Ben sharpens some knives, Samira sprinkles flour without looking, Michelle does…well, nothing, and off we go. FIREBALL!
It’s MCG day on Masterchef, which means scenic shots of old Melbourne town as the amateurs head for the hallowed turf of the ‘G, where they encounter one of the biggest stars of the AFL team most in need of free publicity: Nathan Jones of the Melbourne Demons, who are apparently in such good shape as a club that their players are able to waste their time participating in cooking shows.
George, being the most divisive figure on the show, splits the amateurs into red and blue teams. Sashi is elected captain of the blue team and Tim captain of the red team — they will bear the brunt of the humiliation should their teams lose.
The teams must cook for the Demons. George asks Nathan what footballers like to eat. Nathan says footballers like to eat protein. Fascinating. George flips a coin. Tim wins. He decides his team will cook red meat. This means the blue team must cook seafood, which is a disaster for them because seafood is the worst kind of food.
Each team must prepare canapes, a main course and a dessert, because after a hard training session, every footy player is gagging to dig into some canapes. They have to cook for 100 people.
“All I’m thinking is I’ve never cooked for this many people in my life,” chuckles Michelle, still refusing to take this seriously. “What could possibly go wrong?” You could forget the ice cream maker.
The menu must be delicious AND nutritious, which is a big departure from most challenges, where you have to pick one or the other. Apparently they also have to include a vegetarian option in their canapes, which is annoying as hell after we’ve already been told they’ll be cooking meat.
Tim has decided to use Scotch fillet, as a tribute to his favourite band, Travis. “I need to tie the beef,” he says, not realising that the cow is already dead and cannot escape. Gary asks Denise what she’s doing. She begins to explain and Gary immediately regrets asking. He desperately tries to end the conversation but she won’t stop talking.
Meanwhile the blue team has no idea what they’re doing. Chloe has a clear focus on what needs to be done for the main, or so she claims — I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her, which is probably ten feet or so. “I don’t think everyone has a clear roll,” she says, but where the hell are you going to get clear rolls? Surely the regular kind will do.
“I’m the captain, and I don’t even know what my team is doing,” says Sashi, confessing his shame as early as possible.
“BLUE TEAM RED TEAM LISTEN UP!” shouts George. Everyone stops what they’re doing to hear his important message, but he doesn’t have one, so they get back to their jobs.
Meanwhile Sashi gathers his blue team to ask them what the hell, guys? Michelle puts her hand up to muck about with prawns. “I love entertaining,” says Michelle, an assertion yet to be borne out by her appearances on this show. Sashi declares his intention to trust Loki, which multiple movies will tell you is a bad idea.
Also, did you know there’s a guy on this show called Loki? Learn something new every day.
Over on the read team, they’re making lamb for main, which is the most boring of all meats.
“We’re serving athletes, we need to make sure the dessert is delicious and nutritious at the same time,” says Reece, like he’s their mum or something. Such a nerd. Can’t a footballer just have something sweet once in a while? For god’s sake they play for Melbourne, they’ve suffered enough.
George visits the red team. “What a mess,” he says to Khanh (you know Khanh, right?). “Do you DJ like this?” Khanh assures him that he does not DJ like this. In fact he hardly ever uses red meat in his DJing.
Ben’s finally finished filleting his salmon, and our long national nightmare is over. Chloe must put them in a water bath, as opposed to an acid bath, which is counterproductive culinarily speaking.
Gary tells George he enjoys watching the red team work. George tells Gary the blue team is a bunch of dickwits. Gary and George agree that the red team contains good people and the blue team is basically immoral. Gary asks Sashi if the blue team will be able to prepare their salmon on time. Sashi considers whipping out his baton and giving Gary a blanket party, but decides instead to put the salmon in the oven.
“Canapes, talk to me!” Sashi yells, delirium overtaking his sense of reality. The canapes do not talk to him, for they are but mutilated prawns. Disaster strikes the red team as Aldo discovers a huge streak of fat running through the middle of the beef they’re using for their canapes. Even worse, there are huge streaks of fat running through the circulatory system of most of the red team.
What can the red team do? Some cows are unhealthy and that’s all there is to it. They’ll just have to cancel the dinner.
But they don’t, because they are too cowardly to face up their own mistakes. Instead they adapt the dish, like the pack of pussies that they are. Meanwhile the blue team is hoping for the best, but has yet to undertake any action to bring the best about. Michelle claims the tamarind sauce is delicious, but what would she know? Seriously. What? “You have to trust Loki,” says Loki, quite suspiciously.
There are dark clouds on the horizon for the blues. “I’m definitely concerned about my mushroom tart,” says Sarah Clare, near tears. The tart has been staying out late and talking back to its parents, and Sarah Clare found cigarettes in its underwear drawer. She is at her wits’ end.
In the dining room, Gary tells Nathan that while the players were training, he thinks the cooks have been working harder than they were. Nathan laughs awkwardly and commendably restrains himself from punching Gary in his smug mouth.
George and Gary and Nathan and some woman who Nathan brought along taste the blue team’s canapes and agree that they are technically edible.
They taste the red team’s canapes and agree that they provide a certain amount of energy which can be used in the operation of bodily processes.
Back in the kitchen, Tim is happy, which just proves he hasn’t been paying attention to the world. Also, Brendan wants his salad to be delicious and nutritious, making him the eightieth person to use this phrase today. Sadly Brendan doesn’t realise that the person they get to make the salad is the person they all hate.
Over on the blue side, George discovers the salmon is overcooked, and tells Sashi so. Sashi doesn’t know what to do, apart from throw George in the pound. What do you with overcooked salmon? What do you with undercooked salmon? What do you do with salmon in general? It’s a useless substance that should never come into contact with humans, and Sashi has learnt a harsh lesson today.
The judges and Nathan and whatshername eat the red team’s boring lamb dish and they think it’s good despite being lamb and therefore boring. “The fat on the outside’s been rendered,” says Gary, a man of simple tastes and low thresholds.
Back in the kitchen, the blue team is pulling the salmon apart in a blind rage. They have decided to solve the problem of the overcooked salmon by putting it in a stupid little noodle salad thing. It looks terrible but the judges say it looks great because they have lost touch with the common man.
It’s time to get dessert ready, despite everyone having lost interest. The red team doesn’t like the barley in their dessert, so they start picking it out one grain at a time. Gary comes along to tell them they’re fucking idiots. They nod understandingly.
The blue team is making a cheesecake mousse, which is a little bit lighter and brighter and blander and more awful than a regular cheesecake. “I’m running out of time,” says Kristen, struck by a sudden realisation of her own mortality. She has split her cream. “It could be cos it’s so hot,” Gary tells her unhelpfully. Kristen whips some more cream. It splits again. This might be a bridge too far for Kristen. “I can’t do it for you,” Gary says, even though nobody fucking asked him to.
The red team are straining their crumb to separate the quinoa from the barley, yet none of them seem to recognise the dreadful missteps that led them to this point.
Meanwhile Kristen is whipping the cream again. By some kind of miracle it doesn’t split. If anyone is still in the dining room, the blue team will be able to serve them dessert.
The judges and the other people eat the desserts and acknowledge its ability to proceed relatively normally through their digestive tracts. “How good is that sorbet?” asks George, who lost his sense of taste due to overuse of liver detox tablets. Gary assures him that it’s “fantastic”. They consider the blue team’s dessert good and the red team’s dessert a horrific mess. “There’s just a lot going on!” cries George, and he’s right: mango sorbet, crunchy quinoa, Swisse vitamins, assault and battery, wage theft, etc.
Nathan goes to bed, grateful that his contractual obligation to pissfart around with cooks is fulfilled. The judges gather the amateurs on the floodlit MCG to remind everyone that there’s no real reason for this episode to have taken place at the MCG. Gary and George tell the teams the good and bad news. The good news is that the blue team is good at making food. The bad news is that the red team is a goddamn disgrace.
Tune in tomorrow, when one of the red team has the only thing that means anything to them taken away.
Masterchef contestants’ dreams are destroyed every day. You can help keep mine alive via my Patreon.