Ordinary people. Extraordinary food.
That’s the Masterchef tagline. That’s the Masterchef vision. THAT is the Masterchef promise.
And yet, before we’ve even narrowed down this year’s competition to 24 allegedly amateur chefs, we come face-to-face with ‘The Firecracker’.
The goal of last night’s three-and-a-half hour ‘pressure challenge’ was to recreate Anna Polyviou’s chocolate-heavy creation without having a nervous breakdown on national television.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, it definitely is one of a kind,” says Brendan, the fear flickering behind his bespeckled eyes.
“I can’t believe I’m about to make that.”
Neither can we, Brendan. Because this glorified Viennetta was invented by an award-winning pastry chef and, unlike its poor cousin, it can not be found in the freezer section of the local Woolies.
The dish that would “decide the future” of the wannabe chefs was utterly terrifying and the fact some of them managed to make it just speaks to the unattainable level of skill the show about “ordinary people” now requires.
And aspirational armchair cooks are pissed.
“As much as this is awesome, I feel it is not right at this stage of the competition to make the contestants do this. Far out they haven’t even made the top 24,” says Denise Miller on the Masterchef Facebook page.
As Elli Sinclair points out: “The standards are very high this year.”
“Gone are the days where anyone could apply for this show. It’s becoming quite ridiculous. The fun of it is seeing your average person become a Masterchef. I’m not liking this at all,” she says.
Andrea Hill is scared.
"I'm scared looking at that from my living room. If this is what is expected to enter the competition what on earth will be they be expected to do next week? A bit full on really."
Indeed as Elaine Barne wistfully recalls, once upon a time "beating egg whites or cream could put you into the next round."
"This pressure test was so tough, they all did so well just completing this task," she concedes.
Listen: Sausages everywhere. Post continues...
In the final test of the FINAL challenge in the first-ever season of Masterchef, Julie and Poh had to do a pressure test too.
They made Matt Moran's signature chocolate tasting plate. A TASTING PLATE.
The TenPlay website offers up the recipe for The Firecracker... It's 79 steps long.
Let me offer you a snippet:
55. Lift two Peanut Grue discs off the tray and place, flat side down, on each end of the Raspberry Gel piece. Wrap the Raspberry Gel and Grue piece in the cling film and twist the ends to tighten and seal.
Just follow the recipe they say. Ordinary people making extraordinary food, chant the voices mocking me inside my own head.
Now this is more my speed.
When announcing the final two, Emily and Arum, Matt Preston admits the Firecracker could have been a finale dish.
What do you think, do they need to go back to basics or is it time to accept the bar is now that high?