It will be a very interesting start to next year’s TV ratings season with the possibility that both My Kitchen Rules and MasterChef Australia: The Professionals will be going head-to-head on rival channels. Not to mention next year Channel Nine is airing The Great Australian Bake Off too and I hope that is not at the beginning of the year as well, or we will have a three-way cook-off between the three channels!
We don’t know yet what timeslots and days MasterChef Australia: The Professionals will be on, but My Kitchen Rules will surely be on at its usual 7:30pm timeslot for a few nights, possibly from Sunday to Wednesday or Thursday, every week. Given the wishy-washy way that MasterChef Australia had been going the past two series and how much manipulation was done behind the scenes for the now-defunct junior franchise (Anna Gare is now confirmed as a co-host on the forthcoming The Great Australian Bake Off on Channel 9), I am not too confident that the new professional series next year will be any difference even though we are getting Marco Pierre White as a judge, and that Gary and Gearge are not involved in this franchise. However I am hoping MPW will not be helping the contestants as much as Gary and George did which always allowed weaker contestants to get much too far into the competition and made the whole competition a joke. I will give it a go but if it appears to go down the same old road, that will surely be the end of my MCA journey!
Anyway here’s the first look at the new franchise filmed in the new Melbourne MCA Kitchen, it looks promising but we will wait and see (note how they naughtily add the MPW’s demand of quail, quail, quail sound bite from Season 3 main franchise into this promo):
“Marco Pierre White and Matt Preston are set to put the MasterChef Australia: The Professionals’ contenders through their paces, but are they ready for them? Take a First Look and get a glimpse of what’s in store when the 18 contestants hit the kitchen!
MasterChef Australia: The Professionals is coming to TEN in 2013.”
Update December 30, 2012: Here’s the First Look Teaser of MCAP. The series will premiere on January 20, 2013!
Update January 10, 2013: With the premiere of the professionals’ series less than two weeks away, here are two articles in the newspaper today:
Pressure’s on as super MasterChef studio unveiled
The Michelin star rises again
Episode 1 – Sunday, January 20, 2013: The Name Is Marco
MasterChef recap: franchise goes professional
Woohoo, the magic of MasterChef is back! I haven’t felt this nervous for the contestants since the first two series of the main franchise, and I don’t even know them yet. To be honest I was not expecting much from this new professional franchise, I knew I was going to give it a look but really have not had that feeling of can’t wait for it to start. It was more like when it starts, it starts, and I will just give it a go before I decide if it is worth wasting my time continuing watching this series. But wow, after the first 10 minutes, I was hooked.
I like how they introduced the contestants by having them walked into the kitchen one by one. For a moment there, I thought Big Brother was back on Ten, LOL. I actually felt a chill down my spine when Marco walked in and the lights on those signature dish photos turned off one by one as he walked past… It was like signalling that the REAL MasterChef is here, stepped away as all of you are a long way from there yet! LOL. So it was a very good and impressive start, I will definitely keep watching, even though the theatric of setting up drama is still there, well I supposed they have to seeing that there will be a lot less fumbling about with this lot of contestants, like the dish with the missing duck being sent out by Marco and ended up with Matt. Well, for me these little theatrics can be forgiven if the standard of cooking is impressive…
Baked local snapper, roasted tomato, Port Lincoln king prawns, Zucchini blossom and basil (Marco Pierre White)
Seared Yabby tails, Champagne butter and Yarra Valley Salmon roe (Marco Pierre White)
Aromatic Golden Duck Broth, Duck and Ginger dumplings with Otway Forest Shiitake mushrooms (Marco Pierre White)
Flinders Island lamb, slow cooked in cumin jus with asparagus en papillote, golf ball carrots, thyme and olive (Marco Pierre White)
Vanilla creme brulee, mixed seasonal berries, warm doughnuts and yoghurt sorbet (Marco Pierre White)
Caramelised white peach tart with ginger verbena sorbet, diplomat cream and mango (Marco Pierre White)
Episode 2 – Monday, January 21, 2013: Team Challenge – Tramcar Pop-Up Restaurant
Raw beef? One scallop? MasterChef takes the Myki
Another great and hectic episode. It is so refreshing to see competent contestants, and so far lack of any unnecessary crying, and such a 180 degrees turnaround when compared with the main amateur series. I have thoroughly enjoyed the first two episodes. No more ‘Hot n Cold’, but more hot, and less cold with the arrival of the new theme song ‘Hall Of Fame’. The shared house has also disappeared, which is a good thing because we can go straight into the competition rather than wasting time watching them getting up, having breakfasts or lounging around at the beginning of each episode, let’s hope that’s the case in future episodes too. And oh, haha, no more fireballs!
Episode 3 – Tuesday, January 22, 2013: Elimination Challenge
From offal to rock and roll: MasterChef continues
Episode 4 – Sunday, January 27, 2013: Re-Invention Test – Fish and Chips
All at sea over fish and chips (recap by Adam Liaw)
So, what is the difference between Invention Test and Re-Invention Test? Isn’t Invention Test usually also a re-invention of some other dishes, as it is highly unusual to invent a totally new dish in this day and age? Just a question to ponder over. Anyway I thought this was a very weak episode with the usual top 3 and bottom 3 being fed to us in the first 15 minutes, I lost interest in that time and was mulling over during the episode that I am glad MKR is returning tomorrow, at least they know how to keep an audience interested…
Episode 5 – Monday, January 28, 2013: Team Challenge – Zumbo’s Wedding Cake
Oh, no! It’s Zumbo!
Episode 6 – Tuesday, January 29, 2013: Elimination (Team) Challenge – À la Minute Service for 120
The souffle of doom
Once again, the edit for the episode practically gave away who was going home in the first few minutes! Kiah who has not been given much airtime was suddenly front and centre in this episode indicating he has either done well or failed miserably, with Cameron and Nick the other two focuses. Surprise, surprise, the episode ended with Nick having cooked the dish of the day, and Cameron and Kiah both failed with their dishes… I know the MCA producers are obsessed with story telling, but who in their right mind tell a story by giving away the ending in the first few minutes!
Seared Port Lincoln king prawn linguine, tomato capers and jamon serrano (Marco Pierre White, cooked by Red Team)
Grilled 200 day grain fed John Dee Scotch Fillet, broad beans, lettuce and Peppercorn sauce (Marco Pierre White, cooked by Red Team)
Dark Chocolate Fondant with caramel mousse and hazelnuts (Marco Pierre White, cooked by Red Team)
Episode 7 – Sunday, February 3, 2013: Re-Invention Test – Sunday Roast
Vego to the slaughter in pudding flop
After a fantastic, hectic start in the first week, then the boring, predictable second week and the rapid drop in ratings after MKR started, and with the saturation of promos the past few days for tonight’s episode, I’m guessing there was a sense of panicking at Ten… I’m also wondering if there was a rush to re-edit tonight’s episode to make it not as clear who was going home as they concentrated more on Tracey and Nick and not as much on Kylie… However after two weeks, it was still the predictable editing of featuring only those who were doing well or really badly, as we are still yet to see any individual dish cooked by Bonny, or Michael, or Nathan…
The only highlight in tonight’s episode for me was Marco giving Tracey his simple Yorkshire Pudding recipe (& subsequently to us viewers at home) ONLY after Tracey had put her second batch in the oven, which is a big contrast to Gary/George rushing in to physically help the contestants when they had trouble and giving them an advantage.
Episode 8 – Monday, February 4, 2013: 30-20-10-Minute Challenge
Skill and thrills as chefs put to the time test
Ouch, up against the most anticipated episode of My Kitchen Rules this year, MasterChef sank to a record low ratings of just 628,000 overnight viewers (not counting the MasterChef MasterClass episodes of the main franchise) for this episode. Disaster!
Duck, 30-Minute Challenge – Sweet spiced duck with summer Asian salad and coconut jelly (Cassie Delves)
Vegetables, 20-Minute Challenge – Artichoke and poached egg (Nathan Brindle)
Seafood, 10-Minute Challenge – Carpaccio of scampi with pomegranate (Cameron Bailey)
Episode 9 – Tuesday, February 5, 2013: Elimination or Not (Team) Challenge – The Losers vs Jacques Reymond
Jacques attack! (recap by Adam Liaw)
Episode 10 – Sunday, February 10, 2013: Re-Invention Test – Pavlova
Pavlova ‘super nova’ as complex as landing Mars rover
I am beginning to wonder why I am still watching this show? I must be an idiot… Well, yes, I am, really!
If you have watched any show on TEN, ELEVEN or ONE over the past few days, you would have been inundated with promos showing Akuc, Bonny and Coop attempts of pavlova re-inventions in this episode. Any remote chance of any suspense or dramatic moments were all fed to us in the promos, so after watching the episode, I felt like I was watching a repeat of the episode, there was no suspense or surprise at all with those three ending as the bottom three! I could have switched on the last five minutes just to see which of the three ended up leaving and not felt like I have missed the episode at all. Talk about a waste of an episode, give me a traditional big fat luscious pavlova any time, I would not want or desire to eat any of the top three’s anorexic-looking re-inventions anyway… In fact, the only one that looked appetizing was Akuc’s non-re-invention of the Pavlova Roll… LOL
By the way, must a dish look different to be considered a re-invention? Can’t a new combination of flavour be considered a re-invention? Sometimes the look of a dish is what make that dish unique, and I think pavlova (or pavlova roll) is such a dish! By making it look different, the re-inventions of the top three are not pavlova anymore, they are just meringue with cream and fruit! By baking a crisp thin meringue, where is the gooey centre essential in a good pavlova?
As an aside, what is the point of the knife-pulling theatric? If it is meant to dispel the myth that the same dish is printed on all 9 knives when they were done in the main franchise previously, it is not working. It actually reinforces the myth by having Matt pulls out 2 knives and making those two dishes unavailable. That made it looked like Matt was told which two knives he was supposed to pull out and the other 7 knives still had the same dish printed on them, which was exactly the dish that the producers have decided for the episode! The knife-pulling also does nothing for the viewers as we are always told by the promos what dish they are cooking anyway before the episode airs! For me as a viewer, it would have been much more effective if the 9 dishes planned are announced at the beginning (just announcing them would suffice, not by having Matt to first pull out a couple of knives which effectively killed off those two dishes) and get some reactions from the contestants as to which dish they would prefer to be cooking from the selecion, then the knife-pulling would have at least some meaning, as to the disappointment/delight from the contestants…
Episode 11 – Monday, February 11, 2013: Mystery Box – Kitchen Scraps
No recap from The Age newspaper anymore, and no recipes available, has everyone given up on this show?
Episode 12 – Tuesday, February 12, 2013: Elimination Challenge – Solo Service for 120
Episode 13 – Sunday, February 17, 2013: Team Challenge – High Country Bush Banquet
Couldn’t escape old Regret
Episode 14 – Monday, February 18, 2013: 40-Ingredient Laksa Taste Test & 27-Correctly-Identified Laksa Ingredients Challenge
Episode 15 – Tuesday, February 19, 2013: Elimination Challenge – Perfection On the Plate
Episode 16 – Sunday, February 24, 2013: Re-Invention Test – Moroccan/Mexican Fusion
Are you a Moroc-can or a Mexi-can’t? (recap by Adam Liaw)
Episode 17 – Monday, February 25, 2013: Team Challenge – Canapés for a Garden Party
Episode 18 – Tuesday, February 26, 2013: Immunity Pin Team Challenge – Catering for 120 Italians
Episode 19 – Sunday, March 3, 2013: Re-Invention Test – Rabbit Stew
I am still bewildered by the Re-Invention Test, what does it actually mean? Tonight there were gyozas, tortellini, 2 crépinettes and a terrine using rabbit as the main ingredient, and they were all considered as re-inventions of rabbit stew? The theme could have been an Invention Test using rabbit, and it would not have made any difference! Seriously, would they list those dishes as (even as de-constructed) rabbit stews on their menus in their restaurants? This is one of the main reasons that MasterChef is no longer a must-watch show! Setting up challenges that do not seem to mean anything, and confuse the contestants… How could they produce good dishes if they do not even understand what the challenge is supposed to be?
The other reason that MCA has failed so miserably is that some contestants are being ignored in every episode during the individual challenges. It is the equivalent of not showing some performances in, say, reality singing competition. Let’s say I wanted to follow the progress of two or three contestants from the beginning, and I was not able to because they were not prominent and not shown in the first couple of weeks. I then chose to follow those that were being shown constantly (yes, I meant you, Cameron and Akuc), and when they were culled, and those that were invisible in the beginning became more visible (like Michael and Nathan), I have no vested interest in them anymore… How can we, as audiences, get excited or looking forwards to some contestants getting to the final and possibly winning/losing when we were not given the chance to follow their ups-and-downs through the competition? This is one thing that MKR does so much better than MCA, even though I watch MKR more for its reality component than cooking component, at least I know I am getting to see all the dishes being cooked, and can follow all the contestants from the beginning without them being ignored by the editing.
Episode 20 – Monday, March 4, 2013: The Memory Challenge
If Sarah uses her immunity pin tomorrow, tonight’s challenge is just a waste. With Rhys winning tonight and supposedly do not have to cook tomorrow, but if the pin is used, he is forced to go into the challenge tomorrow anyway, so what is the point of tonight’s challenge? To create drama by the producers? In retrospect, the giving out of the immunity pin last week was exactly to create this stunt by the producers. You might just as well give the best dish to Sarah tonight instead of Rhys… There should have been a contingency plan in place should this situation happens, for example, if Rhys is forced into cooking, he should be immuned from elimination. Really, this type of stunt just alienates the few viewers that are still watching, we want to see fair competition, it seems the producers never learn from past mistakes!
Episode 21 – Tuesday, March 5, 2013:
Episode 22 – Sunday, March 10, 2013: The (Ridiculously Expensive) Luxury Mystery Box
Mermaid tears can’t truffle Marco
Episode 24 – Tuesday, March 12, 2013:
MasterChef loser ‘shattered’ by elimination
Episode 25 – Sunday, March 17, 2013: Grand Finale
MasterChef: The Professionals finale recap
Rhys has won the title! Have to say I lost interest in this series, too much of the incomprehensible Re-Invention Tests, too much of cooking Marco’s dishes, not enough of cooking their own dishes… I watched the first hour of this finale, then switched over to watch Downton Abbey, and just managed to switch over during the ad break to catch the winner announcement. I have PVR it, but not sure if I can be bothered watching the second hour which I have missed…