— Julie Goodwin (@_JulieGoodwin) 1 May 2016
Hi gice. Let’s boom, boom, shake, shake the room …
I hope to have a premiere recap up later (allowing for SA time difference), but chat away in the meantime. And for those of you drinking tonight, feel free to have a big slug when the phrase “food dream” or the word “journey” are uttered.
HERE WE GO …
So we start with a fast-paced montage of the highlights of the season and it does look jampacked and super glossy. MC’s budget (and ad revenue) must be sooo much bigger than MKR’s – no dodgy home restaurants where people’s carports have been decorated with velvet curtains to hide the Colorbond. Good to see some past contestants return to set challenges down the track, including this little number from our old fave from last year, Reynold the dessert king. And then there’s this blue orb thing, which looks super cool. Wannabe contestants are ushered into the warehouse, along with their loved ones, and the judges are treated like rock stars when they walk in. Matt is wearing a stunning purple tartan suit and a black cravat with a shimmer to it. Usual spiel about the winner getting $250,000 but, unlike last year, Matt says they don’t have a set number of aprons to give out.
First up to cook is teacher Celia, who got through in 2014 with her audition macarons but had to pull out due to lasting effects of a brain injury she’d sustained in a snowboarding accident. Okay, yes, it’s the usual “I’m doing it for my kids” “you can achieve anything” yadda yadda, but how cute is little Nathan (even if he does have a rat’s tail) encouraging his mum whip up a spectacular plate, and the footage of Celia cooking with her kids at home. We know she’s going through anyway, but that dessert looks awesome. “It’s a level up from what you brought us before,” says Gary. Surely it’s time to bring in the kid for a teary hug? It’s schmaltzy and the “uplifting” music is corny, but I’d rather watch someone with a brain injury cook a killer dessert than fame-hungry people who barely know one end of a spoon from another on MKR.
Next up is the coffee roaster dude with one of those button earrings. We know he gets in because we’ve seen footage of him in the preview, freaking out in a team challenge. Good on him for giving the death dish, risotto, a go – and for wearing a glove when handling the raw meat. Hope he’s not one of those “I don’t do desserts” guys. The risotto is a winner but George’s “Will you make us proud?” goes down like a lead balloon. And then he pulls out the signature “big boy”. Can we hurry up and get to the cooking competition?
Next, Anastasia serves up water buffalo from her friend’s farm and it has that “garden on a plate” look George favours. It’s the first time they’ve used water buffalo on the show. Way to guarantee air time – but not coming to a Coles near you soon. The judges love it.
They whip through the next few people.
Charlie the golfer has done a poached pear and it looks simple, but it’s amazing how many times people have served up hard pears on MC. What’s with golfers and cooking shows – first Tarq on MKR and now this dude.
And here we have Michaela, 23, from the promo, who plans to do a croquembouche in an hour. Even if she fails they’ll bring her back next year for a redemption arc. Her profiteroles look pale and her filling is runny. She spends her time in front of the judges spinning sugar, which is always entertaining when you know it’s not you cleaning up after. Gary doesn’t look impressed at her decision to do croquembouche in the one-hour timeframe. Gary likes the spun sugar but that’s about it. “There’s a fine line between bravery and experience,” says Matt, kindly.
More montage and I hope we get to see who made this.
Some decent-looking macarons which could have won people a finals spot five years ago aren’t enough to win an apron.
Carmen the qualified surveyor from Perth has the familiar story of Asian Aussie going to uni to please parents. She’s been working as a waitress to get her foot in the door of the hospitality industry. As she plates up her choc pave with salted caramel and peanut and popcorn ice cream, George makes little monkey noises of excitement and then leans in to sadistically ask: “Are you nervous?”
Of course, she gets through – this ain’t no season one cupcake challenge standard cooking. She almost comes a cropper afterwards when her excited family tries to Clothesline her to the ground with jumping cuddles.
Zoe, 31, is making a Greek yoghurt panna cotta and she’s brought half of Greece with her to cheer her on. What’s the bet Yaya gets a cuddle from George later on? Oops – they’re multiplying! Zoe’s other Yaya is there, too, and soon it’s not a cooking competition – it’s a competition to boast about what they each taught Zoe and to shower her with compliments. “They look beautiful Zoe – so like you,” says Zoe.
In the judging chamber the panna cottaa has the necessary wobble. Matt thinks it’s one of the best they’ve had. George heads out to fetch the family and Yaya No.1 pounces on him like a long-lost son. Even Gary and Matt get a cuddle. Hope she didn’t break a hip doing the zorba after.
Heather gets through with kingfish sashimi. That’s all we know. Tall Ash gets the nod for his barra and scampi and a couple of other people, including an airline captain.
Miles the ranger from Central Queensland is doing a spicy Laotion pork belly dish – that’s going to be tough in the time. Looks like he’s passed on his passion for cooking to his son, who’s now an apprentice chef. He wants to start a cafe in the former Shell servo in which he lives. “I like bold flavours. I don’t have too many subtle recipes in my entourage (sic),” he tells the judges. Matt notes the pork needed more time, but the flavours were good. He tells them he’s been practising hard and they give him the nod to cook again for the second chance round. Harry, who made the salmon dish, also gets a second chance, as does Lauren who made a super sweet peanut butter and jelly dessert, and nameless rapping Turkish delight girl. Souffle girl gets another go because Matt likes her balls, but not her souffle.
Nicolette, 19, is doing a lemon dish using fruit from her dead grandad’s tree. Poor grandma has come along to the audition and she looks like she should be home having a rest and a nice cup of tea. She’s Greek, so of course they send George over to make her cry. She’s through, and at 19 she’s one of the youngest to ever appear on the show. SA’s Laura (who lost to Brett) was also 19.
Then it’s the siblings and we’ve been led to believe only one will make it through. Why can’t they both make it, if they’re good enough? Would be good to see them go head to head in challenges, although they would have the edge on other contestants in terms of emotional support in the MC house. Little sis is up first with a dessert and she embarrasses her teenage kids by mentioning her pants are falling down as she cooks. You know she’s in when she gets the spoon percussion on the stainless steel bench from Matt.
But they make us wait to see if big bro got in – first there is pork belly guy and another panna cotta girl, the fish ‘n’ chip girl.
An Adelaide lady is up next. She’s from an Indian family and she likes to talk as much as she does cooking, especially since her father told her being a chef was a man’s job.
And now we get big bro Jimmy cooking tuna with granita and, George style, he pulls out chopsticks to plate, much like George and his tweezers. He seems a cheery soul and his warmth makes for good TV. They are totally going to make his sister give him an apron.
“That is one of the best dishes I’ve tasted in top 50 ever,” says George. I’m Team Jimmy – any of you who are Team Theresa are dead to me.
They’ve given out 19 aprons in this episode and Matt says there are five to give away tomorrow to the second chancers – what happened to no limit on the aprons? There are 11 people left, but then the announcer says only four will make it through. Does someone leave? Guess we have to stay tuned.