Masterchef used to be a sort of twee little show where housewives and gay men competed to create overly frilly dinner party fare whilst Lloyd Grossman unctuously slid around the set with a slightly bemused looking professional chef in tow. The re imagining of the show has turned it into a professional sport. A sort of UFC with chef's whites. Nowhere on the planet could such a proposition have reached more fertile ground than here in Australia. I can't really stress how big the show is here, it's the X-Factor with mis-en-place, a TV event so important they moved the only live prime ministerial debate of the upcoming election so it wouldn't clash with the final. In fact, I have the suspicion that they really ought to have made the debate a mystery box challenge to guarantee the viewing figures.
|The lumbering form of Matt Preston|
Another interesting change is that Masterchef is on a commercial network here in Australia. This means that every advertiser under the sun is allowed in on the act. A supermarket sponsors the pantry proclaiming "if you want to cook like a Masterchef cooks, shop where a Masterchef shops"displaying the sort of logic that a febrile seven year old would use to get his parents to buy him Batman pyjamas. Given that this is event TV of the highest order it's inevitably a feeding frenzy, overshadowing the World Cup and forcing the coverage of the Tour de France to include recipes.
So what does it say about Australians and food? Not a great deal, I think. As in the UK, this is cookery competition and popularity contest folded together, it's about winners and losers and there's nothing more Australian than that.