Well, this is it folks. The final week of MasterChef. It’s like being in Dallas on the day JKF was shot.
The final six are in the kitchen to “cook their heart out” – and possibly serve it up with a garlic sauce. At stake is foodie immortality - or rather, a forgettable book deal and sponsorship deal with Clingwrap.
Laura, of course, is excited. “It’s not every week, it’s finals week”.
Oh dear, it’s a good thing she can cook, because compelling storytelling is not her strong point.
Brent likens the challenge to being in an athletics race, neatly insulting half the competitors at the Commonwealth Games.
Tracy is “in this to win”. Cool story, Tracy. You should sell the film rights.
The Three Musketeers of the kitchen – Gary, Matt and George, remind everyone of what they’ve just told the cameras – they’re cooking today.
Gary tries to calm everyone down by promising something “nice and gentle” to ease them into the challenge. Which is code for “we’re going to kill you slowly”. So cruel, Gary.
Everyone has a mystery box and everyone’s is different, with a hand-written note from a loved family member. Oh. Dear. God – they are crying now. Everyone is crying as they read out their letters, as if they had been in the trenches in World War I.
Emelia is bawling, reading the words from her mother who calls her “brave”. Brave? Did you beat the Germans with a whisk? No? No, you did not. You do not pass go and you do not get $200, Emelia.
Television producers love tears and they must have been eager for some to be shed in the show’s big last week. Now, Tracy is getting emotional after her husband called her “incredible” for going after her dream. I can’t take this.
Brent’s girlfriend tells him he “deserves this”. What Brent actually deserves is a new hair style – that man-bun does him no favours.
Noses blown, tears wiped, George announces the best three dishes will be saved, while the bottom three will have to cook for their lives in an elimination.
Laura is cooking crispy skin duck breast, dedicating this dish to her dad, a sentiment I’m sure he would appreciate if he could actually eat it.
Brent is annoyed his girlfriend picked ingredients she likes – jeez, you’d think she was sending you a message, Hair-Bun Man. Perhaps “think of me”? Think about it, Brent.
Brent makes a risky move and decides to create panna cotta in just 45 minutes. Will he succeed? The suspense is killing me.
The ad break is on, and a promotion for Mrs Brown’s Boys is showing, ruining the appetite of everyone watching.
Next ad features season one winner, Julie, plugging a washing powder. Ahhh, so that’s where reality television stars go when they are no longer relevant.
Emelia is making Vietnamese snapper with pineapple. She thinks her mum picked the ingredients because she knows she’s done it but she wants to prove she can do more than when she was just in the top 50.
“I don’t want to be in the bottom three today”. Emelia is practically a philosopher at this point.
George has concerns over Laura’s duck and Brent’s panna cotta. I have concerns with George’s burgundy jacket. Really, George?
“I’ve got a lot to do," Brent says, rivalling Emelia in the philosophy department.
“She’s really set me up, hasn’t she?” Brent says of his evil girlfriend. I wonder if Brent has cooked with foot and mouth, because that’s all he’s coming up with right now.
Gary asks: “Are you on the money? Do you know what you’re doing?”. Given there’s 10 minutes to go, this seems an odd question. Shouldn’t you have asked that 35 minutes ago Gary?
Brent is still wearing “my girlfriend is mean” face – his panna cottas are stuck in their mould. Plot twist! I never could have seen that one coming.
Tracy wants her thighs to be perfect and needs to strain off her sauce – um, is this a cooking show or a something best left for after 9.30pm and preferably on SBS?
Brent has resorted to using a blowtorch to loosen those stubborn panna cottas. But success is at hand, his dessert is saved. Now the schlub is smiling.
“Thank-you for giving me dessert, Maddy”. I sense Maddy won’t appreciate this last-minute turnaround after Brent practically accused her of sabotaging him and spoiling the end of the latest Spiderman movie.
Uh oh, Tracy has poured her special sauce all over the chopping board and looks like one of those people who claims to have just witnessed aliens in the sky.
“Oh my god,” she says, hands over her head. It’s okay Tracy – just get some paper towels. Tracy refuses to take my practical advice and continues to look like she’s about to lose her mind.
First up to show off his pan-seared quail is Jamie, which is now minus the breasts because they were too dry. Matt tells him off for the teeny tiny portion but eats it anyway – rude. Gary loves the “variation of beetroots” but he wants the breast’s “meaty juices”. Oh my, I feel a bit flustered now.
Emelia is up and her snapper is deemed “extraordinary”.
Tracy knew her dish was “smashing” but her stuff-up could cost her. Spacey Tracy is back! George pulls his cravat off - I never knew he actually had a neck – to make George’s point that “something is missing” from her dish. Yeah, we knew that, George. No need for drama of Charlie Sheen proportions.
Ben’s dish “looks a bit weird”, says Matt. The fatty duck is overcooked and the polenta has soaked up too much sauce. If this was gladiator-era Rome, then it would be a thumbs down. And then death by angry tiger.
But this is MasterChef, so punishment is having to take a bath in your own tears.
Laura, also serving up duck, has done better, which wouldn’t be hard. Gary loves her mashed potato but the duck is overcooked, too. I blame the ducks at this point.
Whinging Brent is up and his dish looks good. That’s because it is good. George beams.
Everyone has been judged and the gods have spoken – Brent is the winner, along with Emelia and ... they cut to an ad break.
We’re back and ... it’s Tracy. The space cadet of the kitchen has won, even though she didn’t get everything on the plate.
So it’s now an elimination challenge – Ben, Laura and Jamie are handed black aprons.
Three of Australia’s “most cutting-edge” chefs walk through the door like sugared angels of death to help the trio.
The dessert is so long and complicated I didn’t have time to write it down. It looks like food Lego.
It’s a banana split but in disguise - the banana is actually a banana-shaped and coloured coffee and banana gelato foam that looks like cream and a chocolate and peanut sauce. Sounds good. FYI, I ate microwaved risotto for dinner, so I’m totally up on these skillz.
At this point, I feel sorry for these three losers. If I were among them, I would whip off that black apron and march out singing a Beyonce tune. This grown woman ain’t having none of that.
Jamie, Ben and Laura have two hours to recreate this Frank Gehry of desserts. Ben looks like he wants to cry, which for once, I’m okay with. Wave that white flag, Ben.
They’re off! All their ingredients are on the bench and they’re making gelato. Meanwhile, I’m eating Nutella from a jar.
Now, Jamie is using words like “foam”, “straining” and “Malibu”. I’m so confused. He’s already feeling confident five minutes in, which we all know is the kiss of death on this show. Smooth move, Jamie. He should be tearing his hipster hair out by the next ad break.
Laura is “all over the place” and has already stuffed up. Oops. But she refuses to start again and takes a “massive risk” by adjusting the recipe. Smooth move, Laura.
The three angels of death are visiting Laura, who is explaining her shortcuts. They are not impressed. “I’m in a lot of trouble,” she says. “I’m definitely starting to get really behind.”
Jamie cooks his bananas with a splash of “duh”, telling the cameras: “I’m trying to get everything done as quickly as possible”.
But he’s put the gelato in the blast freezer instead of the normal freezer – blast! He’s just done a Laura.
Ben’s parfait has turned to scrambled eggs, after he took his eyes off the stove for two seconds. That sounds like a food transformation of Jesus proportions. What Would Ben Do?
Everyone is suffering from brain bubbles. This is just sad now, like watching toddlers fight for the last crayon on Earth. It almost kills my joy of being mean to them. Almost.
Ben is back on track and within one second, isn’t again. Make up your mind, Ben – are you good at this or not? I’m getting whiplash.
“We are all biting our nails willing you to finish,” says Gary.
The five-minute countdown is on. Everyone is cooking their sauce and offering a prayer to the food god – aka Jamie Oliver – to save them.
Time is up and now they can walk away from their very own Food Olympics. Jamie is assembling his “banana split” in front of the judges. It’s tasting time and there are three men sitting at a table wearing stupid grins. They like it. Actually, George loves it. Jamie’s “packed a lot of flavour in”. Interpret that as you wish, ladies and gentlemen.
Ben is nervous as he wears the Bob the Builder hat and George asks him what his gut is telling him about his effort. My guess is “anxious”, closely followed by “hungry”.
Tasting the dish, Matt is unimpressed and George looks sceptical. Gary praises the gelato but George and Matt say the sauce is a mess – it’s separated and fatty.
Now it’s Laura’s turn. I had forgotten about her. But the smiling pixie of the group is wheeling up her goodies and giving it a red hot go. You be you, Laura.
“Are you going home?” Gary asks. Wow, way to be grateful to someone who’s just served you food. Has Laura’s risk at tweaking the recipe when it went banana shaped worked? The judges love it, although her foam lacks flavour.
Clearly, it’s between Ben and Laura on who will walk out in shame, and then cry and proclaim, “Australia, you haven’t seen the last of me!”. Has that line ever worked for anyone from a reality TV show?
Before we find out, there’s an ad for King Island cheese, where the cheese maker actually hugs a wheel of cheese. I have never been so envious of another person before.
Back to the show and Jamie is safe. Wow, didn’t see that one coming. He and his hipster hair can relax now.
After a tongue lashing, Ben is told he’s going home. “It’s been an unbelievable experience I’ll never forget,” he says, before being asked his favourite moments. I’m guessing this won’t be one of them.
Six started this episode. Only five have survived. The judges promise us “no rules” in the next episode, which I’m interpreting as “you don’t have to wear pants”. I’m totally tuning in for that.