My god, we did it. We made it. It took fifteen years to get here, but we’ve actually made it. It’s MasterChef: Back to Win Grand Final day. Kitchen Christmas. The big Chilli Cook-Off.
At about 10:00pm or so tonight, a former MasterChef contestant will finally realise the dream of hoisting the coveted Ceremonial Prop Plate, which continues to burn ungodly lens flare into the camera like the needlessly shiny bitch that it is.
And with tonight’s finale comes the final Power Ranking of the year. A season of arbitrarily ranking competitors on a reality cooking series, based entirely on what producers have chosen to show us. Some rankings were bang on the money, some were very, very far off. But all of them, every single one, were fun as hell to write.
Thanks for reading, if you have been. Tomorrow I’m going to bury myself in a cave until MasterChef 2021 like a big hungry bear hibernating through the food winter.
But before then, here for you to enjoy is the final – and very official – MasterChef Power Ranking of 2020. Bone apple tea.
ELIMINATED: Reynold Poernomo
There is not a written recipe on the living, mortal planet that Reynold has managed to follow to the letter. His violent perfectionism refuses to fully trust any idea that wasn’t formed in his own head. At all times, throughout any written recipe, he will tinker, deviate, attempt to improve, touch up, reverse engineer, or otherwise overtly fuck with every step.
That’s fine for KOI, where he has a giant white carpet all to himself that he can do Pro Hart shit on without anyone bothering him.
But in a MasterChef Pressure Test, where he has to follow someone else’s instructions, it’s a mess.
And the thing is, he doesn’t even realise he’s doing it. He genuinely thinks that “kind of hovering sort of near the recipe” means “I have followed it properly.”
He even said as much. Outright. To the camera.
Followed the recipe “pretty well,” except for when he did this:
And also this:
There’s the fatal flaw of Reynold. Believing he knows better, and pushing things one step too far.
That kind of error might’ve been salvageable in week three or four. But not in week fifteen. Not in the final three. Not when you’re cooking off for a place in the Grand Final.
And he knew it, too.
That emotional reaction only comes from insurmountable personal pressure. Reynold didn’t just want to win, he had to. And that’s a heartbreaking way to end things on what’s otherwise been a pretty remarkable run.
Just bloody… read the recipe next time, you goose. It’s there for a reason.
2) Laura Sharrad
There’s some argument to be made that a contestant that needs the other two to drop what they’re doing and help out probably doesn’t really deserve to make it through a Final Three cook-off and earn a spot in a MasterChef Grand Final. But then again the show – particularly this year’s season – is less about ruthless competition and drama as it as about normalising empathy and friendship in an industry notorious for attracting sociopaths like moth to flame.
Laura’s always been bound for the finals. She’s been on the way there ever since Episode One where she brought Jock to literal tears through food. There’s been hiccups and criticism and form fluctuations along the way, but this was always going to happen.
That said, “spinning a crank but the apple doesn’t turn” is a pretty good metaphor for Laura’s whole run this series.
Putting in maximum effort but never gaining any ground. We’ve all been there. I’ve been writing about this cursed show for six years now, so I certainly can’t talk.
Can she win out tonight? Can she rise to the challenge and knock off her chief rival and best friend? Can she realise the dream of every past MasterChef contestant of walking back into Kitchen HQ and finally, at long last, hoisting the plate?
Here’s my tip: Absolutely the fuck not.
1) Emelia Jackson
It speaks mountainous volumes that, in a Final Three cook-off, Reynold fucked his dish beyond belief, Laura had a near-emotional breakdown over an apple lathe, but the worst thing that happened to Emelia was she accidentally burned a caramel and just fucking dealt with it.
The show edited it around an ad-break to make it seem like a massive disaster, and yet all that happened was Millsy yeeted one saucepan off the cooktop, grabbed another and took care of business.
People have gone to pieces over simpler stuff on this show, and yet Millsy – a certified bad binch – is out here twirling a pot like it’s Thor’s hammer.
If that alone isn’t enough to make her your runaway favourite for tonight, nothing will. She’s not just in the driver’s seat, Emelia’s doing a fucken massive kitchen burnout right now.
Also, how good’s friendship? Pretty bloody good, I reckon.
It’s right and good and just that Emelia and Laura – genuine best mates inside and outside of the kitchen – made it to the final two together. Side-by-side, helping each other out whenever it was needed all along the way.
It’s also right and good that Emelia is going to kick her ass six ways til Sunday in tonight’s Grand Final.
Right, and good. The perfect end to a perfect season.