No editing, publishing as soon as it’s been written.
MasterChef Australia season eleven starts – a montage of the season, promising an interesting and exciting season.
The voiceover man says, “Extraordinary food.”
Guest judges say things like, “It’s a tummy hug.”
Nigella Lawson announces that every year the food gets more amazing.
Then, silence, as we slowly pan over the pantry. Vaguely, the ghosts of MasterChef past whisper. ‘You’re in’, the voices say. ‘It’s a yes.’
Snapping away from the almost spooky theme, a bunch of people stream outside the kitchen into the herb garden. They express disbelief that they’re here, and touch everything.
Someone sees the big MasterChef logo made out of, I don’t know, herbs maybe? Who’s to say? And they’re like, “Oh, wow, that’s the ‘M’!” as if they weren’t really sure that the herb M actually existed before this moment.
Everyone goes around and decides it’s a really good idea to just eat from the herb garden, someone puts their kids on the red Vespa, and generally milling around the front door.
Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan come out of the front doors and stand at the top of the steps, waving down at those who won the chance to prepare them food.
A man picks up a child, behind him, a blonde woman with big eyes looks like she’s going to cry from seeing them.
Or maybe it’s Matt’s pants, bright stripy colours, making him look taller than he probably is.
It all feels quite Wonka-esque. These people are winners already – only a small amount get to meet the judges in the first place. They enter with their family, but only one will remain at the end of the competition. And Matt is wearing wild stripy pants with a black and white polka dot cravat and pocket square.
Look, it is a Look, and Matt really should have a segment at the beginning where he models the look of the day.
They announce the winner of last year is here, Sashi Cheliah, and he arrives brandishing his plate. Confetti rains down on everyone. People look like they’re going to cry any second. They clap and cheer, and call out that they love him.
Sashi talks about how he was where they were last year, and vaguely points out a spot. You can tell they’re hoping to be standing in the exact spot the last winner stood.
“What advice do you have?”
Sashi doesn’t heasitate. “Flavour, flavour, flavour. These guys love flavour.”
Everyone laughs, making mental notes.
Gaz, George, and Matt talk about the mentorship, what’ll be happening over the next couple of days.
My oven dinged to let me know my frozen party pies were ready, so I missed that, but figured she’d be right.
George reminded them that someone will win, and everyone cheered.
And then a child grabbed a fistful of confetti from the ground.
It’s time to get cooking.
The first person is Tim. While he cooks pork belly, he tells us about Timself. He’s been practicing for years, excited to get his chance to be on MasterChef.
Cue his video.
Honestly, I don’t really know what he does? He works at a school doing cooking, and he looks after the school community garden. He teaches kids to cook and wants to be a role model for them.
Back to Tim as he cooks. He wants to cook good honest food, and let the flavours speak for themselves. He also loves toasted sammies. A lady wearing white glasses yells support. I do not care for her at all.
Everyone counts down to the final seconds, and cheer as it reaches zero.
As Tim wheels his cart to the judges, he monologues about the same stuff as everyone usually does – wanting to prove they can cook.
Gaz, George and Matt are sitting on stools away from the cooking bench. They’re just chatting, looking forward to eating, and it feels like they’ve been waiting there for a bit. You can imagine they’re talking about Matt getting a little teacup pig to store in his cravat.
Tim comes in, walking past big posters of the previous winners.
George basically runs over to Tim and says hello. Then, he asks why Tim is familiar.
Of course, Tim is like, “I have no idea, GC, I’m just a humble teacher…”
George is like, “OMG, you look like Prince Harry!”
Meanwhile, Matt and Gaz are sitting on their stools. Gaz tells George he doesn’t see it, and Matt gives a small little nod. Maybe Matt just needs to eat a bit and warm up first before he’s going to get excited about something other than the food.
There’s talk about dreams and passions, and the trio fall in love with the pork belly.
Tim wins an apron.
The next person is Jess, a travel agent. She’s brought her mum along. Her mum really wants to be included. Jess is making scallops.
Jess has her sad flashback. She had a tumour and thyroid removed when she was 28. It was scary for her, and she, “made stock of everything.” She was always close with her mum, now even more so. Her mum talks a lot through the flashback and in the kitchen.
Jess has to walk a kilometre to get to the judges, walking through the herb garden where everyone ate to finally get to Gaz, George and Matt.
George has decided to be the welcoming committee, and while the others are sitting at their stools, he’s run over to Jess.
He asks her what the dream is, and she tells him it would be to make things at home and sell it at her own market stall.
Really, this comes up every so often on MasterChef – you don’t need training to make things and sell them at a market. Just slap a little sticker on it with your website or something, print yourself some business cards, and get a stall at your local farmers market. Dream come true babe.
They’re all getting excited to eat her dish, and Jess starts to cry as she talks about how much getting an apron would mean to her.
The trio eat in silence. They don’t make eye contact.
Gaz starts. He loves it. It’s, “beautiful. It’s like a professional made it.”
He says everything about her and the dish is a yes.
George says yes, as does Matt, and she is given an apron.
Gaz keeps eating.
George has decided that this year he’s the friendliest. He welcomes them in, and he gives them a motivational talk before they head off.
Once all is said and done, Jess leaves. Gary continues to eat.
When Jess comes out, everyone cheers. Her mum is still really annoying.
A lot of people hug her, probably trying to get some luck from her and to touch the apron – possibly their only chance to touch one.
There’s a quick montage of people cooking, but we don’t get any sad flashbacks. There are some losers, a couple of winners, and we can only imagine how long they’ll actually last, as we only get the first name of most of them.
Finally, we get someone of substance. Gina is 61, and I love her. She’s a mother and a grandmother, her greatest achievement. She starts rolling some dough. The lady I hate with glasses is back again.
Anyway, Gina is cooking by hand. She’s Greek, loves Italian food, and loves to make it by hand.
Her sad flashback starts, mostly a montage of her with food and family. Gina tells us about how she did the paperwork to be a chef, but her husband didn’t support it so she never did anything with it. This is her chance to do something for herself.
I’m upset on her behalf. Like, not to throw shade on her husband, but I couldn’t morally let my partner not follow their dreams like that that. She had been cooking for YEARS and her husband wasn’t supportive of her perusing it.
Anyway, her pasta looks good, and she finishes up. Everyone cheers when the count down ends.
“I didn’t taste it,” she says.
Sashi looks concerned when she says this, but it’s too late – it’s time for Gina to make her 1km walk to the judging trio.
She walks down to the bench. Like before, George is the welcoming committee while Gaz and Matt wait.
I really want her to do well, but I also want to see someone cry sad tears.
My partner is sitting next to me and looks at the pasta.
“It’s overcooked,” she says.
“How do you know?”
She paused. “It looks off. If it’s not overcooked, its not seasoned enough.”
Then, Gina tells Gaz, George and Matt that she didn’t do it properly, she missed something, didn’t drizzle oil, didn’t taste it, and they’re not here for the confession, especially the lack of tasting.
It’s a no from Matt.
Gaz says it needs seasoning, so it’s a no.
George likes it, he loves her, but there’s a raw tomato flavour. He says no, but he also tells Gina that it’s great that she came in, and he gets motivational on her.
Gina leaves, and I’m disappointed because fuck her husband, I want her to be successful.
When she walks out, there are sympathetic cheers, claps, and whistles. Gina doesn’t look upset – she’s smiling. Really, it’s probably just that she gave it a go and they tasted her food. I think she could’ve gotten in on maybe season one, but at this stage of the game, just cooking home cooking doesn’t really cut it anymore.
There’s another montage of people cooking. The lady with the glasses starts talking about how they’re all here for the same reasons.
There’s a few no’s. A girl makes dumplings, she tells Gaz she love shim. He’s a bit shook and says, “Oh.” They didn’t like her dumplings.
Another guy makes snags, but only makes one, so it’s a banger and mash. George doesn’t hate it, but also doesn’t love it. He’s out.
The girl with the ‘H’ made something. The trio are like, “This is pretty mediocre.” George tells her not to give up. She’s sad and is determined to come back again. She cries.
Derrick is 26 and from Perth. He’s a financial analyst, because he wanted to make mum and dad proud. He wants to be creative like he is with food, so he’s scared to leave finance, but this is what he needs to do.
Honestly the dream is to quit everything and just do my creative stuff, so I feel you, D.
D talks about how his friends kind of make fun of him for baking, but on the same hand, they love his baking, so they don’t give him too much shit.
When he gets to the trio of judges, they ask him why he wants to be doing cooking and get out of finance. He tells them he wants to work for himself, doing what he wants to be doing.
Gaz loves the food, and talks about how good it looks. It’s a yes from all three.
While the next montage starts, Sashi talks about how he’s excited to be involved, and talks about his memories.
The next girl is Abby, who loves seafood, but hates waste. I think she made her thing with prawn heads ????? Matt loves it tho.
Simon is a cocktail bartender who wants to open a smokehouse – but vegetables only. He gets an apron. He annoys me.
Next guy is Joe. He does a good pasta and gets in.
Nicole comes in wearing gloves because she kept cutting herself to make a rib on the bone, cooked perfectly. They love it. Gaz gives her an apron.
The trio talk about how they’ve given away 11 aprons so far.
The next girl is Lia/Leaha. I don’t know, they need to give them little nametags, I have no idea how to spell their names. She’s making a glass ravioli. It looks pretty lit. I also hate her mum too.
“Sometimes it’s a bit too wanky for me,” her mum says.
Like, shut the fuck up? There are a lot of annoying mums today.
And I mean, I identify as a dad, but I love mums, but honestly, these mums… too annoying.
“Just calm down and focus,” Lia’s mum says while Lia carefully pours her glass stuff onto a tray. Once it dries that’s that, and it’s hard work. “Calm down, sweetheart. Keep breaking.”
Really? Your daughter’s busy right now for that shit, luv. If that were my mum, I’d tell her to hush.
She starts to cry as she puts the final touches on it.
Lia walks into the room with the trio with a big smile, and I start to warm up to her. She does annoy me though, but less so now.
Matt’s the first to come over to examine her food.
“I really want thing to look pretty and to have a bit of theatre,” she says. I love it. As a dramatic gay, I’m here for t. “My mum says it’s a bit wanky.”
“Well, it is,” Gaz says.
“Can we eat? George asks, and they all go in for it.
We didn’t actually get a flashback from her, so I’m a bit nervous.
Matt starts the critique – it’s not that geat, and it’s a no from him. He’s worried she’s a bit too far away in terms of basic techniques.
She looks like she wants to cry.
George reckons he’s got an inkling that she’s very capable. Gaz and George tell her they’re impressed, but they want more home-style. They tell her to come back tomorrow.
“Very clver, very brave. She’s got some energy. I’m interested to see how she goes tomorrow,” Gaz says.
Two more people go, and they’re told to come back tomorrow.
Kyle works in a brewery, and says he’s used to people yelling at him, so he’s able to be calm while everyone cheers him on. He loves beer and his job, but craves food. He feels at peace when he’s cooking.
His fiancé is preggers again. They’ve already got a kid, and now they’ve got twins on the way.
Kyle wants to be his own boss and follow his dreams to set a life up for his family. He needs an apron.
But also his wife might give birth while he’s away and I’m !!
He made a scallop dish, but no, there’s actually no scallops in this dish.
Gaz is interested in a scallop dish, it’s only when they actually get to the food that they realise there’s no scallops. They seem disappointed.
But it’s ok, don’t worry, Kyle isn’t a vegetarian, he’s pescatarian. He just wants to show that vegetables can stand on their own.
Two more people come by, both cooking an Egyptian dish, both getting in.
Next is Mandy, a stay at home mum, creating a middle east feast.
“It’s my time now,” she says.
They like it. Matt’s a bit concerned by the harsh dry spicing, but it’s a yes.
Next is Anushka from Melbourne. She’s the glasses lady I don’t like. Anushka is Armanian but I’m pretty sure she said she was born in the Soviet Union.
It’s only during her sad flashback that I realise that she actually uses her glasses as accessories. She wears a yellow shirt and wears yellow glasses, pink shirt, and pink glasses. And here she is, white shirt, white glasses.
Seventeen years ago she moved to Australia to get a better future for her kids after the war. Which war? That’s a surprise for later.
I’m actually looking forward to seeing her glasses over the course of the season, if she gets in.
She has a worry with her honeycomb. She doesn’t have time to redo it, but it’s also not quite right…
Ah, she runs her own optical business, which I guess is how she has a pair of glasses for each outfit.
The honeycomb is good, she’s not too sure about it.
My partner is freaking out, really wanting to eat it.
I’ve decided, I love Anushka, even if I can’t spell her name, probably.
The ads start, and I wanna snack on some honeycomb.
When she gets into the lair, the boys are excited to see her. Matt is quick to identify that it’s a honey cake. They ask if she takes photos of them, and she says she does.
“Do you post them?” Matt asks, before pulling up her Instagram.
Gaz and George come over to look at her Instagram. They’re all excited, and she ends up getting two photos – one with Matt, one with Gaz.
She tells them that she’s disappointed with her honeycomb, but they love it anyway.
She’s got an apron, she cries, and tells them she loves them before leaving.
The boys look over the photos with Anushka and laugh a bit at how giant Matt is. Gaz calls Matt’s pants lollypop pants and I love it!
Matt does look like a giant compared to her. He also looks a bit uncomy too…
And that’s episode one!