Recap: MasterChef: The Professionals - Day 1
Well, here we go! It’s yet another normal season of MasterChef has begun. Let’s roll. All the pieces are in place: YOU are watching it on your television. I am writing about it on TheVine.com.au. Everything is so dang usual.
EXCEPT - HOLD UP - THAT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE TRUTH! This is anything BUT a normal season of MasterChef! I was just kidding about that! Even though it would probably be quicker to talk about the ways in which MasterChef: The Professionals is similar to normal MasterChef (Way #1: NOTHING. IT’S SO DIFFERENT), let’s instead talk about all the ways it’s different: it’s in January, for one. MUCH earlier than usual. No Katy Perry for the theme song. What else? It’s in Melbourne. The MasterChef kitchen is down a LANEWAY (obv). There’s a locker room. I think that’s everything?
Right. Excuse me. Marco Pierre White. “The Celebrity Chef’s Celebrity Chef”. Gary and George have been DITCHED because they’re just first-tier celebrity chefs, I guess, the kind of people to whom Marco Pierre White would be a celebrity chef. I guess. I’m not gonna pretend to understand the hierarchy. Very different, I think we can agree!
We begin with a monologue from Marco Pierre White. “I can tell a great chef by the way they use their knife,” he says. “By the way they touch food. And most importantly by the way they handle intense pressure.” Almost the same as saying “I can tell a great chef by the way they cook food in a restaurant kitchen,” but it’s fine! What’s not fine is ‘Hall Of Fame’ by The Script, because it’s the new theme song. Because what are the producers of this show gonna do, not shit in our ears when they get the chance? In keeping with how UNusual and ABnormal this radical new season of MasterChef is, even the opening titles throw us a curveball in the form of the music dipping out when deaf contestant Bonny appears in the montage. Haha. Very clever, MasterChef: The Professionals. A handy reminder to all of us of what it’s like to not hear sounds.
The contestants start trickling into the room with all the pictures of food. Michael, the head chef at a golf course. Akuc, a regular chef at a regular restaurant. Anthony, a chef on yachts. Three contestants, all from different kinds of kitchens! Who even knows if the boat guy can cook on land! Who knows if the golf guy can cook for poor people! Many of the chefs have very impressive qualifications, and then there’s Outback Matty.
He’s a life coach SLASH chef who was on Jamie’s Kitchen Australia. Aw, Outback Matty. Let’s hope you make it, buddy. Heaps more people arrive. Rhett, who tells us “the dish that caught my eye was mine”. Coop, whose daughter has a lesion on her brain stem :-(. Heaps more that don’t get an intro. Finally, Marco Pierre White strides up the centre of the room, switching off the lightboxes with the pictures of the dishes because he cares about energy conservation and also because he’s a dementor, maybe? (They’re British?)
Matt Preston describes him as “The godfather of modern cooking,” which is still an artfully meaningless description! What does it actually mean? Is he saying Marco Pierre White is a superficially benevolent but ultimately ruthless patriarch to modern cooking? Or that Marco Pierre White has been handed the honourary guardianship of modern cooking by its real parents? (You might think that this doesn’t matter at all, and you’d be right, but the point is that the title of “godfather” is handed out a BUNCH on this show and I’m allowed to make any points I like because it’s MY recap.)
“This competition is about your future,” Marco Pierre White tells them. “I'm not here to be your friend,” he adds. He’s right. It’s not MasterFriend. Matt Preston announces that the prize for this series is $200,000 a trip around the world to work in kitchens with famous chefs and, “most of all”, the title of the first Professional MasterChef. Ha ha no. The money is definitely the “most of all” in this scenario, or arguably the trip, but certainly not the trophy? Please be real, Matt Preston.
The first challenge begins. They have to cook a three course meal for 120 people. There are six dishes and they’re divided into teams of three. They get two and a half hours to prep. The cooking begins! Cook cook cook! Meanwhile, we are treated to some classic intense Marco Pierre White interactions. “You look like Gordon Ramsay,” he tells Cameron. “Please don’t make me cry,” Cameron says. “No, no. You’ll do that yourself, like Gordon did,” Marco replies. BANTER! Ho ho ho. What japes. Outback Matty is having trouble making the dough for his dumplings. Coop is cutting his fishes too slowly. Everyone else is doing just fine and calling each other “chef” and answering “oui” when Marco Pierre White calls something out, which is definitely not explained at any point. They just j’adore French, I guess! “Oui, j’adore French.” - all of them. “We quelle love French, vraiment.” - they’re still going.
People start walking in. Marco Pierre White starts repeating things. “Get it on now” is the first phrase to be repeated three times. “Get them cooking” is the first phrase to be repeated five times. The yabby dish is cold, under-seared and raw, which is terrible news for Kylie.
Matt Preston’s duck dish has no duck in it, which TO BE FAIR is, I think, something Marco Pierre White should have noticed and rectified, based on my understanding of what it is to “run” a “pass” of a restaurant. Whatever. He gets his duck. The duck is fine. Outback Matty’s dumplings are garbage. Coop’s fish is a “deadset winner of a dish”, despite the fact that snapper is “Such a pig of a fish”. Great with apple sauce, I guess. The puddings are served and everyone loves them. At the end, Marco Pierre White tells the contestants, “Thank you very much for supporting me and being respectful,” which is both weirdly intense (CLASSIC, RIGHT) and endearing, so who even knows how to feel! Not me!
Some people did the best. Cassie did the best out of them, so she gets immunity in the next challenge. Some other people did the worst, and the worst of all was Outback Matty, which is unsurprising but still disappointing. We barely knew ye, Outback Matty. We never got the chance to figure out what was going on with your Weary Dunlop hat.
Outback Matty tells them to shoot for the stars because even if they don’t hit the stars they’ll still hit the moon on the way back down. Aw, Matty! You misunderstand physics in so many ways. R.I.P. lil buddy.
Still to come: so much more of this.