Normally, reality shows that give eliminated contestants a second chance are rubbish, because what does elimination even MEAN if you’re going to dilute the concept thus? But on this occasion Masterchef deserves a pass, because giving the eliminated amateurs a shot at redemption means the TRAVESTY of the previous night, when skilled cook and beautiful soul Tamara was knocked out, just might be reversed. The only thing standing between us and happiness is all these other frigging losers.
In they come, and the surviving contestants jump up and down and squeal with surprised delight, having been under the impression that all eliminated amateurs had been executed. “Second chances are what Masterchef is all about,” says Matt, and I assume that somewhere inside his head, that made sense. It certainly didn’t anywhere outside his head. Second chances are what Masterchef is all about? What? How so, sir? Explain yourself.
There will be two rounds: a savoury and a sweet. The six best savouries will get a chance to make the sweet. Each participant must pick a hero ingredient. They must also refer to it as a hero ingredient incessantly, and use “hero” as a verb, and never once complain about this unreasonable demand. Anyone who fails to toe the hero line will be terminated with extreme prejudice.
Good signs early as we get far more footage of Tamara choosing her ingredient than anyone else, and some dramatic strings. So she’s either going to win her way back into the kitchen, or do something frighteningly awful.
The judges pop by Jess’s station to let her know that if she wants to return to the competition she has to make food that tastes good. She’s grateful for this because in her time away she’d forgotten the rules.
There is a lot of stuff about people who aren’t Tamara, which is deeply objectionable. Does anyone care whether Bryan is nervous? He’s not as nervous as Tamara, and not as pretty either. Stop giving him airtime.
Bryan believes he needs to make a perfect dish, but he’s wrong, because he only needs to be in the top six out of a group of people who have already proven themselves inadequate.
Meanwhile Tamara is going dumpling-to-dumpling with Bryan. It’s hard to say whose dumplings will taste better, but Tamara’s will definitely have a more positive attitude, which surely must count for something?
Some Irish guy feels he didn’t do himself justice last time he was here, and I’m sure he’s right because I have not the faintest idea who he is. But he’s not Tamara, which is the main thing.
Benita is smoking some fennel puree. Maybe that’s what’s caused her to delude herself that she has a hope in hell of getting back in.
Jess and Bryan are doing cooking things, but neither of them are Tamara so who cares. Apparently Bryan’s favourite way of doing dumplings is steam frying. Sorry, ONE of his favourite ways. Top ten, maybe, or top twenty. Buy his ebook, Seven Thousand Dumpling Ways With Bawdy Bryan, for more.
Rashedul is one I feel sorry for because he never deserved to be eliminated in the first place, it was only because he dropped a plate. But even his sweet countenance must be sacrificed for the greater good (Tamara).
Pete announces his intention to punch us in the face with mint, believing threats will work where poor cooking did not.
Tamara’s done a thingy on her dumplings like a little lace thingy. I dunno. She says it makes her think of coral and the ocean, which apparently is a good thing. She’s lost me there: I hope the judges comprehend her aquatic accoutrements better than I do. I guess if you like dumplings with coral sticking out of them they’d be good? And who knows: these judges like some pretty weird shit.
From the balcony, the smug non-eliminees shout random, vague encouragement to everyone, not really meaning any of it. Time is up for the first round, and the losers hug each other in spite of their mutual hate.
Pete is first to plate up. He has made a lamb rack, sticking to his incredibly dull strengths as usual. “You chose mint, and you’ve given us a minty dish,” says George, lauding Pete’s innovative use of toothpaste to bring out the flavour of the lamb.
Pia is next, with gnocchi with orange fennel sauce. Gary says it’s wonderful, but I have my doubts…I mean it’s orange fennel sauce. Anyway she’s not on screen for long, so she’s gone. We rush through a few more anonymous nobodies. Rashedul’s dish takes Matt back to Dacca, but more likely it’s the mushrooms he took before the show.
Oh here comes Bryan with his Traitor’s Dumplings. He claims his mum would be happy with his dumplings, but she’s biased — surely she’s the last person we should be asking. They all love his dumplings. Ugh, such a teacher’s pet.
Tamara’s heart sinks seeing the judges’ response to Bryan’s dumplings, and my heart is right with hers. As always. Her dumplings are called “pot stickers”, which is either a pretentious way to say dumplings, or an unpretentious way to say dumplings. Or maybe a pot sticker is a dumpling with fake coral on it. If that’s a thing.
The judges love Tamara’s dumplings, and why wouldn’t they, given she is perfect?
Next up, Jess. She wants this so badly, but she wanted it badly when she got eliminated it too. Wanting it badly often correlates to cooking it badly, so if I wanted it badly I wouldn’t be so vocal about it. But everyone always is, which is why I never get on Masterchef.
Jess has made pan fried duck breast, if you’ll pardon my French. With blackberry jus, which sounds revolting, so I bet they love it. Yeah, they do. Gary says, “It’s just solid cooking”, which sounds like a vicious insult, but apparently he means it as a compliment.
The six to go through to round two are Samuel, Bryan, Pete, Jess, TAMARA!!!!!! and Lee, who is that Irish guy, so there you go. Gary tells the six double-losers that it’s been great to have them back, which is blatantly untrue and I doubt anyone believed him for a second. “I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved,” says Pia, and we don’t believe that either.
The six best losers must now make something sweet, using — or if you are a total tool, heroing — the same ingredient as with their savoury. They rush to the pantry. The people on the balcony tell all of them to “go”. George informs the other judges that there is only one apron to be given away. The other judges agree, in theory.
Bryan is very excited because he thinks he’s hot shit on desserts. But remember when he thought he was hot shit before and then he got eliminated? Good times.
Sick of Bryan. Want to see more Tamara.
Not Jess, Tamara! Dammit. Jess is making a blackberry aero mousse, which isn’t a real thing. But to add that extra kick, she’s moaning about her grandma while she makes it.
Pete is making “after-dinner mint”. “You can really riff on that,” says George, but in fact probably he’ll just make a minty steak. Meanwhile Lee is I dunno, something.
Finally, Tamara! She tells Gary and George that she’s making a frozen nougat with chilli in everything. Gary and George look at her as if she’s just broken their dog’s neck with her thighs. They disapprove of her putting so much chilli into the dish in which she is required to make chilli the hero ingredient. It’s a tough job pleasing judges who don’t understand the rules of the game they’re judging.
Tamara tells Gary and George that she will have a look in the pantry for complementary things. Like maybe a secret passage to the outside world where she can live free once more.
“The apron is back within your grasp!” Matt yells dishonestly.
Gary tells George that Jess is “absolutely in the zone” and that Tamara is confused. Screw you Gary, you don’t know Tamara.
“I definitely have the judges’ voice in my head,” says Tamara. This sounds awful. The poor thing. Eloise tells Tamara that her pineapple is looking beautiful, though I don’t know how you can tell something like that.
Meanwhile Bryan blah blah tuile etc blah blah. Jess blackberry aero mousse etc etc whatever “I’ve cooked with my heart” blah blah. Pete after-dinner mint and so forth.
Suddenly Pete burns his sugar, which isn’t surprising because it’s not a lamb chop so he doesn’t really understand how heat works on it. He’ll have to throw it away and fall back on the purity of his green gloop.
Tamara is making millet puffs which seems recklessly self-destructive to me, but Tamara knows best as I have always said. The editor does keep returning to her, so that’s very positive.
Time is up. The enemies fake-hug again. Jess bursts into tears, demonstrating the steely resolve and grace under pressure that got her kicked out the first time.
In the ad breaks Matt is advertising Canstar home loan comparisons, which is just odd.
Jess is first up. She’s even prouder taking this dish than her first one: her pride is growing more and more uncontrollable. “That’s delicious,” says Gary. “What’s lovely about it is…” and he goes on and on about various nonsense, but what it comes down to is, “the taste”.
TAMARA! Her pineapple nougat with chilli caramel and peanuts and wafers and stuff is…GOOD! “That ticks every box,” says Gary, in a ruder-than-usual double entendre for him. All the judges love it, but will it be good enough to overcome Jess’s grandma-tears and the judges’ overt bias towards Bryan.
Next is Lee, who we’ve barely seen so obviously not worth worrying about. Gary tells him he appreciates the effort Lee put in, such a deadly insult he might as well have told him that his dish caused cholera. Then Samuel, who sucks. Then Pete, who cooks dessert like a crane operator.
Finally, Bryan, who is blatantly sucking up to the judges with his tuile and his salted ginger caramel and his windblown hair. Of course the judges love their pet’s precious little ice cream puffery. “Oh Bryan you’re so wonderful let me kiss your big sexy lips,” they say, probably, in their heads.
“The stakes don’t get any higher than this,” says Gary, who has never served in the military. Bryan, Jess and Tamara are the best three cooks, and Tamara is the best human being, so the choice should be obvious, but I remain nervous.
After Matt talks for an incredibly long time, he finally gets to the freaking point. The winning dish is…
Thank Christ. Justice can exist in a cold world. The losers trudge out, and the winner stays in her rightful place.
Tune in tomorrow when I think there’s going to be a bunch of Heston wank.
My Patreon is here if you’re into that kind of thing.