Masterchef – Turn up your radio
The TV guide helpfully explains what I missed last night: that Hayden will be cooking against “apprentice chef, Alex Keen” against whom he’ll have a ten minute head start. I must have imagined all that “these guys are the best yet” publicity, given that we’ve gone from cooking against Martin Boetz, Phillippa Sibley and Frank Camorra – to name a few – to apprentices. Not just any apprentice, of course, but “one of Sydney’s top chefs, and his top apprentice”. This suggests it’s two against one, but I think the truth will turn out to be somewhat less one-sided. I wonder how Alex felt when his boss, presumably drooling over the prospect of the Masterchef bump, asked him if he’d stake his reputation against an “amata”? I wonder if he was given a choice? I wonder… well, there are a lot of things I am wondering about this set-up, including what Alex’s reaction might be if Hayden starts spouting off about his “story” and “journey”. I am confident that I’ll be left wondering.
Hayden puts on a white hat to match his white challenger jacket, which he thinks is something that’s “not given lightly”. Except for yesterday, when it was given for some chunky chips and mussels. This hat thing? Really? He’s totally committed to that? He’ll regret it in a couple of years. Or he has seen the future and it is thinning hair. One of the other 23 claims they are all “proud” of him, which I always find an unusual sentiment. Why are they proud? What part have they played in getting him to where he is today? Unless they are taking credit for cooking crappier dishes than he did.
Guest judge is Justin North. Being the guest judge is a much better way of getting the Masterchef bump. Smart man. Matt informs Hayden that his opponent is an apprentice, which news Hayden greets with relief. Presumably after being smacked around by the production team, he gets the narrative back on track by interviewing that it will be a tough gig as the apprentice will have a lot to lose.
Gary lifts the cloche to reveal some blobs on a plate, which he tells us is called an “agnolotti bagoss”. Alex’s boss, chef Pavoni gives some tips on textures and the size of the pasta. Hayden gets a recipe as well as the ten minute head start. Alex looks a bit stunned, but just before the fireball I spot him watching Hayden with keen attention. Even so, I doubt he’d do a Jay and forget everything he’d swotted up the previous night.
Hayden has a recipe, but he also has Pavoni by his side giving him heaps of advice. In fact, if Pavoni wasn’t there, it seems as though Hayden would have less than a clue.
“The cream got a bit too much heat on it” says Hayden sticking to this season’s narrative which is BLAME THE INGREDIENTS. None of these guys ever messes anything up! The cake falls out of the oven. The puddings don’t stay in the oven for long enough…
Pavoni? Is not giving Alex the tips he’d been hoping for. Instead, he’s hassling the poor guy.
The peanut gallery comments pretty much focus on astonishment at the skills of an apprentice. Michael notes that he’s seeing that being an apprentice is pretty tough. Ya think? Maybe that’s why you noobs have decided to skip proper training to go on TV.
Jay notes that Alex has a burnt tomato! Fireball!
North notes the fine pasta. Preston does disturbing mouthgasm face, and Calombaris notes that the filling is a bit gritty but thinks maybe it’s supposed to be like that. Really, shouldn’t they have tasted the exemplar so they knew what the contenders were aiming at?
Glaringly obvious problems are the charred tomatoes and the grey pesto. If Hayden gets immunity from this, I’ll be most put out. Preston notes that the cooking is high quality and Calombaris has realised that the smooth filling works better. North thinks the pesto lacks punch. We know it lacks spinach.
Gary reveals that “the person who cooked plate number one… was Hayden”. We get a reprise of the smirky/surprised exchange of glances that we got all through last season. I’m glad this is only once a week. Those little set-pieces do my head in.
Alex: 7 from George, 7 from Matt, 7 from Justin for a total of 21 His boss says he “did good” but in interview says he was expecting all eights. Alex’s expression tells us that he knew that. And that he’s not looking forward to work in the morning.
Hayden: Matt 7, George 7, Justin 8
Okay, I’m swearing at the TV. Seriously? Hayden gets “amunity” straight up? I feel dirty. And really sorry for Alex, who graciously interviews that Hayden has talent and could go all the way. If, in fact, he is knocked out of the competition, he’ll hunt him down and kneecap him. Okay, I made that bit up. If Hayden is knocked out, Alex would love to go surfing with him.
Michael interviews that they are all happy for Hayden. I’m guessing that’s because they are all thinking “if HE can do it…”.
Look, maybe Hayden really does have talent. It’s quite possible. The editors seem far more concerned with focussing on story-time than cooking, as do the judges. The problem with this approach is that it makes it difficult for the viewers to regard any of these outcomes with anything other than resignation.
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Oh, and in case you are wondering, I’ve had the Masters Apprentices song in my head ever since I read the TV Guide, so I couldn’t resist using it as the post title. Hope you enjoy the earworm.