Masterchef may as well be renamed Mastercaress, for the amount of hugging that went on. Especially with slight, sweet, eccentrically moustachioed Tony, who for some reason proved irresistibly huggable to everyone, especially the chefs. Although the show ended with an awkward three-way hug with Emma and winner Simon embracing and Tony lurking, trying to get in on it.
Another series, another monumentally sentimental, over-wrought final. They could have cut at least half an hour from last night’s final (BBC One, 8.30pm). Did we really need to see Simon fastening his sock suspenders? The winner was announced to a soundtrack of an excruciating cover of Take On Me, turned up obnoxiously high in the mix.
So, the final three each produced a three course meal in three hours and sat in front of John and Greg, who surpassed themselves in pouring hyperbole over the contestants. Although, to be fair, the food looked amazing. Emma cooked her signature Middle Eastern style with an essay of ingredients (sumac featured heavily) in her scallop starter, lamb tagine main and tart pudding. Tony unnerved Greg with his fish and fig starter combination, almost pulled it back with his “regal” guinea fowl and finished with a selection of parfait, the blackberry one turning out grey and looking more like something you’d find in a stationary cupboard than a Michelin-starred restaurant. Tony scored points with me by using alien-vegetable romanesco -google it, it’s awesome. I felt for Tony, he was fantastic but there were a few too may bum notes for him to win. In the end it was adorable-faced, Oldham-based data man Simon who triumphed and rightly so. His plates of octopus, pigeon and tutti frutti looked like works of art.
And that’s that. I enjoyed this week’s final episodes, where the contestants worked with bombastically eccentric Italian chef Massimo Bottura, who is always entertaining, and joined a couple of crazy Swedish pyromaniacs in their Stockholm restaurant. I’d be willing to see more of sexy Gustav and his smoked tomatoes on my screen. I’m astounded that Tony’s moustache survived the whole process. Yes, it’s well-trod television ground but it still entertains me, I think because of the high-camp seriousness with which everyone treats what is basically rustling up tea for two gluttonous middle-aged men . No one’s curing ebola here, but you’d never know that from the histrionics, gurning and sweating. And that’s just the judges. A drama-drenched production as always.