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About syllabubdobdee

Syllabubdobdee has eaten three hundred-year-old eggs. He is 300 years old.

OzMC the Unending Ordeal*

*in a good sense

G&GIs OzMC the crucible for all the best MC trial-by-concept moves? The just-ended O/G MC (feat.Toad&Gregface) seemed oddly and anxiously in its shadow — with the introduction of Toad’s make-my-masterpiece test a hurried and blodged redux of a Gary&George move. Natalie is lovely and clearly a deserving winner — in a very strong amateur final three — but the series seemed skimped and hurried, with the cutaway-to-gurning factor higher than ever. Too much cheaty editing. JohnT seemed uncharacteristically stressed in the later stages, also (and Gregface more unwatchably over-parodic; all these tics he doesn’t really earn by DOING anything except eating and letching).**

Thing is, Gary&George (&Matt&Matt) give themselves so much generously longer, with their 90-mins masterclasses following the trials, and the endless succession of high-end cookery names cheerfully coming in to present the masterpieces to be there and then made at sight (and taste), and really almost none of them being as d!ckishly brittle as the worst sleb-chef guests on O/G MC. (I’m judging by 2011, which I’m currently watching on Really: it’s more than three months in, and we’ve just reached their final three. 2012 I haven’t seen.) Read the rest of this entry »

 

how dare you? how fvckin DARE you?

i: now first of all I accept entirely that RamsayRageTM is TV SHTICK first, and core belief possibly never. Unreliable Grapevine insists that he is (n person and off camera) much more affable and helpful and likeable person, who merely turns on the spittle-flecked beetroot-faced swearage for required ratings and drama (and since here I am watching and responding, why would he not?)
ii: but second, I find it interests me greatly WHERE and WHEN and HOW he chooses to be seen as enraged…
iii: this interest was lit up a week or so back by the ep of KITCHEN NIGHTMARES USA set at a place called Park’s Edge, run by two chaps called Richard (amiable, ineffective, front-of-house) and Jorge (bolshy, defensive, head chef straight out of culinary school). GR operatically “lost it” twice, once at Jorge, and once at a lowly tattooed frycook called Matt. The second confrontation was really odd — actually inexplicable within the standard (and simple) KNUSA narrative trajectory (and no attempt was made to step outside this narrative) Read the rest of this entry »

 

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what we don’t see is what we don’t get

had an interesting twitter discussion afer the MC final on thurs, with BDGTtT commenter @zone_styx, about the issue of all the hidden elements in masterchef:

zs: curious about the timeframes with Masterchef generally – competitors sometimes seem to improve by magic mastering super technical skills they haven’t been exposed to; dramatically more complex palettes out of nowhere do they get intensive research/brainstorming periods? help from series researchers?

self: working as sou-chef under the “mentors” = intensive research/techniquestorming surely? the winners are v fast at picking stuff, and the palate doesn’t come out of “nowhere”; the confidence under pressure is the real (showmanship) element. These three [eg the winners] all every evidently had better latent palate and skills from early on; just unfocused and (in koj’s case) anxious

zs: it’s prob just the compression of editing & missed a lot of this series, BUT am often surprised at disparity btwn hopeless task performances etc, then sudden rabbit-out-of-hat elimination dishes. would have to go back and find you examples really — maybe the schedule leaves them time to ‘woodshed’ in american phrase in between eps.

self: one of the things i find interesting is that you VERY rarely get a shot of anyone working from notes, yet clearly they can’t all be working purely from memory and improvisation.

zs: yes! one shot of *very* long itemized to do list tonight: several A4 pages! (Andrew’s).

self: aki tweeted that one big difference between what we see and the actual kitchen is NO MUSIC: it’s very quiet. my guess is also that in the “task” sections, they actually get a lot more coaching and advice, from professionals, than we see. now it’s over may actually quiz some of the contestants on twitter about such production details for the food-on-telly blog

in the interests of dialectic i am perhaps repping somewhat over-strongly here for the programme’s “integrity” as a genuine competition, but i entirely agree that the intensity of the demands of watchable (hour-long) drama over 12 weeks leaves a lot of mysteries, when you step back and think about it. Obviously you can’t go from untried amateur to in-reach-of-a-michelin-star in half a day: so how long does it take to shoot? How much off-camera time do they have? People reading is dull TV: it’s only fair to let people practice (which to start with means fail) off-camera. But is there a lot of talking — teaching basically — that we don’t get to see?

 

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deconstruction! what is it good for?

He didn’t lose — he was bold rather than timid — but the top-flight guest pastrybods on Masterchef evidently disliked Tom’s “deconstructed lemon tart” for look (“Did he drop it?”) and taste. All those screwed up little faces! And it did look like it wasn’t all there…

I don’t really get deconstruction, as deployed in cookery: it’s like the “list” bit of the recipe without the “then do this” bit (where “this” is combining everything on the list). Surely the combination of the ingredients is the best thing — how is keeping them all carefully separate going to be better? Readers, school me! Have you ever read Of Grammatology eaten a so-called deconstruction to pleasant effect? And what was it?

 

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masterchef: passing the test

As La Fanny notes in the previous post, the essence of cooking well is actually “IT’S GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT”, rather than “IT’S BETTER THAN SEX” — culinary excellence is not (in itself) that high a bar to clear; there are tens of millions of excellent cooks in the world, and only a very few of them wish to be high-profile chefs in the Ferran AdriĆ  sense. Masterchef has to preserve this low-bar high-bar dichotomy: essentially it’s a very severe (and carefully calibrated) obstacle course to discover the very very very best “ordinary” cook.

(Hence the need to siphon off a different class of competitor, with Professional Masterchef, which has a somewhat different sequence of pathologies…)

The obvious ones (for Masterchef OG) are:
i: technique (not burning stuff; not undercooking it; knowing how to prep meat; a basic knowledge of what to do in a kitchen and what not to)
ii: palate
iii: timing
iv: inventiveness
v: working knowledge of the tradition
vi: dealing with pressure
vii: curiosity and ability to learn Read the rest of this entry »

 

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PAGING AKI

An acquaintance tweeted that she was late for work after being trapped behind a fellow in Pret ordering a “dry cappuccino” aka JUST THE FOAM. Now that Aki Matsushima is out of Masterchef, she must apply her QUANTUM BRANE to such matters.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Masterchef UK

 

“i’ve come up with more recipes than you’ve had hot dinners”

NZMasterchef’s Ray McVinnie introduces himself^^^ with an obvious FIB. (Also I think this is a repeat from ages ago…)

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Masterchef New Zealand

 
 
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