Masterchef, the Professionals: The Finale
Finally, we reach the grand finale of Masterchef: The Professionals! Tonight, the final three – Rhys, Sarah and Rhett – compete to discover who will be Australia’s first Professional Masterchef. Will there be a riot, as Australian television fans flood the streets in a violent outrage? Or will Sarah or Rhys win?
The episode opens with the three finalists on their way to the kitchen. Rhys is reflecting on the fact that cooking saved his life after his history with drugs. Sarah doesn’t care about the fame, and merely wants to prove to herself that she can do it. Meanwhile, Rhett says, “Two hundred thousand! I want to win the whole thing!” Thanks, Rhett. Just keep on keepin’ on.
As they arrive in the kitchen, the eliminated contestants are waiting for them. They’ve gathered here to watch their frenemies battle it out, and seeing them again raises all kinds of questions; Has Michael taken a moment to style his hair? Did Cassie finally murder someone with that huge knife she’s wielding in the opening credits? Who the heck is the guy in the cowboy hat?
Marco gives a nice speech. “I came here to inspire you… but in many ways, you’ve inspired me.” This doesn’t seem accurate, but it’s nice to hear. Maybe we could put that on a “Pierre White-ism a day” calendar, before “You don’t have to be posh to enjoy some proper nosh,” and right after “WHERE’S MY ORDER? WHERE’S MY ORDER? WHERE’S MY ORDER? WHERE’S MY ORDER? WHERE’S MY ORDER?”
As Matt runs down the list of prizes again, Rhys says, “I reckon it (winning) would look all right on the old CV.” See, Rhett? There is the difference between you and Rhys.
There’ll be three rounds for the night. Matt introduces the first guest, for round one – David Chang. David presents a reinvention test, in which the finalists will draw three ingredients from the knife block, and create a new dish from them. They draw miso, egg, and chicken. The miso seems usable, but I would just find myself paralyzed wondering what to add to the dish first – the chicken or the egg.
Scouring the pantry to build his dish, Rhys says, “I just find myself grabbing whatever Asian flavours I can. Definitely not the best way to get off in the final.”
No, Rhys. There have to be other ways. I mean, Bonny is wearing a pretty short dress.
Wait, I remember! It’s Matty! The guy in the hat is Matty. Hi, Matty!
As they prepare, Matt asks David what he would cook with miso, chicken and egg. “I don’t know… probably a dessert,” says David, and he isn’t even kidding. Chang is CRAZY!
Sarah is doing something with quail eggs that I don’t understand, but that is okay, because it just confirms something that I already suspected; Sarah is smarter than me (and probably everybody else there).
Rhett updates us on his progress. “I want to smoke that chicken right now,” he says, and this is a reminder to all of the parents out there – do you know what your children are doing at their weekend gatherings? Because they could be smoking chicken. Be alert.
Matt begins his announcement that there is five minutes to go with “Ka-ching, ka-CHANG!” which is both a delightful little Calombaris-esque flourish, and sort of a little bit racist.
Soon, cooking time is complete, and plating up begins.
Rhys goes first, and David thinks that his dish has a lot going on, and that a little bit of editing would take it to the next level (coincidentally, the same thing could be said of this very article).
Sarah is next, and all of the judges are slightly underwhelmed. What they don’t know is I AM SLIGHTLY UNDERWHELMED WITH THEIR FACES AND THEY SHOULD JUST LEAVE SARAH ALONE.
Rhys does all right. Whatevs, okay? Whatevs.
So Rhys and Sarah wind up with seventeen points each, and Rhett with nineteen. Rhett is now in the lead, which the bible warned us about. “A white horse appeared, and on it rode a pale douchebag,” (Revelations. Seriously, check. It’s in there*).
*Please don’t check.
Round Two begins. It’s a pressure test, wherein the finalists have to recreate a dish prepared by Marco Pierre White. It’s a lobster and leek terrine dish that, in Marco’s words, “has very few ingredients, and next to no garnishes. So it’s impossible to hide your mistakes.” Just leave now, guys. Run, hope on a plane to the orient, change your name. Marco is coming for you.
As he prepares it, Marco whips out some huge bricks, to crush the leeks into the terrine. What else is Marco planning to crush with those bricks?! No, I’m just kidding. I know it’s heads. Marco is planning to crush heads.
Once Marco’s demonstration is complete, the finalists must reproduce it. Have any of them considered stealing the one that Marco just made? I mean, it’s not like you’re being watched.*
*Except, you know… by me.
So the guys get all of their leeks cooking, and move on to their lobster. Rhys tries a trick that Marco taught him; sliding your pinky finger into the meat in the lobster’s tail, to test whether or not it’s cooked. Look, Rhys – be careful. That’s sexual harassment.
They start jamming their leeks and lobster meat into the terrine, and all three are bemoaning how tricky this dish is. It’s here that I realise that the level of difficulty in producing a dish has little to nothing to do with how much people might actually want to eat it.
They all get their terrines packed, then chuck on the bricks and wait for them to set. An hour later, they pull the things out, and all of them look gross. Of course, Marco’s looked gross, so they’re perfectly on track.
As they slice into the things, Rhett realises that his is falling apart. Rhys and Sarah’s aren’t perfect either, but Rhett’s is the worst, so my heart just grew three sizes.
They plate up, and Rhett presents his to the judges first. Marco immediately notices that the leeks are undercooked, and so the terrine is falling apart. He doesn’t get the bricks out and proceed immediately to the head-smashing, so I guess he’s just saving that for the results ceremony.
Sarah does a lot better, as does Rhys. In reference to Rhys’ dish, and noting his nervousness, Marco says, “I don’t think he realises how well he’s done.” Take that, Rhett! TAKE IT! GET THE BRICKS, MARCO!
At the results reading, Rhett gets thirteen points from the judges, bringing his score to thirty-one. Sarah gets fifteen, taking her to thirty-two, then Rhys gets seventeen points and lands on a total score of thirty-four. Rhys is now in the lead, and Rhett is bringing up the rear, and we finally have a new pope, so it feels like the universe is gradually reverting to a state of order and grace.
And so, Round Three begins. It’s a service challenge, with the now-standard 120 guests. Each of the three finalists is offered the chance to choose two former contestants to be their assistants; Sarah chooses Nathan and Coop, Rhett chooses Michael and Nick, and Rhys chooses Kiah and Cassie. Marco reminds the finalists that THEY are head chefs, and their teammates are merely there to assist. Rhett takes this as another opportunity to remind us that he is a head chef of his own big restaurant, as tradition (and his own innate Rhett-ness) dictated that he must.
Rhett’s Red Team are working on a lobster dish for their entree, because he just ballsed up a lobster dish and he’s just far too Rhett to accept defeat.
Meanwhile, Sarah’s Green Team are making something out of chorizo and zucchini for their entree. Marco is not impressed, calling it “quite granulated”. Well, Marco, that would be all the Milo.
Rhys has decided that his Brown Team will produce a black pudding for their entree, because he has a fear of success.
Soon, Rhys realises that Kiah has made an error in the black pudding. Apparently, Kiah listened to Rhys when Rhys said that he wanted a black pudding, and then went ahead and prepared a black pudding. This, of course, was a grievous mistake.
In the break between prep and service, Marco gathers the chefs, and asks them if they want him to push them. It’s a trick question, guys! He’ll push you super-hard either way!
Then, Matt brings in the 120 guests, explaining that they’re all chefs. Some big names are there; Shannon Bennett. Jacques Reymond. Donovan Cook. Grimace. The Hamburglar.
Orders start rolling in, and entrees are plated up. Marco shouts to Rhys, “More pants on! More pants on!” and I spend a moment being super-confused before I realise that he’s saying “More pans on!”
Well, that makes more sense. Carry on, Marco.
Marco just keeps shouting. “Shout at each other! Why do I have to do all the shouting?! I’m too old for this!” It’s pretty much just Marco bein’ Marco, but hey, it works for him.
Out in the kitchen, Matt (joined by a couple of restaurant critics) tastes the food. They love Rhett’s lobster, and have mixed feelings about Sarah’s prawn and chorizo dish. But they’re disappointed in Rhys’ scallops and black pudding, which reminds us all of why Kiah got booted out, all those many months ago (or so it feels like).
Soon, it’s mains time. Marco just keeps shouting things, and he lays it on even thicker than he normally does. I suppose he wanted to do something a little special for the finale. He could’ve just worn a bow tie or something, but no, he just went with “more yelling”.
Rhett’s lamb dish goes out, and Matt has to send his back because its missing a dollop of curd. This may be the mistake that tanks Rhett’s shot at victory, and this marks the first time that I’ve considered the notion of a loving and compassionate God.
Sarah sends her beef dish out, and Matt loves it, because of course. Meanwhile, Rhys is shouting at his teammates to get their dish done, and Rhett tells us that this sort of noise does NOT happen in his kitchen. Yes, well, apparently in your kitchen you send out incomplete dishes, so you can be quiet now.
Rhys’ main finally gets out, and the judges love it. Then, of course, comes dessert. Sarah’s crème chiboust is taking much longer to prepare than the others, and everybody starts to get annoyed with her.
But it finally gets served, and it looks amazing – and, according to the judges, tastes amazing. So, maybe it’s worth taking a bit of extra time, right? Right. Everybody shut up now.
They don’t like Rhett’s, but they’re cool with Rhys’. Then, service is over, and Marco thanks them all. The guest chefs all rise and give the finalists a standing ovation, and I have to think that least a few of them are doing it ironically.
Finally, we come to the results ceremony. Marco gives another nice speech about how much they’ve impressed him, then Matt gets right to brass tacks, because this thing has been going for two hours and we’ve all got work in the morning.
Rhett gets seventeen from the judges (nine from Marco and eight from Matt), bringing him to a total of forty-eight. Sarah gets sixteen points for the service challenge, landing her on forty-eight (tied with Rhett! She’ll have to do especially well in the arm wrestling round).
Rhys is given fifteen points, bringing him to fifty points in total and making him Australia’s first Professional Masterchef. I’m going to avoid making a joke here and just say that I’m genuinely happy for him. He seems like a cool dude.
Rhett comments, “Rhys wins it. Good on him. He’s done a massive job,” and it’s a sweet moment. You know what, Rhett? You and I are all right.
So, that brings us to the end of the noble experiment that was Masterchef: The Professionals. I’ve enjoyed writing about it (although, here’s a tip; if you’re ever writing about a TV show for the internet, maybe choose one that’s only on once a week. Trust me), and my thanks go out to everyone who’s read them, whether you’ve just read this one, or you’ve been joining me every day.
While I enjoyed the show, I think that the high level of competence and professionalism made it a little drier than previous Masterchef seasons. It need a little silliness to balance it out. It needed a touch of the ridiculous.
What I’m saying is… I miss George.