Almost nobody is actually cooking in the title sequence this year, just throwing shit around. The best is Craig the cellist just waving a sheet of tulle around.
It’s the first immunity challenge of 2011. To mark the gravity of the occasion, Hayden’s put on a special white baseball hat. Where does he buy all these hats? Why does he buy all these hats? Despite the headgear he’s a favourite among the contestants. Of course he is, he’s basically a human golden retriever.
There’s a new guest judge tonight – Justin North. Matt Moran is busy making fake viral videos. There’s a reason everyone was so ready to believe he was a screaming maniac. Justin’s advice is to read the recipe. This really does need to be said.
Chelsea licks her lips at the sight of the immunity pin. I would not want to get between her and a cookbook deal. She’s not the only one. Hayden laughs as Gary announces what we already know – he’s not cooking off against a top chef! It’s his star apprentice instead. The peanut gallery look ropeable except for lovely Kumar.
It’s Alessandro Pavoni and his star apprentice Alex Keene, from Ormeggio. Yes, I had to look that up. Alessandro makes an effort to look menacing. It’s not very effective. Personally, I’m backing the guy who has bothered to do the hard yards of an actual apprenticeship over the reality TV contestant. Go Alex!
The dish is brought in and Gary reveals that the contest has been handicapped even more in Hayden’s favour. He’s picked a dish that’s suited to Hayden’s level, plus Alex doesn’t get a recipe. Oh, come on. It’s pretty clear the judges want the immunity pin to actually play a role this year. They should do it Survivor-style and hide it in a chicken carcass for a contestant to find.
It’s aglonotti bagoss, one of those very fiddly pasta dishes where you get about four pieces of pasta to eat. Hayden reckons it looks easy. It does not. Using small words and talking slowly, George explains that in order to beat Alex, Hayden needs to cook better than him. Gary patronises Alex, saying he shouldn’t even need the recipe. Shut up, he’s not your apprentice.
Hayden’s away! He starts by not reading the recipe. Nobody ever listens to Justin. Alessandro is helping him out. He actually seems like a really nice guy. Alex is jealous! Hayden’s got his hat off. He doesn’t seem to be balding, removing one explanation as to why he wears it.
Alex guns it from word go. He’s being hassled by Alessandro. Michael realises cooking in a professional kitchen is tough. He’s impressed when Alex is an adult so he doesn’t quit. This is his job mate.
Hayden demonstrating his inability to focus for more than thirty seconds by wandering off and letting his cream overheat. Alex is so desperate to please Alessandro! For his part, Alessandro is really not very good at pretending to be a scary man. He tells Hayden not to be scared of the pasta. Hayden’s shaking like a leaf. The poor little guy! Damn, now he has charmed me.
What, 5 minutes to go? Oh, it’s only half an hour tonight. Bondi Vet’s on next. I agree that that shouldn’t be pushed back. Tonight’s show features a puppy with a bad ticker. Fix him Dr Chris!
Both plate up successfully. Alex has burnt two tomatoes, as Jay gleefully points out. Alessandro hugs everyone.
Hayden is plate number one. He explains that this means his is the first to be tasted. Thank you so much for clarifying. Justin North is also bright orange! It is the fashion in the food industry.
Hayden’s done a good job on presentation. His flavours are good, but his filling is a bit gritty. George wonders if it’s meant to be like that. Is anything ever meant to be gritty? It’s not an appetising word.
Problems are spotted immediately with the plate from the master’s apprentice. His charred tomatoes draw frowns and he’s got a very meagre pesto smear. It’s a smear, there isn’t meant to be much of it, surely. Justin thinks it lacks punch. On the other hand, it isn’t gritty. As the judges say about seventeen times, this is going to be a close one.
Hayden’s got his hat back on for judging. It’s important to be formal about these things. As the guest Alex gets his scores first – straight sevens. Alessandro says he was expecting eights, and Alex nearly has a heart attack.
Matt Preston’s Handee-Ultra ad is back! He says ‘two-ply’ in such a sexy voice, it’s very confusing.
Score time for Hayden. Sevens from Matt and George. Gary explains to Hayden that he needs an eight to win. He seems to understand. Sure enough, an eight from Justin! Alex looks very sad. Don’t worry, buddy, this scoring system has been meaningless since the infamous ‘eleven’ incident.
Hayden thanks Alessandro and Alex for helping him. Alessandro says he thinks Alex did a good job, given that he didn’t have the recipe. Alex’s relief is palpable. Maybe this guy is scary after all. Hayden and Alex hug, then Matt puts the immunity pin on Hayden’s stupid hat. Now he can never remove it.
Tomorrow’s promo shows George creeping into everyone’s bedroom before dawn, plus a bread-based team elimination.