Masterchef Recap: We Don’t Need No Education
Tonight: a parable about how miscommunication will kill us all. It’s basically Dr Strangelove with parfait. Or not parfait. Sous vide or something.
“It feels really different with ten people left in the competition,” says Tamara, but actually she’s just feeling the effects of the hash brownies Arum made for breakfast. Arriving at the kitchen, the amateurs find two lines of benches separated by a big pantry wall. Their task: to cook in pairs. Each pair must make two identical dishes, without being able to see each other — each pair will be separated by the wall and only able to communicate by yelling angry obscenities at each other.
The bottom two teams will go into sudden death, while the best team will win, promises Gary, a “very special prize”. But we know what “very special” means on Masterchef: they’ll probably get a year’s supply of sardines or something.
George explains the point of this challenge: great cooking is about consistency. He fails to explain in which professional kitchens employees are forced to work on opposite sides of a wall and not allowed to see each other, but I’m sure it’s common — Masterchef wouldn’t force contestants to perform a gimmicky task with no real-world application, surely?
Sam and Diana discuss desserts like two people on the verge of divorce. They’re not angry, they’re just so very very tired. Meanwhile Sarah is teamed with Tamara, and I approve of this — I think they make an excellent team and I would invite them to my birthday party.
Gary explains the challenge to the other judges. They nod along, pretending they didn’t already hear him explain it to the contestants for fear of hurting his feelings.
Eloise is teamed with Callan, the poor darling. On the other side of that wall, how is she going to stop him pouring Worcestershire sauce over everything and stuffing it with gunpowder?
A more harmonious team is Ben and Karlie, who have already bonded over their shared experience of being the ones everyone forgets about. The fire of vengeance burns in their eyes as they scream at each other about fish. “Let’s go Ben!” yells Karlie. “Let’s go Karlie!” yells Ben. On the question of going and the advisability of same, they are uncannily in sync.
Meanwhile Eliza orders Arum to weigh the cauliflower, because the vice-like psychological grip she holds him in is dependent on a constant program of pointless tasks to prevent him gaining awareness of the outside world. She wants Arum to make sure the onion rings are the size of the lid of the vinegar. Arum confides that he’s “not too good at hearing”, exposing the producers as the ableist pigs that they are.
Elsewhere, Diana tells Sam to whip his creme fraiche, but he’s done…something…bad. I don’t know. They’re not communicating all that well with us either, to be honest.
Eloise tells Callan the dressing needs adjustment. Callan has no idea what she’s talking about: he hasn’t even been to hospital. Callan compares their situation to Romeo and Juliet. Poor sweet Callan. She’s well out of your league. Eloise is concerned that their dish is so simple they won’t have anywhere to hide, which is a problem because hiding is a major part of cooking: all the great chefs hide 60–70% of the time.
Meanwhile Sam needs to work really hard to catch up due to the unfortunate incident with his brain earlier. But who knows when his brain will strike again?
Eliza and Arum are making a cauliflower puree and are therefore dead to me. Arum continues to not hear what Eliza is saying. They have a sparkling exchange of witty banter that goes thus:
ELIZA: Cook the steak two minutes.
ARUM: Three minutes?
ELIZA: TWO MINUTES
ARUM: Three minutes?
ELIZA: TWO MINUTES
ARUM: Let’s do three minutes
ELIZA: Let’s do two and a half minutes.
The culinary world is so fascinating.
With ten minutes to go, we are reminded that Ben and Karlie are still a thing. They try to cook their fish at the same time, but Ben doesn’t know what heat Karlie has her fish on, and no matter how hard he ignores her, he just can’t seem to find out.
Sam is still a little bit behind Diana, which is a menacing thought for any woman. She’s doing her praline now, but his is still a few minutes off. He tells Diana to put her praline in the blast chiller, but why should she take the advice of someone who is a few minutes off? His credibility is shot.
Eliza is screaming Arum’s name, and not in a good way. Not that there is a good way to scream “Arum”, because it’s not a real name. Arum’s strategy of doing the entire challenge with lentils in his ears isn’t paying dividends.
Sam and Diana’s praline is still not finished because Sam is still a dead weight. Diana’s stress levels, she claims, are “up to here” — she waves her hand above her head. Stress at those levels can be fatal, and is often caused by a partner with unset praline.
Sarah and Tamara haven’t been around much. They probably finished hours ago.
Sam is praying for a miracle, which historically rarely works. Although look at Mary MacKillop, eh.
Oh here are Sarah and Tamara, they’re about to carve the breasts off the quail, which is a bit naughty of them. “I’m just trimming the quail,” Tamara shouts, probably not realising how much like a euphemism for masturbation that sounds.
Another great conversation, this one between Ben and Karlie:
KARLIE: I’m putting my asparagus on the plate now!
BEN: In a triangle?
BEN: In a triangle?
BEN: In a triangle?
So anyway they do it in a triangle.
Karlie continues to yell “Arum” until time runs out. Sam’s praline is finally hard enough to blitz, thanks to intensive therapy and pharmaceuticals.
Tamara is trying not to get her hopes up, but she’s not trying very hard to be honest.
In the tasting room, Gary informs the other judges that replicating a dish without seeing what the other is cooking is actually quite hard. Matt nods and tells the other judges that actually, it’s pretty hard. Everyone agrees: it is hard. George tells Gary and Matt that winning is better than losing, and they all high five over how great their insights are.
Tamara and Sarah serve their dishes first. Their dishes look basically the same. “I’m surprised,” they both say, admitting openly that they believe themselves to be incompetent. Their dishes taste the same too, which is a relief, because there was always a risk that Tamara would pour a kilo of melted chocolate onto the quail without telling Sarah.
Next are Sam and Diana, who are in no way confident and in no way should be. They have both made a creme fraiche cheesecake. At least one of them has. But I’m not sure which one. Upon tasting, though, Gary says, “It’s closer than I thought”. Then again, from looking at them he probably thought one was a dessert and one was a shepherd’s pie, so it’s not that great.
Next, Ben and Karlie with their pan-fried snapper. They look the same. They taste almost the same. Ben and Karlie retreat happily into obscurity.
Next come Eloise and Callan. Eloise says she can hear her heart beating through her chest. Her fear is well-justified because Callan is insane. Who knows what he might’ve done with his scallops? Caramelise them? Electrocute them? Rub them on his crotch? In the event he’s done none of these things, he’s just overcooked them. “This is a terrible thing to do to a scallop,” says Gary, which is a horrible way to refer to Eloise. “I think you have a problem,” says Matt, but he’s one to talk.
Eliza and Arum now serve their dishes, which is surprising because I didn’t think Arum would’ve been able to hear the judges calling him. Eliza and Arum’s dishes look pretty similar. I guess. I mean not really, but a bit. Reasonably. It’s pretty good for a team that is half deaf, anyway. And the steaks are cooked the same, so all is well. “Is the dish simple? Well I don’t think so,” says George, making his usual mistake of believing the world desires his opinion.
Obviously the worst teams are Diana and Sam and Callan and Eloise and they are in tomorrow’s elimination, when someone will go home hopefully Sam or Callan.
And the prizewinners are…Tamara and Sarah! The Good Team!
And the prize they win is…Oh they’re not going to tell us. Fucking hell.
Tune in tomorrow when Tamara and Sarah will receive a Bertie Beetle showbag to share.