The Masterchef Challenges I’d like to see…

For my Kiwi friends, this post contains no spoilers…

I love Masterchef – the Australian version, that is – it’s one of the rare reality shows that has a good positive feel to it. As tempting as it would be to play up the challenges of living in a group house – and everyone who’s ever lived in a group or share house knows what I’m talking about – the producers keep the focus firmly on the food and really celebrate the growth of the contestants.

This year though, something has been rankling at me – just a vague irritation that started as a bit of an itch, but that now is like that mozzie bite that you can forget about for most of the time, but that flares up just when you’re trying to go to sleep.

I’ve managed to pinpoint it to two root causes: the focus on dessert and fancy equipment.

Now, don’t get me wrong, although I don’t eat sugar (outside of its fermented form) and generally have just a handful of desserts per year, I can appreciate the beauty of the creations that are being, well, created. And by amateurs. But average home cooks these aren’t – no matter what the advertising says.

Masterchef has done a great job of encouraging people into the kitchen, but with the attention on dishes that no ordinary person can recreate – seriously, what was with that floating ice cream? – I have to wonder whether they’re in danger of intimidating the same people they’re looking to inspire.

IMHO the best week this year was home cook week – when all the fancy equipment was taken away. No blast chillers (after all, who really has one of them in their suburban kitchen?), no sous vide machines (is that how you spell it?), no smoking guns, no thermomixes – just the blenders, mixers and food processors that most people have. The looks on some of the contestants faces had to be seen to be believed – they want us to do what without what?

I also enjoyed the mac cheese challenge – although some of them obviously hadn’t eaten much mac cheese in their time – and the 6 egg elimination where they only had 6 eggs to last through the whole of up to 3 rounds. We’ve all been there.

If you look at my favourite episodes in recent years there’s a definite theme: the jaffle challenge, the dude food challenge, the leftovers challenge, and the Nigella midnight feast challenge. As an aside, Nigella looked far better in that red checked shirt than anyone has the right to look in a checked shirt.

There’s absolutely a place for the amazing conceptual creations – these guys are seriously that good and I love watching with awe what they come up with – but mixed between the fine food and super dessert challenges that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen on Masterchef before – I’d like to see things like:

  • The mince challenge – over three rounds. Let’s see how many ways they can do this family staple.
  • The rissole challenge. From the humble salmon rissole to a hearty wagyu burger, the options are wide.
  • The leftover challenge. Again let’s make it over three rounds – and let’s make the leftovers the real things that you’d find in an ordinary fridge. Sausages three ways anyone?
  • The caravan challenge using ingredients and equipment that you’d find in the average holiday-maker’s caravan and packed SUV.
  • The dinner guest challenge. The one where you’re confronted at the last minute by the lactose/gluten intolerant vegetarian who doesn’t eat all vegetables – but only some of them – and sometimes eats fish, but not shellfish. And, before you write to me, I’m not having a go at anyone with dietary intolerances, choices, or allergies – only those who accept a dinner invitation and tell you about those intolerances and allergies once they’re actually sitting down. True story.
  • The footy challenge. Similar to the dude food challenge, but the judges are footy fans in the middle of watching the State of Origin.
  • The challenge where the contestants have to attempt to source the ingredients in their local store to recreate the elimination challenge super dessert that’s like nothing that’s ever been seen on Masterchef before.
  • The Sunday night challenge – the one where you’ve had lunch out and everyone wants something to eat, but isn’t sure what – and doesn’t want too much. That one.

Anyways, rant over, I have to go and watch the recording of last nights show – without the annoying flame bits. Apparently the food is some of the best this season.

Do you watch Masterchef? What challenges would you like to see? Have you ever tried recreating any of the dessert challenge masterpieces?

Ok, it’s Thursday, so that means sharing our happy. Like the Partridge Family sang C’mon Get Happy! Am I the only sad case old enough to remember that?

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Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

17 thoughts

  1. I agree with you, the Masterchef challenges are not attractive to the everyday Aussie. I noticed in home cooking week everyone was disappointed they had no fancy equipment.

  2. I have given up watching Masterchef for the very reasons you mention i.e. it is now totally detached from reality. Who cooks like that anyway and you can’t tell me they don’t go to masterclass before the filming starts. For me it is an unreality program.

    1. I still enjoy invention tests & mystery boxes, but yeah, I reckon they must have some lessons…

  3. I watched last season and there was a girl who really only did desserts and even if she did a main she made it into something needing moulds and the blast chiller. I know social media got really irate over the fact she stayed in so long. I also got a bit over all of the ‘smoking’ of things last year.

    I only started watching it this week so I can see they’re using such sophisticated stuff – the smoking thing and the liquid nitrogen and stuff. It’s all so artistic and conceptual… though maybe I’ve just come in at Heston week and that’s why?!

    1. Yeah…it’s Heston week…or as Sarah would say: the dude who does unnecessary stuff to food…

  4. Yep – a bit more REAL in the REALITY would be great. Why not give them a budget and ask them to shop then prepare meals for a family for the day or week? #realitybites 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  5. I agree, some of these cooking shows are a little far fetched. I would like to see them do a 4 ingredient, cost less than $20 and cook in less than 30 minute challenge. #TeamLovinLife

  6. I’m not really into Masterchef. I’m a good home cook (I think anyway!) but wonder why anybody would want to put themselves through that stress???! However I like the sound of your challenges, especially the mince challenge, and the caravan challenge – I could TOTES win that one, we travelled Australia in a caravan for 6 months so I think I’d have that one well and truly covered!!!

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