TV Guide: Mastering reality television

2011-07-01 13:46

There are four hours every week when you should only talk to me if there is a real emergency, and I mean blood or broken bones here.

Those precious hours are taken up by Masterchef Australia, and for the past few months my Monday to Thursday evenings have been designed around Masterchef’s timeslot.

Kudos to M-Net first though for moving this extremely entertaining programme into prime time. Last year’s Masterchef was buried on the BBC Food channel, despite the fact that it is better and fresher than any of the drek repeats M-Net usually offers up.

For those of you who have not watched this, make an effort, it is top class entertainment - by far the best reality show on television.

But what is also striking is the quality of the show. No expense was spared in order to make it interesting and challenging.

I dread to think how badly we will do it here, and the judges will probably be part of the Cape Town food mafia who do not realise that the rest of us in this country also like good food.

We are now in the final phase of this season’s Masterchef, and the competition is really hotting up!

I have cheated and Googled the whole series so that I know what’s happening. And no, that’s not weird, I still enjoy every second of it.

For the past few months we have watched the contestants cook their way through some really unbelievable challenges, and the pace is set to increase. The remaining eight contestants are now in London for some seriously hard challenges and soon we will also see the return of some of our old favourites.

Confession time: Jake the cement renderer was my absolute favourite, not only because he can cook but also because he believed in himself. I wept when he was eliminated.

Speaking of tears, have you ever seen so many men cry on a TV programme? These are Aussies, supposedly tough as nails when they meet us on the rugby field, but boy, these men can turn on the tears when they need to.

Given that I frequently weep with them, I find this quite liberating. Also because they really put their hearts and soul into cooking.

But, if you watch it for nothing else, watch for the recipes.

Several of my colleagues are also watching and they have picked up some really cool food tips. Gary and George, the two chef judges, really know their food and it’s not the poncy stuff usually served up on food shows.

There is real skill and imagination at work, and my family frequently eat Masterchef food because the recipes are easy to follow and fairly easy to make too.

Remember that the contestants are people with real jobs who love food, and that puts them in the same position as many of us.

So get ready for a ripping finale, a few surprises and top class entertainment and cooking.

Masterchef is on Monday to Thursday evenings at 6.30pm with an omnibus repeat on Saturdays.
Happy eating/watching!

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