In these cook- offs it’s hard to care who wins
FOR reasons nobody quite comprehends, the Ten Network is pinning its future reality television hopes on a local cooking show copied from this English production already screening here on pay TV.
Well, it needed something. Given the collapse last year of the increasingly pathetic Big Brother , another program had to fill its space and MasterChef Australia is it.
Dispatches from those who’ve peeked behind the production’s scenes are cautiously positive. That there’s a no-name host at the helm in the shape of former magazine editor Sarah Wilson doesn’t seem an insurmountable problem, and more than 7500 home cooks from across Australia have already applied to appear on the program, which pits amateur chefs against one another in a contest judged by two professionals.
The British series, on which the local version is to be based, has been screening on LifeStyle Food for yonks, with John Torode and Gregg Wallace as judges and hosts. The concept, basically, is that the amateur cooks must devise two or threecourse meals in short timeframes, usually using the provided ingredients. The winner, who then moves on to the next round, is judged by Torode and Wallace.
The masterchef is eventually crowned after many cook-offs and other challenges, including time spent in professional kitchens.
It’s an OK show and one that has had a long lifespan as a result of periodic overhauls that have changed its look and content.
Tonight’s episode is typical of what the show is all about. Six wannabes, ranging from a young carpenter wanting a career change to two stayat-home mothers who reckon they
Least likable food presenters: John Torode and Gregg Wallace know their way around a kitchen, compete to make the show’s quarterfinal. Each contestant is challenged to make a meal from disparate ingredients, including lamb, tomatoes, saffron, dried apricots and raspberries. The results are astonishing only in terms of their awfulness.
Six soon become three and then a winner is anointed. This person then enters the quarter-final alongside finalists from other episodes.
There are a couple of problems with MasterChef . First, Torode, an Australian who runs a food business in London, and Wallace, are surely the least likable food figures on TV. Seriously, if you passed either of them in the street, you’d push them over. Not only are they rude and arrogant, but both eat with their mouths open.
( In the Australian version, Melbourne-based chefs George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan will, hopefully, be more personable.)
There’s also little time to get to know any of the contestants, and as a result it’s hard to put an effort into giving a fig who wins.
So who does win tonight? Tune in to find out, if you can last that long.