Kitchen Crack: MasterChef Australia

As Monday the 28th September 2015 finally rolled round, the addiction began anew. MasterChef Australia is now back in my life and my commitment for the next three months is set.

If you’re an avid viewer of the UK version you’ll know that the series began back in 1990 and has since been through various changes which include changes to the show itself as well as the presenters. The show was overhauled in 2005 and after several name changes, returned to the classic MasterChef in 2008. The overhaul meant that there were two permanent judges – John Torode (Australian chef and restaurateur) and Greg Wallace (presenter and former greengrocer). The show is presented in various stages (heats, quarter-finals and comeback week) until someone is crowned MasterChef of a particular year eight weeks later. Seems quite a good show, right? Well I think so – but – just what does the viewer get from it?

Well having watched MasterChef for a few years I thought I got a lot from the show. It was great entertainment for a foodie and made you think about new food ideas and ways to present them. But then I watched the Australian version and my whole perception of what a MasterChef should be, changed.

I first found MasterChef Australia on television a few years back and ever since that first show I’ve been a fan. Compared to the UK version of the show the Australian version gives you a much better in-depth look at food and the contestants journey through the show. Set up as more of a reality show you follow the contestants as they journey through their MasterChef experience. Along the way you see their challenges, their thought processes, how the competition is affecting them as well as their enthusiasm for what they are trying to do as well as some celebrity challenges from top chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Shannon Bennett and Rick Stein, to name a few. The show is complimented with masterclass sessions that teach not only the contestants but you, as the viewer, also. Want to know how the contestants could have fixed an error while cooking a specific dish? Well it may just be presented in masterclass alongside new recipes. So not only are you watching the show but you’re also learning in the process, something that doesn’t really happen with the UK version.

And through it all you have three permanent judges, guiding the contestants, willing them to do well. The Australian judges are Gary Mehigan (British-born chef and restaurateur), George Calombaris and Matt Preston (British-born food journalist and restaurant critic). And unlike Torode and Wallis these three presenters couldn’t be any warmer or enthusiastic. I’ve often found Torode to be easily bored and sometimes dismissive of contestants but none of the Australian judges are like this. They share hints and tips and also get invested in the contestants journey through the competition which is something I’d much rather be watching.

So why is it commitment you ask? Well, unlike MasterChef UK which airs five nights a week for eight weeks, MasterChef Australia airs six nights a week for almost three months. It might seem a bit excessive but I can assure you that if you do watch it, you’ll be drawn in.

Episode one kicked-off last night with the top fifty, soon to be whittled down to twenty-four by the end of the audition process. And even this is fun. Some of the contestants produced some amazing dishes and this was only the auditions! Every year the food amazes me and some of the amateur wannabes were producing some of the most professional restaurant-quality dishes in the first show! I am so glad we get to see the auditions as last year we didn’t and if felt like we started watching the competition without really knowing who we were watching which was a bit of a disappointment.

So I’m sorry if I seem busy for the next three months, the truth is I’m just addicted to MasterChef Australia.

MasterChef Australia season 7 is currently airing on the Watch channel (times vary).

*No links have been put into this post as MasterChef Australia has already aired in Australia and as such I don’t want to be accidentally spoiled while searching! Sorry.


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