Masterchef Australia: A behind-the-scenes visit can be strange.In this case it was bittersweet

IIf you want your movie and TV fantasies to collapse like a badly baked chocolate shell, “visiting the set” is usually the surefire way to bring it to life. An epic movie location turns out to be a large green cube in a disused parking lot. The cozy bar in your favorite drama series is actually a chaotic corner of a suburban studio. No wonder the Wizard of Oz once exclaimed, “Watch out for that man behind the curtain!”

Then an offer to visit the set of Masterchef in Australia in January almost certainly felt like an invitation to disappointment. Surely once you see (literally, sometimes) how sausages are made, the magic of MasterChef falls apart.What if your workspace was the size of a studio apartment? Is the famous master chef’s pantry just steps away from your local Coles supermarket? TRUE do you eat that much food?

After all, none of the above was true. Yes, your workroom is as grand and majestic as it looks. When I walked into MasterChef’s pantry, I felt like Homer Simpson from chocolate land dancing and trying to figure out what to grab in a hurry. Masterchef’s garden is truly his one of the nicest I have ever seen. Its inhabitants (some of which are now well-established and mature plants) are lovingly tended off-site all year round and then magically relocated to the Royal Her Melbourne His Showgrounds. show up for the shoot. Of all the glimpses behind the curtain, the previous season’s home runs wandering hastily drawn barrels and containers (strawberry gum! Warrigal Green!) were the most compelling.

Inside Masterchef Australia's pantry.
“I felt like Homer Simpson visiting chocolate land when I walked into MasterChef’s pantry.” Photo: Network Ten

I visited in January during the filming of All-Stars Week, and it’s now cemented as Masterchef’s legend as a time-honored fusion of hero worship and mental anguish. This was the episode that aired on Tuesday night, in which Luke Nguyen put the bottom three of the week (Adi Nebugi, Grace Juup, and Theo Roizou) through the pressure test. The challenge is to recreate his famous Four (a pause for orchestral playing) without a recipe.

The other contestants gasped from the gantry. The legendary ingredients bench groaned under a cornucopia of fresh herbs, cuts of meat, and other items contestants had to figure out how much to use. The fragrant scent of Nguyen’s Pho filled the space and felt like it was floating above, like a cartoon character sniffing a freshly baked pie.

And yes, all these memories are bittersweet now.

When we remember Jock Zonfrillo, who passed away in May, we hear Jimmy Burns sing Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond to honor his spouse. Watching this season of MasterChef has been a contradictory experience for many. It’s a joy to see Zonfrillo doing what he loves with his mentor Andy Allen and his co-host Melissa Leon, but it’s still eerie.

Death comes to everyone, but it’s amazing how the loss of people in the public eye can awaken emotions that have been dormant for so long. Even as a masterchef Australian lunatic with cards, I’ve had a hard time watching (the show’s wrap-up ranks among the most fun things I’ve ever done as a writer). – and kept the set visit a secret until the episode turned into a bizarre experience. I think this mundane little professionalism of observing a propaganda ban is just one of many ways life goes on, but it was also an exercise in magical thinking. Hey, weren’t we all in the showground together a few days ago?

Like the rest of the judges (and Nguyen), Zonfrillo was a lot of fun. Even when we chatted hurriedly with visiting writers while the cameras were resetting, they were enthusiastic and engaging. I (used to be a teacher’s pet…) did my best to wow the judges with my history of culinary victories at the Royal Show. Allen always wanted dessert, and was especially keen on it. Leong is as glamorous and elegant as ever.

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All we were on set was the initial burst of manic energy when the pressure test started (yes, that big clock is as tense as watching the time tick in person). . In the end, Theo and his “on the fly” noodles won out. Sadly, Grace was undone by Nguyen’s seemingly simple dish. Despite being praised for her noodles being “smooth”, her ill-fated decision to roast her meat and bones resulted in Pho’s soup being “greasy”. At the end of the episode, she hung up her apron.

All TV production is stressful. I’m sure those in the masterchef’s kitchen will have plenty of days when they want to smash someone or everyone with a leg of mutton, behind or in front of the camera. But the overwhelming feeling I got was that the warm feeling you get when watching the show at home wasn’t created entirely by editing and musical cues. Zonfrillo was full of grace, humor and warmth. He was no stranger to bad puns, but he was quick to offer solace to contestants overwhelmed by the pressure of competition. And then there was that infectious Basil Blush-esque laugh.

As contestants and viewers noticed, Nguyen’s secret ingredient in Four Xuon Bo is the bull’s penis. “Have you ever eaten a penis?” he asked the contestants, fumbling over his lines. The team immediately reset so that we could add the important descriptors (“bull’s Penis,” he corrected with a laugh, but it was too late. The sound of “Ah, mother” was so loud that I couldn’t resist, and Zonfrillo’s laughter rang around the hut like a horn. Surrounded by his friends and colleagues, inhaling the intoxicating aromas of delicious and honest food, laughing at a gag about bull knobs, something tells me he wants to be remembered as such. increase.

  • MasterChef Australia continues to participate in Network Ten

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