Inside of me there are two wolves: One that really likes watching nice people take a chance on themselves, earnestly try, and ultimately achieve their dreams. And one that really loves watching shit crash and burn in flames occasionally. In its purest form, MasterChef Australia satisfies both those pangs without even breaking a sweat. But the problem with a cooking show that’s now entering its 13th season, is that it’s trained a generation of would-be cooks so well that the latter wolf often goes wanting. But not last night. Not with Trent Vu and his magnificent trip on the Hot Mess Express. Oh boy, was it ever great.
The dirty secret about MasterChef is that we hold the egregious failures as dearly in our hearts as any winner. John Carasig‘s infamous White Chocolate Adobo is an all-time, top five series moment. Cecilia Vuong scrawling “For Nathan XOXO” on a plate in season six? I remember that with crystal clarity. Brent Owens winning that same season? Not so much.
So while on the one hand it’s fantastic that everyone on MasterChef nowadays is already a culinary genius by the time they even step foot one in the door, the flipside is that means there’s less of those glorious, decadently rich meltdowns to keep the greasy wheels turning.
Or, there was, until last night.
Make no mistake about it: Trent’s implosion in last night’s elimination challenge was a fucking fantastic meltdown. A staggering piece of kitchen carnage. Just a complete and utter mess from bell to bell.
And that’s not a knock on him and his abilities. The MasterChef kitchen is a hell box specifically designed to break people. In exit interviews following last night’s episode, Trent even mentioned this, stating “Obviously we can all cook at home but, when you’re under the time pressure, trying to run to the pantry to get ingredients, running back to your bench, everyone’s running around you… there’s a lot going on.”
“A lot going on” is really an understatement, because good lord.
In two cooks last night, Trent managed to plate up Egg Mess…
…and Chicken A La Fucked.
Good god, man. Like, I get it. I’ve been young and a fool in a sharehouse kitchen before, and I’ve dunked half a bottle of tuscan seasoning on a baked chicken breast because that herby singe on the tongue gave me something to focus on that wasn’t the sound of horny housemates rooting.
But fucken hell, dude. What are you trying to do to those judges? Give them internal grass burns?
Back To Win was all well and good, but this is the MasterChef I know and love.
Love your work, Trent. Thanks for kicking the season off with a bang and breathing some much needed life into proceedings. The Hot Mess Express has left the station.