Sunday, September 24, 2006

I have been watching Celebrity MasterChef with John Torode and Gregg Wallace – thanks to the fabulous gadget of Sky+ I hasten to add, as I wouldn’t be home in time. This is first time “celebrities” have been put through their paces but there have been two series of MasterChef goes Large with amateur chefs. Seeing MasterChef again has reminded me how inconsistent and random John and Gregg seem to be with their judging. I am particularly aghast how they can have one set of rules for one contestant and than the exact opposing rule to another. For example, one contestant will applauded for sticking to what they know best be it type of food or a certain region and then another will be accused of being too narrow and not able to diversify. Another contestant will be rebuked for not having tried a recipe before “ as this is MasterChef” (cue flash of lightning and roll of drums) and another will be reprimanded for sticking to a clearly very familiar recipe and not stretching themselves. Or one will receive a despondent shake of the head as to the number of ingredients and the next will get a disapproving cluck for creating something too simple “Don’t they release that it’s MasterChef…?” And John Torode has a very curious habit of opening his mouth as wide as possible before enveloping the small forkful of food he has prepared. He either has no spatial awareness or this helps him appreciate the food – anyway it annoys me and it’s catching because Gregg is starting to follow suit.

And whilst I am on my soapbox I might as well throw my hat in the ring and state I also agree that it was a complete travesty that ‘Digger Dean’ didn’t win the second series of MasterChef goes Large and Peter did instead. And a quick google has made me realise that I am not alone in this opinion, someone even created a “deanformasterchef” website – wow! Dean was the most improved and definitely was the best team player, (clearly the prettiest of the three – but that’s not important!), yes he made some mistakes but then so did Peter! It seems at least that Dean has gone on to start a career in cheffing whereas Peter was looking for an agent at last report, hmmm! Anyway, it’s probably best not to get me started – you’re very lucky this blog didn’t exist when the last series was aired (January to March this year) and I’ve had several months to calm down!

But back to Celebrity MasterChef, I don’t feel as strongly about the contestants this time but I still think John and Gregg change their judging criteria from moment to moment – but I guess they believe that it’s their prerogative. The four remaining contestants are Roger Black (now a sports presenter), Richard Arnold (GMTV presenter), Matt Dawson (former rugby player) and Hardeep Singh Kohli (comedian). They seem to be pretty talented in the kitchen though I think Matt might have got in by the skin of his teeth, as clearly he’s the most inexperienced. I can’t deny that it certainly appears to be a tough competition, first you have to make two dishes from a box of mystery disparate ingredients which as John and Gregg takes pains to point out shouldn’t be all used. Then after having your efforts criticised you are thrown into a professional restaurant’s kitchen where after probably exhaustive prep you produce a particular dish whenever a diner orders it over a busy lunchtime. Then peeling off your chef’s whites you hot foot it back to the studio and then produce your ultimate two-course meal for the inconsistent judges. And that’s just to get through to the next stage, and then it gets even harder!

I did once consider applying to take part in the show but the ultimate aim of the competition is to change your life and run a restaurant. And I am under no illusions how tough that is. I have spent some time in chef’s whites in a restaurant kitchen fortunately cooking for us and not for paying customers. And as much as I enjoyed it my abiding memory is how unbelievably hot it is and how weird it was for me to wear white!

I am sure John and Gregg have many further challenges for the contestants planned before the first Celebrity MasterChef is crowned. It should be interesting. If only John Torode would not eat in that way…!


Pam said...

I too have been thoroughly enjoying Celebrity Masterchef and also the wonder which is SkyPlus *cough cough* no we don't have it in Switzerland *cough cough*.

Thank goodness for BBC food programmes and also UKTV food!!

J said...

What do you think of their random and unpredictable judging or am I just being picky?