Mama Mia! Making quail ravioli has these MasterChef contestants in a flap.It’s night two of MasterChef’s Ethnic Stereotype Week, but before we get into some red-hot elimination action, we take a moment to reflect on the sad exit of Andrew, a larger-than-life personality who left such a mark on the show that several regular viewers actually knew his name.

We also reflect on the fact that Jules is in tonight’s elimination due to walking into a door, which is either terrible unfair or fairer than most decisions made on MasterChef.

Starting as usual with the world’s most heavily medicated dinner party, we move into the grim business of men and one woman fighting for their culinary lives. A flashback to last night in the MasterChef house reveals that Andrew has written a letter to the other contestants letting them know he knows all their dirty little secrets and wants money.

And into elimination day itself, which is always an exciting occasion, providing Kelty with a prime opportunity to whine about something. “They’ve got a lot to learn,” he says of Totem and Nicky, his glasses assisting him to see perfectly despite the massive beam in his eye.

The boys resolve to “cook their hearts out”, a dangerous phrase to use around Nicky, who does not understand metaphors. As they arrive at the kitchen, a sharp frisson can be sensed in the air, a feeling that can only be described as “Jules hates everybody in this room”.

Together the contestants and the judges reminisce about happier times, particular Jules, who is harking back to a time when she didn’t want to murder seven men at once.

At this point Matt steps up to patronise an entire nation with more blather about “nonnas”. He then introduces “one of the most respected Italian chefs in Australia”, which isn’t saying much given how disrespectful of Italian cooking in general everyone is being this week.

It’s Stefano Di Pieri, who has apparently picked up more than 40 chef’s hats, which seems a bit greedy of him. Liliana is very excited because she’s Italian, and he’s Italian, and he cooks Italian food, and she cooks Italian food, because she’s Italian, did you know? Liliana informs us that Stefano is “the Maggie Beer of Mildura”, an appellation almost poetic in its meaninglessness.

Stefano has prepared a dish of home-made quail ravioli, meaning the contestants’ first step will be to go home. As always, they are reminded that this dish is one which should not be overcooked or undercooked. It’ll really throw everyone for a loop when they are presented with a dish that should never be cooked just right.

“There’s one thing that Stefano didn’t tell you,” says Gary, as Totem gradually nods off. That thing is that they have to make their own pasta. Their OWN, it is emphasised: anyone caught making someone else’s pasta will face corporal punishment.

Kelty immediately starts panicking: he has made ravioli before, but he only has an hour today, which leaves him little spare time for whining about how everything is everyone else’s fault.

Nicky is more confident, as he has made lots of Chinese noodles and ramen, and hopes it will be similar. But then Nicky has hoped many things this season, and none of them have actually happened. Still, a quick cut to footage of him eating with his parents should have him well on the way.

If Vern sticks to the formula that he does at home, it should work out fine, but he neglects to factor in the presence of a bunch of idiots on a balcony yelling at him. You don’t have that at home, do you? Well, maybe you do. I shouldn’t make assumptions about Vern’s home life.

Meanwhile Jules is trying to get a good sweat up, because she knows the secret to a good tasty pasta is lots of human sweat in the dough.

Maybe Kelty should be sweating more – his dough is dry. He adds more flour, remembering his father’s wise words: “Nothing moistens up a meal like adding flour to it”.

He tries again, in accordance with his life motto. He’s really worried about time, but it’s probably a relief to him to only have one thing to worry about for once. “For me, pasta and speed just don’t go together well,” says Kelty, in a disturbing insight into his digestive processes.

Totem gets to work on his quail. He hasn’t read the recipe, so he doesn’t know what to do next. If only there were some way he could find out what was next – if only he could somehow pick up the piece of paper with the instructions on it and hold it up in front of his eyes or something.

At this point Noelene starts ranting about stuff – she’s probably right, but it’s pretty annoying to listen to her.

Stefano pops by Nicky’s bench to tell him to read the recipe. Now we can see how he became the Maggie Beer of Mildura. One begins to question the culinary future of this group of people who seem constitutionally incapable of reading recipes.

Meanwhile Vern is hacking his quail to pieces like an axe murderer. Stefano tells him that food is valuable. This comes as quite a shock to Vern.

Kelty is flustered. Noelene begs him to get a small saucepan on. It’s all she ever wanted from Kelty, but somehow it’s the one thing he could never give her. “I’m not going to get this done,” says Kelty, having become delirious as he attempts to reconstruct the quail and bring it back to life.

At this point it has become clear that the biggest obstacle facing anyone in an elimination is the squawking stupidity from the balcony. Say what you like about the ineptitude of your average MasterChef contestant, but you’ve got to admit it would be pretty hard to concentrate with that bunch of wide-mouthed buffoons vomiting their advice down on your head every two seconds.

And so it is that Jules becomes that greatest hero of all as she turns to the balcony and cries: “Shut up!” The spectators are taken aback: why does Jules not appreciate their sincere attempts to listen to the sounds of their own shrill, unpleasant voices?

Vern and Totem aren’t satisfied with just having the balcony shout at them though: they begin shouting at each other as well. Everybody has lost their mind and is simply screaming out nonsense for no reason.

And no wonder: Vern has so much to do and is questioning whether he can do it. Nobody else is though: we all know he can’t. And now we have Vern tell a tragic story, which is bad news for him: after Nicky’s parental flashback earlier, it’s clear that those two are in the gun.

Jules begins running her pasta through the machine, in a perfect metaphor for what reality television does to the human spirit. Noelene thinks Totem is doing really well, but let’s be honest, what the hell would Noelene know?

Stefano has returned to Kelty’s bench to tell him a good chef is an eat chef, the corollary being that a bad chef is Kelty. “I can feel the water pressure starting to lower,” says Kelty as he rolls the pasta out, having convinced himself that his head is full of water or that he’s in a swimming pool or something, I don’t know, basically he’s deranged.

Up on the balcony, Pip seizes her chance to show just how useful she can be to her fellow contestants, telling Nicky to stop putting flour on his pasta. As Nicky struggles to get his pasta through the machine, Stefano and Matt show up to tell him that the problem is he hasn’t go enough flour on his pasta.

So the balcony inhabitants, having become bored with simply irritating the cooks below, have moved on to actively sabotaging them. Which is outrageous, if only for the fact that if you’re going to sabotage someone, why wouldn’t it be Kelty?

Vern informs us that the panic has set in, or to put it in Kelty-speak, the water is rising, or the balloon is filling, or his brain is leaking. Vern has lost all feeling in his extremities and has no idea what he’s doing.

We pause here for a reminder to book our South Australian murder holiday now for the best rates.

With 10 minutes to go, the race is against both the clock and our collective sense of astonishment that they’ve already managed to spin out five people making ravioli for three quarters of an hour. But it’s the human drama that makes it so compelling, as Vern begins to believe his pasta dish may be served without pasta.

Up on the balcony they’re yelling at Jules to make smaller balls: what part of “shut up” do these people not understand? In sadder news, Kelty’s ravioli looks good.

Finally Vern has some pasta that he can work with, sort of. With five minutes to go, he has his ravioli in the water and hope burgeoning in his heart, while Kelty begins throwing enormous clumps of sage into his saucepan as an offering to the Celtic gods and Nicky disappears into a mental world of his own.

And time is up and everyone hugs each other even though they dislike each other and Nicky wishes he’d paid more attention, a desire not shared by the audience of the show. Vern is “pretty devastated” that his pasta has issues: it may go off the rails without intervention.

Jules is first to be judged, and confides that coping is not one of her greatest skills. Not coping with anything in particular: just coping, in general. Existing in the face of things happening: this is what Jules struggles with. As demonstrated by her large, ungainly camels’ feet ravioli, which set the judges chuckling, the judgmental bastards that they are.

Vern is next, and as he enters the kitchen in a highly emotional state, his self-esteem at rock bottom and tearful memories of his mother pricking at his mind, Gary takes the chance to figuratively stab him in the face, by telling him he did a bad job before his dish has even been tasted. Cheers Gary, got any puppies you’d like to strangle while you’re at it?

With the air of men changing nappies, the judges taste Vern’s ravioli. The flavour is good, but the pasta is quite tough. It’s those issues: it caused it to close itself off from emotional vulnerability.

In comes Kelty to serve his ravioli, which is hopefully disgusting but unfortunately it’s not. The judges agree Kelty has done a great job, although Stefano looks extremely regretful that this is the case.

Next is Totem, who serves his ravioli and stands in a weird way with his groin sticking out at the judges. It’s a bit unnerving. They taste his pasta, which tastes good despite his loose filling – much like Totem himself.

Last is Nicky, who confesses that he thinks Vern has done badly. Matt interrogates Nicky about Vern. It becomes obvious that Matt is recruiting Nicky to carry out a clandestine hit on Vern later that night.

The judges taste Nicky’s ravioli and George makes a face. Nicky has made pasty filling which tastes like liver. “How does quail become liver?” asks Stefano, not guessing what horrific experiments Nicky has been undertaking in his spare time.

“I think we know who it is,” say the judges. Unfortunately they are not referring to the person they most want to slap, so it’s not Kelty. It’s going to be Nicky or Vern, a battle of the poor cooks who want to make their parents proud. “All of you had problems today,” said George, but only for two of them were the problems related to food: for the others they were mainly to do with addictive personalities and bowel disorders.

Nicky and Vern step forward, and it’s the end of the road for…

Nicky! Who would have guessed on that first day when he took command of the men’s team and did literally nothing while aggravating everyone around him with his idiotic yelling, that he would end up being eliminated?

“What did you enjoy most about the competition?” George asks, and Nicky says “learning”, not realising that his competition is over and he’s allowed to be honest and say that it was actually walking in on Faiza in the shower. He walks sadly out of the kitchen, still wearing his Masterchef apron, which he will now steal and sell on eBay.

A final caption tells us that Nicky has started work experience in a restaurant, and is therefore already a more experienced chef than 90 percent of MasterChef contestants ever will be.

And so, with Nicky gone and the vague stirrings of almost-feeling that this arouses, we move on to tomorrow, when they’ll make pizzas and Jules will crack some skulls.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Categories : 杭州龙凤


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