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.