The battle of the MasterChefs!
MasterChef is a television competitive cooking show which originated in UK in July 1990. The format was revived and updated for the BBC in February 2005 by executive producers Franc Roddam and John Silver. In 2009 the format was re-developed in Australia. The success of this Australian format was then imitated world-over. The format was named 'MasterChef', which is now produced in more than 40 countries.
MasterChef Australia is the most watched television series in Australia, which also won the award for 'Most Popular Reality Program' in 2010. Their season 2 finale was the third most watched show in Australian television history. MasterChef Australia has become so popular that it is broadcasted across the world.
The revived format is sold internationally by production company, Shine Group.
The 1st season of MasterChef Australia started in 2009 with Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston as judges. They were later joined by Matt Moran in 2011. Together they create magic on screen! They bring us the best amateur home-cooks of the country, and groom & guide them to the finish line.
MasterChef Australia has become a benchmark for all other MasterChefs that followed suit. The over-all format of the show remains similar across the globe;
-- Auditions - Top 20 - Mystery Box - Elimination - Team Challenge - Elimination - Finale.
But even still, other MasterChef shows do not come close to the grilling and pressure Australian contestants go through. The 80+ episodes show goes on for months together, polishing the skills of the contestants with unbelievably tough challenges.
Most of the other countries have a 20-25 episodes season of MasterChef. They stick with the routine of the above mentioned format from Audition to Elimination till they reach the Finale Week.
Australian MasterChef puts in time, effort and faith in ALL its contestants, giving multiple chances and challenges!
Lets see what Australia does different in their MasterChef..
What Australia does different..
- Auditions: Lets start from the beginning. The Australian MasterChef (MC) holds auditions on a big scale! Every level allows the top 10-20 to enter the next level, but the rest are not kicked out. They are given another chance in an elimination round. Seriously, anyone can have a bad day - kicking someone out on just ONE bad dish doesn't seem fair in the auditions. This is something Australia MC gets right! Getting the top 50 down to Top 24 in multiple rounds. Other MasterChefs have a single screening round with ONE chance for everyone. Doesn't seem very fair does it? Maybe this is why MasterChef America season 4 winner Luca Manfe was eliminated in the auditions round in Season 3. Odd isn't it.
- Multiple Judges: MC Australia has 4 judges and many guest judges - appearing in episodes in multiple rotations. This gives a fair trial for everyone without any bias.
- Skill growth: The show is not just about eliminating contestants every episode. MC Australia invests time and money in their contestants - polishing them to create real MasterChefs. There are MC classes every week from two of the judges. Every winning team gets specially arranged classes from other talented Chefs across Australia. A fair chance for every contestant to learn and grow.
- No negativity: Now, if you are a MasterChef fan and have watched MC from multiple countries, you know what I'm talking about! There is no drama, no negativity and definitely no abusing on Australia MC. Frankly, this shows the intent of the show! Very unlike MasterChef USA.
- Show not just for TRP: As mentioned above, the show is created and formatted with good intent and not just to generate Television Ratings. There is no unnecessary fighting or dramatics on the show.
- 'MasterChef' not determined in 25 episodes: Now seriously, how can you determine who is the ultimate cook in 20 something episodes? Shouldn't this process involve serious pressure and polishing of contestants before determining it.
- Every skill is tabbed: The judges at MC Australia put the contestants through every kind of test.
- Sense of time: Completing the task within the time frame.
- Sense of taste: Determining the ingredients in a dish, sometimes blindfolded!
- Sense of communication: One of the tasks involves the contestants in a team to work one at a time and then communicating the next steps to the other contestant in under 60 seconds. This develops their skill of communication and clarity of thought. Helps them develop calmness in pressure.
- Sense of flavor: One of the tasks at MC Australia is correcting a horribly made dish. This requires them to add a few ingredients in 5-8 steps to correct a dish. This works on their taste buds and sense of smell.
- Working under stress: And lastly, the judges make the contestants work under tremendous stress.
- Stretches over months: MC Australia keeps the contestants in a working environment, away from emotional bonds and society as a whole. This makes them focus on just the thing they have come to do.
- Working from scratch: Not everything in life comes easy - especially in a MasterChef kitchen. The contestants are made to learn everything - from scratch. Baking breads all night and making their own pasta doughs for professionals is something they are grilled to do. Knowing every single technique - thats what MasterChef is all about.
- Providing educational rewards to the winning team: Not only is the winning prize an amazing meal but it also involves the teaching process by the guest chef. This is something missing from ALL other MasterChef shows.
- 'Invention test': This is something that fascinates me the most. As one gets closer to the end of the show, the judges take an Invention test. This is basically cooking something from what the contestants have learnt on the show - from all the judges, the guest chefs and each other! This is ultimately the true test of a home cook.
- Immunity Challenge: One of the best features of this MC is the fact that the contestants have to EARN their immunity. Just winning a mystery box does not give them the advantage of an immunity. This has to be earned by contesting and winning against a professional chef from the industry in a blind tasting by 3 judges. Amazingly tough isn't it?
- Taste Testing: MC Australia has a very different approach towards taste testing. Not only do the participants have to determine the ingredients in a dish, but they also have to cook with the ones they get right!
Everything said and done I have to sign off by saying that be it any country, MasterChef still remains by favorite TV show!
Cook. Eat. Love!