Masterchef UK started tonight at the new time and new channel, proving not just how popular the program is, but also how much people enjoy watching the blood sweat and tears behind creating passionate food.
Boasting a swanky new set, both Gregg Wallace and John Torode launched themselves straight into the frying pan of uncertainty, as the doors opened for eager foodies to cook to impress and secure themselves a place in the top twenty.
The dishes served up were an eclectic mix ranging from inspired to tired.
There seemed to be some that had practiced and had become reasonably well versed in their showpiece which received fair praise, and deservedly so. Then there were those that made me wonder if firstly they had even attempted the dish before, and secondly, if the individuals had ever watched Masterchef before to gain understanding as to the level of cooking expected.
We saw the usual suspects lined up: People looking for career changes, people with mid life crisis's, those who have been told by Friends and lovers they are amazing at cooking. The obligatory I want to quit my job and open my own Gastro Pub (grrrrr), The over thinkers, under-achievers and the raw edged souls who yearn for guidance to become the next best thing in the Industry.
After 45 minutes of preparation time, the hopefuls load up their trolleys one at a time and dispatch themselves into the room beyond with a single kitchen area to finish their offerings in front of the two formidable hosts.
This gave Gregg and John ten minutes to grill, quiz and de-construct the individual, before they pass their judgement on the presentation, textures and flavors set before them.
Dreams were fulfilled for some, for others they were dashed, whilst a small handful were granted the opportunity to retry by returning the following day. At the end we were left with 11 hopefuls through to the first stage of this prestigious televised Food journey.
For me, Masterchef has not really started yet, and won't until the chosen ones start cooking in that big Kitchen, competing against each other to be recognized for their raw abilities, secret talent. These first two days almost feel like they are purely a demographic pleaser, an amuse bouche, keeping en vogue with currently big audience grabbers and smacking of Xfactor/Britain's Got Talent. Gregg and John look relaxed and comfortable in their surroundings, and unnaturally quiet with regards to their usually animated verbal-isms, almost like they too cannot wait to get stuck in to the Starter courses that are the first rounds.
The show does already promise to be as emotionally exciting as always, with each of us finding our wannabe to champion (although my favorite tonight was axed during the life-line cook off, so need to rethink). And most of this is down to the personalities of the keepers of the Aprons.
These guys are all about food.
They have passion, knowledge, a nurturing quality and above all else, an infectious attitude to the fact that the proof is in the eating. Hell! I get excited watching them get mesmerized by some of the food they eat, the smiles and noises of ecstasy when someone hits the notes spot on and plays the tune they know so well.
I would love to meet those guys and share a whole day of eating and talking Food. Or even a whole weekend........Or a whole week.
......Or once every 3rd weekend for a year.
One of my top qualities as a Chef is that I am always talking about ingredients, dishes and all things food orientated with friends, family, colleagues and often clients who ask questions like I am a walking Food bible.
One of my bad qualities as a Chef is that I am always talking about ingredients, dishes and all things food orientated with friends, family, colleagues and often clients who ask questions like I am a walking Food bible.
And that is what this show represents. Passion for what we do and for what we eat. Britain has a relationship with food that is ever growing stronger, putting it well and truly on the map as one of the top, if not the best, Countries for all things Culinary. Thanks to the Chefs, the Producers, Foodies, and the likes of Masterchef UK for making food more than just a means to live.
Don't just Eat to Live. Live to Eat!