10 Improvements MasterChef Australia needs to make to survive in 2012
The MasterChef reality television franchise made waves in Australia when it first aired in 2010. MasterChef Australia 2010 broke ratings records as it was the highest watched program for that year, ever. The fresh take on a reality TV program had Australians glued to our television screens as we couldn’t wait to see the next episode. And why not? It was well produced, glossy and woke up the inner chef within its most avid subscribers. Catering supply store sales boomed as viewers were trying to replicate the most intricate of dishes, who could forget Adriano Zumbo’s Croquembouche Cake Challenge?
Now into its third successful year, MasterChef Australia is beginning to wane on its viewers. Although the producers have changed some of the competition rules and have made the challenges more demanding and unusual, the overall MasterChef format is killing the show. The very format that had us all transfixed to our television sets is now making us wince like the taste of curdled milk.
Could there be more drama in the Sydney Opera House than on MasterChef Australia?
Like a Friday Night Master Class, here are my top 10 tips to keep the MasterChef Australia dish fresh for 2012:
- Lose or reduce the narrative contestant interviews during the show. For example: The contestants are just given instructions on the challenge that they are just about to perform in by the Host or Celebrity Chef, then bam we are taken to a head shot of a contestant regurgitating what we have just heard from the Host. Why? Why do this so much throughout the show, are we all really that dumb?
- Lose the narrative contestant interviews with irrelevant contestants. During the show when the contestant that is doing most of the head shot interviews and narration is one of the least liked contestants or is a contestant who hasn’t appeared much in the show for their brilliant cooking skills I want to tear my hair out. This is like being preached to by someone that doesn’t go to church.
- Quit the cringe worthy product placement promotions. Product placement like when one of the contestants takes a spoon full of Product A Yogurt before they turn around and start ironing (in the contestant house), or the contestants are shopping in Coles for ingredients for a challenge and the camera quickly pans around and shows a nicely stacked shelves of Product B Paper Towel Wipes. Fair enough the show generates income from product sponsors but could the product placement be a little less staged.
- Show more of the dishes of contestants during an individual challenge. I understand this couldn’t happen at the beginning of the show with 25 contestants but when the MasterChef Australia contestants are down to the top 10 then why only show 5 or 6 dishes in a Mystery Box Challenge. By limiting the shown dishes to the very best or least impressive dishes it’s not hard to work out who will be facing the Pressure Test and who has won the challenge. Granted the non shown contestants have probably skated through to the next round on a mediocre dish, but don’t we deserve to see it?
- Give all the contestants equal air time. Some of the contestants this year (2011) in the top 25 weren’t even shown (in an introductory interview etc) until weeks into the show while some of the other contestants could have had their name in neon lights beside the MasterChef Australia Logo on the front of MasterChef Kitchen Headquarters.
- Try not to make the show hypocritical when it comes to food and ingredient selection. On one hand we are shown ingredients that the Celebrity Chefs are using like pollen from bees as they return to the hive used with Rosemary petals and exotic poached Brazilian fruits. Then in later shows we hear the Celebrity Chefs, tasters and hosts telling the contestants that less is more when it comes to flavor.
- Reduce the amount of suspense throughout each episode. I also understand that these suspense points are what makes the show interesting and keeps the viewer watching beyond the next ad break. But surely these suspense moments could be reduced in half because every time I see a hand pausing on the unveiling of a cloche I cringe inside because I know we are off to an ad break.
- Reduce the amount of dramatizations throughout each episode. Okay one of the contestants didn’t get the theme ingredient out of the pantry in time but don’t hype it up when we see that he can trade ingredients with a fellow contestant to get the theme ingredient. There was no repercussions so why was there dramatization with the suspense music and close ups of shocked looks. I mean, please reduce these little gems of nothingness.
- Try to reduce the amount of unusual contestants. I’ll probably cop some heavy criticism myself on this point because everyone will have a different opinion. We’ve got tattooed covered Goths, young girls with clown makeup in 50’s motif, token gay’s and beauty queens. I’ve got no problems with any of these contestants but we are watching MasterChef Australia not FreakShow Australia. Okay, okay I’ll take this point back, but if you are going to cook in a kitchen then surely you should be dressed like a chef and leave the dress up gear for before and after the cooking events. Come on, who wants to be served a gourmet dish for judging when the cook has more metal in his face than there is in the cutlery draw.
- Don’t over complicate the Master Class. The Master Class is teetering on the turning point of being over boiled, it’s time to take the pot of the stove and give it a quick seasoning. This is where we are treated to cooking method to make some pretty special dishes. The home viewer wants to watch to learn cooking techniques from some of Australia’s most decorated chefs and we get decent serving of this. However I do get frustrated when I am seeing long camera shots on contestants watching the cooking process, most of the time they look interested and sometimes they are trying to catch flies with their open gasping mouths. All this is very annoying; I just want to watch the Celebrity Chefs cook!
MasterChef Australia's contestent house is on Sydney Harbour like these Sydney Harbour properties
So these are my top 10 tips for a better MasterChef Australia dish, we’ve come a long way in Australian home cooking cuisine and we have MasterChef Australia to thank for it. Please keep up the good work and let’s hope that MasterChef learns to grow and evolve as its audience culinary tastes grows and evolves as well.
There are more roller coaster rides on MasterChef Australia than there is in Luna Park Sydney Harbour
MasterChef Australia is filmed and based in Sydney - Sydney Harbour Bridge