Masterchef Recap: TV Party Tonight

Ben Pobjie
7 min readJul 9, 2018


Previously on Masterchef, Ben and Kristen suffered the consequences of experimenting with disgustingness. Tonight, three more amateurs will be thrown into the maelstrom of elimination after proving themselves inadequate as cooks and as human beings.

“This week is all about survival,” says Gary. “Each cook, you’re at risk of going into elimination.” “Yes Gary,” the amateurs reply, “we know that, you told us that yesterday you dumbass.”

Gary goes on to explain that the amateur who remains at the end of Survival Week will gain the “ten-year superpower”, but refuses to explain what that means, like a jerk. The amateurs are filled with curiosity: what is the superpower? Is it the ability to cook food?

Matt introduces today’s challenge: to reinvent retro TV dinners in a way that makes them comparatively edible. There are only three TV dinners to choose from: each cook will be competing head to head against the person who picks the same one as them. The three losers will go into elimination.

There is much consternation amongst the amateurs. “I’m only 19, I don’t know what a TV dinner is,” says Jess, even though the concept is fairly self-explanatory and Matt just told them in explicit detail exactly what a TV dinner is. If she still doesn’t know, she is just not paying attention.

Each contestant picks a box to see what dish they are getting. Sashi gets fish and chips. Chloe gets beef, potatoes, corn and peas. Samira gets fried chicken. Jess will cook against Chloe, which makes her unhappy because beef isn’t sorbet, but on the bright side Chloe isn’t very good. Reece will cook chicken against Samira and Khanh will cook fish and chips against Sashi.

There is much laughter and cries of dismay as everyone mocks and ridicules the values of the working class, but quickly everyone gets to work and it becomes extremely clear that this challenge is nowhere near as hard as they’ve all been making out. It’s not like they have to take an actual TV dinner and make something out of it: they get to use proper ingredients and make pretty much whatever they want. These people are such crybabies.

Khanh knows he’s taking a big risk making a broth in his “fish and chips”, but it’s all a matter of perspective: he’s not taking a big risk compared to, say, a WWI fighter pilot.

Reece relates the bafflingly amusing tale of the time he ate a frozen cannelloni after a break-up. “Thank god I don’t have to make that,” he says, but actually making frozen cannelloni would probably be pretty easy.

Meanwhile Samira still doesn’t know what she’s going to cook. “We don’t have TV dinners in Azerbaijan,” she says, and again these people do not understand what this challenge is. It doesn’t matter whether she’s had a TV dinner before: she saw a picture of fried chicken, make something with fried chicken. Jesus Christ you guys, take a sip of cement.

“Sami, keep it simple, punch the flavour into it,” says Ben from the balcony. Samira graciously accepts this advice from the man who is not a good enough cook to even be cooking today. Why didn’t you take your own advice yesterday, Ben? Exactly. Zip it.

Chloe is struggling with what to do with beef, corn, peas and potatoes. They’re such weird, obscure ingredients, how can she be expected to think of a good dish to make with them? But it’s not the dinner that is the challenge, it is the special offer of a free Kodak camera on the box that will really test her ingenuity.

Meanwhile Jess is also going through agonies because the TV dinner “looks so disgusting”. JESS, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE THE TV DINNER. YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO MAKE SOMETHING BETTER THAN IT. Unfortunately she is so rattled she makes a kale dust, which even in an agitated state of mind is unforgivable in my opinion.

“This is certainly not a TV dinner that you chuck in the microwave…is it?” says Gary, whose writers had the day off.

Ignoring this awkward banter, Chloe declares her intention to cook beef over a grill like some kind of madman. She objects to having to make gravy, as “my usual style is South-East Asian, Middle Eastern, Mexican…” Those are three different things and none of them precludes you from learning how to fucking make gravy. Still, her hatred of gravy overcomes her, and she decides to make something completely different from the boring crap she was originally planning. Running to the pantry she grabs vegetables and fish sauce and begins whipping up some big mess of nonsense or other.

Samira doesn’t like corn and her forehead is on fire. Something has gone very wrong, as the challenge requires her to use corn and to not have a forehead on fire. Conversely, Reece loves cooking with corn, and plans to include a dessert element in his fried chicken and corn dish, which sounds utterly repulsive.

Matt demands to know why Khanh is oven-baking his fish instead of frying it. Khanh tells him it’s because he wants it to have a crispy top. Matt finds his explanation to be a prime slab of bullshit. Khanh takes Matt’s furrowed brow on board and fries some fish as a backup, confirming that he expects to fail.

Jess cuts her beef and discovers, to her shock, that it is overcooked. “Stop touching it,” says Ben, but Jess, knowing that Ben is terrible at cooking and his advice is worse than worthless, keeps touching it. “Have some confidence,” Kristen chimes in, which is pretty rich coming from her.

With ten minutes to go, it is the time at which traditionally all the judges and everyone on the balcony shouts “ten minutes” repeatedly. Today is no exception, and the amateurs takes great inspiration from the spectators’ correct identification of the passage of time.

Samira and Reece are both doing things with sauces but it’s not really interesting enough to comment on, or to put on television at all, but they were running short on tonight’s ep. Reece pours some liquid into a tray and George begins shouting because he’s just had an orgasm or taken an overdose of Swisse or something.

Khanh checks his baked fish. It’s rubbish. He tries to crisp it up by grilling it. That’s the kind of thing people do immediately before failing. Sashi is still cooking, and he must be doing incredibly well, because they’ve barely bothered to put him on screen at all.

“It’s so important that my chicken’s nice and tender,” says Reece, and this is not a euphemism. His chicken is still pink — also not a euphemism — and he hopes that putting into a hot pan won’t take away the tenderness. See how boring cooking is? Anyway he can’t plate his chicken properly and runs hysterically into the pantry to chastise himself.

The judges begin counting down as the editor begins piecing together footage from earlier in the day to make it look as if everyone’s plating at the last second.

Time is up. Chloe can’t believe that she got her dish done, which gives her a window into how we all feel about the fact she’s still there. Elsewhere, Khanh thinks his fish might not be cooked, which would represent something of an oversight as his dish’s technical name is “cooked fish”.

Khanh serves his weird possibly-not-cooked fish in broth with chips that aren’t chips first. Gary tastes it and says he got a little tingle down his spine. He knows he’s being hunted. The fish is cooked perfectly, showing that Khanh needn’t have worried and that he is an extremely bad judge of whether food is cooked or not. Anyway the dish is fine.

Sashi serves his fish. “I don’t know what’s happened this week,” says George, with so serious a look on his face that for a second it seems like he’s about to announce that he accidentally paid someone overtime. Actually he’s just about to say that Sashi is really really good and he enjoys munching his snapper.

Now it is time for Jess to serve up the beef dish that she hates and wishes had never been born. She tells the judges she wanted it medium rare but she thinks it’s more medium, which is a lie: she actually think it’s been burnt to a cinder. Matt tells her he enjoys kale dust, proving he has been drinking heavily, but not so heavily that he can’t tell that the beef is almost well done and therefore might as well be a pile of charred human flesh laced with strychnine.

“I’m very disappointed that I didn’t believe in myself today,” says Jess, but she should not be so hard on herself, as none of us believed in her either.

Chloe serves her weird beef salad. “I absolutely love it,” says Matt in a very obsequious way. Jess is screwed.

Reece serves his chicken and the judges all love it because it’s Reece and he’s just so cute, right? But Matt doesn’t think his chicken was perfectly cooked, and if your chicken isn’t perfectly cooked, by what right do you even claim you should go on living? Matt can barely restrain himself from thrashing Reece with a switch.

Samira serves a lump of chicken sitting on some red stuff and admits she was confused to begin with, but now she understands the whole “TV show” thing. George orders her to lie about her level of confidence, while Gary and Matt stuff their faces. All the judges slobber all over Samira and nobody tells her that her chicken isn’t quite perfect, which is a bad sign for Reece maybe unless it’s not.

Time to announce who has won and who is human garbage. We already know the answer when it comes to Chloe versus Jess, the tension of their confrontation drained by Jess’s hatred of beef. In other news…

Sashi is better than Khanh, a real shock to anyone who didn’t watch the episode. And Samira is better than Reece because of the way Reece violently incinerated his chicken.

And so Samira, Sashi and Chloe continue to chase the “superpower”, the nature of which remains mysterious and almost certainly less impressive than they’re making it sound. And Reece, Khanh and Jess must join Ben and Kristen in the end-of-week battle to see who is the most pathetic.

Tune in tomorrow, when three contestants and four pantries collide to create the most surprising revival of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas you’ve ever seen.

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