Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Mandatory MC Australia Post!

MasterChef Australia...where do I begin??

I've been a devoted follower of this show since it's debut 7 years ago. I've watched it religiously year after year, rooted for contestants I liked (Marion Grasby from one of the earlier seasons, Julia Taylor from a couple of years back, and Jamie from last year are a few who have stayed with me), and not to mention that my knowledge of food and cooking techniques has increased manifold thanks to the show (that I don't use any of it is an entirely different story)!

I do not make plans for weekday nights during the 2-3 months that MC Aus is on air. It's my absolute favourite show in the world (second only to 'Friends').

I'm aware I might be sounding deranged but MC Aus has therapeutic value for me. I look forward to it the entire year. Regardless of the issues I might have on my mind, I tune them all out for the one hour the show is on air every day and just feel myself ensconced in the warmth, positivity and fuzziness of MC Aus. And that is the reason I love it so's just such a warm, positive, feel good show!

The judges are critical...if the dish is bad they rip it apart but it's done professionally. There's no drama and no personal attacks. And there is always a positive take-out in terms of what the contestant could've done to make their dish better.

Contestants who end up in elimination don't act as if their lives are over...unlike in MC India. There's no barrage of tears. Rather they treat it as a bad day at work and the elimination cook-off as an opportunity to come back focused, with a positive mindset and put up a brilliant dish that would help them stay in the competition.

If they don't perform well in a challenge the focus is always on redeeming themselves in the next challenge. If there's a team member who lets the entire team down in a team challenge, people don't run to crucify him/her. Rather they are forgiving.

The other reason I like MC Aus so much is because every contestant is there for the right reason, and that is that they have a food dream. It could be having their own restaurant or catering business, or starting some other business revolving around food, or pursuing some other food related career. Unlike MC India where almost every contestant has a sob story and is there not for anything remotely related to food but because they want to buy a house or pay off a loan or get money for someone's treatment etc.!

Also, MC Aus is a wonderful representation of Aussie culture. The contestants come from all kinds of diaspora...Australians, Brits, Middle Eastern, Indians, Asians...and everyone brings a slice of their culture to the show in terms of the dishes they put up. Many challenges focus on the use of native ingredients, and the friendliness, warmth and positivity that permeate the show are the trademarks of Australian culture as well.

The quality of contestants over the past 2 years has been mind blowing. They are putting up restaurant quality dishes just in week 2 or 3 now! In the earlier seasons one didn't get to see such a high caliber of cooking even in the finals.

My favorites this year are Georgia and Billie. Georgia is a brilliant cook and comes across as sweet, cheerful (but not nauseatingly so) and full of warmth. She does tend to panic under pressure but is getting better at controlling her nerves with every episode. In one of the team challenges her team had no dish to show after an hour and ten minutes of cooking, but she pulled something together in the last 5 minutes. To be able to overcome your tendency to panic and have such presence of mind when you are pushed against the wall is commendable.

Billie too is a wonderful cook...quietly confident. But the dark horse this year could be Reynold, I feel. He cooks well, has amazing plating skills and has earned praise from the judges for both. I can also see Jessica go a long way but I'm not sure she can take out the Masterchef title.

Unfortunately, for all my love for MC Aus I haven't been able to convert any of my family members to fans of the show. They dismiss it as a boring cooking show and aren't even willing to give it a chance. Except my sister...she likes MC but she's a bigger fan of MKR (which I don't quite enjoy).

I'm looking forward to see who wins this year. My money is on Georgia! If only she continues to have a grip on her nerves.


Moonshine said...

I don't even remember how long I have been watching this show. I don't think I caught the first season. I started watching the season where Adam won the contest! Drama main best is MC US and second is MC India. Here at least there is no melodrama and food is the focus. The contestants also mostly get along and root for each other unlike MC US. Its so funny - MC US has also started and I don't feel like watching it at all! I love the judges on MC Aus.

And what is also amazing is - whenever we go out to eat during the MC season, you always hear people at the adjoining tables discussing it! These guys have become like celebrities in India!

Scarlett said...

I was watching MC US last night and the person who won the Mystery Box challenge got the advantage that he could save whoever he wanted from elimination and the people he didn't choose would go into the elimination cook-off. Something like this would never happen on MC Aus! In MC US contestants are always conniving against each other and trying to get the people they don't like eliminated.

The less said about MC India, the better. And I've heard MC UK is quite boring.

And you're right, the MC Aus judges have become celebrities in India. Gary was here last year I believe and there was a lot of brouhaha over his visit. He loves India too...he's big time into South Indian cuisine :)