EAST MEETS WEST IN KITCHEN
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.
TONIGHT, 7.30PM, TEN
George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan.