is reducing down his mandarin puree and makes a basic anglaise, like the basic anglaise bitch he is. Samira is making custard the old-fashioned way she makes it at home, which is way off-base: Matt’s review specifically said that the dish was nothing like anything Samira has ever made at home.
The format of this pressure test means that every time a contestant says what they think is in the dish, we have to hear Matt reading that bit of the review again. It’s like a really poorly-written crime drama.
Jess is stressed, thinking if she makes one mistake she’s going home, which is ridiculous: this is an incredibly low-pressure challenge; you can probably make dozens of mistakes and survive, because the others will be making dozens of mistakes as well.
Samira is going with her intuition which has served her so well through all the other challenges she’s failed at. What is it with these people? Every time their instincts fail miserably, they decide the problem is they haven’t been trusting their instincts enough. How about you abandon your instincts and start using your brains?
Samira begins sniffing a bottle of something. She doesn’t know what it is. Maybe it’s wine. Maybe it’s a liqueur. Maybe it’s urine. Matt’s review doesn’t mention urine, but maybe that’s the trap. Matt’s review does mention chamomile tea, which is…I don’t know. I’m not following this very well. It feels increasingly like a dream. Not a very interesting one, mind. Nobody’s even nude.
No, now she does know what’s in the bottle. I don’t, though. It’s all just random words.
Jess describes what she’s doing to Matt and the shiny-haired guy. Matt tells her to go back and look at the review “carefully”. Jess runs back and looks at the review. She doesn’t know what Matt was talking about. It’s possible Matt wasn’t trying to tell her she’d made a mistake at all, but just wants people to read his review over and over again.
Matt and Shiny visit Ben to stress him out the way they did to Jess. Ben gets the same smug looks. He checks the review. He discovers that the jubes and the fluid gel need to be the same flavour. What does this mean? Nobody will ever know.
Meanwhile Jess has been obsessively checking the review for so long that her curd has split, something that happens to every young woman at some stage. “I feel like giving up,” she says, echoing my thoughts precisely. “No Jess, you can’t give up,” Chloe calls from the balcony, which is an easy place to tell people not to give up from.
“It seems impossible, but I have to remind myself that it’s a dessert,” says Jess, which is true. “And I can do this,” she goes on, which is not. Up on the balcony the spectators watch, happy that their efforts to convince Jess to persevere so they can revel in the spectacle of her misery a while longer have been so successful.
Matt asks Samira is she’s happy with her sorbet. “It tastes really good and it’s quite smooth,” she says, not answering the question. “Samira’s sorbet looks absolutely spectacular,” says Chloe, and it’s hard to tell whether she’s saying it sarcastically or whether she just always talks like that.
Ben makes up a basic sponge recipe with almond meal and plain flour, and then tells us about it like we give a shit. This is “microwave sponge”, so named because when you eat it hazardous radiation is released throughout your body.
Ben tips out his panna cotta. It has split, having gotten the idea from Jess’s curd. It looks slimy and green and generally gross and there is a good chance it actually poisonous. “I’m really not happy but I don’t have time to make another one,” he says, but surely he at least has time to self-immolate. He tastes the panna cotta and finds it tastes like yoghurt. And not good yoghurt. Because there’s no such thing as good yoghurt. He decides instead to put some cream on the dish in place of the panna cotta. Reece says he’s worried because not having one of the elements on the plate could cost Ben, because Reece has apparently not been paying attention. Otherwise he would realise that Ben has a choice between not having one of the elements on the plate, and literally making the judges vomit blood.
Meanwhile Samira’s panna cotta has not set, proving the truth of the old adage, “None of these dickheads can make a panna cotta”.
Back to Ben’s bench, where his jubes haven’t set. Nothing is going right for Ben, and any prospective employer will not be impressed by his inability to successfully make a complex dessert without knowing what it is beforehand.
Time runs out, and nobody is very happy. Not just in the Masterchef kitchen, but generally, around the world. A lot of sadness exists. Let’s think about that.
“The pressure got to me,” says Samira, but actually what got to her was the fact the challenge was stupid. “It’s the end,” she sobs, before the fireball puts her out of her misery.
The judges sit down to chuckle about the difficult and dumb task they forced these poor idiots to perform. Jess serves her dessert first, and she’s done well in the sense that she has a plate with lots of yellow things on it. George makes a point of mentioning to Shiny Hair that Jess is only nineteen years old, wondering whether this means he can pay her less.
The judges uncover the original yellow things and Jess finds her yellow things look reasonably close to the other yellow things. They taste Jess’s yellow things and they all taste like yellow things which is great.
Samira comes in engaged in a fierce contest with her dish as to which looks like a bigger mess. Her yellow things look less like the other yellow things than Jess’s yellow things, but they are still yellow and they are still things. They taste like good flavours which is a good thing for a thing to taste like. Also her custard has become a puddle, and Matt is not angry, he’s just disappointed.
Ben comes in with only five out of his seven elements. He’s very worried, and like Samira his head explodes.
Shiny Hair compliments Ben’s instincts, which is another way of saying that he insults his ability. Ben’s yellow things are yellow except for a couple of them which are white, which is not yellow at all. This may cost him. “I reckon they look pretty similar,” says Ben, ignoring the fact that he seems to have placed two fried eggs on his plate.
The judges taste Ben’s dish. George says “mandarins” over and over again, stuck in a loop. Everyone agrees that Ben’s dish is fantastic apart from the many, many things that are horribly wrong with it.
Time has come for judgment. “You’ve never asked your chefs to do anything as challenging as that,” Matt says to the guest chef, and well yes of course he hasn’t. Why would he? What sort of demented shithead would ask his chefs to make a dish without telling them what it is? What would be the earthly point? Why aren’t the judges asking themselves these questions?
Anyway the judges can’t even bring themselves to pretend it’s a close contest, so they just tell Samira she’s going home. Before kicking her out they are at pains to emphasise that when cooking things which she knows the identity of, she’s pretty good. Samira thanks them for the opportunity to be publicly humiliated, and leaves, apparently to work on “her first illustrated cookbook”, a phrasing that seems to reflect utterly unjustified confidence that there will be a second.
Tune in tomorrow, when people will eat flowers for some reason.
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