Previously on Masterchef, for the first time ever winning a Mystery Box challenge actually produced an advantage for the winner. Tonight, the arrival of perennial kitchen favourite Maggie Beer, who is not only the woman they named beer after, but also lives in South Australia, world serial killer capital.
We begin with the beloved titles montage, featuring tray-carrying, flour-scattering, and one disturbingly ecstatic facial response to spaghetti.
Hence to the first pressure test, to be fought out between three people whose names I don’t know because this season hasn’t been on long enough.
Wait, one of them is called Michelle I think. She’s the one who tried to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. I hope she loses.
The other woman in the pressure test is from Azerbaijan, so she’s surely suffered enough. And then there’s an old guy.
“Yesterday I’ve made some really bad decisions,” says Michelle, repeating her daily mantra to try to relax.
The trio enters the kitchen. “Pressure test today, I don’t think I need to tell you,” says Gary. So why DID he tell them? Just talking to hear his own voice. What a creep.
“Few remember the very first pressure test dish,” says Matt, “and that is the dish we’re going to recreate today.” This is said with quite an ominous air, for no apparent reason. So they’re going to make a dish that other people made once. Game-changer…?
OK the other woman is called Samira.
Maggie Beer enters, and everyone immediately sprays intimate fluids all over the kitchen. Everyone loves Maggie Beer, because she makes up words like “verjuice” and enjoys holding shiny roast chickens up to cameras.
Maggie demands tribute for her continued patience, and today it takes the form of an apple tarte tatin, which is a thing with apples in it. The three losers taste the tarte tatin and are in agreement: it tastes like a thing with apples in it, and to win the challenge they will have to make a thing with apples in it.
So the old man is called Metter, unless that’s not his name but a postmodern comment on the form itself.
“Good luck to each of you,” Maggie twinkles, her mouth watering in anticipation of the shattered dream she will soon be feeding on.
George and Maggie visit Samira’s bench to undermine her confidence, while up on the balcony the spectators try to destroy the contestants’ concentration by clapping and yelling “come on” at crucial moments.
“I’m a project manager, I’m going to use my strategy to follow a timeline,” says Metter, cleverly satirising the essential emptiness of late capitalist society. Meanwhile George is bellowing “PLENTY OF TIME” at the contestants, to ensure they understand that if he stops yelling for more than twenty seconds, he will die.
“Michelle’s motoring, I’m so happy about that,” says the redhead on the balcony, betraying no trace of emotion. What is she happy about? The prospect of Michelle succeeding? The general concept of motoring? The fact that the faster Michelle goes, the sooner she’ll be gone?
Meanwhile Metter has fucked up his pastry. Up on the balcony the spectators observe that Metter has fucked up his pastry. They call out to him to ask whether he’s fucked up his pastry. He gives them a thumbs up to indicate that he’s happy with how he’s fucked up his pastry. George and Maggie visit him to enquire about his pastry. He explains how he fucked it up. They say that fucking up the pastry is the wrong way to go about this particular dish. He has folded it too many times. Or folded it too quickly. Or not let it rest. Or something. Pastry is stupid and really never worth the effort.
Jo, who is some woman or other, is worried that Metter has made a big mistake, but why does she care? She hardly knows Metter. Down on the floor, Maggie tells Metter to stop folding his pastry for Christ’s sake. Metter decides to try to move on with his life, if such a thing is possible after the humiliation of overworking your rough puff.
Michelle is trying to multitask, which is a brave move given that her previous performances have indicated that even tasking is a stretch for her. Michelle is excited to be recreating a dish from the first season of Masterchef because ten years ago she put her modelling career on hold to become a mother/person who is too old be a model, and she has a profane shrine to Julie Goodwin under her house.
Samira informs us that the verjuice is extremely important. A lot of people are confused about what verjuice is, but it’s actually pretty simple: verjuice is just the liquid produced by Maggie Beer when she masturbates. It’s a major element of the tarte tatin.
Meanwhile Metter stays attuned to the theme of his day by cutting his finger. “You’ve gotta move quicker!” George shrieks in an ableist manner.
Samira tells Maggie and Gary that she’s scared. Maggie tells her to not be scared, shaming her for being open with her feelings. Maggie says that the caramel should be amber. Samira foolishly takes this to mean that it should be amber-coloured, but Maggie demands that her tarte tatin be made with actual amber.
Michelle has gotten her ice cream into the churner, proving that in the past week she has learnt how to make ice cream. “Where’s your brush?” asks Maggie, trying to throw Michelle off her game with baffling riddles. Gary is wandering the kitchen making cryptic passive-aggressive remarks. On the balcony a random woman is clutching her hair and repeating “get it off the heat get it off the heat get it off the heat” like a culinary Hodor. Things are getting extremely tense, but the tension is released by the arrival of the fireball.
How are we not even halfway through this episode? These people have been panickedly folding pastry and pouring apples into things forever.
Some dude called Ben thinks Michelle is looking a bit frazzled. “I’m a bit confused,” says Michelle. “Why are you confused?” asks Gary. Michelle is confused because she has put the apples in the ice cream maker but nothing is happening. She crawls inside the blast chiller and prays to Julie for guidance.
It’s time for Metter to make the caramel. It was actually time for Metter to make the caramel about half an hour ago, but he is a project manager so he likes to think outside the box.
Gary orders the contestants to “Get a hustle on”, a command as impolite as it is grammatically incorrect. On the balcony someone yells “Come on Michelle you got this”, to make clear to the other two how much he despises them.
There are thirty-five minutes to go. The tarte tatin requires thirty-five minutes in the oven. Metter has not put his tarte tatin in the oven yet. Everyone is shouting at Metter to put his tarte tatin in the oven. What they are forgetting is, he is a project manager.
Samira is making custard. The custard also contains verjuice, because Maggie had a big weekend and had a lot spare to get rid of. We are now treated to some utterly gripping footage of people looking at ovens. It’s hard to find the words to describe just how exciting this is.
“Five more minutes! Make decisions, and make them quickly!” yells George, furious that nobody has looked at him for a while.
The cooks start removing their tarte tatins from the ovens. Samira wonders if hers is brown enough on top, and considers applying some Just For Men to the pastry. Michelle “finally makes the decision to take it out”, something she often did in her modelling days as well. “It’s a really exciting moment,” she says, having never experienced anything exciting in her life.
A tarte tatin is a thing that needs to be flipped over after you cook it. The cooks flip their tarte tatins over. Everyone cheers like they just saw victory achieved in the Pacific. The death of perspective is celebrated in decadent fashion.
Metter says he hopes his dish is close to what it should be. He does not understand that hope is for the weak. Michelle asks Samira what she thinks of her tarte tatin, which is much too dark. Samira tells Michelle that it looks beautiful, lying shamelessly.
Samira serves her tarte to the judges first. She explains that Maggie made her feel comfortable about food. Maggie explains that all she ever wanted to do was make people feel comfortable about food and also make many many millions of dollars selling jars with her name on them. The judges like Samira’s tarte tatin so much that they recite a list of things that are in it as a substitute for description. “That and a pot of tea, you’re in heaven,” says George, somewhat sinisterly.
Michelle enters. “It’s so important that I stay in this competition,” she says, but a quick examination of recent geopolitical events reveals that in fact it is not. She serves her tarte tatin to the judges and performs the obligatory crawling and bootlicking of Maggie Beer. She tells them how much she adores baking with her daughters, which is nice because soon she will be able to do that again. Maggie thinks the apple is too bitter and the caramel is too bitter and her critics are too bitter. Being too bitter is often a handicap in Masterchef, as most dishes are supposed to be only just bitter enough.
In comes Metter, managing his project like mad. He is hoping his apple is cooked enough. He tells the judges he enjoyed the cook, but makes a crucial tactical error by failing to tell Maggie how much he adores her and wishes only to honour and please her. Maggie considers crushing him like a bug as punishment for his lack of respect. The judges discuss his tarte. “It’s hard to tell without tasting it,” says Gary, expertly identifying the terrible challenge of eating. Metter’s apples are raw. What a shame this isn’t the Raw Apple Challenge. He would’ve aced it.
The three contestants return for judgment. “I felt your nerves and understood them so well,” says Maggie, her eyes turning jet-black as she stares into their souls. Matt placates her by talking some elongated crap about the generosity of her soul, and then moves on to shaming the contestants. “One of you made Maggie so proud,” he says, emphasising that two of them made her deeply ashamed. Samira was the one who didn’t stain the face of humanity with an abomination. Michelle and Metter both did. But Metter stained it slightly more, and he must now venture out into the freezing cold of life as a loser.
“What I’ve learned about cooking is that it’s a passion,” Metter says, which is a shame: it’d be more constructive if what he’d learned about cooking was that if you don’t cook food for as long as the recipe tells you to, it won’t cook properly. Anyway the epilogue informs us that Metter has gone to Malaysia to cook with his mother, which is pretty pathetic as he hasn’t even yet launched a range of sauces.
Tune in tomorrow when some people who are better at cooking than this lot succumb to the unbearable pressure of the pin.
Masterchef doesn’t pay me for this promotion I do for them, but you can, via Patreon, here.