television: Masterchef cooks up an emotional drama .......
The heat is about to be turned up in the kitchen, writes
CHANNEL 10’s Masterchef Australia is about to put the cull into culinary. The hit reality kitchen series will quickly reduce its present crop of 10 contestants to an eventual winner in the next three weeks.
For MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan it’s the best time to watch the show.
Observing the contestants coping with the pressure of an elimination each night, while still having to perform at their peak, is a highlight, he says.
‘‘In the last week we lose one every day, which is no different to any other series, but there’s that compression of stress and everything that goes with it, which is the promise of opportunity and a prize as well,’’ Mehigan says.
At present in Italy, only nine of the amateur cooks will return to the MasterChef kitchen, after a European elimination tonight.
From a starting line-up of 50, those remaining are apprentice electrician Andy Allen, builder Beau Cook, student Kylie Millar, physio Mindy Woods, labourer Wade Drummond, account managers Audra Morrice and Debra Sederlan, legal secretary Julia Taylor and schoolteachers Alice Zaslavsky and Ben Milbourne.
Mehigan says MasterChef is an emotional rollercoaster for all 50 contestants who win aprons at the audition, but the longer the series runs the more painful each elimination becomes. He says the show’s closing weeks pull finalists back to reality – because it’s about to change for those who have managed to get this far without too much drama.
‘‘When they are in the top 10 they forget all this pain (of being eliminated or the threat of elimination), because it’s all very positive,’’ Mehigan says.
‘‘It’s a lovely little zone and that’s when we get our best cooking – it’s because of the process they have gone through. Then all of a sudden you get to
Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris in Italy. the last week and the sudden harsh reality that the whole thing is going to go away.’’
Mehigan says time constraints create the pressure-cooker atmosphere during the final week. The budding MasterChefs are all competent, but even the best can come unstuck if they’re asked to serve a dish they rarely prepare.
‘‘It’s always time and task that creates the pressure,’’ Mehigan says.
‘‘You can set a task of quiche lorraine, which is ridiculously simple – everyone makes quiche at home – but put a time limit on it and everything goes out the window.’’ Weeknights, 7pm; Sundays, 7.30pm, Ten, Ten SC.