Masterchef Recap: The Raw and the Cooked
Previously on Masterchef: I’m not really sure, I was watching Lego Masters. Oh, but Nigella’s here? Ace. Time for some erotic entertainment.
Today, the amateurs are going to the State Library of Victoria, because frankly they are uneducated and need a bit of fucking culture pumped into them.
Speaking of pumping, Nigella, eh? Eh? Right?
Anyway, you’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no, you’re Tessa then you’re Ben, you’re Mandy then you’re Simon, you’re Joe then you’re Kyle and so forth. Already the stench of death lingers over the opening sequence.
So, off to the library we go. “This is so exciting,” says one of the amateurs. Steady on, love. It’s the library.
Having passed successfully through security, the amateurs meet the judges in the big library room, the one in the middle that looks like Hogwarts. “How beautiful is that?” says Gary. “It’s spectacular,” says Nigella, as her contract specifies. She claims that she loves books and books are a huge part of her life, but I would put fifty bucks on her being functionally illiterate.
Matt reveals that the library is absolutely crammed full of menus, because Victoria is a hoarder state and refuses to throw anything out. Two of these menus are to serve as the inspiration for two Masterchef teams today. One is the menu for a state reception for Edward, Prince of Wales — the future Edward VIII — and the other is the menu for a state reception for the Queen. They will be cooking meals based on the menus for eighty teachers, which is good because teachers are poor and will eat anything, as illustrated in the book Matilda.
The amateurs are split into the burgundy team and the purple team. These colours are unnecessarily close to each other. Both teams hope they don’t have to cook the Edward VIII menu since he was a well-known Nazi sympathiser and there is probably a lot of problematic racist food on it.
Gary explains they have two and a half hours to prepare a three-course meal for eighty people, while Nigella wonders when she can go to the toilet. Losing patience, she tells them to get on with it.
The teams rush to the library’s kitchen, I guess? Do libraries have kitchens? This one does, apparently. Kyle, captain of the purple team, declares he wants the meal to have a “Victorian” feel, demonstrating his pathetic ignorance of history, as Victoria had been dead for nineteen years when the dinner for Edward was held. His Victorian feel will be anachronistic, costing him dearly.
Meanwhile Steph’s strategy is to instantly lose control of her team, so it’ll be a close race.
As the purple team gets busy, George interrogates Kyle and fails to correct his mistake re: historical periods. George doesn’t know the difference either. They should be spending their time in the library reading. Nigella watches on, moist lips slightly parted, loins afire at the sight of panic.
In the burgundy kitchen, Matt and Nigella quiz Steph about her plan. Steph has no answers. “No one’s going home from my team today,” Steph declares, which doesn’t mean much, because no one’s going home from any team today: the elimination is tomorrow.
Both teams are cooking whiting, which is very much in tune with Edward VIII’s views. Steph believes that the most important thing to get right in the entree is the whiting: given that the entree is whiting, it is difficult to argue with Steph’s theory. Likewise, Tim is cooking lamb for the purple team’s main, and he opines that the most important part of the main will be cooking the lamb. This is how the episodes last more than an hour.
The burgundy team is making Chicken Maryland, a slap in the face to the Queen of England. Steph is happy with the mains team, but less happy with the entree team, who are fucking around with whiting like it’s turds in a sandpit. Mandy protests that Steph keeps bossing her around and telling her to “cook” the food in a way that will be “edible”, and it’s really bringing her down. Steph tells Mandy to get the fuck on with it, but George suddenly interrupts. He has something to tell them. Is he going to cut their pay?
No. He just wants Steph to slow down. Steph is stressed and irritable. She didn’t realise when she accepted the captain role that she would be required to slow down on occasion.
As Nigella watches, her impassive face hiding fantasies of torturing the entire burgundy team to death, Steph and Mandy reach a compromise: Mandy will cook the fish like someone who isn’t a goddamn moron, and Steph will not stab Mandy with the filleting knife.
Back in the purple kitchen, Tim confesses that cooking every piece of lamb identically is difficult. Cry me a river, Tim, this is the life you chose. Gary gives the purple team a pep talk along the lines of: stop fucking around you losers, and make some fucking food.
Leah reveals that the purple team’s dessert is a chocolate parfait, because she watched Masterchef last year and is incapable of original thought. Nigella watches the preparation of the parfait with barely disguised carnal hunger.
The burgundy team’s dessert is a bombe Alaska, which is French for “Alaskan bomb”. This dish originated with Eskimo tribes who used to use the dessert to blast whale carcasses into more manageable pieces. Today people eat it for pleasure, but it can still be fatal in many cases.
Matt asks Kyle whether he has done a tester of the entree. Kyle has not done this. “Wow,” says Matt, in awe at Kyle’s raw, masculine courage. Nigella somehow restrains herself from jumping him right then and there. Yet, like all great men, Kyle has doubts. He worries that not doing a tester may cost him all he has fought for his entire life. His whiting isn’t even in the oven yet, and he can hear the voice of his father in his ears, bellowing, “You’ll never be a seafood chef you bloody wuss”.
It’s obvious where the purple team has gone wrong: they’re putting the whiting in weird little circles. Why would you do that? Just chuck ’em in.
Meanwhile Gary is teaching the burgundy team how to put food on plates. Their eyes are opened for the first time. They are ready to serve, even while the purple team is still fussing over whether their fish looks round enough.
The burgundy team begins serving whiting to the poor starving teachers. Gary enthuses over the wonderful ambience of the room and how funny it is that one side of the table has food and the other side has none. Nigella feels bad for the purple team, but also really horny.
The judges try the burgundy team’s whiting. “I hope this tastes good, and not bad,” says Matt. Nigella agrees that overall, goodness rather than badness is the more desirable outcome. It turns out the entree tastes good, though Nigella says it’s “old-fashioned”, as if this is surprising for a dish based on a menu from 1954.
Back in the kitchen, the purple team has cooked its weird fish circles and is ready to start shovelling them into the rapidly bloating stomachs of the diners. If this mattered, they’d be in big trouble. It doesn’t, though, because hey, the judges just received their entree.
“I feel like I’m in a time warp,” says George, gobsmacked by the retro look of the entree and the 1970s standard wages that he pays his staff.
There is a problem with the purple team’s entree: it’s not cooked. They’ve fallen foul of the professional chef’s greatest pitfall: not cooking the food before serving it.
The purple, non-cooking team is in big trouble against the burgundy cooking team. Can they recover? If Blake fucks up the Chicken Maryland the way you’d expect him to just from looking at him, maybe!
Tim is happy because the purple team’s lamb is perfect, rather than — for example — not cooked at all. It’s a real testament to his ability to turn on the stove.
The burgundy team serves up its main. “We drew a lot of inspiration from the ingredients used in the Queen’s menu,” says Blake. Yes, we know, Blake. That was literally the entire challenge.
The judges eat the chicken. “It’s a bit pink,” says Gary. “This is a teeny bit too pink, I think,” says Nigella, and this is a woman who knows her pink. In a hilarious twist, the burgundy team, which successfully applied heat to their entree for a sufficient period of time to cook it, have done exactly not that to their main course.
George takes the chicken back to the kitchen and tells Steph that she fucked up. “This is my responsibility,” says Steph. No shit, Steph. They begin shoving chickens back in the oven to remove the salmonella.
Meanwhile the purple team have finished serving their entrees only four hours behind schedule, and can begin dishing up the lamb. Kyle is very proud of his main team for being better than him.
Back in the burgundy kitchen, Steph demands to know if there are any breasts. If only Nigella had heard her say that. They’re going to cook the breasts that they took the Marylands from or…I don’t even know. What IS Chicken Maryland? It’s something weird.
The judges taste the purple team’s lamb. It’s wonderful. So now the score is: one good dish apiece, one raw disgusting poisonous dish apiece.
It’s dessert time, and Steph is determined to nail the bombe Alaskas: a terrible idea because that is not in the recipe. Meanwhile on the purple side, the parfait has been in the freezer for over two hours but Leah has no idea whether it’s set. Well, she has SOME idea whether it’s set, because…it’s been in the freezer for over two hours. In a shock twist, it has set. Kyle is very proud of his dessert team as well, because they too are better than him.
The burgundy team tests their meringue. Their meringue is splitting. It’s over-whipped, much like Nigella’s last poolboy. They have only one option: do it right instead of doing it badly. It’s a last resort, but they’re running out of time.
The purple team sends out its parfaits. Leah is incredibly excited. Frankly she’s a bit too excited. Parfaits are nowhere near as thrilling as she seems to think. The average mother is less enthusiastic about her newborn than Leah is about these parfaits.
The judges enjoy the parfait. “Everyone loves chocolate and coffee,” George says, in a patently false statement that absolutely nobody anywhere believes.
Meanwhile the burgundy team is trying the meringue again. Nicole is stressed out but let’s be honest she brought it on herself. “The good thing about making a bombe Alaska is that all the ingredients are pre-prepared,” says Christina. Of course, the bad thing about making a bombe Alaska is that the burgundy team isn’t very good at it.
Eventually, after the eighth or ninth attempt, the burgundy team serves its bombe Alaska. Nigella takes one look and creams her jeans. George is incredibly impressed by the way the dessert references the era, but sadly the dish is not refined enough for famous sophisticate George Calombaris. Nigella points out that dessert isn’t about refinement, it’s about naked lust. Gary agrees.
It’s judging time. We hear what we’d expect to hear: the purple team did good but forgot to cook their entree. The burgundy team did good but forgot to cook their main. Since main is more important than entree, the purple team presumably is better than the burgundy team.
Yes, this is correct. Steph’s complete abrogation of her responsibility as captain has led to the downfall of her team, and now tomorrow one of them will be ritually disembowelled in front of a jeering crowd. Nigella is absolutely dripping at the thought. But she takes time to tell the burgundy team that they shouldn’t feel too bad just because they almost killed everyone in the dining room with their revolting raw chicken. She encourages them to not give up on their dreams, and that if it’s any consolation she would have sex with every one of them.
“We had an awesome cook in the kitchen today,” says Steph, who hasn’t been paying attention. Tomorrow she will see one of her teammates go home. It should be her. It bloody well should be her.
Tune in tomorrow, when sadness will reign over all.
I don’t know why they had to call it “burgundy” and not just “red”.
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