I will be watching Masterchef this year, I don't always watch the celeb or professionals but always the amateur series
... as a fan of the program I've always enjoyed the honesty of the judges, John and Gregg, the aspirations of the contestants, the ones who flourish and the ones who's pomposity is burst with a truly awful dish. John and Gregg are not your friends who, at every dinner party, praise you for your 'wonderful cooking', they're direct and honest and more than a little painful at times. The 'journey' is a much copied format now but its always great to watch the huge leaps the semi-finalists take as they progress and get opportunities to learn.
... as a previous contestant and winner I have a huge debt and can share the highs and lows from a privileged perspective. I know a lot of the team behind the cameras, the directors and the brilliant and committed Series Editors Karen and David. I know the program is honest to its core, John and Gregg, the production and the contestants are kept at arms length from each other. I'm sure the production would have preferred a female finalist in the last couple of years but the judges are kept separate from influence and, I believe, only ever judge on the food placed in front of them.
I know now Gregg and I are friends that I wasn't his favourite to win my series until the final day although I had no inkling when I was contestant which way either of them felt.
... finally as a restaurateur there are some wonderful new ideas and dishes, its great to see other kitchens (we cooks lead pretty insular lives)
The format changes this year, I don't know how similar to the Aussie or NZ Masterchef it will be but I do know the production team is basically the same as the previous series. I know they're a bit nervous of the new, more glamorous perhaps, format and studio losing the audience who like the grittiness of the original series but am confident there will be the underlying honesty kept which will ensure the series will continue as a success.
So good luck to the program, more importantly I wish the last few luck as they are now committed to cooking for the next few years, I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have. I look forward to hopefully meeting you soon.
Series 7 Masterchef starts on BBC1 at 9pm this Wednesday 16 February
(I might be making a brief appearance on the 24th February)
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