A person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, especially for a sinister purpose.
OK, so that’s a little dramatic but Sven did start his Masterchef journey in pretty outrageous fashion. Monica and Marcus batted their eyelashes at him all series with a look of love bordering on embarrassing. Well, he was good if a little dated. Yes, I spotted the Ritz dining room in his introductory VT so it was clear he would create classic, well turned out food and he found his inner Sven eventually, even if it was by rummaging around in his allotment. I also couldn’t overlook his big Ben Affleck face.
There wasn’t an obvious trend this series ingredients-wise other than game but there was a lot of standy uppy food. Do I care about erect parsnips, carrots or pork loin? Yes, actually, I do. I care not one bit. I realise chefs like height in their food but, come on. One particularly enjoyable moment was the don’t-use-a-sous-vide round. YES! This is why I liked Sam. He made a point of explaining that his focus is ‘traditional methods’ ie, AN OVEN AND HOB rather than the modern twattery that is thermo mixers and water baths. I whole-heartedly agree. Then he muttered something about Marcus being his idol and he wanted to be him.
I then noticed his serial killer eyes and thought it best he not progress any further. Ben was also impressive with the correct look of a young chef: pale and haunted.
There was some self-taught snobbery aimed at Alex, who entertains out of a disused tube carriage; the eccentricity of Sean, a Maltese chef who fears vegetables; Daniel, who seemed to stab himself in the leg and Danny, the intensely intense Geordie. Let’s not forget a particular favourite of mine, Jonathan who just seemed like a really nice bloke who ballsed it all up and the wonderful Luciana. Marcus clearly had a liking for the Brazilian chef and why not? “I want to scream! Can I scream?” WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE-CREAM!!
Mainly, the things I noticed from the new location were ‘the walk’. No longer a determined strut, our chefs seemed to walk at speed in a dangerous part of town. Are those bullet holes I see in the nearby building?
The other major WTF moment was during the quarter-finals. Y’know that bit when they cook some food, present it to the critics then wander off to a corner somewhere quiet (usually leaning on a work surface or the like), puff their cheeks and say “man, that was hard!”? Well, now they do all that then find a little bricked up turret. HUH? It looks like something out of Guantanamo Bay. “Yep, Jay Raynor hated that salmon, off you go for a little bit of torture. Just a little bit. You saw what happened to Daniel, right?”
The critics were on fantastic form this year. William Sitwell was seen arriving on a bicycle. In a pair of shorts. Thankfully he changed into more suitable attire for his afternoon of fine dining where he proceeded to have a barney with Jay about Sven’s souffle. AMAZING. More of this sort of thing please.
Of course, much has been written on Marcus Wareing and the fact that he didn’t make anyone cry or generally be a dick. I myself have noted his apparent transformation from dick to overall nice bloke and watching a recent episode of Saturday Kitchen, I think I’ve worked it out. He cooked a lovely looking lamb chop and aubergine recipe while explaining the £1.4m refurb of his restaurant at The Berkeley. It all made sense. He witnessed the complete gutting of a place he’d been connected to for years, reopened it as Marcus with an easier-going atmosphere and opened Tredwell’s, a relaxed bistro style affair. He spoke like a man in a new phase of life, someone who could be more relaxed, more himself and less of a dick.
Monica deserves special mention too – she admitted that she was ready to walk upon hearing the news of Chef Michel’s exit but calmed down and decided to stay. Thank god! She seems to work well with Marcus and always likes a chuckle with Gregg. Ah, yes, Gregg. Hanging around like some kind of gooseberry. I suppose he has to stay in the public eye, stay relevant and stay trending on Twitter. How else would he bag wife #8?
In conclusion, a strong judging panel, an exceptionally strong brigade of professional contestants and a very worthy winner.