Week 3 of Junior Masterchef started with the kids running into the kitchen, innocently oblivious of any occupational health and safety laws they were breaching, such is the joy of youth. George, ever ready to get in the spirit of things, came dressed as a child, while Anna just talked like one. George informed them that they want to get them out of the studio and into the real world, because obviously being 12 they’re almost adults and need to be prepared for when their exploitative school canteens force them to cook. Upon hearing that they will be undertaking a team challenge, Greta exclaims “Oh my God, that’s so cool”. One suspects it is not the last time we will hear this refrain.
Broken up into four teams, the membership of each team is decided by the pulling of coloured spoons, which is similar to the way that teams were chosen for World War One. The teams raced of to one of Sydney’s tallest buildings and took an elevator to the top, which is standard practice these days. Upon seeing the view, Zak couldn’t believe his eyes. In fact no one could believe Zak’s eye as they continued to weave a web of deceit, implying that Marcus has girl germs and Indigo picks her nose, rubs it in the dirt and eats it for dessert.
Gary announced that they were standing in the Summit Restaurant in Australia Square, which is ironically circular. It is at this point that Matt Moran informed the children that their challenge involved taking over the Summit for one night, which was followed by his request for each children to hand in their permission slips signed by their parents and/or guardians which waive the shows legal obligations visa vie workplace safety and child labour laws.
Matt went on to say that they would be cooking for the 50 top food critics in town. What he failed to mention was that as a result of the great food critic drought of 2011, caused in no small part by the proliferation of food critics making the leap to televisual stardom, there were only 51 food critics left in Sydney, and 17 of those were pet food critics.
The teams were then told they would have to cook a Michael Moore dish. This had some of them thinking that they will probably be making hot dogs and doughnuts until they realised they’ve got the wrong Michael Moore. Moore revealed the dishes they would cook, causing Hannah to claim that her heart “just started beating 100 miles an hour”. Not only did Hannah confuse the correct system of measuring heart rate with the system for measuring speed, but she also reverted to imperial measurements. Perhaps the stewards should just double check the age of this person.
After wasting half the day selecting teams Anna informed them there was no time to waste and they race into the kitchen to begin cooking. Gary told them they have 2 hours to do their mise en place, which had them all frantically searching for their dictionaries.
The cooking proceeds at breakneck speed and giving us a vision of what it must have been like when the seven dwarves, following their acrimonious split from Snow White, pooled their resources and opened a restaurant in the Enchanted Forest, ironically named “Tall Soup”, because there was no soup on the menu.
On tasting the yellow team’s prawns, Anna and Gary were disgusted to find a ‘poop chute’ still attached to one prawn. They expressed their fears that the critics might also receive similar fair. Yet they needn’t have worried, as all the food critics were too concerned with the bits of leg and shell in theirs to even notice any intestinal track. Nonetheless the yellow team celebrated in the style of people who had actually achieved something.
The blue team had the next course and were concerned that if their quail wasn’t cooked this would create some kind of disaster. Perhaps they had in mind a tsunamai, earthquake, or the reformation of Take That. And as it turned out they were right to worry, because half the critics had quail that was bordering on raw, whilst the other half were swept away by a freak tidal wave caused by a dive bombing Gary Barlow.
Following the blue team came the green team with their beef and cauliflower puree. Chandler was so confident of his team’s chances that he purposely provided an extra hurdle by raising the critics’ expectations to expect one thing when in fact they were going to receive something completely slightly different, describing the beef as lamb. George told Chandler that it’s okay to make mistakes, before forcing him to humiliatingly tell the critics he had got it wrong, an indication that it’s not okay to make mistakes at all. The beef actually proved a hit among the critics. The lamb was, apparently, slightly overcooked.
The red team were last with the cherry dessert. Gary and Michael Moore waxed lyrical and thought about the unthinkable; finding a pip in one of the cherries. Neither Gary or Michael experienced the misfortune of chewing on one of the stones, but unfortunately for the red team one of the critics did. On a brighter note, we ended up seeing very little of Jack in this episode.
So with the tasting done, the scores came rolling in. The spoils of war went to the Chandler led and inspired green team, with red and blue taking second and third respectively. Uncomfortable hugs were had all round, and Chandler gave a rousing victory speech, in his best monotone voice, and said that it was “all about having fun in the kitchen, as well as subtle and not so subtle product placement”.
Moving on to Monday’s episode, the contestants were back in the Masterchef kitchen. They walked in and were instantly confronted by a wall of chocolate, behind which Gary, George and Anna were possibly trapped. To help them escape they had eat through the chocolate. Some questioned whether it was worth it, because there was a lot of chocolate there, but in the end they decided as a team to eat through and possibly save the possibly trapped hosts. So you can imagine their shock when George, Gary and Anna came in through a side door and they realised that they hadn’t been trapped at all. This slowed down the chocolate eating only slightly.
After each of the contestants were given some Narcan, Gary explained that they would undertake a taste test, being required to recognise the 20 ingredients in Darrel Lea Rocklea Road. Of course, if they had to name the 20 ingredients in a Masterchef series the task would be much simpler, with the first seven being ‘product placement’. But instead it was a rich chocolate based snack as Junior Masterchef did its bit for the childhood obesity epidemic sweeping the nation.
Chandler hit upon the novel strategy of asking the food what was in it, whilst Mireade adopted the more traditional route of tasting the food to determine the ingredients. Of course, there being no Mat amongst the contestants, no one was able to consult Google.
When the 20 ingredients were revealed most were surprised with the inclusion of Mat Preston, but this certainly explains his absence from the show. No one successfully guessed all 20 ingredients, but 6 were able to guess 14 apiece. With the scores in, Lily was leading Jack and Madi by 3, with Indigo back another 2.
With the taste test out of the way, George suddenly picked up a ladybug and started eating it, clearly driven to insanity by the prospect of another 15 weeks of this series. He tried to convince everyone it was made of chocolate, but no one bought his argument this and he was removed for the purposes of a lobotomy backstage. He did come back, though subdued (and with a higher IQ) and so the contestants got ready for the next challenge involving an invention test.
Kirsten Tiddles was then introduced to the raucous applause of 20 people who have never heard of her, as Gary explained her great feats at the Pastry Olympics. Dee admitted to never having heard of the Pastry Olympics, which is a searing indictment on the Australian primary education system and its focus on “facts”! Next he will be saying he’s never heard of the Char Grilling Word Cup!
After the shock of Dee’s explosive remarks had subsided, the core ingredients of white chocolate and raspberries were revealed for what they were: core ingredients. The contestants rushed to the pantry, and while they shopped we got to see some to camera pieces. Zac tells us of his fear of being left without alone in a world with no raspberries, and then explains how he cleverly took more raspberries than he needed. Jack confesses to “feeling under the pressure”, assigning an unmerited definite article. However, the real shock came from Steven, who admitted he only got on the show to get close to Anna Gare but having seen her up close is no longer interested and now has no idea how to get off the show.
As the children cooked, Gary and Kirsten chatted with the contestants about their dishes, flinching with each merciless rising inflection. The reliefwas obvious when they get to Chandler, who knows only one tone. With 45 minutes to go Gary screamed abuse as he gorged himself on chocolate and as the children slaved away over hot stoves, in a scene reminiscent from that movie about the guy that did some stuff.
As the judges interviewed the contestants it became increasingly obvious that the children were making desserts involving white chocolate and raspberries, which is just as well and indicative of their abilities to understand. Gary, noticing some chocolate in Harry’s hair, called on all his willpower and succeeded in not biting his head off. He them made some wild claims about never meeting a chocolate he didn’t like, yet no one pulled him up on his overt racism. Next he’ll be saying some of his best friends are chocolates.
Once the desserts were done and the spoons were down, most interest centered on Dee’s dish. Dee had used a balloon to create a white chocolate dome. Unfortunately, Dee had left some of the balloon in the dessert and was concerned that the judges might bite into a bit of balloon whilst tasting his dessert, thus marking him down. He said that “you don’t want to serve half a balloon, because they’ve paid for the full thing damn it!” As it transpired George did bite into the balloon. At first he had difficulty getting through the thick, overcooked white chocolate, but when he made his way through to the delectable balloon inside, his face lit up as the uplifting piano music reached its crescendo. Meanwhile Chandler regaled everyone with the story of his back up tart, who has since gone on to become a back up tart for Lady Gaga.
With the desserts tasted and correct weight called, it was Chandler who won with his two tarts. Word is the three of them are thinking of opening a restaurant together. Greta finished third, and Jade second. The result put Chandler on top of the leader board. Which is where he belongs, because who doesn’t love Chandler?
Junior MasterChef – Sun/Mon 7:30pm, Ch10.