MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last night on Masterchef, the contestants arrived in Italy but disappointingly not during the reign of Mussolini. Upon embarking they scoured the streets for inspiration and a true Roman story. For Kylie and Andy, it was recreating a 1970s style political kidnapping and 1980s organ theft, but it wasn’t enough as Alice and Wade, and Julia and Mindy impressed chef Massimo Curry, winning the right to fight for immunity.
Tonight, pizza and pasta and pleasing as many people as you can. So basically Kimgs Cross on a Friday night?
Dawn breaks over Rome, as the director aims for something a little different. Italians begin to fill the streets in their typical Italian way, nonchalantly ignoring the Australian television crew. Kylie earns everyone’s enmity by filming them in the bathroom. Alice is again allowed to talk as Masterchef fails to take into consideration the interests and well being of its viewers.
The bells of St Phil’s ring out as the chosen four and their entourage make their way to somewhere relevant all wearing their aprons or whites.They’re in Rome’s oldest surviving markets, first established in 1983.
George asks what are the first two dishes that come to my mind when he says Italian. Surprisingly no one offers up risotto, the so called dish of death. Instead it’s pizza and pasta. And that’s what they’ll be cooking as Masterchef ramps up the cultural stereotypes. Each of the four of Julia, Wade, Mindy and the other one, have to make one of each type at a restaurant with one hundred and twenty covers.
Matt says it’s not just about great food but also numbers. “Please as many people as you can” he says, putting Wade, commonly known as ‘Mr Ten Seconds’, behind the eight ball straight away. Meanwhile, the left over contestants are left with the serving and the cleaning, and should they wish to sabotage one of the four, they have the means in their possession.
And suddenly they’re off, the excitement of the moment causing Alice to cry “mamamia!”. One more time Alice, and its to the moon! Two and a half hours to do it all. Julia grabs the “beautiful eggplants” as she challenges Mindy’s hitherto undisputed reign. Luckily for Alice, and unluckily for Monica, Alice discovers Monica working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, or standing around in a deli. Monica, it turns out is also an assistant to a chef, a job description conjuring visions of someone who helps a chef decide which of their enormous puffy hats to wear. Alice harangues Monica for a list of her favorite cheeses and Monica is forced to divulge her innermost desires lest Alice threatens to spend more time with her. But rather than spend more time with Monica, Alice spends 270 euros on cheese.
Mindy’s says her plan is to speak to the Italian people but everything that can go wrong does go wrong as the first person she speaks to is Italy’s answer to Gerry Harvey, and he spends the next 30 minutes complaining to her about the unfair advantage that online traders have against the average honest blood sucking retailer, while also staring at her boobs. Well, he is Italian after all, and there are some racial stereotypes we can all agree on and make fun of am I right?
Strangely enough, during all the scurrying about markets and delis and other food related areas, no one had the foresight to pop into Coles and pick up fifty of Mr McCains finest, or Ms Latino’s freshest.
They start writing their pizza and pasta combos on the board, and no one has put up supreme and spaghetti, which is the first indication that they are actually in Italy and not in Penrith, NSW. Wade is going carbonara and neopolitana and is keeping things simple. Mindy says Italian men are so friendly, deciding that she will use it to her advantage, possibly hiring someone to kill the other three, or just to help her with her bags.
With two hours to service they start arriving at the restaurant. Alice thinks the kitchen is too small but that’s only an optical illusion because she’s comparing it with her glasses. They struggle with a foreign kitchen in a foreign land. The dough is taking longer than anticipated, though what exactly they are waiting for it to do remains unexplained.
George turns up in the already overcrowded kitchen, and brings another person to make things worse. But fortunately he is Gino the number one pizza maker in all of Italy, as voted in this years TheVoice Italy. George also offers his own services, though strangely not to Wade.
Speaking of Wade, he struggles to pick up speed as he slowly slices one herb leaf at a time with a knife, ignoring the scissors placed just out of camera shot. Mindy decides to cook her pasta to order and par boil it, which means to only part boil it (that ‘t’ was just so time consuming and redundant) and drown it in olive oil. Julia is upset that Mindy has hogged the pasta boiler, as she watches a pot of boiled water refuse to boil.
Mindy says George is freaking out and it’s freaking her out, because George’s pants have a tendency to come off when he freaks out. Wade is still struggling as George emerges with his thumb taped up. Did he stick it somewhere unwelcome? Meanwhile Deb has been stuck out front of house to scare away prospective customers. People queue up anyway as the food shortages in economically vulnerable Italy hit hard.
Alice says “alamanu” while Andy says “scusi” as Australian-Italian relations hit a new low. Tragedy strikes as Alice appears on our screens and Wade steals Julia’s pizza sauce. George goes “ballistic” and “hammers” Alice according to Mindy as Alice forgets to make her pizza. At this stage I don’t know if George is a missile or a handyman, but either way at least he’s capable of doing some real damage.
Things are calmer in the restaurant as people shut their mouths and eat. Deb serves like a middle aged woman going through menopause: in other words very well indeed. Back in the kitchen, George gives Alice a pep talk by constantly punching her in the face.
Julia says she can’t keep with her orders but is pleased the Romans love her dishes, as they take time out from their busy schedule conquering the globe and refining democracy. Julia notices her pizza, and back up pasta sauce, are running out, as Wade sheepishly admits to stealing it all. Julia takes the news with grace as she slaps him in the face with a giant pizza spatula. Outside, Andy says he’s feeling for the people in the kitchen, as they’re just too damn busy to touch things themselves.
Wade decides to take his pizza off the menu to help Julia out with the sauce as George says its the worst day of his life. In a totally unrelated event Gary laughs as he says he feels terrible for the contestants in the kitchen. He tries Wades carbonara but thinks its too stodgy as the pot dials long distance to talk to the kettle about its blackness. Mindy’s casarece is next, and Matt asks where’s the cheese, looking to fill a role left vacant by Peter Russell Clarke. Deb comes out with Julia’s rigatoni, but it’s not popular, and neither is Deb. Alice says she thinks that if she can get through service she can get through anything. Let’s hope she gets through service and then puts that theory to the test. Meanwhile, her pizza is enjoyed by the judges.
Finally, after service, after the customers have been fed, and after the restaurant has been returned to the owner with reparations for all damage to the premises and the business reputation paid, Alice and Mindy are announced the winners: Mindy for her pasta and Alice for her pizza. They will get the chance to battle for immunity, according to Gary, under the Tuscan sun! Which is different to the same sun that bathes the rest of the earth in sunlight, obviously. Plus, as Masterchef in Italy week continues, the chance to affirm more cultural stereotypes as Antonio Callucio is introduced as the godfather of Italian cuisine.