Thursday, 10 March 2011
Masterchef Series 7
A couple of weeks ago I was ready to jump on the bandwagon of food critics and bloggers panning the new format Masterchef. This is the first time that I have watched the series from the beginning. I tend to get more interested as the competition progresses, which is the opposite to X Factor, where I only find the early audition episodes entertaining.
I found the first two episodes incredibly irritating: poor editing and shameless plagiarism of X Factor (sob stories and family hugs) and The Apprentice (shots of the contestants marching). With hardly any focus on the food or cooking, little in the way of judging and over-egged dramatic pauses to create suspense, I came close to turning off the second episode. I'm sure that some of the contestants that were dropped could have done very well in later stages and I'm sure that there are still one or two there that should never have got this far.
Episode three (the egg invention test) continued to disappoint with more infuriating "fast forward" editing which prevented you from getting to know the contestants or see their food. The weird Masterchef obession with the Women's Institute continued as some nobody swanned around only to add nothing to the judging of the roast dinners.
Episode four was better. There was more focus on the food and the previous finalists were able to deliver interesting and added value comments about the food. Episode five (the Highland Games) was a good test of organisation, team work and mass catering but a little unfair to knock someone out on the basis of that their team lost. I don't think Sara (the Italian nurse) is going to be a finalist, but who could expect burly Scotsmen to choose seafood when there is beef and venison on offer.
Last night's episode was more compelling. We are now getting to the stage where you know the contestants' personalities better. There was still some irritating fast forward editing in the middle but this was a real test of food knowledge and inventiveness that brought some unexpected results. Alexis Gauthier brought some gravitas to the judging panel and did so with sincerity and French charm. I would have backed Alice to do something good with her favoured duck, but she was left with slug eyes after crying over her disappointing showing. Kennedy is clearly a good cook but was disappointed with his "plate of slop". What I like about him is that he doesn't go for the cliched sound bites that some of the earlier contestants proferred. He has good attitude and doesn't take himself too seriously.
Where do you stand on the new series of Masterchef?