MasterChef US – some thoughts on this season, and next year…?

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This morning I wrapped up my final MasterChef Season 3 episode recap. I’m sad to see the show over for another season, as it’s definitely become one of my favorite flavors of “reality tv” crack. (And yes, I know the Australian version is better. I know it’s manipulative. But I still love the US show. So there.)

Am I happy Christine won? Absolutely. I greatly admired her determination and positive attitude, I thought most of her food looked seriously delicious, and I think it was a great statement and positive message to send about those who might be differently-abled to have her win it all. I do think Josh did some great things on the show and was definitely more ambitious in his cuisine – especially his dishes for the finale – than Christine, but he did not always succeed and could sometimes be too arrogant for my tastes. And honestly, I’m still not sure I think it was fair for him to be brought back after an initial elimination. If every round of the competition was supposed to just be about the particular plate in front of the judges, and not past history, I don’t see how bringing back a previously eliminated contestant was at all fair. I had truly been hoping for a Frank vs. Christine final battle myself and I do feel that the season overall was weighted unfairly heavily toward dessert/sweet dishes instead of savory. Josh clearly had an advantage with desserts, hence him making it to the end. If there had been more savory elimination challenges instead of tarts, trifles, molten lava cakes, apple pie, and souffles? I’m not too sure at all that Josh would have been up there at the end and not Frank…

With my love for MasterChef, I suppose I should mention (to those who don’t already know) that I do plan to go to one of the casting call/tryouts for Season 4 (I pre-registered for the New York Casting Call in November.) Do I honestly think I’ll make it to the Top 18 – or even the Top 100? I have no idea. As some have suggested on forums and elsewhere, it seems as though the show is drifting further away every season from being genuinely about talented “home chefs” without any professional ambitions/training to those with questionable amateur credentials. I’m just a home chef who loves food. I’ve never taken a cooking class; all I know is from my mother, my grandmother, my cookbooks and what I love from eating out and traveling the United States and Italy. I don’t dream of working in a restaurant kitchen; I just want to keep writing about food and sharing what I know on the topic. I want to keep raising awareness about the plight of the modern American small farmer and how important it is to promote local farming and natural foods. I do think being on a show like MasterChef could help raise awareness for these issues, so if I make it at all past the initial try-outs, that will be my message and my motivation.

Whether you’ll see me wheeling a trolley of ingredients in front of Gordon, Graham and Joe next summer, I have no ideas. And I don’t want to get my hopes up unrealistically. But it’s something I just have to make an effort to try to accomplish. And I may end up spending some SERIOUS time this fall and winter brushing up on my baking and sweet cooking techniques to get ready for it…

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