Saturday, 3 October 2009

master chef

i have to admit to being a fan of master chef. well the british version at least. which is odd because i really don't enjoy cooking and i avoid most cooking shows like the plague. gordon ramsey i avoid just because of his bullying nastiness. and jamie oliver i never bothered with as soon as i found out that he didn't actually cook with no clothes on.

but the thing with master chef is that they aren't trying to teach the viewer how to cook. you don't have to sit through endless explanations of techniques that are never practical for a home kitchen or try to learn recipes with exotic and expensive ingredients you'd have to spend hours trying to find (yes, even you jamie oliver). it's more about the competition and the celebration of excellence, and that i can relate to.

i've been following the australian version as well, but don't enjoy it much. mostly cos it's like big brother in some aspects, and i really don't want to watch a popularity contest, i want to watch a cooking contest. there is so much repetition, and waste-of-time interview excerpts with contestants that it drives me crazy. in between, there have been some really good bits like when julie won against the celebrity chef, but it's just not as riveting as the UK version.

now we're getting a nz version, and i can't say i was inspired by the judges that were "revealed" on close-up today (aside: what is with tvnz, and using a current affairs slot to advertise it's own programmes?? can they at least stop calling it a current affairs show and call it an infomercial!). in any case, i hope the format follows the UK version than the aussie one.

the one thing i do notice though, is that aside from the contestants, there are very few women on the show. how is it that so few professional chefs are women? is it something about the industry that creates barriers? or is it the working hours, which aren't very family friendly? or are the programme makers just not finding them?

it bothers me that none of the judges on any version of the show are female, and very few of the critics or celebrity chefs are either (although there was a great female chef on the aussie show this week). most of the domestic cooking is still done by women, but when it comes to serious cooking, women are absent. grrrr.


Brett Dale said...

I like Hell's Kitchen and actually don't think Ramsay is that nasty, he does what he does to try and get the best out of people.

The English version of MasterChef is far superior to the Australian version, which seems to be more tabloid.

Ramsay himself is running a campaign to get more Woman into careers as a Chef. He partly blamed feminism for the lack of Woman wanting to have careers as Chefs.

Angela Harnett is part of the Gordon Ramsay stable and is one of his most successful trained Chefs.

Random Lurker said...

Back when I had access to a gas hob I enjoyed Ready Steady Cook, because they frequently used ingredients that I recognised - and they were quick about it. Now I have an electric hob which I hate, so I don't cook, and don't watch cooking programmes.

Mikaere Curtis said...

Men tend to take on the high-visibility roles in cooking. BBQ, hangi, spit roast, cheffing - these are all high visibility, and therefore have high social value, and men are drawn to this.

I know men who won't lift a finger in the kitchen, but will insist on running the barbecue. I wish they wouldn't as they tend to be crap to average on the barbie.

My wife is going to apply for the local Master Chef. She's a fantasically creative cook and I think she'd enjoy the experience.

Brett Dale said...

Wow, good luck to yuor wife with trying to get on MasterChef.

stargazer said...

yup, good luck to your wife mikaere, do let us know how she gets on.

re BBQ's, i just had to share this which i got by email:

We are about to enter the BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity .
When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:

(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.

Here comes the important part:

More routine...
(6) The woman goes inside to organise the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat

Important again:

More routine...
(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:
(11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.

(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed 'her night off' and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women!