MasterChef Review: A Real Mouthful
MASTERCHEF: Thursday 18th February, BBC1, 8.30pm ALERT ME
Soon there will be more cooking shows on television than there are atoms in the universe. Celebrity chefs are everywhere – fat-tongued Jamie Oliver, Mr Furious Gordon Ramsay, sultry Nigella and there’s more food-based programming out there than you can shake a ladle at.
We’ve moved on a bit from harmless afternoon competitive coking shows like Ready Steady Cook. They’ve been cross bred with reality shows to create a new kind of hybrid monster – the reality cooking show.
MasterChef – now in its sixth series – hasn’t changed since its inception (it’s a revamp of an earlier cooking show by the same name). It still features a voice over that would put a Marks & Spencer advert to shame and it’s still presented by Australian food critic John Torode (who looks like Charly the cat from those 1970s public information films) and Greg Wallace (who looks like Marvel Supervillain Doctor Octopus).
Six contestants each cook up a dish using the mystery ingredients and John and Greg pronounce judgement on their creations. Their reactions are fairly measured – the show lacks a Mr Nasty character – someone like X Factor’s Simon Cowell or Dancing On Ice’s Jason Gardiner – so the show comes across as professional and considered, not overly histrionic.
After dispatching three of the hopefuls, the remaining group are shipped off to a top restaurant to see how they cope under pressure. Fortunately nothing untoward happens (or rather unfortunately – they’re all far too competent – it’d be more entertaining to see them burning the kitchen down) although the inevitable minor hiccoughs do occur.
Whizzed back to the studio, the trio have to create a two-course meal which is then appraised in the same manner – Greg and John having a bit of a chin wag in the back room about what was bad and good about the dishes.
It’s all we’ve come to expect from MasterChef and chances are, if you’ve tuned in, you know what you want – good cookery and good commentary but there’s nothing here that will get your taste buds jumping. What’s more, tonight’s offering seems like three episodes spliced together, an hour and a half of the same format is too big a portion for anyone to stomach.