I’m loving the new season of MasterChef Australia, a show that I probably haven’t watched consistently for at least three years, for various reasons that I’ve discussed previously. However, the new judges and returning contestants (not to mention a whole week with Gordon Ramsay) have breathed fresh air into the show. My friends over at The Washing Up did a preview with Elena Duggan, which you should listen to. Something that came up briefly was a discussion around Tessa from last year, and how she was viewed by the audience as arrogant, when really she was just quiet and focused. Elena mentioned that she got the same feedback when she started to knuckle down in her season. Newsflash: that’s how she won.
One of my favourite MasterChef contestants of all time is Emelia Jackson from Season 6, who often got the same criticism. Why do audiences perceive confidence, focus and determination in the show’s female contestants as arrogance? Probably because they’re not allowed to be these things. We should be celebrating women who know they’re capable, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. So, without further ado, I present a list of things women can and cannot be on MasterChef (please don’t take this too seriously, I certainly haven’t).
David: It’s either going to work, or fail spectacularly.
We’ve reached the end of the season and our finalists are David, Dan and Sunny. There’s no funny intro this week, we’re just going straight into the episode, so I guess it’s story time for me. People may have seen me and some other people mention here and on Twitter that this season was filmed 18 months ago. If you want to know how I know that, I can tell you: I was at the finale, which I no longer have to keep secret. I was there with the season three bakers as well as Chris and Kristie of The Washing Up podcast, and it was a great time. I’ll put some small insights in as far as I can remember. I spent some time chatting to Don and Anston, who were lovely a. I remember seeing Annette and Angela around, but we weren’t introduced. I spent most of the time with the season three bakers, and it was great to meet some of the bakers from this season as well.
Claire: Now that Matt and Maggie have gone to hybridise a pheasant with a lamb…
We’ve made it to week 8 and there are only 5 bakers left! We have truly reached the pointy end of the competition and there’s not much between our bakers at this point in terms of skill and ability. Mel’s eating a hotdog and then Claire’s doing her best Dr Emmett Brown impression. Hybrid week is something we haven’t seen yet on this series, and it’s a good one. Between cronuts and cruffins, hybrid baking is becoming more common, or perhaps Dominique Ansel just wants to turn everything into a croissant.
My favourite thing about this season of Bake Off has been the continuing narrative (partially created by we the fans) that there’s something going on with the hosts and judges. Matt has taken up gardening, possibly as a second job. We saw that Mel is now a newsreader, with a special cross to Matt and Maggie all on Claire’s ‘moods’. Now we see that Mel is camping on set while Matt and Maggie are sleeping in the shed. Maggie also seems ravenous by the time a technical challenge comes around and just wants to eat the food. Is there a budget issue? Where is craft services? Doesn’t the shed get cold at night? Maybe that’s why it’s spice week. Before we get into the challenge, Don points out that all the remaining contestants have won Star Baker, but no one has won it twice yet.
Week six! We have passed the halfway point of the season and things are getting serious. There was a break from sending someone home last week, but now we’re back on track! Let’s check in with Mel and Claire!
Yep, that checks out. Also it turns out Mel does a live update to Matt and Maggie every morning on Claire’s mental state. Or at least that’s what she says. I think Mel does have a second job. We already know that Matt’s fallen on hard time and taken on some extra gardening work.
Anyway, it’s patisserie week, which is why Mel and Claire are dressed like Frenchmen. I feel like they should get together with Dan and Julia from Canadian Bake Off (yes, I know they’re no longer hosting) and put together an act. I’d pay to see it.
Dan says that “hopefully this is going to be my week” and that he’s wearing a shirt for Star Baker. Get your ironic statement awards ready! Unless they’re trying to #reversethecurse
It’s a difficult technical because it’s Maggie Beer’s
This week, we open the show with a classic catch, continuing with the sports theme for openings this season. I don’t think there’s a lot of overlap between Bake Off fans and sports fans, but I appreciate Mel and Claire’s continued effort to improve sports with baked goods.
I’d also like to point out that Claire’s skirt this week is amazing. Mel and Claire always have great clothes, but I really love this skirt.
Over in baker land, everyone (except maybe Anston and Angela) is thrilled that vegan week is over and they can use butter again. Don’s excited for classics week and is this close to saying it’s his week. He just manages to hold back.
Actually, not just Matt and Maggie, there are a bunch of cows and chickens who are rapt about this as well.
Last year The Great Australian Bake Off merely flirted with the idea of leaving things out on “free from” week, better known as the week Robert went home. Now it’s time for vegan week. There was a vegan week on last year’s GBBO, but as I’ve mentioned previously, this series was filmed 18 months ago, either before or concurrently with that season. We don’t know which is the chicken and which is the egg.
Anyway, we open the episode with lovely shots of the flowers of the Dame Edith Walker Estate before coming across the Vestus pissedofferum, whose common name is Matt Moran.
We start the episode with the bakers telling us how they feel about vegan week. When Don thinks about vegan food, he thinks of lettuce leaves on a plate. When it comes to his feelings on vegan food and colourful shirts, Don is a lot like Jon from Wales on the last season of GBBO. Wynn is also not a fan of this particular concept. Anston however, is thrilled. We learned in week 1 that he’s vegan and this is the first week he can taste his bakes. I’ll argue that he could’ve made vegan bread, but then we wouldn’t have had those delicious looking pork scrolls. Angela is also vegan, but we didn’t know about it until now. She doesn’t assume that this will give her an advantage, because things can still go wrong. All in all though, this is perhaps the most prepared group of bakers they could’ve found for vegan week.