Masterchef – everybody loves a wedding
There are all sorts of people in the world. Well, duh. Some differences arise when people air their attitudes towards marriage. There are people who go weak at the knees over the mere thought of a wedding; people for whom their wedding is the most memorable event in their lives; those who celebrate their commitment in quirky ways; those who marry for practical reasons; those who never marry… and then, I guess, there are those who mouth all the clichÃ©s about the “specialness” of their day, but who then invite in a TV crew and a group of amateur caterers.
So, on the basis that I really do not understand the premise of this Masterchef challenge, here goes.
At the end of Justine’s pear battle with Matt Moran (sigh!), a couple of strangers wandered onto the set. When it was announced that they were getting married – the very next day! – and that our little crew of cooks was catering, there were expressions of excitement. The WTF? moment did not come until they were told that they were also required to make the cake. At this news, Julie came over all “who leaves organising their cake to the last minute?” and, as many have observed, the answer is clearly “the loonies who’d leave the food at their wedding up to you guys”. Julie obviously has a talent for holding what appear to be conflicting beliefs. To wit: she believes that weddings are super-duper special occasions; she does not feel that this is cheapened by the incursion of a reality TV crew. She believes that the food at a wedding is what people remember; she accepts the idea that an untried group of cooks should be responsible for this.
Anyway, the group learned that they would work as a team, but be evaluated on their individual performance. The menu, which had been devised by the bride and groom, was divvied up between the contestants. Julie and Poh each took a canopy… sorry, canapÃ©… and an entree. Justine and Andre each took a main, and Sam and Chris – oddly – took desserts. From this point on, we got a lot of footage of Poh saying that she shouldn’t have chosen two dishes that went out first. Julie had the same courses and seemingly none of the same panic, so this episode goes straight to the “shut up, Poh” file.
Before the team could even hit the kitchen, there was the small matter of the cake to sort out. The Masterchef kitchen had been stocked with ingredients, recipes and a pastry chef from the bakers of Sydney’s finest wedding cakes. My provincial nature means that, not only had I not heard of them, but I didn’t bother to catch their name. Sorry, marketing people. The cake, we were repeatedly told, would take seven hours. They started at nine pm. This seems like an arbitrary challenge just to tire people out and – oh, I dunno – hope that drama is created through the sorts of mistakes overly tired people make. But, of course, I’m just being cynical.
The previewed drama of Justine prophesying that her team would kill her over a mistake she’d made turned out to be a confection of hype. The cakes were turned out, everything seemed okay, and Chris and Poh stayed on to decorate whilst the others got some sleep. Poh did a sterling job on the piping and you’d think this experience would bond them. You’d be wrong.
Wedding day! Poh started on the canopies… sorry, canapÃ©s… and made me question why I ever created a macro for “Julie panics”. She got the usual attention from Gary and George, and a time-out in the cool room with Chris, who stepped up (that’s for anyone playing reality clichÃ© bingo) to take on the role of leader. We saw everybody chipping in to help everybody else and when, at the end, Chris realised that his leaderiness might have got in the way of his cookeriness it seems like there might be a surprise upset. Poh interviewed that she’d be really pissed off if Chris got the credit for a dish that so many people helped on. She didn’t acknowledge any of the help she’s benefited from over the past few weeks.
In fact, this was the only real drama in the kitchen, apart from the injuries Sam sustained. Now, I’m one of those viewers who greets every appearance of Sam with the question “Why is he still here?”, based on the complete lack of skill he’s demonstrated to date. Some might think I would be relieved to have my opinion confirmed by his performance in this challenge, but no. Okay, I think sticking your hand in the blender is a pretty daft thing to do. Doing it twice is particularly moronic. Why wasn’t I railing at the TV, then? Because this is exactly what would happen to me if I’d been up all night, and recently married myself and a professed believer in the importance of the wedding day. And this must have been what was intended when the cake challenge was on, because the cake? Didn’t figure at all in the judges reckoning of their performances. Badly done, Ten, badly done.
Sarah got a starring role in this episode, being Matt’s arm candy and an official taster. Yay, Sarah! I loved the way she gazed at Matt while he was eating and brought all her editing skills to bear on slightly rewording his opinion every time she was called on to evaluate. Actually, it was good to see another opinion on the food, and both judges seemed to accord with the general opinion of the guests.
So, how did it all turn out? Poh’s canopy… sorry, canapÃ©… was tasty, but the pastry was too thick. Julie’s was good. Poh’s entree had nice flavours, but the chicken was dry. Julie’s was lovely. Mains: Andre seemed to be getting away with serving meat that had bled into the potato and Justine’s generous salmon portions were spot on. Sam’s lemon tart pastry was too thick, and many guests left the crust on their plates. Chris’ fondant was superb.
Back in the Masterchef kitchen, the contestants were told how their dishes went, and there was potential for drama when Matt waxed lyrical about Chris’ perfect fondant. Chris did’t string out the drama and immediately gave credit to the others for helping out. Poh looked pissed off. Who’s safe? Julie, Justine, Chris and… Andre. Meaning that Poh and Sam will go head-to-head (drink!) in an elimination battle the likes of which we’ve never seen before!
A coupla things:
- Sam had a rough day. He was given credit for helping turn out perfect fondants, but he is up for elimination. I felt sorry for him, especially since Gary was all “uh, der” when he asked if he had to make the pastry. Guys, you’ve given the contestants packaged pastry every other time, so it wasn’t that much of an assumption.
- Poh has been getting the judge-love all season so I did feel sorry for her last night. It’s one thing to have a melt-down; it’s completely another to be pasted for it having been nurtured and babied through them before.
- Why didn’t Julie just use gluten free flour for all the potato cakes? Would have saved having a stingy looking six set aside. What if some of the guests also needed gluten free and assumed that the menu would be tailored for them, knowing the bride’s needs?