Last night's Masterchef restored my faith in humanity.

I didn’t expect Masterchef to be the thing that restored my faith in humanity. I mean, how life-changing can a cooking show be?

But two moments in last night’s finale had me blubbering like a baby and feeling all could finally be right with the world.

Make no mistake (as George Calombaris would say. Maybe a few times.). The grand finale is high-pressure stuff (as Gary Mehigan would say. Maybe a few times). We’re talking a dessert that took five and a half hours to create. It’s like if you dropped the kids at school, then went home and did just this one thing. A thing that ended up looking like something you could give it to the kids when they got home, with Vegemite soldiers. This thing:



The final dish of Masterchef 2016, the Verjus in Egg. Image: Channel 10

This is a Verjus in Egg (capitals theirs, but seriously, I would have done them anyway, because this is a dish with gravitas at least the equal of Brexit or the Democratic National Convention).

Sure, it looks like a boiled egg, and you'd think Masterchef finalists Elena Duggan and Matt Sinclair could have whipped it up in about the standard three-ish minutes it takes for soft.


It turns out the VIE is NOT EVEN AN EGG, unless you have a magical hen that lays tempered chocolate shells with white panna cotta stuff in the middle and a yellow yolky thing that tastes like mandarin and thyme because of some chemical that's in mandarin or thyme or something and then at the bottom there's coffee goo that somehow appears when you mix instant and ground and some kind of granule and you think it's not going to work and then it suddenly does and your eyes nearly pop out of your head, and the hen has carefully plopped this head-screwing marvel on curly-whirlies of stretched honeycomb (and who even knew you could stretch honeycomb - probably not you, and definitely not me, but an essential piece of equipment if you ever want to do it, FYI, is the sunlamp your uncle used to fix his dicky knee in 1974).).

Anyway, I believe them when they say this egg tastes like the blessed excrement of the gods.


Okay, I get it. Channel 10 was probably never going to fly goggled uber-chef Heston Blumenthal, who created the VIE with his executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, first class to Oz to boil an eggie. But this is next level.

It has about a gazillion steps and, as Blumenthal warned, "many cliffs" that could spell DOOM. I hated to think it, but either Elena or Matt WOULD BE GOING HOME.

So, no pressure. I mean, there was only $250k up for grabs. And the chance for one of them to have their name engraved on the Masterchef platter of champions, although for me that would have been kind of secondary to the quarter of a million large.


Matt Sinclair, finalist on Masterchef 2016. Image: Channel 10

Anyway, five and a half hours flew by thanks to the magic of television and there we were, in the final stretch.

And then it happened.

Elena showed 1.43m Australian viewers what it means to be selfless. Not once, but twice. When she was three points behind and with no guarantee she'd even finish plating up.

With the clock ticking and the crowd on the balcony going berko, she left what she was doing to help Matt, jeopardising her own shot at the title. She didn't even hesitate.

First she gave him her spray gun - the gear needed to give his chocolate egg a speckle - when his wouldn't work.

Then, with what felt like seconds to go, she walked away from plating her (pretty bloody amazing) VIE to help him as he struggled at the nitrogen station.

I teared up like a baby, and my partner, a boofy builder who likes a beer and drives a four-wheel drive truck, did too.

The pair hugged like besties when it was all done, and it wasn't hard to see why.

Three hats to you, Elena, for making my night. And to all those other reality contestants: this is what makes for uplifting telly. Let's have a bit more of it.