These days, thanks to the internet, I have access to virtually every cooking show ever produced, and I just watch whatever I get my hands on, really. Top Chef remains to be my favorite, especially Masters, although I did rage quit one season the moment Takashi Yagihashi got eliminated. I loved him in that show. I also liked the earlier years of Hell's Kitchen, and will always cherish that moment when Gordon Ramsay called someone a donkey, but there's only so much raw scallops you can serve before it ceases to be amusing. Similarly, I also liked the earlier seasons of MasterChef US, and it did not occur to me that I would miss Joe "I process food with my brain" Bastianich until he left. The current season is just so very meh, so I decided it was time to move on to the greener pastures that is MasterChef Australia.
So I began watching the current season and my goodness. It's like night and day.
- Let's begin with Matt Preston's trousers. They have more personality than that new judge in the US version.
- And George is like a mini-Joe Bastianich, except likeable.
- One of their guest judges is freaking Marco Pierre White, who used to make Gordon Ramsay his bitch.
- Granted, he does do a lot a proselytising, almost ("When you have a dream, it is your duty to achieve it." Well NO SHIT Marco), but when he broke down that lamb carcass it was pure beauty. Also, it's not like you can shut him up; the guy has serious Hannibal Lecter vibes.
- The US version gets its entertainment value from pitting one crazy contestant against another; the Australian version assumes that the cook, sans the snarky comments and the bitching about in general, is sufficient to entertain the viewer. And I guess it is, because they have a crapton of episodes. Season 7 has 62. SIXTY effin TWO. At roughly an hour and a half each, it has undeniably been a significant part of my life over the last couple of weeks (I marathoned and managed to catch up before today's finale).
- The skill level is... not even close. Not by a mile. As an example, this is the dish that eliminated Rose in episode forty-something of MasterChef Australia:
- She managed to finish Janice Wong's Cassis Plum desert, but it was just not good enough.
- And this is the dish that sent Charlie out of the running for MasterChef US:
- He frosted it with his bare hands. I have nothing more to say.
- There is one Filipino contestant in this season of MasterChef Australia, and it breaks my heart that he had to be such an insufferable ass. And not in a Dale Talde way where you kinda think "maybe he has issues and once he
resolves themsees a therapist he will be less of a douche"; it's in an "I really want nothing more than to punch you in the face" kind of way. White chocolate velouté. Never again.
- I am now watching the season finale. I've never been so emotionally invested in a sugar ball.
- I AM NOT CRYING. I AM NOT CRYING OVER A STUPID SUGAR BALL THAT POPPED.
- And just like that, season's over. I don't know what to do with my life now. Maybe I should, I don't know, "hero" something.
P.S. You can order a Matt Preston standee here.