Masterchef – press-ganged
We’re at the Langham, where Skye and Alvin are wheeling a trolley of champagne into the Presidential Suite. Marion interviews that her win is still a bit surreal – possibly because she still doesn’t quite know what it means. Gary and George crash the party, not to offer canapes, but to summon them to the ballroom.
Aaron interviews that he’s knackered and Marion indicates that they all just want to go to bed. Matt tells them that the day is not finished, as tomorrow (which is not today, right?) is a team challenge. It’s all “one of the city’s most prestigious” this and “most talented” that. George announces that the restaurant is The Press Club, and looks a little embarrassed by the hyperbole. Gary tells us that this is a very important occasion, which raises the old “why put it in the hands of rank amatas then, you turkey?” question. It is said every week, but this is apparently the toughest challenge to date.
George tells the group that he trusts them and believes in them. Fine, but surely he has a professional brigade back there who would do this better. Alvin seems to take it all seriously, though, so the mojo is working.
For the winners? Lunch at Domaine Chandon. For the losers? “Dire consequences”, one of which is letting George down. Hrmph.
Marion is called forward and is looking forward to finding out what her super duper reward is. It is… working as George’s right hand, so it means she’s able to wear George’s apron. The others seem awed. More impressive is the fact that she won’t be up for elimination and STILL has this mysterious immunity.
Captains: Claire for the reds and Jimmy for the blues.
Red: Peter, Adam, Skye, Sharnee, Alvin, Jake
Blue: Matthew, Callum, Jonathan, Fiona, Joanne, Aaron
As Aaron and Jake wait to find out which one is tonight’s biggest loser, Aaron interviews that it clearly shows what the others think of him. Jake seems bemused, as he thought they liked him. I hate this part of the show. To make it worse for Aaron, he is left on the shelf, again, and reveals that it’s his 11th anniversary and he was already feeling a bit sad. Now he’s also blue.
“It’s not about red and blue team. It’s about one team” says George, nonsensically.
Yesterday, Marion had to walk to Mo Vida. Today? They get vans to take them a block east of that where George introduces front-of-house manager Angie and the head chef, Joe.
- First: Oysters with taramosalata, chips and olive oil cous cous
- Second: Smoked yoghurt soup with chicken oysters, cucumber and loukimi
- Third: Roast lamb with miso moussaka and candied feta
- Dessert: Aphrodite rose dessert with white chocolate and berries with a rose and soil perfume
Our contestants tuck in. Skye finds the dessert “decadent, refined and the yummiest” she’s ever had.
Claire has put Alvin, Peter and Sharnee in front of house, Jake on the oysters (yes, he fishes, but he is accident prone!), she’s taking on the second course, Adam’s on main and Skye’s on dessert.
Jimmy has decided that he should be out on the floor with Joanne and Fiona, which seems an odd choice. Aaron’s on first course, Jonathan’s on main, Matt’s on dessert and Callum is doing the chicken oysters.
Claire interviews that it’s hard to “compete” with somebody she’s used to working with. She does know that this whole thing is a competition, right? Callum discovers that there’s no white pepper so George sends him to the shop. Seriously.
Jimmy has chosen Fiona and Joanne as eye candy. Angie’s keeping an eagle eye on them as they set up the tables.
Callum returns to the kitchen with his white pepper, which is rejected by the chef. George tells him it’s “like sawdust”. Well, stock your bloody kitchen better if you don’t want IGA groceries, then, you duffer!
In the front of house team for the reds, Peter is saying that he is the “sommelier” for his team. He cops to not having a very good understanding of wine, so why on earth are they putting him up as “sommelier”? This kind of thing is truly moronic.
Callum tastes his yoghurt and realises it’s too smoky. The chefs confirm it, and he’s told to start again. Instead of doing that, he thinks he can effect a workable hack. Given that we’ve seen George screaming at him in previews, I think we all know how well that’s going to end. He gets Paul to try the “improved” yoghurt and he’s told he really needs to start again. Unfortunately he is now out of cucumber juice and low on cucumbers. Back to the supermarket.
Jake is struggling with the oysters, and Callum is now out of yoghurt. Jimmy’s advice to “crack on” is probably not all that helpful. Will the IGA have George’s special yoghurt? Skye reports that Claire is on top of everything, so she feels confident that the reds are travelling well. For the blue team, Matthew has split his cream, so needs to start his dessert again. Jimmy jumps in to help the eye-candy finalise set up.
And the first time we’ve seen Marion. George reiterates all the “we’re going to nail it” stuff, blah blah blah and then the team captains rev their teams. Matt is checking crockery and stemware for blemishes. When will this end?
Fireball, and the somewhat unwelcome realisation that this is a 90 minute episode. RSI.
Guests arrive. Is Luke Mangan chewing gum? Matt makes a big speech and I feel my energy draining. Finally, he shuts up and the floor staff can work their magic.
George is getting antsy about the fact that no orders are coming. The waiters appear to be schmoozing, rather than getting the dockets in.
“I’m a bit worried about Aaron because he’s shucking oysters and he’s got a lotta shucking to do!” Joanne’s concern seems less than heartfelt.
Jake starts shucking when the red orders start coming in. Adam is impressed. George is screaming for service and the reds seem to be a bit confused. Donna would like to complain, but she doesn’t want to stress George. The directors are complaining, though, as they have no wine, water or bread. Well done, red.
Claire and Callum are working together – she acknowdges that he’s had a horror day. It’s not over yet, as George is blowing a gasket out there. There needs to be a “best actor in a reality show” award next year – this is scenery chewing the likes of which I haven’t seen in a very long while. Makes Al Pacino’s turn in “Scent of a Woman” look restrained. This is starting to feel increasingly pointless – I’m assuming all the screaming is meant to indicate tension, but as it’s a completely manufactured scenario I have absolutely no investment in how it works out. Plus the customers look smug.
George is asking for the food to come quicker, but will bollock whoever gives him food that isn’t prepared properly. Meanwhile Marion is popping garnishes on dishes and Claire and Jake are out in front serving customers. And I am a little bit in love with the self-deprecating Jake: “I’m a good looking bloke, so I think George wanted me out there”.
Jono’s lamb is lovely and Claire’s soup is bew-ti-ful.
Claire decides to switch up her service team and puts Sharnee in charge. Peter suddenly finds his schtick with the wines and it just makes me think that I will have trouble trusting a “sommelier” now, given how easily he blags it. Alvin believes that nobody can get angry with a waiter who brings dessert. He is a showman – I’d be happy with that kind of service.
Gary interrupts proceedings to explain to the guests what their judging role is. Are they really being “serviced” by either the red or blue team?
I hope the team who loses didn’t do so because Lynne Scully gave them a bad score! There are some impressive chefs there, but Neighbours alumni? And The Circle? Oh, Ten, you are shameless.
There are group hugs and George gives a speech about how they were all amazing “and all won tonight, for me”.
I thought this was only for the winning team, but clearly I zoned out when Matt was gravelling that part of the challenge. Oh, I see, they all have to go out to the cellar, and only one team emerges for lunch? Harsh.
“Let’s recap the challenge last night,” says Gary. Oh, let’s not. Matt tells them they “saved George’s reputation” which makes it sound as though he was in need of rehab.
Matt recaps the prize and reveals that there’s an additional bonus for the winning captain. He or she will get a helicopter ride with a team-mate of their choice. So, tonights episode has Survivor elements in reward. Lame.
They are in, but of course we have to have a chat about how the kitchen worked. Please, just give us the results!
Reds: Blah blah blah solid, blah blah, Jake good, blah blah dessert bew-ti-ful “like you” Skye. Sorry, I can’t blah anymore. I’ve just bleaghed.
Matt reports that the front-of-house team lacked cohesion and talks about how the directors were left high and dry. Adam backs Claire as captain and Skye is named Claire’s pick as team-member of the day.
Blues: Callum had a horror start and some of Aaron’s oysters were badly shucked. Disasterous (sic) says George of Callum. Main and dessert were fantastic. Enough to make up for the start?
Gary says that the front of house took a long time to get orders in, but they caught on to their roles as the evening progessed. Jimmy nominates Matthew as the best performer and Callum as the weakest link, which is not something Claire had to answer. Angie gave the blues the nod as the best FOH team, which should be worth something, but is not. Instead, Lynne Scully’s opinion gets to count.
Gary’s dragging it out and making pointless gestures. Claire looks sad.
And now happy! The reds win! And it’s all Callum’s fault! But Skye could knock off that head-jiggling American accented celebrating.
As Claire says “I couldn’t be happier” we cut to the saddest group of people in this little Masterchef world. George tries to make them feel better by telling them he’s proud of them, and then tells Callum “he’s a star”. George has a bit of a weakness for the young guys who screw up. Gary asks if Aaron’s okay, which is nice, but then he should probably back off since the guy is really isolated in this group.
And Claire asks Jake to take the helicopter ride.
This is all a bit fake really, isn’t it? Pick him last, and then give the big “quiet achiever” boost; make a big deal about losing meaning you’ll let George down, and then have George reassuring them that they didn’t let him down.
Tomorrow? I hope Joanne goes, I guess.