Food fi­esta

MASTERCHEF PRE­PARES TO SPICE UP OUR SCREENS IN A FIERY FIFTH SEA­SON

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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