KATHERINE FEENEY July 04, 2012
Every episode of this season of Masterchef available on demand.
On the balcony of a harbour-side mansion, a young blonde woman is getting dressed and gazing. She is also speaking without talking about taking her turn to get down on the floor and have crack at a pin as confirmation of her food dream.
As such, she enters a big, red brick warehouse. There are people there and they are clapping because this is the land of MasterChef where anything can happen, and because the blonde has brought along a ponytail that swings like nobody's business. But mostly these people are clapping because someone has erected a big, red curtain and bright colours are exciting.
"This is a big red curtain," a man called Gary says to the girl called Kylie and her exuberant hairdo, folding his fingers into jazzy hand-guns and jazzing them in their direction.
"I'm dying to see what's behind it," Kylie's ponytail says back as Gary's littler, pudgier, balder friend George makes his first attempt at communicating.
"Today is all about this beautiful immunity pin, but today is also all about motivation as well," George says so magically, making the day about one message that is actually two messages.
"Today is all about beating a chef," he continues. Three things. Amazing. Just as amazing as the chef Kylie must beat. His name is Tomislav Martinovic. He is big. He is of European origin. He trained under Matt Moran. Gary calls him a well-oiled machined. And to beat him, "there will have to be a lot of passion, drive and love".
Which is why he has brought with him a small whippety fellow – it is hard to penetrate Tomislav's thick accent.
Meanwhile, Moran says something to Kylie and blonde coiffure we can all understand – "I'm on your side, sweetheart" – as Gary explains the day's challenge. The chef and the wannabe must cook a three-course meal based on one of two ingredients. Preston says eight out of ten shopping trolleys feature one or both of these ingredients and that they go together like bread and butter.
In fact, they are bread and butter.
Kylie decides they will cook with bread - a choice that really ups the zany ante because it's totally obvious to everyone else that butter was by far the better option (as if bread ever did anything for anyone).
To add to the thrilling bewilderment, George opens his mouth again and reveals that Kylie must make one more important decision; who will be her sous chef?
The answer is Mindy!
As the producers congratulate themselves on the pleasant visual effects of Kylie's decision, George continues his questions.
"Why Mindy?" he manages.
"Because we are best friends forever!"
The judges tell Kylie and Mindy and all their blonde hair that they will have 90 minutes to complete the challenge, while Tomislav and his tattooed little buddy will have to do it in 60 minutes. Moran knows this will be enough time for his former pupil because "he's big, but he's quick".
And with that the judges head off, leaving Moran in charge and Kylie's ponytail swinging. Moran wastes no time; "give it to me," he says to creamy tresses. "Entrée, what is it?"
Kylie's entrée will be a soup made from vegetables featuring ice-cream made from bread. It sounds delicious. There will also be a fish and some bread for main course, and for dessert she will burn some caramel and do bread as well. "Bread is definitely the hero," she says. In-knead it is.
Moran asks for Tomislav's opinion of the menu. The big man speaks and then starts stirring Kylie's pot of caramel instead. Determined not to let cultural differences stand in the way of a good time, Kylie allows this, even letting him take spoon to dish and taste.
Aware his little helper is now getting agitated, Tomislav then rumbles back to his corner of the kitchen, and indicates that he'd already thought of doing everything Kylie is preparing. He's like, 'whatever'. And then he ambles off to collect ingredients for his menu built around bread.
"Entrée Tomislav?," Moran asks.
He's doing a tartar. He's doing a scotch-fillet for main. For dessert, Tomislav says he will cook a bread and butter pudding. This is a problem because, as Moran explains:
"Mate, you had the choice of bread and or butter."
"Oh, so I can't use butter?"
"Mate, there is no butter."
This doesn't really make any sense, so we cut to an ad break – and return – and (oh god no), we relive the awkward moment again. #editingfail.
Happily Kylie dulls the pain with the revelation she's been to Spain and therefore pretty well knows everything there is to know about making Spanish food even if the Spanish soup she's creating looks like 'baby vomit'. The hue is corrected with capsicum, and her unflappableness becomes even more pronounced as her ponytail does it's thing.
Things are being done by Tomislav and his little helper too – mostly deliberation over whether his gingerbread sauce is the right or wrong kind of flavour. It's mostly the wrong kind until he adds some sugar and a bit of fat, leaving 30 minutes on the clock and cooking being done with gas.
That is to say everyone is cooking with gas until a massive, dramatic, intergalactic disaster strikes.
The fish. It's Mindy's fish. The one she is cooking for Kylie and may actually save Kylie's very life. It's a trevalla fish, but that detail pales in comparison to the fact Mindy may have overcooked it.
"It's on your shoulders," Moran tells her, which is exactly the place Mindy doesn't want the fish to be. So she decides to do it again, and somehow there is only five minutes now left on the clock. And then there's 10 seconds. And then it's over. Magic.
Oh wait, no. The show appears to be continuing.
Plates done, it's time for everyone to embrace. Kylie's ponytail is swinging harder than anybody's business. Tomislav is enjoying himself. And then it's time for the judges to taste the dishes.
A waiter lays the two entrees before Matt, Gary and George. In a cutaway shot, we see the contestants are laid before a table in nervous silence. Laying into the entrees, George carefully divvies them up, just like he did when he was a boy and his mama made him share like a good little boy.
"Mmm – the gazpacho smells good and gazpacho-y," Gary proclaims with the kind of expertise earned only through years in 'the biz'. And while Matt proclaims it "delightful", George says he was disappointed not to be punched in the face by the rye-bread ice-cream.
"Mmm – the scallops are scallop-y," Gary's insight into the second entrée lacks none of the profoundness established by his previous appraisal. George agrees, and says both dishes are dishes with few flaws.
But then the main course arrives and Gary announces they are not what he expected.
"These are not what I expected," he says, possibly because the scotch-fillet looks like spewed-up spam meat.
"There's something very attractive about this dish." (Oh.)
Matt, however, doesn't agree that the spew-jus is more modern and therefore more attractive than the fish dish, saying Gary is a furphy for suggesting so. Meanwhile, George is just managing to hold his knife and fork sort of properly.
Having labelled the main courses "fascinating", the judges move on to dessert. And – uh-oh – it seems the contestants have totally gone and done basically the same thing! Zoink!
George marvels over how cute some of the liddle-widdle-edible thingamajigs are on Kylie's plate.
They tuck in, and we're all treated to yet more shots of not-so-attractive people making not-so-attractive faces while eating – or, in George's case, attempting to eat like an adult. The intense music doesn't help at in the least bit.
In any case, "that was really interesting," says George. "Time to reveal the results and find out who cooked which dish!"
Back in the kitchen, and Kylie is told she is basically a duck in water scrambling with webbed feet - which is like, so true – but that her gazpacho was gazpacho-y enough for the judges to agree it was better than Tomislav's scallop-y scallops. However, the foreign giant's scotch fillet was by far the better main course, meaning it all boils down to dessert.
"There were two great desserts," Matt says. "But there can only be one winner."
"And the winner – is – KYLIE!"
She literally almost wets herself.
She can't believe it.
Neither can her ponytail.
George walks over to her and pins an immunity pin to her chest, and says that it's a safety blanket, which is pretty well stating the obvious. Defeated, Tomislav and his friend head for the door, warning the other contestants to watch out.
And we close with a peek at tomorrow night's episode which features exactly what we've come to expect from MasterChef. Dreams. Courage. Hearts being cooked out, and an emotional breakdown from a female contestant.