Picture on a book cover awaits MasterChef’s queen of the desert
Goodbye, Dubai! Ta-ta, Tim! Paalam - as Leo knows, that's Filipino for it's been fun but, oh, look at the time. You'd better go! Hayley, the golden apron is yours to lose.
Three contestants are left on MasterChef NZ as the series screeches to an exciting halt over the next two nights.
Hayley goes into the grand finale as the hot favourite. In the witless parlance of the MasterChef judges, she nailed it last week. She nailed the anglaise. She also nailed the rarebit to the haddock, but no one seemed to mind.
The episodes were filmed in the sands of Dubai. Hayley, Tim, Leo and Glenda stood before the judges. It was hot. It was tense. And that was just Josh's face.
"Glenda will either go to pieces or win the show," I wrote in last Sunday's preview. Neither happened. Her exit was a bit of a mystery. She was cast out to wander the desert for 40 days and 40 nights and find solace in the fact she never has to listen to Mark again.
Tim nailed this and that inside Al's ample tum and got the thumbs-up. But it's a miracle he's still in the show. The guy has created more disasters than anyone. Sometimes a switch seems to go off in his mind and he turns into a space cadet, floating in a most peculiar way, far above the world.
Glenda told judges a couple of weeks ago, "That's my life on a plate." Tim stored the line away and told judges last week, "That's my life on a plate." His life was two lamb chops chucked on top of cabbage.
The chops were served raw. There was still a bit of fleece on the bone. The previous week, contestants made creme brulee a la Grecque; Tim's lamb dish was more like chops a la Shrecque.
It wasn't the worst-looking meal of the series - one recalls Chris topping an oxtail meal with two limp carrots, like socks on top of a laundry basket - but it was another sign that Tim's senses go awol now and then.
Leo, too, was lucky to survive. He was all over the place in Dubai. He scampered hither and tither, forgetting things, freaking out, cussing, sweating - plus he accidentally stole Tim's desserts. Punishment is severe in the Arab states and research shows that a man can be put to death for stealing another man's desserts, possibly. Leo was lucky to live.
Hayley was peerless, a desert queen. In fact her cooking has been consistently excellent throughout the series. That crayfish thing she invented a few weeks back - man, that looked good. I'd walk barefoot over hot coals to eat it. I might even put up with the dinner-party hell of sharing a dining table with the judges, and listening to the mangled English of their favourite phrase, "This dish eats well."
All three contestants are awesome cooks. Hayley is probably the awesomest and it can't hurt that she's the most marketable. You can picture her on the cover of a cookbook. Arise, Hayley, wearer of the golden apron.