June 22, 2012


Cooking competition shows are a dime a dozen on tv these days, especially if you start wandering around on cable channels. (Cupcake wars, anyone? How can you have a war ABOUT A CUPCAKE?!)

But there is one you really should be watching. 

via gossipandgab.com, pretty sure it's originally from fox.com
A pretty simple premise--home cooks compete in culinary challenges to become the next MasterChef. So why should you watch Master Chef instead of Chopped or Bravo's Next Most Famousest Chef Ever?

1. Gordon Ramsey
I hate watching Hell's Kitchen because Gordon Ramsey runs around and yells at people and I hate yelling.  I love watching MasterChef because while Gordon Ramsey definitely tells people when their food is terrible, he gets all nice and "let me guide you to the better way." You want the chefs to succeed because he wants them to succeed!

2. You actually might learn some cooking skills
For example, a few weeks ago, a hapless chef made mushroom risotto with unrinsed morel mushrooms. All of the judging chefs said "oh my gosh! You didn't know you were supposed to rinse morels? This tastes like sand! Gross gross gross."

I probably could not have picked morels out of lineup for you, but now I can, and I also know, soak them for a long time so they don't taste like sand. When I next meet morels, I am prepared.

3. It's entertaining
Like any reality tv competition show, there are the people you hate, the people you love, the people you want to succeed, and the people who you wonder WHY CAN THEY NOT  GET ELIMINATED? The show also has that American dream quality where you think "hey, these are just regular people like me, who cook sometimes, and now they're competing for $250,000! Someday, I can be that cool!" Warning, you probably would have to do a lot of work to be that cool, but it's nice to think that if you wanted to, you COULD.

However, if you do watch MasterChef, I have to warn you of two things.

1. Dramatics
I don't mean drama between the contestants (although there's always some of that), but the drama of the editing. Every reality tv show is edited to be dramatic, but this one is a little over the top. Every commercial break comes right before the judges reveal an ingredient or an elimination. There are always cuts away to everyone crying during the elimination, nevermind that they used the same crying footage for the elimination the night before. 

This year there's a blind contestant, and every time she cooks something, there's soft, victorious music playing in the background. Whenever something bad is about to happen, it sounds like they're walking through Khazad dum. Even if the bad thing is "I've never cooked venison before!"

If this show was on in the winter, I think it would be annoying, but since it's part of summer tv lineup, it seems appropriate to embrace the camp and get back to more serious tv in the fall.

2. "The most amazing..."
Whenever Gordon Ramsey describes a food, it is "the most amazing." "The most amazing crabs!" "The most amazing artichokes!" "The most amazing leftovers!" Okay, he didn't really say the last one. Sometimes when we watch this show and Gordon Ramsey is about to say something, we say "the MOST AMAZING" loudly before he does.

so, you should watch masterchef. Mondays and Tuesdays, Fox, 9/8c, or at fox.com 

I wish Fox had paid me to write this. but they didn't.

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