WHO WILL GET CREAMED IN N THE MASTERCHEF FINALE?
MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA Tonight, 7.30pm, Ten
TWO dishes, worlds apart, sum up MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan’s fifth season on the food reality show.
The first took him to the depths of despair. The second reminded him why he loved the show.
‘‘It was one of the very worst dishes on the show for all seasons,’’ says Mehigan of 2013 contestant Noelene’s stir fry, plated up when the show filmed for a week in the Barossa Valley.
‘‘It looked like a cauldron of puppy dogs’ tails. It was awful, this mish-mash of strange flavours, and I told her, too.
‘‘I remember looking at (fellow judges) George (Calombaris) and Matt (Preston) and thinking, ‘What are we doing? This is terrible’.
‘‘Then, at the other end of the spectrum, you hit the final, where they are all just putting up amazing dishes and you’re thinking: ‘There it is, bang’. You can never have 24 superstars but you can have three.’’
Mehigan’s good-dish-appalling-dish moments pretty much encapsulate
MasterChef’s latest season.
The ratings for what was once a Channel 10 juggernaut have far from set the world on fire. And in early episodes, many fans despaired at a crop of hopefuls who seemed, as the food failures mounted up, barely able to boil an egg.
It was more master-mess, than
Mehigan blames a high-quality crop of contestants in season four.
‘‘We’d been spoiled by this brilliant talent that came through fairly well-formed at the start of that season, and suddenly, we had this new crop of preppies,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s like being a teacher. The new crop comes in and some can spell their name, and others can barely write one letter.
‘‘But that’s what has always been at the core of the show – watching people with potential develop into something exceptional by the end of the season.
‘‘So to give Noelene some credit, she did a dish of dumplings in the Top 10 – and it was chalk and cheese.
‘‘Going from a dish that was ill-conceived to a sophisticated, well thought-out, beautifully presented dish you’d be happy to eat in a restaurant – that’s what this show is about.’’
As tonight’s grand final looms, Mehigan says the cream has again risen to the top, with the final three – Samira El Khafir, Lynton Tapp and Emma Dean – more than passing the taste test.
Mehigan was happy to be proven wrong by cowboy Tapp, who went to school in Toowoomba, the only male among the finalists.
‘‘ You can never have 24 superstars but you can have three’’
SUMMING UP: Gary Mehigan.