The champion is decided once more, and after a season almost as long as this recap, we slump and revel in another year of glorious. Kylie picked marble cake, and Debra went with the Flourless Orange Cake and then Ben decided to go with the cake Emma had selected. This is the type of nail-biting drama MasterChef needs to egg on viewers Birds mess: Ben failed to get Kylie Millar's dessert eggs-actly right.
It feels unrelatable, much like MasterChef's short-lived "Professionals" season. And the ratings, for a time, reflected that.
Marshmallow went flying in dramatic end to Ben's cook on MasterChef. Ten While it premiered to decent numbers, audiences soon turned to House Rules where dramas similar to this season's My Kitchen Rules were playing out with "Australia's most hated women" in Fiona Taylor and Nicole Prince.
MasterChef's saving grace in the lead up to Finals Week and the grand finale has been the conclusion of The Voice and now House Rules, with its audience numbers being restored.
Ben's dismay soon turned to relief as he survived the MasterChef elimination challenge. Ten For MasterChef diehards, like myself, who have still been catching up with the season and enjoying cute moments like Callan going nuts aside from his "bonkers" creations in the kitchen when his hero Heston showed up at the front door, the show has lacked a homecook hero like they had in last season's Matt Sinclair.
Loading Ben has probably come closest in that department but even he falls short it might be because his chiselled, adonis-type looks make him seemingly even more infallible when compared to us mere mortalsand my loyalties have been jumping week-to-week between the female cooks, especially Sarah and Karlie, because no-one has stuck out as a clearly deserving winner.
George and Preston give her sevens, more disappointed by the lack of heat and friendly banter. Julia gets a seven from Gary, who is still hungry. She also gets a nine from Matt, who is in a conspiracy with George to make Gary look mean.
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Gary gives seven again to Andy, who can cook only just as well as Gary can. George gives Andy an eight despite the "big and lumpy" tuna, which to be fair was really an act of God. And Matt gives Andy … A fireball, what were you expecting? Knowing how Andy scored without considering the irresistible nature of Nando's fiery peri-peri chicken would just feel lame, after all.
Which means handsomeness has triumphed and Ben's dream of Andy winning MasterChef stays alive. And so Audra must leave, her dream of working in the food industry crushed, to return to her job as a professional caterer. She then gives a speech about camaraderie and blah blah blah, and finishes by leaping upon Matt Preston and trying to strangle him. After security has ejected Audra from the kitchen floor, it's down to business.
Andy on 23 points versus Julia on Over the next hour or so, George says a sentence, in which he tells Julia and Andy they must cook something which could be Australia's national dish. Well might she be panicked — she's up against Andy, who as she says is "so good with his protein", and has some skills at cooking too.
Andy is making a fisherman's basket, and Julia is making lamb, both of them having decided to pay tribute to the incredibly boring nature of Australian cuisine. If they're really feeling daring, there might be some chips, or tomato sauce. Andy now describes how he's going to make an oyster emulsion, but since he's just making up words now, it's safe to ignore this bit.
Julia, meanwhile, hacks into her lamb while being urged to go faster by someone on the balcony, or possibly the tiny pilot sitting in her head. She describes her plans for the main, and if I understand her correctly she intends to start a bushfire. Elsewhere on the balcony, Andy's spirit animal, Ben, is giving him sage advice, and everyone else is sniggering behind their hands. Some old guy is also calling encouragement to Julia — no idea who he is. His encouragement won't help keep her sane, though, as she attempts to turn her lamb into a cigar and smoke it.
What will help her is George and Gary, who have sauntered over to Andy's bench to undermine his confidence. It works, his pot boiling over and flames leaping toward the ceiling.
Julia sees her chance, hurling a can of petrol at Andy's stove and escaping in the ensuing confusion. Gary points out that Julia hasn't caramelised her lamb. Julia points out that she knows what she's doing, dammit. George, though, is determined to make Julia think she's stuffed up. Again, it seems to work — Andy is plating up, but Julia once more falls prey to her obsession with letting meat rest.
We all knew that sooner or later, her concern for the level of fatigue in food would catch up with her. Luckily for her, Andy has completely lost the ability to know what food looks like, and is frantically tossing foodstuffs at a plate, staring quizzically at it as if it's a magic eye puzzle.
Will these horrible dishes be enough? The amateurs hope so, but the loud piano music suggests heartache looms. Andy can't put his finger on it, but there's something not quite right with his dish — will he notice the pigeon faeces before it's too late?
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Also, are fisherman's baskets and lamb really that Australian? Would they not have been better off cooking something truly patriotic, like a kangaroo or a brown snake or Dawn Fraser?
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As we wait for the verdict we are reminded of what's at stake — the chance to get unreasonably excited about dishwashing tablets on TV. And now, the second moment of truth out of a total of three moments of truth: First up is Julia's "crusted rack of lamb", with "vegetables". The dish was inspired by Julia's memories of growing up on a property and weeding bushes and having trees and I suppose at some point or other she ate lamb and stuff.
So that's a pretty great story. Gary is worried the lamb is undercooked. George is worried the fat hasn't been rendered. Matt is worried the others won't shut up and let him eat.
Ironically, it turns out Julia hasn't let the lamb rest for long enough, which we can all have a good laugh about. It is also not an inventive dish, in that it's not a tiny medallion of raw pheasant next to a snail trail, like the judges prefer. In comes Andy with his indefinably flawed fisherman's basket. He is behind on points, but he knows he can still win because he won a basketball game once.
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His dish is also inspired by his childhood, when he would go fishing, so he has at least defeated Julia in the Most Boring Inspiration contest.
Gary, though, thinks the dish might have steroids in it. The eating begins, and Matt is mightily impressed with the oyster emulsion, playing along with this farcical charade, while George grunts enthusiastically.
The overall consensus is that Andy's dish is delicious and we should go to an ad break while pretending everyone doesn't already know Andy has crushed Julia like a cockroach in this round.
And we're back, to hear Gary tell them that the grand finale is exhausting, so wasting more time on talking will really pep them up a lot. He explains the criteria on which they judged the dishes, because clearly the show was moving at far too cracking a pace. Matt explains how they loved lots of things about Julia's dish, except obviously for how she cooked it. Andy, though, cooked his seafood perfectly, even though the dish looked like it had just fallen out of a barracuda's belly slit.
Gary gives Julia a seven, and she reacts with an expression of relief that indicates she had no idea that "seven" means you pretty much suck.
Sevens all round in fact, and Julia admits she is happy with that because she deserved much less, thus insulting the judges' expertise to top it all off. Andy has kicked Julia's steely buttocks all around this kitchen with his perfect fish and oyster gunk. He steps forward to give Gary a hug, the air thick with emotion and great howling sobs from Ben on the balcony. Time for round three, which Andy cannily guesses will be a dessert, rather than a cup of coffee or after-dinner mint as it might have been.
Nor because of the drama were we told what the other cakes were which was a bit of bummer, but I did think I spotted a tea cake and a Hummingbird Cake in the mix. Ben was not happy about having to cook off against one of his best mates, and looked like he was going to fall on his sword saying he was in the competition to learn and he could do that outside, whereas Emma was there to win.
If Ben cannot see after months of filming that Emma does not have a chance of winning he is not that bright. Then Beau steps up and offers to stand in for Emma. If not put it in with a financial penalty. Also Ben was told off-camera that if he pulled out another of the contestants would have to step in.
Quite frankly if they had eliminated both and if that meant I had to sit through 20 minutes of test pattern I would have been fine with that. However obviously someone had given Ben a slap off -camera and in the cake cook-off he produced a very nice Raspberry Mojito Cake. He also gave the Network the opportunity to show another close up of Lorraine Pasquale cleavage when he said he was trying to apply what she was teaching them about cake decorating but his mind had gone blank that day as he had just watched her.
Emma was eliminated on her Raspberry Coconut Cake, and there were no tears shed by the viewer as she was shedding enough for both of us.