Last September I told you all about my great love of MasterChef Australia. People, my love didn’t waver during the three-month series (with six episodes each week – trust me when I say that MasterChef Australia demands a decent degree of commitment from its viewer). Tristan was OVER it by the end, but it was such a good series, filled with the usual collection of likeable judges, nice contestants, interesting challenges and really yummy food.
I’m sure you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the first series of MasterChef New Zealand was on TV as soon as the Australian version finished. Those TV programmers know what I like, that’s fo shiz. Sadly, the NZ version was terrible. TERRIBLE! It was modelled on the Aussie version, but it was so low-budget and had none of the charm and depth of the original. And the judges were dickheads. One of my reasons for loving the Aussie version is the way in which the judges and the guest chefs work so hard to nurture and develop the contestants, ensuring that their skills improve throughout the series. In the Kiwi version, the judges just criticised the contestants endlessly and did nothing to help them.
The latest British series of MasterChef has started recently and has been revamped – it used to be ultra-traditional, but now it’s gone all glitzy and is much more like the Aussie version. I’m not sure that it’s worked very well, though. The Aussie version is great because everybody is so relaxed and casual – the contestants wear their hearts on their sleeves and the judges were equally expressive. The British contestants are just so… British. They will become emotional, but you can tell that they feel so self-conscious about it. And it’s been slammed by the great British viewing public – people are saying that it’s reduced this classic programme to nothing more than a trashy reality TV show.
Now – joy of joys! – Junior MasterChef Australia is on TV. Blimey, it’s impressive. It’s got all of the production values of the adult version (and the same cool judges), but the kids are just spectacular. Seriously, you’ve got 10 year olds cooking food that I couldn’t begin to imagine tackling. It’s both amazing and terrifying.
Best of all, the Junior version has given the Aussies another excuse to feature Donna Hay, who I love. She comes across as such a nice woman, and her food looks delicious.
One of these days I’m going to be inspired to cook more myself, I promise. I know that my New Year’s resolutions included the plan to cook more, but for various reasons my New Year’s resolutions have gone off the rails somewhat…