The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - News - By Colin Vick­ery

JAPAN is not all karaoke bars and cherry blos­soms, as the con­tes­tants in MasterChef found out.

The an­cient cui­sine makes for a fas­ci­nat­ing week of cook­ing and post­card tele­vi­sion that even the show’s judges found in­ter­est­ing.

Matt Pre­ston had only vis­ited Japan once be­fore this trip – and that was 15 years ago. Gary Me­hi­gan made his first visit a year ago, while Ge­orge Calom­baris had never been.

But as Pre­ston tells TV Guide, the nine con­tes­tants who jet­ted to Japan re­ceived a much­needed mas­ter­class in at­ten­tion to de­tail.

“Depth, pre­ci­sion and ob­ses­sion un­der­pins so much Ja­panese cui­sine,” he says. “No mat­ter what you think you know, you know noth­ing. You don’t go to a restau­rant and have tem­pura and yak­i­tori and sashimi. You go to a tem­pura restau­rant, a yak­i­tori restau­rant, a sashimi restau­rant – it is very spe­cific. The chefs that run them are mas­ters.”

The week starts with a mys­tery box chal­lenge in front of Tokyo’s 1400-yearold Senso-ji Tem­ple; while con­tes­tants also cook at a lo­cal Yoko­cho – an al­ley packed with street stalls, which feed thou­sands of Ja­panese lo­cals each day.

“Around ev­ery cor­ner and down ev­ery laneway, there is some­thing ex­cit­ing,” Pre­ston says.



Ge­orge Calom­baris, Matt Pre­ston and Gary Me­hi­gan.

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