MasterChef New Zealand: Thus Spake Marco Pierre


It’s episode 11 on season six of MasterChef New Zealand, and while at times it’s been a slog getting to this point, it seems that now the personalities of the judges are starting to evolve, finally.

Ha ha. No, seriously, there are some spunky contestants, the spunky Lily, the spunky Hayley and the spunky Glenda balance out the drab but earnest Richard.

And the special guest, who will make them fair shit themselves, is Marco Pierre White.

I worked with a Marco once. A car expert version of Marco. He was so rock solid and so incredibly confident and excellent at everything that even competent folk were crippled with self-doubt after even just three seconds in his presence.

It was the stance and the certainty, and he, too, brought out ‘the good stuff’ in young mechanics, some of them able to work thereafter on the most incredible automotive projects around, wherever they wanted in the world.

But back to Nu Zilld. It looks like Josh has got some serious sociopath envy tonight, as Marco does a quick pep talk—something about knifing people who get in your way to death—and Richard reflects on why he didn’t use his lovely set of butchery knives better in the past.

Al chirps up in one of the more polished Koywoy accents yet. “What should we expect, Marco?”

The meals are decided (or whatever the cheffing-speak is for that) and Marco manages to make grown adults run to get started, it’s embarrassing to watch, and they can’t not do it, because Marco will burn them.

Of course, someone is doing a seared scallop and Richard is doing a salmon. Marco makes him repeat

Yes, Marco, yes, Marco.

He’s up Richard’s arse, in fact, and I wonder if he enjoys humiliating someone who is older than him. Is Head Chef about power and power alone? Can Marco even really cook?

Glenda is short on basil for the pesto, so out comes the parsley. Then Marco turns up.

People are cutting corners and every time they do, the director tells Marco to go over and fuck them up, just by standing there.

Thank you Marco, No Marco, Yes Marco

Richard’s confidence is being chipped further by Marco. He breaks the men first, so he can access the women later, without realizing his dysfunction.

Gemma will cry soon. Marco has mastered the art of undermining confidence in order to gain power.

If only she’d just smiled at him, quietly.

Instead: kitchen bitch.

Now, it’s service time. No black pudding! Is that a fried egg? Oh God is that Dom Harvey in this pretend MediaWorks pop-up restaurant? What a nightmare.

Marco spends the next ten minutes shouting repetitiously at the adults. But the plates make it to the judges’ table, and it’s … wait—is that Lizzie Marvelly?

Marco is sweating like myself after two seconds’ exercise and there’s heaps of beards in the pop-up diner.

Gemma is in terminal meltdown; I can feel her pain—that sick stomach feeling, and you can’t recover. Like the time your parents hated your school report and were ashamed of you.

Richard is truly Marco’s plaything now. Richard can’t stop apologizing to Marco on sight.

The judges’ table is alight with opinion. It’s interesting to see ‘casual’ Al Brown in contrast to full-sociopath Marco. I feel there are only small steps between these two, and that Marco does Marco, while Al hides the ‘Marco’, because the beer and cheese toastie match ads wouldn’t be as forthcoming.

Lots of talk about beef cheeks. Where are these from? The face or arse?

Gemma is now swimming in sauce theory and critiquing Marco’s version. She’ll probably go back to the MasterChef bunks later and cry herself to sleep.

Al’s taken off his relaxed cap. He’s ultra relaxed. Relaxed beef cheeks and some accidental peas go over a treat with the judges. The This is a Winning Dish music is played and even Matt gets a few lines to say at this point.

All this, all this, to win a Legnum  Skoda.

It’s dessert time, and the tops of the brulees are burnt. “Turn the torch off!” I shout at the tele. It can’t hear me.

It’s gone too far. I’m talking to the screen. Why does this show have this effect? Why do we give the time of day to the Marco Pierre Whites? In real life, we’d have protection orders against them.

Marco is getting abusive now, but the chefs won’t call it abuse. They’ll explain it away as a genius at work, and think that they only got to the end because of the strength of Marco’s leadership.

I’m not sure. It makes me yearn for Peter Wolfkamp, ‘The Wolf”, the benevolent site foreman on The Block. Have you seen the configuration of the contestants for that yet? Jesus wept.

I’m out. I’m all Marco’d out. I long for Ray McVinnie, the calm aesthete. All this stock broker–style bitch-bashing hurts my soul.

I like MasterChef, but I’m exhausted.

And I wanted the Red Team to win.


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