TV

Crowning Every Winner From The First Wholesome Week Of ‘MasterChef’

From 'Most Cursed Biscuit' to 'Most Chaotic Queer', our MasterChef recap gives EVERYONE in the show a reward.

MasterChef Australia recap

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If you’ve noticed for the last week that colours seem a little brighter, scents are a little sweeter, and small clusters of cartoon birds are flying through your bedroom windows and dressing you in delicate gowns of the finest silk, it might be because MasterChef, Australia’s Most Wholesome Reality Program™, has returned to our screens.

For the next 12 weeks, it’s time to become overly invested in some absolute sweethearts and their various food dreams. There’ll be touching family tales, burgeoning friendships, and some goddamn incredible dishes. I dare say it’s perfect television, except for one crucial flaw — at the end of the day, only ONE of the 24 contestants can win the Big Plate. I don’t know about you, but that breaks my heart.

This season, I refuse to entertain the notion that there will be any losers. Not on my watch. Every week, I will be giving out awards that I have made up to whoever I feel deserves them, ensuring that by the end of the season, everyone comes away with some kind of prize. Are my awards as important and valuable as $250,000, getting a book published, and the acclaim of winning one of the world’s biggest cooking shows? They absolutely are — there’s no room for self-doubt in MasterChef, and I back myself 100%. Let’s get stuck into it.

Best Group Costume – Everyone who wore an olive shirt in episode one

Category is “Olive, Laugh, Love”

Nothing creates more camaraderie than a uniform, right? I’m not sure whether there was a group memo that went out to a quarter of the contestants, or if everyone was just feeling the green fantasy on Monday, but good lord we saw a lot of mossy tops.

I can only assume they all made this sartorial choice so they could camouflage themselves in the MasterChef garden and avoid being sent home on day one. It’s a solid plan.

The Toxic Masculinity Award for Cooked Workmates – Brent

Brent the boilermaker may self-depreciatingly describe himself as “rustic”, but he hugely impressed the judges with his Middle Eastern lamb shanks, and was the first cab off the rank to get an apron.

Getting a little emotional, Brent tried to compose himself in case he copped flak from his workmates, saying, “The fellas on the worksite, if they see this… Pfft! Gone!”

In that moment, I felt more protective of a large, burly, bearded man than I ever have in my life. You’re allowed to have a lil cry, mate. Don’t listen to those guys. Leave them to… making… boilers? Anyway, hopefully Brent will be able to express his emotions more freely in the famously non-toxic world of commercial kitchens.

Biggest Villain – Ben

We’ve never seen a straight-up villain edit on MasterChef Australia before, but there’s a first time for everything, and on Monday it came in the package of overly-confident flight attendant Ben.

Alarm bells started ringing when Ben said he was auditioning for MasterChef because he never really fails at much. What a fun and novel experience the rest of the day must have been for Ben, then. He decided to cook a dessert because it’s not his strength and that worked out about as well as you reckon it would. His plate looked like it’d been retrieved from a swamp and the judges weren’t into it.

Getting some strong flashbacks to lunchboxes I left sitting in my bag for the whole school holidays here

Mel, with all the grace in the world, suggested that Ben brought them a dish he thought they wanted to see, rather than something that represented him. Ben replied, “I disagree,” confirming at once that his dish actually did represent him, as both were smug garbage. Honestly, how dare anyone talk back to Mel.

Best Dressed – Melissa Leong

Me trying to hold all the love I have in my heart for Mel

Speaking of the magnificent delight that is Melissa Leong, I absolutely can’t go past her incredible fashion this week. Pink earrings with a leopard print dress? Pom-pom hoops with a baby blue gown? Velvet??? What a vision. What an icon.

Most Likely To Give Me A Heart Attack This Season – Conor

It’s not a season of MasterChef without at least one Chaotic Queer, and Conor is starting out the gate strong.

After getting us all very attached in a short video clip where he introduced us to his plants, Conor proceeded to scare the shit out of us by starting to cook without knowing what he was making. Just chucking food into a pot and figuring it out later. Somehow it turned into a gorgeous whiting with avogolemono, basil oil and nectarines, but it was a terrifying journey and feels like it’s going to be a consistent vibe from him this season.

Best Lawyer With A Food Dream – Elise

Another competition staple — lawyers. I’m beginning to doubt any lawyer actually wants to be a lawyer, because they all seem to end up here.

What takes Elise to the top of the pile, however, is the speed of her turnaround. FOUR DAYS after being admitted as a lawyer, Elise went and auditioned for MasterChef. FOUR. That has to be a record. She also takes the award for “Most Matter-Of-Fact Instagram Handle” with @Elise_foodperson. Tells you everything you need to know – her name, she makes food, she’s a person. Wonderful.

Most Likely To Make Me Break My Decade-Long Vegetarian Streak – Eric

Eric’s strange flavour chicken on Thursday was so erotic to look at that I’m genuinely surprised it was allowed on free-to-air TV in prime time.

Sauce me, Daddy

I dunno if it was the way it was drenched in three sauces or just that anything would have looked incredible up against my dinner of a bag of chips (I call it Chip Dinner), but I am just about ready to throw away all my ethical qualms and dive head first into that pile of chicken in a way that is thoroughly indecent.

The Porkchop Award for First Eliminated Contestant* – Trent

Oh, Trent. Our beautiful hot mess express. The nation spills warm, salty tears for you, much like the custard that spilled right out the bottom of your tart shells. It’s sad to see such a big personality go home first, but at least we can all still enjoy his stellar Twitter presence.

*I know I’m crossing the reality TV streams here by calling this the Porkchop Award, but it’s a food as well as a RuPaul’s Drag Race reference, so it’s actually fine.

Most Cursed Biscuit – the anchovy biscuit from part one of Sunday’s elimination challenge

No-one should smell a biscuit and describe it as “potent”. No-one should taste a biscuit and be reminded of Caesar salad dressing. God has abandoned us. The Purge is near.

Best Spur-Of-The-Moment Food Choice – Nigella Lawson

We simply must respect a woman who decides she wants custard 45 minutes after placing her dessert order with the kitchen. It’s a huge power move and I intend on pulling it at every possible opportunity in the future.

(Smooth, not too sweet and cold — Nigella’s order for creme anglaise and also a one-sentence distillation of every pick-up artist’s attempted personality)

The Coles Little Shop Award for Tiny Food – YoYo

This week, we also said goodbye to YoYo, who was unfortunately taken out by roasted rhubarb that was still crisp enough to stab her in the back. We will miss her spectacular collection of earrings that looked like teensy cups of bubble tea and bottles of kewpie mayo. We will not miss her overcooked sponge cake.

Still to come…

Next week, Superstar Week continues, so gird your loins for some big names and even bigger awards that I have made up. We will be recapping every week of MasterChef so stay tuned!


Elyce Phillips makes comics, comedy and general nonsense. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s and Funny Ha Ha, and you can see her make a fool of herself regularly at The Improv Conspiracy in Melbourne.