MasterChef – Tues, grand finale – Sashi V Ben

It’s the grand finale of 2018 and our top 24 has been whittled down to two home cooks battling it out in one final day in the kitchen.
It goes for two hours so I’m guessing fast forward the first 10 mins, which will no doubt start with Sashi and Ben “waking up” in the MasterChef house and getting ready while intoning “I’ve learnt so much … I never believed … (the other chef) is a great cook”.

Go boys!

Make sure you vote in the poll before the episode gets too far in.

And so we begin …
Montage.
Matt’s magenta suit.
Family hugs. Sashi’s extended family have been flown in from overseas. Ben’s folks are just adorable.
Talking head: Khanh is backing Ben.
George: There won’t be the usual three rounds – it’s two.
Rounds one and two are now a “mega round”. They have to do a starter and a main. Oh, and that’s only round one. So, really, nothing has changed at all. George was just talking tough. They have to use hero ingredients from a table out the front. Starter is served whenever and main on the 90-min mark.

Ben is doing a blue swimmer crab starter with finger lime (hero: crab) so he can churn it out quickly and get on to main of battered fish and peas (hero: peas) – all classic Ben and playing to his seafood strengths.
Sashi is making sambal prawns (hero: chilli) and fish curry (hero: snapper). He’s cooking both dishes at the same time as his pastes need cooking out. I’m expecting a Sashi scramble for time.
Everyone on their gantry gets their turn to make the edit – Ben and Sashi must be being driven mad by all the shouting.
Ben is taking a while to shell his crabs – surely this is a misdirect by the edit?

Ben’s starter is not a huge hit as it’s too creamy, with not enough acidity. Sashi’s prawns have the judges salivating just at the look of them. He gets the swelling piano. They love it. Starter goes to Sashi.

Ben has a chance to redeem himself with the main and his beautifully filleted fish but he puts his battered fish directly on the fryer’s wire basket, instead of dropping it into the oil. It sticks! Oh no, Benny – you’ve kept such a cool head throughout the comp in all those times you wore the black (the MC equivalent of being sent to the Wall).
One judge will get the dodgy bit of fish with batter missing.
They taste Sashi’s aunt’s curry first and there are “ooohs” as they pour his sauce. Only a fish bone will save Ben at this stage. Matt says Sashi – who has faltered off late – is firmly back on track with what they expect from him flavourwise.
Ben is next and – oh no – the judges say the batter is not right! They look disappointed. Ben is going to be devo. And, even worse, his family! There won’t be any of this “it’s so close” rubbish.
Ben should do well in the Heston challenge but it could take Sashi burning a page of his recipe again to take the win.

JUDGES’ SCORES
Starter Ben: Gaz 6, George 7, Matt 7. Awww – Benny!
Starter Sashi: Three 10s. Well deserved. (“I can hear my wife screaming,” Sashi says in a talking head.)

Main Ben: Gaz 7, George 7, Matt 7.
Main Sashi: Matt 9, George 9, Gaz 9.

Total:
Ben 41/60; Sashi 57/60.

“There’s never been a gap like this in the history of MasterChef,” George tells Ben. Geez, way to help George. But then we get the inspirational fighter music as George reminds us that 12 months ago Ben was ill and could not even work. Go, Benny – keep that stoic face and keep plugging away.

PRESSURE TEST
Heston Blumenthal enters and seems much peppier than his last few visits – perhaps because he does not have to perform for a whole week this time.
Reece and Jess immediately leap off the gantry and offer to tag out Ben and Sashi …
Ok, no, but Reece does this at the sight of Heston’s dish.

I knew I could count on your reaction face, Reece.


It’s some weird white dessert on a pillow floating in mid air. It’s called Counting Sheep. Of course. The freaky lozenge things on the pillow are meringues. The rest of the dessert is on a plate and it’s all white.
Heston tells us 50 times the meringue is “incredibly light”. The boys even have to eat the dessert with white spoons. Honestly it does not look that appetising – the lack of colour is meh. Crumble, steamed sponge, yoghurt powder, a sprayed mousse dome (Heston does loves his sprayed domes), coconut ice cream and some purees.
George says there are 84 ingredients. They get five-and-a-half hours. Bloody hell. It was just last year that poor Diana collapsed, weeping, at the end of the marathon finale challenge. I don’t like seeing contestants “broken”. I want it to be like GBBO, where they all get a cup of tea while their cakes are baking.

The boys are using a lot of ingredients that are unfamiliar to them and Ben buggers up his coconut ice cream. Nooo! Luckily he has enough ingredients to make enough for the two scoops required.
Wow, this is really thrilling, watching the guys mix up white powder. And then some more white powder. And more white powder.
That pillow at the start must be so the judges can take naps in between takes.
Ben pops his white dome centres into his mousse domes, and here Sashi’s first crack shows: He has not put any filling into his mousse before popping it into the blast chiller. Luckily for Sashi Gaz pops over to tell him he’s made a terrible mistake. The mousse is already set.
Luckily the shouts of encouragement from his son have magical powers and he gets it together.
Ben loses one of his sweets on the floor but it’s okay – Aldo is happy to hoover it up.
Ben’s mousse domes turn out well but the Magical Son Powers have failed Sashi this time – his domes are a sticky disaster. Back to the blast chiller. Second time round they look good.
It’s looking like the white dessert will propel Sashi to a whitewash win and cement his star status amid the millions of MC’s Indian fans. And I hope he does open a restaurant in Adelaide, because I’d love to try one of his curries.

THE JUDGES TASTE
The desserts are … white. And, yes, the judges have to use the silly fluffy white spoons. Why doesn’t George have a pair of tweezers with fluffy covers?
They like Sashi’s coconut ice cream and sponge texture.
It’s Ben’s turn and he gets a little choked up talking to the judges about how much he loves food. I’m going to say it again: Awww, Benny!
His meringues get a “wow” from George and Heston says the Ovaltine flavour is good. The panna cotta was excellent and Heston seems pleased. But, as we know from previous years, they always make the final round comments fairly evenhanded.

It’s time for the scores and the past winners are back, along with the season’s guest chefs.
And this time at least, Ben gets to hear some lovely comments.
Ben: Gaz 9, George 9, Heston 9, Matt 9 GRAND TOTAL: 77
Sashi: All 9s. GRAND TOTAL: 93

SASHI WINS (and it’s the highest score ever in a MasterChef finale)
Sashi and Ben, as expected, say lovely things about each other and Sashi is reminded, to his horror, that as part of the prize he has to write a column for Delicious mag.
Ok, Sashi, go have a rest on Heston’s pillow.

MORE TO COME



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107 Comments

  1. If anybody else has been as disappointed as me with the standard of reality TV cooking this year (MC and, shudder, MKR), may I suggest the second series of The Chefs’ Line starting on SBS next week. It was excellent last year and hopefully it repeats the success. Also, it ticks every box for all those whinging SJW’s out there (but don’t let that put you off). https://www.sbs.com.au/food/programs/the-chefs-line

  2. I’m not reading most comments until later, but had a quick squiz at the first few. My wine is poured, too. And I’m having a no-cook dinner, so I don’t miss a single thrilling minute of this earth shattering finale of MC. *snort* Come on, Ben.

  3. ✊🏻✊🏻✊🏻✊🏻✊🏻Does this kind of look like a wanking symbol. Sorry that’s what I think of Heston’s dish

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  4. Any body else squirming with embarrassment at Ben’s plight? Think I’ll have to dig through my freezer for a “sympathy Magnum”.

  5. Oh, this is just unbearable.

    Tasty, tasty curry! 10/10! Ffs. Poor old Ben. There is no way they are letting him win, regardless of what rabbit he pulls out of the Heston hat.

  6. I can’t believe I raced home for that. I barely even watched it. I was googling other things, updating apps.
    So, tomorrow survivor begins

  7. Wow! Golly! Gee whiz! That was the most exciting finale ever in the history of the world! Except that it was decidedly underwhelming. Sashi cooks basically two curries; Ben cooks two seafood dishes.

    I figured Ben had lost by the difference in scores. Sashi would have had to miss an element in the Heston dish to lose after that.

    I think the most interesting part of tonight’s show was Heston’s entrance, as though he were Rocky strutting into the boxing ring.

    I was struggling to stay awake in the Heston challenge. First, the dessert didn’t appeal at all. The little pillows on top looked like tampons, and they have never looked appetising to me. Really, never.

    I would prefer if, for the finale, we just saw the final two cook. Eliminate the families, with their tears and shouts. Eliminate the losers in the gantry and their irritating, superfluous comments about everything. Tell the judges to shut up. Let the finalists do their best, or not. That would be more gripping than the continual yap yap yap we have now.

    I wish Ben would’ve won. But I don’t mind Sashi, so hooray for him.

  8. BIG THANKS TO JUZ FOR RUNNING THIS SITE!!! I THINK WE’VE ALL APPRECIATED IT SO FAR THIS YEAR.
    See you next time for when that shithole in St Kilda gets redone on The Block (you can keep your Bachelor and Survivors to yourselves …)

    • See you on The Schlock threads then. 😉

      PS: Juz, would you please name The Block threads The Schlock? BDD started it and I can neverever unsee that again in like forever!

  9. That monochrome dessert reminded me of shocking Sunday lunches at boarding school – roast chicken/beef/lamb/pork, gravy, roast pumpkin, roast potato, steamed cauliflower, steamed butter beans – all served on pale pink plates. That was when, at the age of 15, I decided there was a lot more to the presentation of food

  10. I got quite excited when I saw Heston’s dessert. How on earth did he make an edible floating pillow? and what is the base made of, with the air machine running through it? Oh wait, they are not edible, just props – what a disappointment. And the stuff that was left, it took 15 years to design and 3 to perfect? Surely, H’s real version is fully edible, and much more complex. Dumbed down for the show.

    I know that Ben really couldn’t pull it back to win, but I call total bs on the scoring for the final dish. Ben’s white dessert was far superior in appearance (and almost identical to H’s) and if only for that difference, Sashi’s should have been 7-8’s. Sashi’s “tampons” weren’t able to sit up the right direction, they were inconsistent, and on the plate his white snowy stuff didn’t cover the coloured stuff underneath. They very deliberately did not show the element that should have been striped (the dome thing that Sashi managed to refreeze in one minute) so obviously, Ben’s was perfect and Sashi’s was probably all mushed together. You could tell during the cooking that he wasn’t layering them properly.

    I can only assume that as well as making sure a diversely-acceptable winner was proclaimed, they wanted to create the huge score (big surprise). Luckily Ben made it so easy for them with the first round.

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    • Agree with you Fijane that scoring for round 2 was not fair at all. Ben’s dessert was a lot better than Sashi’s and there is no way they should have received the same scores.

  11. Agree with FIJANE, Ben’s Heston dish completely blitzed Sashi’s by miles.

    I’m sorry Ben’s presentation, his malty well piped meringues and all the elements looked perfect.. but Sashi did a good icecream, plated it like a big poop on a plate and somehow the scores are the same???? F- ME!

    What’s worse is what kinda final is this?? Cook dishes with ingredients that you had success in?? Frightened that Sashi wouldn’t be able to cook something non curry? Ben wouldn’t be able to cook a non fish dish?? Sashi’s bold flavours would always trump a perfect seafood dish to these judges. Also no comments on Sashi’s overcooked prawns in a perfect 10 dish?? Plus his poked fish curry… the thing with thick sauces can mask so much in poorly cooked protein… had a read of the Sashi’s curry recipes online and seriously nothing special (not that Ben’s disasters were either).

    On the night Sashi deserved the win.. but wasn’t in my eyes the biggest winner in history with the narrative rigging it to be as such.

    • Totally agree with you. There is nothing special about Sashi 2 dishes even though he did cook better than Ben.

      Nothing so special with the 2 curry sauces.

      Last year Diana was more versatile even though she was cooking a lot of Malaysian dishes.

      Worst finale ever!!

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    • Guess they had to have someone get the highest score eva since this was the best season eva. LOL
      Both of their entrees and mains were disappointing. As potential masterchefs they should have both cooked something spectacular in round 1.

  12. First round all seafood. Ben went too simple which surprised me. Sashi substitutes fish for chicken and makes more curry. I guess he wants to win Mastercurry 2018. It was fairly obvious after scoring for that round that it would be next to impossible for Ben to catch up.

    Second round…I didn’t think it was fair that the judges and Heston clued Sashi into the fact that he forgot to put the layered insert into the mousse. They shouldn’t have said anything. Sashi’s mousse didn’t look right and his meringues looked like styrofoam packaging peanuts. Ben’s dessert looked beautiful and appeared to match Heston’s. Based on what the judges said about his dessert I thought that Heston and the judges would each give him a 10. Sashi receiving the same scores as Ben for the dessert was total BS.
    Ben still wouldn’t have caught up even if they would have scored the second round more fairly. However if the judges hadn’t helped Sashi the outcome might have been different.
    Congrats to Sashi winner of Mediocrechef 2018.

    • It was very obvious from the moment Ben was scored so low for the first two rounds that he would never win and after being scored 9’s for the last round the judges would have had to give Sashi 5’s or below for him to lose. A very poor season all round. The contestants should all cook the same dish to have a fair judging. I don’t know how a dessert can be compared with a savoury dish. It’s to be hoped the producers will do better next season.

      • Of course they will do better because next season will be the best season eva, with the best amatas eva and more surprises than eva. Promises, promises. 😉

  13. Does anyone know what they charge for the “Counting Sheep” dessert at the Fat Duck?

    Bland looking dessert to go with a bland season. 🙂

    • Its all part of a degustation menu. I don’t think you can order them separately.

      If you have all the elements done beforehand by some junior chefs, the silly dessert is not that difficult.

      Nobody comment on the Fluffy cutlery??

      • Fluffy cutlery? Yes, I thought the cutlery must have been in the freezer and they had to wrap something around the handle so the spoon would not stick to their hands. lol

  14. Got two toddlers who struggle to sleep last night so I didn’t get to watch the Heston challenge.
    I am just thrilled it’s finally over, the season fulll of unexciting surprises and it’s unlikely we will hear much of Sashi I think.

    • I am wondering if they had less time than usual to prepare before filming the finale. And if perhaps Ben was suffering from health complications?

      • I wondered that too. Sometimes it seemed that Ben was just holding it together, and I wondered if he was unwell and just gritting his teeth to cope. I suppose we will never know.

  15. If only Ben had just shelled the crabs and peas…..but he had to “deshell” them.

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  16. Ah guys, we made another season. I was hoping for Ben to win, but sadly it was his to loose. Both his dishes were not only unimaginative, but he fucked them up, too. In contrast to Sashi, whose dishes were just unimaginative. Seriously, non of the dishes in the SUPERDUPERMEGAROUND were finale dishes. On a good night, they wouldn’t even be tasted in a mystery box.

    Good on Ben that he, even though he knew exactly that there’s no coming back from such desasterous dishes, did not give up. If I would’ve been him, I’d started drinking and having a blast in Heston’s round. Apropos Heston: he just can’t even pretend to care anymore, can he?

    So all in all this was the weakest season of Masterchef in years. They need to change things up in the next season. For example: new judges. George and Gary have to go. And they should make a new rule that you can’t make one dish several times.
    Thanks Juz for giving us this platform and thanks Amanda for the funny recaps the last days. Looking forward to watch Survivor with (well, ok, after, but you get it 😀 ) you.

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  17. Worst finale ever to wrap up a mediocre season. It was over after Ben screwed up his starter. Everyone watching knew it and took the excitement out of the finale.

    Congrats to Sashi, not necessary the best cook but the most consistent. Entire show needs some sort of revamp though, this season’s immunity challenges were painful to watch and for all the hype of season 10, the contestants ended up cooking the same things over and over again.

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  18. I think they need to rethink the show – they have gone in such a uber fancy pretentious route that it has lost the charm. I have the first season and rewatched it this week – it is so much better because while the food isn’t as fancy it was about teaching and good food.

  19. Well that was a waste of time.
    With a 16 pt deficit and all of India ($$$$) sweating it, there was no way Ben could catch up.
    Sashi would’ve had to leave a body part in his ice cream to lose. And a reproductive one at that.

    Of course, it was rigged. They knew Sashi would make his 150th curry – then another one. They’re always full of flevva. But they won the jackpot when Ben completely stuffed up – unusual for someone like him to choke. Those fish dishes were awful.

    Still, I’m tipping Sashi had a lot of off-camera help with the silly Heston dessert. He’s just not capable to have done it by himself. And to give them equal scores just confirms the fix was in.

    – Heston walking in like a rock-god, waving his arms? Hmm, was that icing sugar around his nostrils?

    – How lovely is Ben’s wife; she clearly adores him. A sweet couple.

    – Mrs Sashi is delighted she can now get her Gucci bag and Louboutins. Mama and Auntie are still wondering where the hell they are.

    – Sashi’s younger boy is a hoot, but wanders over to Ben’s mum and begs to be adopted. Elder son looks a bit thug-lyfe and might finish up in dad’s work place.

    – Reeth looked jealous, HI has cheered up and Only 19 is still auditioning … the Hello Kitty Award?

    Too many automatons this year. Over-scripted, too much hugging and fake supportiveness. It was like watching a cult movie.
    While no one wants the savagery of MKR, can’t anyone show a modicum of personality? Say something unexpected, different? A pulse?
    It was sooooo boring listening to the same platitudes over and over and over.
    Zzzzz

    And maybe they could be better, more rounded cooks? Make them cook more out of their comfort zone, instead of ‘whatever you like.’ Nuke the ice cream churners.

    A little disappointed Ben didn’t win, but probably didn’t deserve it on the night.
    Sashi is a one-trick pony, but a delightful, funny man, so whatevahh.
    Congrats to SambalChef 2018!

    Thanks Juz and the very best to everyone here.
    Take care bdd, you old warhorse!

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  20. Sashi mentioned on The Project they didn’t film 2 ending. This is because it was so one sided that there is no way Ben can win.

    He said it was very hard for the children to keep it a secret.

    Imagine if Loki is still in. All he will cook will be Indian curries versus Malaysian curries.

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