Posts Tagged ‘Masterchef’

Masterchef – Tonight’s Final

February 26, 2009

masterchef final

BBC2 have served up another sublime series of Masterchef this year and it’s difficult to choose which of the three finalists should win. In fact – I want them all to win, buy an island together and set up the most chaotic restaurant in the world, overcooking pies and not allowing cheesecakes to set until their hearts are thoroughly content.

But there can be only one – and my personal frontrunner at the moment is Andy, who last night managed to serve up what looks like a small, pastry panda sitting on a potato-bamboo raft (pictured above).

They’ve been through the tough times and tonight all they have to do is cook their best three-courser to seal their victory. They can count themselves lucky they’ve got past the stage where they have to cook for the critics. Anyone who has to go face-to-face with Jay Rayner without vomiting has been challenged, and being able to leave a meeting with that gorgon Kate Spicer without being turned into a miserable statue is a win in itself.

Let’s have a look at them in more detail…

* * *

Chris – The Small Boy:

Chris is a hapless little man, 24 years of age, who falls to amusing pieces when asked to lead a group. With the most unconvincing self up-talk of the bunch, you can’t help but feel sorry for him when he’s onscreen gazing at squid-ink pasta with an expression that reads ‘I am terrified of food’.

Reason to back him: He’s the youngest, is fresh-faced and seems like a decent chap.

Andy – The Comeback Kid:

Despite initally seeming like a bit of a braggart, Andy’s won us over despite his awkward swagger. Having failed last series, he’s returned stronger and is constantly rescuing Chris from disaster like a catering child-minder. Andy is pretty selfless and pretty bloody good at the old cooking. He’s earned his place in the final.

Reason to back him: The ‘comeback’ angle gives him the kind of story  Producers loves to put out there.

Mat – The Happy Egg:

Mat’s the oldest and probably the most accomplished of the three, with the best palette on the evidence provided. He’s also endearingly weeble-like, and his goatie somehow makes him even more humpty like. After listening to him speak every day for the past two or three weeks, I still can’t place his accent, mind you.

Reason to back him: He cries all the time. Happy or sad, Mat’s your best bet for a blub-off. The cameras love an eye-dribbler.

* * *

Who will win?

Who deserves to win?

One things for sure – ‘whoever wins, it’ll change their life’.

BIG GUTSY FLAVOURS!

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The Friday Question: You Produce!

January 23, 2009

production booth

EDIT

The remit has been expanded to include any current affairs, news or magazine show.

Good morning.

Today’s Friday Question concerns the folk who lurk behind the scenes. The button-pushers, the format-tweakers and the devils in the shadows. I speak, of course, about the Reality TV Production Team.

They are the unseen heroes and villains of Reality TV. If it wasn’t for them, nobody on Masterchef would go on about how winning would be a dream come true, because they wouldn’t be asked constant, leading questions along the lines of ‘just how amazing would you feel if you won it?’.

The Apprentice cast wouldn’t be urged on with cumulatively aggressive questioning and Big Brother housemates wouldn’t, at audition stage, be encouraged to act like complete arseholes the second they get in the bungalow…

SO… If you were behind the scenes of any reality show, be it Wife Swap, Maestro, Strictly Come Dancing or any other that come to mind, how would YOU tweak the format?

You can add or take anything away from the usual progression of events. You can guide the participants to act in a certain way. You can even make everyone take all their clothes off! So that they’d be naked! With all tits and arses everywhere!

You are the Producer.

What will you do?

The Friday Question: You are MASTERCHEF!

January 16, 2009

pudgers

It’s a simple conceit. For today’s Friday Question, you, humble reader, are THROUGH to the final stage of the quarter final. It’s time to demonstrate your ability to the two spoon-loading pudgers with your signature three-course service.

So what would you cook up for Greg Wallace and John Torrode if you magically found yourself in the studio?

What do you cook best?

We’ll need a starter, a main and a dessert.

Then it’s over to Greg and John who are just like, hanging out at mine today (by coincidence) and will instruct me on what they think of your complex flavour combinations.

What three courses would you cook for Masterchef then, eh?

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Lurkers, now is the time to show yourselves!

Eating With The Enemy

July 23, 2008

It must’ve looked fairly appealing on paper.

Great idea for new reality / cooking / lifestyle module – a Dragons’ Den vs Masterchef fusion. Import the same chefs who mete out the nasty judgements on Masterchef and get them to judge food made by the Great British public. Like Masterchef without the constructive criticism. Like Dragon’s Den without the real business opportunities and vast sums of money. A chance to see restaurant critics really lashing out on poor, unsuspecting, non media-friendly fools. Guaranteed success.

It looks like a ratings-grabber on first sight but after five minutes viewing, the obvious flaws poke out like impetuous tongues.

Sweet Baby James presents Eating With The Enemy, playing the exact same role as Evan Davis in the old double ‘D’. He’s the go-between who liaises with the judges and cosies up to the contestants. He’s the viewers’ representative. It works with affable Evan, who humbles himself in front of contestants, folding his fists in front of himself and smiling from behind those kind, slightly off-kilter eyes. With Sweet Baby James it doesn’t quite work the same way, given his abrasive attitude. He spends the show mocking the efforts of the contestants to their faces and getting in the way. Yesterday he made a scene when he got splashed with a tiny dribble of custard, the big jessie.

The judges are vaguely known restaurant critics. You’d recognise them if you saw them. They are:

Toby Young – Probably the most famous. Likeable buffoon.
Kate Spicer  – Evening Standard food critic. A sour-faced grunt of a woman who starred in possibly the worst television show ever, Super Skinny Me.
Jay Rayner – Son of Clare. Observer food critic. Pompous man-mountain with ludicrous hair and facial trim who appears to climax every time he makes a weak, food-related gag.
Charles Campion – Miserable, fat knacker who looks EXACTLY like Peter from Family Guy.

The show’s structured really badly. Dragons’ Den is so straightforward you’d have to be lobotomised to misunderstand the formula. Masterchef is slightly more confusing – with semi finals here and restaurant rounds there – but usually we know where it’s at.

Eating With The Enemy has so many segments that we seem to meet the contestants three times, say goodbye to them twice and have the main courses described (in some detail) endlessly throughout the shows fifty minutes.

Another flaw, possibly intended, is that the food is bloody awful. Walid, a Lebanese gentleman, made steak with a ‘stilton vein’ running through it and bacon wrapped around the outside. It was completely over-complicated and rammed with essence of cardiac arrest. His sparring partner was Sam who made ‘rag pudding’ which seemed to be a weird arctic roll made out of mince and fat. Not to mock Sam or Wally – I probably couldn’t do much better myself – but surely it just meant we were going to have to watch culinary assassination as the non-professionals lined up their wares in front of people who talk shit about high end food for a living?

In the event, the judges shrank from the task and praised the dishes where they could. The rubbish in front of them was barely worth comment so they opted for the positive. And therefore the ‘fearsome’ judges pretty much turned the show into an irrelevance. They’re referred to throughout as ‘The Enemy’ in the same way Theo, Jonesy and pals are called ‘The Dragons’, but it doesn’t make any sense as they show sympathy, which is weakness, which drains the element of threat from proceedings. The closest they got, really, was asking Walid why he’d attacked an ‘innocent bit of meat’ and saying he’d ‘pushed it off a cliff’.

So what we have here is a redundant piece of programming. A pretty despicable concept in the first place – four twats who get paid to be pissy to waiters criticise some nice normal folk for giving something a bash – is then completely weakened when ‘The Enemy’ go all soft and praise food you’d clearly send back if you were served it even in a greasy spoon. So what, my friends, is the fucking point?

I’ve not even started on some other major weaknesses. Dragons’ Den works because the prize at stake is a large amount of money. Remove the return and you’ve kicked your programme in the groin. Masterchef works because those participating already have some degree of flair. Serve up two shit cooks and you’ve gone and slapped your show’s arse. Use restaurant critics as your judges and you’ve pretty much decapitated your own creation.

Restaurant critics, as any fool knows, are generally sniffy berks who lack any experience or expertise in what they do. They’re professional moaners. Where the Dragons have all worked their way to their personal wealth, this lot are promoted hacks who are now so far removed from the man on the street they think writing cynically about a fucking pudding represents a meaningful existence. I remove Giles Coren from that generalisation, as he barely even mentions the food, preferring instead to waffle on about his life – which is generally far more interesting.

These four ‘enemies’ and their supposedly daunting presence is acceptable when they’re asked to bitch for three minutes in Masterchef, but try and extend that three minutes to fifty and the whole thing collapses like an undercooked cakey pie.

I just hope they don’t make this rubbish prime time.

Masterchef. Full fat review

February 5, 2008

 Masterchef

I fucking love Masterchef. I really do.

I hated the two presenters for years – making the show completely unwatchable – until, by chance, I caught sight of the bald barrowboy eating some pudding.

It was something about the way the food went into his mouth, the pause, the slow removal of the fork upwards and then the tentative chew that grabbed my attention. It was like peering into the very reaches of his soul. Then, like magic, his eyes lit up like limelight and grew to the size of Alan’s big plate. He began to moan softly, rhythmically, speech still evading him.

‘He’s going to ejaculate!’ I ruminated, frozen to the spot. Finally he spoke.

‘I like you’, he said to the plate and the contestant, ‘Oh! I do like you!’

The other bloke took some time to warm to, with his frog-like mouth and scowl he can flay a contestant with nothing more than an acid stare and condescending mutter, reducing a person to tears with a sardonically raised eyebrow, but if he likes the food every light in the world comes on. It’s fucking well-weird. Now I think he’s ace.

Masterchef is schadenfreude for foodies. In certain respect the dishes take a backseat, acting as a catalyst for the drama that is instantly realised from the opening titles. Chefs-to-be stand there looking visibly petrified while the two hosts bark out the rules without a shred of compassion; they don’t care if the cunts actually die right there on the spot. They walk among them like The Gestapo in a ghetto, jabbing at ingredients and interrogating them like sub human scum. Recipes are stuttered into the apparent which they deride with sarcasm and barely concealed hate.

The psychological pressure continues when contestants are verbally strapped down and beaten with demands on their loyalty to the food führer… ‘do you want this? Do you? Svinehund!’

But this is the genius of Masterchef, as the wheat is separated form the chaff we’re presented with genuine talent, those who overcome the pressure and prepare remarkable food that melts the hearts of the staff. Praise and encouragement appear in the equation, lifting the spirits -smiles appear, warmth emenates from the screen and all seems good in the world.

 Ahhhh, that’s better. I fill up.

But it’s not better. Someone has been naughty. The presentation of the grilled kneecap with bat-foreskin and regurgitated puy lentils in a faecal broth has made one of them angry. Very angry. The contestant starts to cry, the barrow-boy tastes, his face darkens like a thunderstorm approaching the Serengeti.

‘No, no no, this is wrong, very wrong’.

Now it’s frog-face’s turn. Wordlessly he turns and spits the food from his face like it’s a tramp’s turd picked off a dead pig.

‘I’m not eating that’ he says, his eyes glittering with death.

Puffy-eyed and red-faced, the contestant awaits their fate. Justice isn’t swift – they’re all made to stand in line for what seems like an age before being dismissed, cast out in the street like the food-killing fuckers they are…

Then again it switches. In the chaos a victor rises from the ashes. That one! I always knew it would be you! In the triumph of adversity one shall stand tall. The Staff applaud, they have been pleased, I too am at home sobbing for joy, I’m so happy. For once the barrow and the frog are like us. They have emotions, after all – are we not all mortal? Struggling with the baked bean can of life? Wrestling with the peel-off bit on top of the Pringles tube of existence. Are we not ONE?

Yes, until tomorrow that is, until tomorrow when some cunt decides to cook salmon with raspberry jam.