Masterchef – and the winner for most overwrought dramatic pauses goes to…
As always, the elimination show starts off with a clip package of almost all of the previous episode. This means I tune out and start thinking about more important things: have I fed the cats? Is there any more cat litter? Did we use the last of the Spray’n’Wipe? Are there any garbage bags left? Did Poh only hug Andre? Oh, okay, we’re back to the show. I didn’t see Poh hugging anybody else, but I was going through my shopping list and might have missed it. Sam and Chris share a big hug, which shows that they got over all the kiddie mafia bitterness. That, or there was no KM bitterness in the first place and it was all an editing beat up. Surely not…
As the top four head off with Matt to enjoy lunch, Poh and Sam retire to the upper level of the House of Blue Leaves to debate the options for their challenge. Sam thinks they’ll cook off against each other, which is different to what normally happens how? Poh thinks it’s going to be a taste test.
As they wait it out, we get the usual pre-emptive eulogising of clip packages and interviews. Poh tells us she’s learned about people and human nature. As she confides this, we see her cackling again over the croquembouche with no base. Oh, Poh, it would be such a tragedy if you were to go home tonight. You only stuffed up about 95% of the time, after all.
Sam’s happy to have come so far but would still like to stay to continue the learning. His clip package underscored the fact that his contribution to the show was negligible. Either that, or there wasn’t a clip package.
Let’s cast off the stench of the losers for a moment. The glorious top four are at est with Matt Preston, who gives them tips about fine dining and the difference between fine dining and bistro food. They meet Peter Doyle and he takes them into the kitchen for some of that valuable professional kitchen experienceTM. As they learn stuff, Julie interviews that Poh and Sam aren’t far from their minds. I hope she’s not wasting the lesson worrying about them.
Back at Masterchef HQ we discover that Sam’s spidey senses are all out of whack. There will be no cook-off! It’s taste-buds at dawn. Sam’s initial reaction is to deflate, somewhat, as he acknowledges Poh’s superior palate. He brightens when the dish is revealed. A minestrone – no matter how much of a special secret my mate Steve recipe it is – will be easy! He has an Italian background!
Gary and George explain the rules. There are 18 ingredients, yeah? Each person will take it in turns to identify an ingredient, yeah? The first person to incorrectly identify an ingredient is out. Immediately. Yeah? They tell us it’s a penalty shootout situation. I know less than nothing about soccer, but the reluctant TV viewer (RTVV) snorted that this in no way resembled a penalty shoot-out. Apparently penalty shoot-outs (shoots-out?) are not sudden death. Or something. I muttered “golden minute” but was really clutching at straws.
Things start off as you would expect. Celery? Dramatic pause. “Are you saying you think there’s celery in here?” Incredulous eyebrow pop. “Do you want to taste it again?” Slow walk towards a covered plate to reveal… celery. Poh’s turn: Carrot? Dramatic pause. “Are you saying you think there’s carrot in here?” Incredulous eyebrow pop. “Do you want to taste it again?” Slow walk towards a covered plate to reveal… carrot. Sam: onion? Dramatic pause. (At this point, the RTVV reached for the remote and we were almost launched into the early screening of Colbert until I yelped “the blog!”).
Poh obviously believes that she does, indeed, have a superior palate as she guesses “parmesan” without even tasting again. George seems to be a bit pissed off that she’s not going through the proper process, and he queries her confidence. He is not reassured when she tells him that she puts parmesan in her minestrone at home. Doesn’t she get that this is his mate Steve’s super special minestrone? All the histrionics are for nothing – parmesan is revealed as one of the eighteen ingredients.
This does make me question Poh’s strategic intelligence, though. At this stage, neither has identified salt, pepper or garlic and they are down to the last five or so ingredients. Parmesan is something you wouldn’t see in the soup and the other person might overlook it, so I’d think it would be best keeping something like that up your sleeve (not literally, of course).
Sam guesses something – cabbage, I think, that you could see floating in the soup – and then it’s Poh’s turn again. Unless the editors have decided to be particularly unkind to Poh tonight, she has another guess without a taste. Barley. Remember: salt, pepper and garlic are still up for grabs.
George and Gary are sorry, Poh, but your time as a Masterchef contestant is over.
Poh misses painting. Painting misses you too, Poh. Buh-bye.
Back at the house, four of the final five are waiting. They discuss the possible Poh vs Sam results. It takes them longer than you’d expect, given that there are – realistically – only two options. Justine has a soft spot for Sam, but it’s a tad patronising for a 23 year old to refer to a 24 year old as a “kid”. Julie loves them both. Julie loves everyone! Chris accuses the others of fence sitting and says he thinks Poh should stay. He obviously hasn’t read the Daily Tele. Or he has, and he knows that it’s all part of the game and respect for a competitor’s skill is more important to him than sheer likeability. That would be novel.
There are footsteps. “Sam walks in and I get surprised, because he walks like a girl.” (Julie)
Was it a good result? Sam has certainly outlasted what looks to be a fairly weak skill set, but Poh was becoming a regular in bottom three, and seemed to be out of her depth on the big challenges. The overwhelming sense that she’d received favoured treatment from the judges also probably damaged potential book sales.
Tomorrow night? George will over-enunciate his way through yet another masterclass. God help us all.