MasterChef Australia

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 4 days ago.

I am a big fan of the original UK version of MasterChef on BBC2. (I even did the ingredient challenges for series 3 and blogged my attempts on Just Hungry. I blog about MasterChef a lot.)

Anyway, I recently discovered the Australian version of MasterChef via nefarious (cough) means. It’s quite different from the British version, but I’m hooked! The challenges so far are pretty interesting and the contestants have a lot of promise (either in terms of cooking skills or potential for you know, reality TV drama), but what I am most impressed by is the variety and quality of the produce and things available. I’ve never been to Australia but now I really want to go!

How is the show being received in Australia? (I think someone really should bring the MasterChef format to the US too, though the Food Network or whoever may ruin it.)

____________________________________

The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
yygall
Bento-ing from: Canberra › Australia
Joined: 22 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

I watched one episode of the auditions, and probably most of the episodes with the top 20. A friend and I follow the show pretty religiously (read: sitting in front of TV, eating dinner, and having a twitter-conversation about all the goings-on of the show), and we even have "favourites". Oh, and we did squeal considerably when Sam went against Manu Fieldel following the first challenge.
The show must be doing quite well, since Aussies generally love a show where people are given the opportunity to fulfill a dream. It's also the first reality TV show (I know of) that is repeated the next day, as well as streamed online.
Who has impressed you the most so far, Maki?

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 4 days ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

I think Viola is a dark horse. The Navy officer may be a dark horse. How about you? Sam was impressive in that challenge, but he made a big faux pas by deciding to set the price for _all_ the dishes to $9 in the sushi bar challenge. Why mess around with a working pricing formula for an established successful restaurant? He really should have been 'fired' imo but I guess it's sort of a popularity contest anyway. (I didn't like the last episode at all with all the manufactured drama, no cooking. Cut the drama and show us more food ^_^) That food photographer guy who lost the beef...he annoys me. Well, so far there are too many people to really pick out favorites.

yygall
Bento-ing from: Canberra › Australia
Joined: 22 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

Viola? I know there's a Julia, a Julie, and a Justine in the top 20, but can't recall a Viola... but that might have more to do with my sketchy memory.
Trevor is definitely the typical Aussie. I loved his comment after tasting the lamb and mash ("Mine's better" XD)--ah, the lovable big fella. He seems to be the most down to earth guy in the competition at the moment. Some of the others are becoming a bit pretentious.
Honestly, I thought Sam's only faux pas was setting the price of almost everything $9 for the sushi bar challenge. That, and losing their beef definitely brought about the Blue team's downfall. Managing the stock in the kitchen is just as important as managing the staff working in that kitchen. But the Red team's lack of leadership and general disorganisation was quite disappointing also. Stealing the beef was pretty bad too: both teams should have lost, imo.
But considering how the show is on five nights a week, with a combination of half- and full-hour episodes, they'd have to cut down on the cooking and put in a bit more "drama", so that it remains a "reality show"--kind of like Jamie's School Dinners and Ministry of Food series.

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 4 days ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

Ack, not Viola, her name is Linda. I must have remembered her as 'Viola' because she used 'viola dust' or something in her audition recipe. (and candied violets too). Yep, it definitely could use less episodes and tighter editing. (I also noticed that your Biggest Loser is on every weekday too. That must be intolerable to watch...I can't even watch the drama in the once a week US version!)

yygall
Bento-ing from: Canberra › Australia
Joined: 22 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

Oh, the Biggest Loser... the timeslot was nothing short of poison while that was on. Funny thing is, MasterChef now takes the exact same timeslot, and I always forget to watch because there's that fear of accidentally tuning into the Biggest Loser...
Actually, I was wrong about it being on 5 days a week. It's on 6 days a week--from Sunday to Friday. Including the repeat on Saturday, it means that the show is on at least once every day... that's a lot of MasterChef.
What LOLs me more is the episode summaries on the actual homepage. It sounds as though someone transcribed a gossip conversation or something similar...
Elimination tonight! I wonder who will go this time... My guess is Aaron. He's the only one in the bottom 3 who has stuffed up the challenges twice.

anon.
Re: MasterChef Australia

One of the things I miss about Australia is how available most things are - especially in Sydney. You tend not to notice changes in the seasons (except the awesome mangoes in summer) as most produce is available all year and the ethnic groceries are so easy to come by that a typical supermarket can cater for most of your needs. Sure, I don't want to get bagaong all the time but it was there if I wanted!

*Sigh* - you appreciate such things when you move away to the UK and are at a considerable distance from London..

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 5 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

We are getting this in New Zealand now - and it's the only TV programme I watch. Love it. I record it on my computer then watch it when I get home from work, skipping over the hype-y bits. It's like free cooking lessons.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 4 days ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

I've deleted most of the reality-show episodes, but the Master Class ones where the two chef-judges give cooking classes are terrific! I'd watch a series just of those lessons.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 5 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

They're calling for contestants for a NZ series. I'd love to do it but I'd never be able to: a) I'd go blank in the invention challenges and fail immediately, b) I couldn't take time off work, c) Who'd look after my cats? d) I'd go nuts having to share accommodation (totally crazy; I need my solitude), e) Probably wouldn't even be good enough to get picked. I am looking forward to it though - I just have to figure out some way of knowing when it'll be broadcast.

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 4 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

Is Master Chef anything like the U.S. "Iron Chef", which pits two professional chefs against each other over one night, or our "Top Chef", which starts with 13 or so profesionals and eliminates (cruelly) one a week for an entire season?

But the food show that got my heart pumping was "Top Chef Masters" which showed that even those at the top of the food pyramid can get the timing wrong.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 5 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

It takes 20 amateurs and eliminates them quite kindly one by one over the season. The winner gets a bit of money, to publish a cookbook, and some training or something, can't remember. They have challenges like the "mystery box" where they are given a selection of foods and have a set period of time to create something delicious out of some or all of them; the group challenge, where they divide into teams and have to do something in the real world; the "invention test" where the winner of the mystery box gets to choose one core ingredient that everyone has to incorporate into a dish. The winner of the invention test gets to cook off against a professional chef and if he/she wins they skip straight to the last week. The judges also give a masterclass once a week, where they show what, and how, they would have cooked with the mystery box. There's a lot of good cooking in it, minimal bitchiness between contestants, and no gratuitous nastiness from the judges.

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 4 days ago.
MasterChef UK vs. MasterChef AU

They are from the same company, but have different formats.

MasterChef UK, the original, starts with weeks where each day, 6 amateur cooks compete against each other on three challenges. The first is an 'invention test' where they have to make something with a given set of ingredients in 30 or 40 minutes (I forgot how long). 3 contestants are eliminated right there Then there is a 'pressure test' where the 3 remaining contestants work a real shift in a professional kitchen. Finally, there is a cooking test where they have to make 3 courses of their own choosing within an hour.

The winner of each day gets to go to the quarterfinal round at the end of the week. The winner of that one goes to the semi-finals...which occur after 8 weeks of the same. The UK show in broadcast for 30 minutes Monday to Wednesday, then for a full hour (on BBC, so no commercials) on Thursday.

The semi-final rounds are really interesting; the contestants go on all kinds of cooking challenges, rather like the ones on Top Chef but more intense in some ways. The winner wins - not a cash prize, but the chance to work in a professional kitchen for a year or something, and lots of glory.

MasterChef AU takes 20 contestants (chosen in preliminary rounds that take place in several cities around the country) and eliminates them at a rate of about 1 per week. The show is broadcast 6 days a week too - quite intense. There's a lot more game elements than on the UK show, and more reality-show type elements like showing them living in the MasterChef House together and so on.

The cooking on both shows is really good, especially in the later rounds. I think the original UK format is the best though. I like Top Chef a lot, but to me MasterChef is the best cooking-competition show on the air, bar none.

In the UK there are also spinoffs called Celebrity MasterChef (pitting D-class celebs against each other in an abbreviated version of the main show) and MasterChef: The Professionals, where young professional chefs compete against each other. The Professionals one tests their fundamental skills a lot more. None of the UK shows have the backstage backstabbing/romancing or whatever elements (though there is sometimes tension in the kitchen) - it's pure competition and cooking.

Dianne
Re: MasterChef Australia

Watching the Australian version of Masterchef here in NZ. For me it is just a soap opera. Very poorly produced. After being such a fan of the UK format, I just hate this format. There is only a couple of contestants worthy of being there. I'm going to the Living Channel to watch the UK Master chef Go large, far more interesting. It is on at 9.30pm. The other thing I hate about this show is the obvious favoritism by the judges. Really sickening. There supposed to be looking for the BEST, and quite frankly that aint happening. NAF.
The contestants vote out there peers, how odd is that. Rubbish. Cooking dosn't improve much either.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 5 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

I suppose I have the advantage of being able to instantly drag through the "drama" bits and just watch the cooking parts. Not sure I'd be willing to watch it if I couldn't, although I don't agree with you about the favouritism - I got the impression, for instance, that they'd much rather have kept Justine last night, and rather have had the boys lose that Hong Kong Challenge.

Ronin
Bento-ing from: Owens Cross Roads › Alabama › USA
Joined: 14 Oct 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 25 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

Master Chef is coming to America! Fox has picked up a series ala Ramsay.

http://www.tvsquad.com/2009/11/03/gordon-ramsay-cooks-up-new-show/?icid=main|main|dl2|link5|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tvsquad.com%2F2009%2F11%2F03%2Fgordon-ramsay-cooks-up-new-show%2F

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 1 week 4 days ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

I am about 90% sure Fox is going to totally ruin it.

PBS did bring a version called Masterchef America or something some years ago, but I guess it didn't go well.

The only cooking competition show for non-chefs that seems to be on the air in the US is The Next Food Network Star, though many of the contestants that go on there are chefs. All the other shows are for pro chefs only. Sort of strange.

Diana
Re: MasterChef Australia

MasterChef is the only addictive reality show I've ever watch. I remember sitting in front on TV every night at 7pm and felt lost after the show finished. But like all high rated shows somehow it grew...as in they made the show longer by adding more dramas. There goes my "reality" show. I enjoy the cooking.
If Julia Child taught America to cook then MasterChef taught Australia to cook. One of online recipes website http://www.taste.com.au said after MasterChef showed Pressure Test about Paella one night, Paella became the top hit search recipe in Taste, lol.
They launched DVD on MasterChef Australia: Masterclass, it's a compilation of Cooking Classes from the series with Gary Mehigan and George Calomboris.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 5 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

And the recipes are here. Not sure if they filter you out by geographical location or not, but have a try.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 5 weeks ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

We now have Masterchef New Zealand.

The first episode was abysmal, the judges very contrived sounding and all really rather cringe-making. However, they're NOT actors, so it may take a bit for them to relax properly, and they had improved a fair bit in episode two which was on Wednesday night.

The format is similar to the Australian one in many respects, but it's only on once a week and it looks as though there will be no "voting off" which is a plus. They chose 24 people in the first week and halved that in the second. I'm assuming they'll be getting rid of one contestant per episode from now on.

And guess what! One of the contestants who has got into the final 12 is a boy (I shouldn't call him that, he has to be about 40 by now) I've known since he was seven years old. His uncle is a good friend and ex-boyfriend of mine. So now I have to watch all of it and not just zip through to the cooking bits.

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 38 weeks 22 hours ago.
Re: MasterChef Australia

Cool!
That's going to spice up the series for you! Do let us know how MC-NZ pans out (and how your friend's son gets on!)

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

New forum activity since your last visit

TitleAuthorAnswersLast Postsort icon
Sesame salad dressing Supertaster932 weeks 5 days ago
Authentic paella? maki1033 weeks 6 days ago
IMPORTANT: If you have a blog on JustBento... maki236 weeks 4 days ago
Shiso - uses for this herb Loretta038 weeks 4 days ago
Fuki (Japanese Butterbur) Tsukemono Recipes kumo538 weeks 5 days ago