Finals week. It was a three-pronged attack, with a trio of episodes over three days. Tasks included: cooking wombats for Indigenous Australians living in a forest. They loved it, one of them had barely any teeth, and another one celebrated by blowing endlessly into a ten-foot-long foghorn. They then catered for a wedding – the groom looked like he was in the process of making the biggest mistake of his life, and only cheered up momentarily when Tim made hilarious ham sandwiches for starters.
On Tuesday, the finalists were treated to a long weekend in New York, New York – so enormous, they named it twice. They also mustered up an enormously overcomplicated dinner for some coked-up chefs. Each one took turns to heap praise on the tired cooks, as their knees knocked together, and warm tears spilt from their absolutely exhausted eyes.
And so to the final instalment of a seemingly endless series of Masterchef, which has seen the sages behind the scenes breaking their own rules and scrapping “simple ingredients done well” to create a cross between Britain’s Got Talent, Gladiators, The News at Ten, King Rollo, The X Factor, Prime Suspect, and the Sophie Dahl cooking and poetry recital programme. The studio was too enormous, everyone missed the old one, John and Gregg were forced to wear blazers, and every single week found a new mass catering challenge for undeserving people – like television extras, old women, war heroes... the list goes on.
Could tonight take it out on a high?
It kicked off with a get-to-know-you bit. Here’s what we learnt:
- Sara is a triplet. She spends her days working on an intensive care ward. Meanwhile, her twin sisters sit around on mopeds wolf whistling at strangers.
- Sara runs around Yorkshire wearing wrap around shades like a human fly.
- Sara mastered the English language by watching episodes of the UK’s Sopranos - Last of the Summer Wine.
- Sara claims to be a genuine Italian, and yet she hasn’t once made a thin ‘n crispy meat feast. Was she saving that for the final? Everyone hoped so
Some peas in a blender! Fire! Car chase music!
TOM, PUTNEY, LONDON
- Tom was born a little blonde girl, and now he’s a sultry brunette. What’s up with that?
- Tom used to DJ Yazz and T’Pau records in youth clubs.
- Tom is getting married!
TIM, WHITECHAPEL, EAST LONDON
- Tim lives in East London.
- Other people who live in East London get a really hard time for dressing up part hobo/part Style Council/part Eddie Cochrane. Socks are very out this season, enormous beards are in.
- Tim has looked exactly the same for his entire life.
THE COOKERY BIT
Violin concerto, black cabs sent to pick up the finalists. A magic microphone records their innermost thoughts as they ignore the racist anecdotes from the gambling addict driving them to meet their destiny.
"Seriously John, when dessert comes, please let me have sex with it first,” laughs Gregg, meaning absolutely every word of it.
“It’s emotional,” thinks Tom.
“It’s got to be perfection!” demands Tim.
“Should I just bake a massive fucking chocolate gateaux for Gregg and be done with it?” wonders Sara.
Into the gargantuan studio, chef whites on. John shouts something moving and Churchillian about cooking the greatest lunch of their lives, ruined slightly by an impatient Gregg Wallace butting in to announce: “You have three hours!”
Sara quotes a poignant bit from Last of the Summer Wine about being too old for this shit, and then explains her meal, which will include: Chocolate ravioli with partridge, hare with jam, then mango with mouse and some limes.
“John, I’m going to take my thing out and get stuck in when pudding arrives,” quips Gregg, totally seriously.
“I want to showcase the kind of food I’d serve to sock-less cretins in vests at my restaurant!” declares Tim, Americanly. On the menu: burgers, lobster and noodles, all finished with a massive pile of pudding.
“Seriously John, when dessert comes, please let me have sex with it first,” laughs Gregg, meaning absolutely every word of it.
Some peas in a blender! Fire! Car chase music!
“I’m not usually nervous,” trembles Tom, before excusing himself to vomit heavily over a hob. His menu: Fish Surprise, pork with pig in a pork sauce with pig salad, then some kind of jelly.
“When I see that jelly, I’m not even joking, I’m going to take all of my clothes off and go down on it,” mutters Gregg, absolutely sure in his own mind that he would do just that. If society doesn’t like it, society can kiss his arse. Bloody society.
“My heart’s pumping, my mouth’s watering,” says John, his puppet face looking truly happy.
Each one took turns to heap praise on the tired cooks, as their knees knocked together, and warm tears spilt from their absolutely exhausted eyes.
THE TRYING OF THE FOOD
No more standing up to awkwardly sneer at the food, John and Gregg have a table for two with a white cloth on it and everything. It’s like they’re in an actual restaurant!
To summarise the tasting bit: Gregg is delighted by how Tom’s lunch looks. John loves the fish stuff, and the pig. “If I’d had this in a restaurant, I’d be calling all my mates and demanding that they go there,” insists Gregg, as fat men all over London suddenly remembered to switch their phones off.
Sara’s chocolate ravioli “delivers on every single level”, is “the best pasta ever!” Gregg appears to be on Ecstacy. John wants biscuits with his sorbet, but apart from that, big thumbs up. “Fuck me, that ravioli,” grunts Gregg, licking a plate.
Tim’s turn. He’s made filet o fish, quarter pounder with cheese, and a raw Angus burger. John is out of his mind with joy. Gregg can’t believe it. Seriously house music thumps in. Gregg pours water onto some noodles, then describes exactly how excited the act of using a teapot just made him feel. And then for pudding.
“I may be some time,” jokes Gregg, unbuttoning his trousers. Everyone turns away.
“Dude, I think just aced it!” declares Tim.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Piano kicks in. They all look scared.
“Every single one of those cooks blew my mind!” shouts John, wrestling with the huge decision in front of him. “This was honestly the best day of my entire life.”
Violin. Gregg does a strange smile that makes him look like he might be having a stroke. Angels sing from heaven.
“Our Masterchef champion… is Tim!”
“Dude, are you shitting me?”
No Tim, they’re not shitting you.
Masterchef Champion 2011 – Tim.
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