Monday, 13 July 2009

Masterchef, Australia style

Water cooler TV in Australia at the moment is Masterchef. That probably seems a bit strange to those from the UK who have memories of Sunday evenings with Lloyd ‘cogitating, digesting, regurgitating or whatever’ Grossman. But the Oz series is completely different. It’s even completely different from the "sexy" new Masterchef on the BBC. It’s a 12 week ‘food idol’ type contest which has now reached finals week, with 6 finalists competing each day to avoid elimination and become the winner. This is the first time Australia has done Masterchef, which is odd considering how much of a foodie nation it is, and it’s taken the country by storm. The cynic in me would point out that as the general standard of TV here is utter crap, that it doesn’t take much, but I have to say, even though I’ve come to it late, it’s quite addictive.

Unlike most reality contests, the judges are constructive and helpful (instead of shouty and irritating like the current UK version), there aren’t too many overly prolonged silences at elimination point, the challenges that the amateur chefs have to do are interesting (2 pies in 2 hours today, one sweet and one savoury), and the dishes that people are coming up with are, quite simply, very very impressive and inspiring. And it’s winter here, so it’s proper comfort TV. (Australian version of Strictly Come Dancing just doesn’t cut it!)

The nation is hooked and like everyone else, I’ll be sad to see the series end this weekend

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