Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Masterchef - Auditions

So Masterchef has finally started and of course I'm watching. I love food, hence this blog, and I love reality TV (trust me on this, I'll prove it later in the post). So when the two are combined, I'm salivating with my texting fingers poised at my mobile ready to vote.

So far, I have to say that I'm actually quite bored. My opinions are similar to that of Matt from Abstract Gourmet, who went and auditioned even. Here is what I think is wrong with the show so far

1) Like Matt, I found the sob stories all a bit too much. "Oh my mum had cancer and I cooked for her so that's why I like to cook." Somehow, these sob stories seem to be the norm in audition style reality shows now. Look at Australian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. There were more tears in those shows than at Princess Diana's funeral. While watching Masterchef, I kept yelling (trust me, I really was yelling out loud) at the TV and saying, "what's up with all the sob stories". It was infuriating. Why can't they just show passionate people who like cooking but don't have some dramatic story. I guess that doesn't make good TV. I understand that the show needs some characters, but this was too much.

2) I haven't warmed to the host or the judges. I find Sarah Wilson's deliver to be so laboured. Couldn't they have found someone with a more natural prescence. I don't particularly hate the judges, nor do I like them. I loved George Calombaris when he was on Ready Steady Cook, where he was allowed to be himself and let his personality shine through. Here, he seems to be inhibited. Gary Mehigan, I don't really like or hate, and that's never a good thing in reality TV. It's better to be hated by viewers than have viewers not care. Matt Preston is again not mean, but I find him annoying.

3) Unlike Idol or Dance, we, the viewer can form our own opinions about whether they're good or not. With food, I just have to trust the judges. A dish may look great, but taste awful, how can I tell. I don't have smell-o-vision. Therefore, how do I know if the judges are being harsh or fair.

4) The editing and pace for these early audition rounds is really slow compared to other reality TV shows. For example, why do we need to waste time seeing the judges walk up to the plate, sample some, then walk back. Just edit out the walking and show then there already tasting it. Do we need to see every contestant wheel their trolley from the outside kitchen to the judging room, can't we just cut to them already in the room.

I'm going to keep watching and hope it gets better. I really hope they focus more on the food in coming episodes and the personalities of the people should naturally shine through if they are truly passionate about food and cooking.

To finish with some interesting info. I caught quite a few glimpses of Jackie from Eating With Jack, who I have met a few times. Jackie's accounts of the week up in Sydney are a definite must read. It paints a picture very different to that portrayed on the show. Joel from Global Gobbler was also on the show, and I met him once at the Melbourne Bloggers Meet Up recently.

And finally, to prove what a hardcore reality TV junkie I am. During episode two, with the auditions in Perth, there was an 18 year old guy called Robert who cut his fingers chopping herbs. George then helped him cut it. Robert made the cut (pardon the pun) and when he went outside, two girls hugged him. The girl on the left with brown hair was no other than Courtney from Make Me a Supermodel. See how obscure that show was and I still recognised her from the three short shots they showed of her. I told you I like reality TV. :-)


  1. Yeah, the personal tragedy/battle/drama thing is really strong in it and I was more than tired by the end of today's episode. I'm also disgusted by the cultural stereotyping of some of the entrants, as if you can only cook what your forebears cooked.

  2. Mwhahaha, you really are a reality TV addict, Thanh!

    I'd tend to agree with your comments. I'm hoping that things will pick up now that auditions are done, but unfortunately we can't experience the food at home in the way that we can experience the singing or dancing that's the focus of other reality shows.

    I've also been bothered by the same issue as Duncan, where each second generation Australian is bullied into cooking the recipes that their Mum makes at home. I respect that that's where George gets his passion from, but when it's Thai food that gets the Aussie-Lebanese contestant excited, let him audition with his best Thai curry!

  3. Duncan and Cindy, that was the other thing I forgot to mention too. I hated how they were telling the Asian girl to do her Asian dish and the Lebanese guy to do the dips and stuff. Why can't people cook other foods if that's what they want to do.

    And yeah, I am a reality TV junkie Cindy. Did you watch SYTYCD this season? I wasn't as hardcore onto it as last season, but still enjoyed it.

  4. I was watching, Thanh, though I missed out on most of the two final shows. I think the top four were good choices (though I think BJ equally deserved to make it to the end). I wonder whether Masterchef will manage to capture my attention for as long...

  5. I think the top four were good choices. If Penny didn't get injured, I think she might have made the top four as well. Also BJ was tough to miss out, but he hadn't grabbed the audience as much as the others had.

    Masterchef is starting to get better now that we're into the more serious cooking. Some of the people really grate on my already, like that guy who does molecular gastronomy.