WHY WE LOVE MASTERCHEF
Written by Gabriel Garcia on April 28, 2021
The Channel 10 juggernaut that is Masterchef Australia is back for another season with the first episodes already being aired. It seems like a century ago that the first season of Masterchef Australia aired in 2009. Upon the massive success of the first season Channel 10 has done what any self-respecting TV station would do and has milked the show like a prized heifer. With the new season about to begin we look back at what has made Masterchef Australia the ratings success it has been.
Masterchef Australia is first and foremost about food and heavens above don’t we love it. Australia is a nation of foodies and Masterchef Australia wets our appetite and has us wanting more with every episode. The food is delicious but also varied therefore representing the multicultural nature of Australia. On a given episode viewers can see a French Moules mariniere, next to a traditional English Roast, next to an Indian curry next to a MoroccanTangineand an Australian pavlova.
The contestants on Masterchef Australia are as varied as the dishes they present on the show. The producers of Masterchef Australia have gone out of their way to ensure that the shows line up is as representative of Australian culture. Some of the fan favourites include Emelia Jackson (Australian), Poh Ling Yeow (Vietnamese), Reynold (Indonesia), Jess Liemantara (Indonesia), and Sashi Cheliah (Indian). Furthemore unlike the shorter international versions of Masterchef the length of each season allows the viewers to get to know the contestants, their backgrounds, their aspirations. But it’s not just their varied backgrounds which makes the show so appealing but also the level of camaraderie. Unlike My Kitchen Rules (channel 7’s flagship cooking show) there is no bickering, bad tempers, and spitefulness on show. The support that the contestants show each other is both genuine and a marked difference to other competition shows. It must be noted that unlike international versions Australia Masterchef is much longer and therefore bonds can be formed.
Like the contestants, the judges of Masterchef Australiaepitomize the shows’ philosophy of support over negativity. Unlike other competition shows and even other international versions of Masterchef the Australian version is devoid of a stereotypical mean or nasty judge. The original judges consisted of three males; Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris who professional chefs and the food critic Matt Preston. In 2019 they were replaced by three new faces with series 4 Masterchef Australia winner Andy Allen, chef and restaurateur Jock Zonfrillo and food critic and the first Asian/ female judge Melissa Leong. Each judge both past and present manage to bring their own style and though all are serious in their assesments they manage to do so in a supportive non demeaning manner. Each judge shows a genuine desire for the contestants to succeed and seem heartbroken when contestants have to say goodbye. Another bonus is that the judges also give cooking tutorials to the contestants and therefore giving the audience a chance to learn from experienced cooking hands.
The Guest Judges
Alongside the regular judges Masterchef Australia has been priveleged to host numerous titans of the food industry. People like Gordan Ramsay, Nigella Lawson, Marco Pierre White (who was a regular judge in the spinoff Masterchef Professions) Rick Steins and Heston Blumenthal have all appeared throughout the seasons to not only put the contestants under pressure but to also impart their wisdom and guidance. Like the regular judges the guest judges often give on show cooking tutorials and in the case of Gordan Ramsay put the contestants on edge.
The Production Value
Unlike other international versions of Masterchef it is clear the Australian version has some serious money spent on it. Alongside the usual “field trip” challenges to various locations in Australia previous seasons have had contestants zip off overseas to places such as United States and Japan (unlikely to happen this year due to Covid). The variety of shooting locations make the show more interesting and as each season is so long it keeps the show fresh.
The variety of challenges
From pressue cooks, to theme challenges (who can forget Reynolds Alice in Wonderland Rabbit hole dessert in the fairy tale themed challenge), mystery boxes and resturants challenges Masterchef Australia has a variety of challenges that will interest every viewer. Some of the most memorable challenges are those either set by guest judges or pit professional cooks against the amateur contestants. And arguable the most enjoyable challenge for viewers is when the one and only Gordan Ramsay is put in charge.