MasterChef: The Pro­fes­sion­als

Chef Marco Pierre White may be in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned but he is in awe of co- star Matt Pre­ston’s ge­nius, writes An­noska Tucker- Evans

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

HE’S the big name in­ter­na­tional chef that Chan­nel 10 hopes will be the win­ning in­gre­di­ent in its new se­ries MasterChef:

The Pro­fes­sion­als. But Marco Pierre White is play­ing down the hype sur­round­ing him.

The Bri­tish culi­nary king has trained the likes of Gor­don Ram­say and Cur­tis Stone, run some of the most ac­claimed restau­rants in the world and been named the ‘‘ god­fa­ther of mod­ern cook­ing’’.

How­ever, he says he is merely a side­kick to the ‘‘ true star’’ of the show, Matt Pre­ston.

‘‘ I am his lit­tle side­kick – that’s the re­al­ity,’’ White says about Pre­ston.

‘‘ He’s Mick Jag­ger and I’m Keith Richards. He’s got great charisma, he’s got great stage pres­ence – he’s a star in the true sense of it.’’

In fact, White could not stop gush­ing about the Mel­bourne food critic, stat­ing that the op­por­tu­nity to work with the man he has nick­named ‘‘ Lord Pre­ston’’ was what en­cour­aged him to sign on for the show.

‘‘ MasterChef is the best show on Earth and it’s more than a cook­ing show, it’s a jour­ney, it’s ed­u­ca­tional for the view­ers, it’s dreamy, it’s mag­i­cal, it’s spe­cial and to be in­vited to be Matt Pre­ston’s side­kick, it was a great hon­our,’’ White says.

‘‘ Cook­ing food is one thing but tast­ing food and de­con­struct­ing it for the cam­era is an­other. He’s in a league of his own.’’ White even goes as far as de­scrib­ing the

Taste con­trib­u­tor as a ‘‘ ge­nius’’ and says he is in awe of Pre­ston’s abil­i­ties in the realm of tele­vi­sion.

‘‘ He really should work in TV full- time, in my opin­ion,’’ White says. ‘‘ He should present shows, he should di­rect them, he should pro­duce them – he’s a ge­nius.’’

While the Miche­lin- starred chef in­sists it will be his co- host that makes the new se­ries a hit with view­ers, he says the di­verse ar­ray of con­tes­tants will make for in­ter­est­ing and en­ter­tain­ing TV fod­der too.

The show sees 18 pro­fes­sional chefs com­pete against each other in tough and un­nerv­ing chal­lenges for the chance to win an around- the- world ticket to work in some of the best kitchens on the planet, plus an undis­closed cash prize.

‘‘ What’s in­ter­est­ing about this show is that it’s a jour­ney of gas­tron­omy, knowl­edge, emo­tion, sto­ries – it’s a roller­coaster,’’ White says.

‘‘ All 18 con­tes­tants are very dif­fer­ent and ev­ery so of­ten some­thing sur­prises you and you see some­thing very clever.’’

There are two con­tes­tants in par­tic­u­lar White sug­gests view­ers look out for – Cassie Delves, 19, from NSW, and Kiah Blanco, 27, from Queens­land.

‘‘ Cassie has a very, very, very rare tal­ent,’’ White re­veals.

‘‘ For a young girl of 19 to have the abil­ity she has is ex­tra­or­di­nary, and as she ma­tures and de­vel­ops she will be a force to be reck­oned with,’’ he says.

‘‘ And then there’s Kiah. His ex­pe­ri­ence might be lim­ited but what a heart and what a want to suc­ceed.

‘‘ There’s a man who could really do some­thing within the in­dus­try just be­cause of that want to learn and want to bet­ter him­self as a cook.’’

As for how the drama of the se­ries will un­fold, White is keep­ing tight- lipped, sim­ply say­ing, ‘‘ You’ll have to watch the show’’.

One thing is for sure, though, White and Pre­ston will make one for­mi­da­ble team.

MASTERCHEF: THE PRO­FES­SION­ALS,

TDT, pre­mieres tonight, 7.30pm

TOO MUCH TAL­ENT: Marco Pierre White and Matt Pre­ston are sure to en­ter­tain.

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