Masterchef Australia: Season 5, The Finale
The Masterchef finale opens with a voiceover reminder that this all began thirteen weeks ago, and I’m genuinely shocked. Haven’t we all aged at least three years while this has been going on? The voiceover happens over footage of the eliminated contestants, including Vern, and also other people.
Tonight Lynton, handsome farmer; Samira, eliminated contestant who is still here somehow; amd Emma, inspiration to us all, will compete to be Australia’s Masterchef for 2013. They will go on to join the ranks of the guy who won last year, and what’s her face, and the other guy.
The Masterchef House
The three finalists are preparing, putting on the white aprons that symbolise the purity of their dreams (or something). Emma explains that she wants to be a famous chef, while Lynton explains that he came to love cooking while making meals for his paralysed sister. It’s a good thing this contest isn’t judged on who deserves to win, because I quite like Emma.
As the three enter, they’re confronted by the heartwarming/terrifying sight of their eliminated former opponents applauding them from the balcony. It’s a handy reminder of how many backs they had to step upon and how many dreams they had to crush to get where they are.
George is also wearing a tuxedo jacket that appears to have leather sleeves, so I don’t know what’s going on there.
Gary shows the three that each of their dream restaurants have been set up, there in the kitchen: Emma’s farm table, Samira’s middle eastern television studio, Lynton’s meat palace. I guess the restaurants belonging to the two losers will be burned to the ground at the end of the evening, while those losers look on and cry.
George explains the format: Three rounds, one of them will be knocked out after the second, and whoever has the most points at the end wins. It seems like two rounds would be more efficient, but having an extra round performs the very important artistic function of providing extra ad space for The Bachelor promos.
The each have to prepare one dish, and present three identical servings of it. They shoot into the pantry to grab their ingredients and leave some strategically-placed butter in the path of their opponents.
All three, though, avoid an “accidental” slip and make it back to their benches. Lynton is preparing steak, Samira fish, and Emma is making roast chicken. Emma’s doing a lot of stuff along with her chicken that sounds pretty complicated, but will probably be delicious. Or, at the very least, the judges will be so charmed by her that they’ll rub their bellies and tell her that it’s delicious.
With less than an hour to go, Emma realises that the oven in which her cabbage is cooking is off, and she needs to rethink the dish. It’s a moment of panic, compared to Lynton’s cool confidence. Seeing this, Matt strolls by Lynton’s bench and tells him that he’s doing the wrong thing with his meat. See, it just wouldn’t be Masterchef if the judges weren’t crushin’ dreams like the rest of us crush ice.
At the bench ahead of Lynton, Samira decides to ditch the mayonnaise that was going to accompany her salmon. The crispy salmon skin has also stuck to the pan and is all shredded, so Samira is in quite the pickle (that’s not entirely accurate, as pickles would probably be more delicious than what she’s doing).
Emma has decided to steam her cabbage, in light of the fact that the oven was off. She seems upset, as if she believes that anyone in the world would actually give a frick about how their cabbage was cooked.*
*Cabbage is boring and gross.
With one minute to go, Lynton and Samira both run out into the herb garden, to grab some garnish and maybe have a quick ciggie. Samira has re-done her crispy skin, and is pleased with the results, while Emma is a little bit disappointed with her plating. It’s okay, Emma! The judges will be distracted by your smile!
Round One: Tasting
Samira plates up first. George thinks that her dish looks spectacular, but he is wearing leather sleeves, so his judgement must be called into question. The judges love her dish, but we can’t taste it through the television (YET), so we have to take their word for it.
Lynton is next, and the judges like his dish even more than they did Samira’s. Things don’t look good for Emma, so I may have to smash through the TV screen, launch myself into the kitchen and start kicking some heads.
Finally, Emma plates up, and the judges love hers too. So, they’re all winners! Except that somebody has to be the actual winner. Maybe they should just draw straws, like in Armageddon.
Round One: Judgement
Samira scores a 25 out of a possible 30. Emma scores the same, but Lynton scores 30 out of 30, which is insane. Surely there was a flaw…? Maybe you should knock off points for being TOO delicious.
The finalists are each running their dream restaurants, serving a signature dish featuring one of Australia’s most popular foods – chicken. I believe that chicken is somewhere in the top five most popular foods in Australia, above Kit Kat Chunky and below Caramel Kit Kat Chunky.
Gary and Matt will be eating in the restaurants, while George will be running the pass (this is a culinary term that means “yelling a lot”).
Lynton is making chicken in a South East Asian style, with a green mango salad. He’s also serving the chicken cold, because his dream restaurant will be in the Northern Territory, where it is too hot to eat chicken like a gosh-danged normal person.
Samira is stuffing her chicken breasts with marbles and stuff (by the look of it, anyway), while Emma is making a chicken gratin with salt-crusted potato. Emma’s looks delicious, and might be enough to tempt me into eating chicken for the first time in a decade. I mean, I’m not there, but it would be. Maybe.
As they each cook, Gary yells, “If this competition was easy, everybody would be doing it!” even though basically everybody in the country has been on Masterchef at this point.
As the time ticks away, Emma has a mini-meltdown, panicking because Matt Preston questioned her approach to her dish. Thanks to some encouragement from Rishi on the balcony, who apparently makes as good a Masterchef loser as he did a Masterchef contestant, she gets it together and gets her chicken in the oven.
Customers start arriving, and orders start flooding in, which happens in restaurants all over the world every single day but still manages to surprise these chefs. Emma’s chicken goes out, with a paragraph of instructions about how the bones are still in there and the potato is wearing a futuristic suit of armour that needs to be dismantled. Samira’s chicken, meanwhile, is undercooked when it comes out of the oven and has to be extra-super-double-cooked before it goes out. If she lets an undercooked one through, though, we’ll probably be looking at an Emma vs Lynton final round. Is it bad that I’m rooting for Samira to fail? Am I a bad person?
*Yes, but not just because of that.
Round Two: Tasting
Gary and Matt move through the restaurants and try each dish, while sitting next to two strange women who are either their wives, or total strangers who are having the weirdest dining experience ever.
Eventually, the service is done, and everybody gets to line up and be judged like so much cattle.
Round Two: Judgement
Samira receives 22 points, taking her to a total of 48 points so far. Lynton receives 21, for a total of 51 – meaning that he’s definitely through to the final round. Well done, Lynton! Emma receives 23, for a total of 49, meaning that she’s joining Lynton for the most charming and attractive final round in Masterchef history.
This almost means that this series of Masterchef is returning to its roots – a battle of the sexes, which is awesome and not at all weird and sexist.
Ben Shewry, who runs some restaurant that is apparently awesome that I’d probably have heard of if I knew anything about this stuff, is brought in to set the challenge. He shows Lynton and Emma a dish called The Plight of the Bees, a dessert that comes in a wooden box. It involves mandarin, honey cream, meringue, granita, pumpkin, apple and some other things and oh my god what the heck even is this dish?
Gary gives them two hours to recreate this ridiculous bee thing, and they rush to their benches to get started. There are fresh white aprons at their benches for them, that they can use to clean up the panic-fuelled vomit that they’re going to be doing at five-minute intervals.
As they get through the first few steps, Matt and Ben share their concerns that Lynton and Emma are both running behind. They then choose to make this even worse by stopping by Emma’s bench to chat, because the judges live to mess with people. Even the guest judges.
According to Ben, Emma has stuffed up the granita by doing things in the incorrect order. Will it matter to the end result?! Probably not. Will the show try to convince us that it matters a lot?! Almost definitely.
Lynton cuts his pumpkin slices too think, and all of a sudden Emma has the lead. He also overwhips his cream, so now we’re in a situation where maybe being handsome doesn’t automatically make you a good cook. I know, it’s crazy.
According to Lynton, he and Emma going blow for blow, toe to toe, and neck and neck. He’d probably be ahead of her if he spent more time cooking and less time thinking of euphemisms.
Their cooking time ends, and then their assembly time begins.
Round Three: Tasting
Lynton assembles and serves first, and the judges do their best to make him cry before sending him out into the waiting area. Without a fine layer of tears, you see, it’s not really a Masterchef dish.
They like his dish, but have some issues with it. Then Emma assembles hers, and says “Good luck, little fellas!” to her plates as she brings them to the judges. It’s hilarious. Please win, Emma.
Round Three: Judgement
Lynton and Emma stand before the judges, flanked by the former contestants and some random celebrity chefs who have shown up to scope out their future competition. The world of cooking is harsh. Watch your back, guys.
The judges announce the scores. Lynton scores 30 out of a possible 40, bringing his total to 81. Emma receives 36, bringing her total to 85 and MAKING HER AUSTRALIA’S MASTERCHEF FOR 2013! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! IT HAPPENED! IT FINALLY HAPPENED!
So, it’s over. While we may be heading to the polls to choose the leader of our nation this coming Saturday, that will be the second-most important contest this week (at best). Masterchef 2013 has come to a close, and we all have to figure out a way to live our lives in a post-Masterchef world.
Good luck to you all.
Read Wednesday’s Masterchef recap here