MASTERCHEF PREPARES TO SPICE UP OUR SCREENS IN A FIERY FIFTH SEASON
MASTERCHEF Sunday, 7.30pm, Ten
ITS recipe has had tastebuds tingling for the past four years, but now MasterChef is hoping to serve up a new and improved offering to get tummies rumbling.
The Channel 10 reality program has undergone a mini-makeover for its fifth season with a new location in Melbourne, new kitchen and new format.
Instead of starting with a top 100, the show will launch straight into the top 22, with the contestants separated into men versus women.
That theme will continue throughout the series with each week dedicated to a different topic from kids’ cuisine to Italian offerings; and the pace too will be punchier with the contestant commentary on what they’re doing recorded on the fly, rather than taped days later.
And finally, the popular MasterClass has been given a facelift, introducing a studio audience to the cooking demonstration segment with judges George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan, and this time Matt Preston (pictured right).
While the changes are obviously in response to the success of Channel 7’s My Kitchen Rules, Mehigan says the end result is a winning dish audiences will want to dig in to.
‘‘Every year before we go into a new series we look at what we did last year and what we can do better and how we can change it and this year I’ve seen a couple of the rough cuts from the first few episodes and I get emotional or the hairs stand up on the back of my hand or I get a little tear or I laugh, and then I go, ‘Wow’,’’ he says.
Mehigan says the show has a more light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek feel this year and has been refocused to be more audience-friendly.
‘‘One of the themes we wanted to follow this year was just to make sure that there was a take-home component in everything we do because that’s what made MasterChef special,’’ the judge says.
‘‘One of our mistakes in the past was that we did (dishes) that people really couldn’t do (at home).
‘‘We’ve learnt it can be a complex dish but at the heart of it there’s some simplicity that people can take home and make on the weekend.’’
The contestants are also more relatable. Unlike in the past few years where the home cooks have been more like apprentice chefs, this time around they are just average people with a passion for food. ‘‘We found series four really unsettled us and really unsettled a lot of people out there because, for some reason, we just had a group of people who were out of the ordinary – who were exceptional (cooks),’’ he says. ‘‘This year we’ve got a group of people who really love food but their skills don’t always translate. ‘‘What you’re going to see is great intent. It’s aspiration versus capabilities.
‘‘They have the imagination and creativity just not the skills to back it up.’’
And this lack of skills has meant there have been plenty of kitchen catastrophes, Mehigan says.
From burnt brulees to deflated souffles the judges have seen it all, but it’s how they critique the cuisine calamities that is the real problem.