Masterchef the Professionals – No more please. 1


Last week, the question was asked on Twitter:

Chefs: what would encourage/discourage you to enter @MasterChefUK the Professionals?

Having recently met Gregg Wallace and had a menu meeting with him & the kitchen team, I can confirm his knowledge of food is about as deep as a puddle. He went through the menu with a few gaffs, but one of the highlights was:

So chef- carrot & coriander espuma; that’s like phlegm, right?

Men’s magazine GQ, made their reasons for cancelling Masterchef the Professionals more personal:

No sooner had the human Cronut, Gregg Wallace, pointed his puffy, slack jowled face towards the camera I knew we’d arrived in whole new circle of televised hell.

followed by:

Now he looks like an obese man in a thin man’s body, a condition last seen on pop star Britney Spears.

I think I can give better and more valid reasons for cancelling the show, rather than laying all the blame at the feet of the former greengrocer with a trail of debt, who is there, apparently to represent the diner.

Monica- the ever so annoying gurning Sous Chef, with the now infamous catch phrase of:

I wouldn’t give that to Michel.

Yes, I’m sure there is a significant element of editing to make Miss Galetti look as ridiculous as she does, but really, what is her purpose in the show? Is it that Chef Michel has so many other commitments (advertising a specific brand of potatoes or doing masterclasses in the Saturday Kitchen spin off cookery school), that he has to delegate 40% of the week to his Sous Chef; not even his Head Chef, but his Sous Chef. I don’t know, but maybe Rachel Humphrey/Johnson (Head Chef at Le Gavroche) prefers to cook for customers, over cameras.

From what I’ve seen of this year’s Masterchef the Professionals, it’s all about ridiculing the industry, with car crash TV moments. Time and time again, fame hungry cooks (not chefs, there is a difference) fail with the most basic of tasks. In fact, the similarities to X-Factor on primetime Saturday night, are making me think that it’s just too formulaic.



There are the early stages: sorting the wheat from the chaff – ie the dreamers from the workers, where most of the social media ridicule the contestants. Poor knife skills, lack of knowledge and basically just dreaming about the book deal or name above the door; are all prerequisites to getting noticed in the first few episodes.

Then we move into the middle section: most of the dreamers (or as the BBC would have you believe, ‘hopefuls’) are weeded out. Remaining, are those lucky enough to have had a greater number of weaker cooks in their group and those that have been dedicated enough to actually have some skills & commitment. We’re now reaching the end of this stage, with ex-Restaurant Manager Marcel biting the bullet and the Jnr Sous Chef from L’ortolan, David, showing why he’s working in a 1 Michelin star restaurant, with a resounding thumbs up from the critics.

If the following weeks are anything to go by during previous series; Roux, Galetti & Wallace will reduce the numbers further with a repeat of this week. Then there will be various challenges including cooking in some profile kitchens, with the exacting standards that high end cuisine requires.

But you’d have to question the reasons for this. Let’s examine the previous winners:

  • Derek Johnstone
  • Steve Groves
  • Claire Lara
  •  Ash Mair
  •  Anton Piotrowski & Keri Moss

Both Johnstone & Groves have gone on to Head Chef appointments at Greywalls & Roux at Parliament Square, both profile establishments, with Groves working his way up through the ranks before his promotion in January this year. The rest? Despite Gregg Wallace repeatedly claiming these are the best chefs in Britain, they’ve failed to make any form of impact on the UK culinary scene, effectively becoming the culinary equivalent of Michelle McManus.

So I return to the start of this post, why would I not enter Masterchef the Professionals?

The answer is simple; it lacks credibility and any professional respect. To this point, early application forms asked if you’d had any experience of Michelin starred kitchens; with many believing that it might count against them.

Sat Bains & Co enjoying the set @ GBM a bit too much me thinks

Sat Bains & Co enjoying the set @ GBM a bit too much me thinks.

Masterchef the Professionals production team, could do no better than to look towards Great British Menu in terms of respect from chefs. People like Sat Bains, Simon Rogan & Daniel Clifford displaying truly exceptional skills & dishes; chefs that are clearly some of the best in the country- but then how could you have the likes of Galetti & Wallace judge them?

And this is the point. Sadly for all the talk of contestants wanting to ‘challenge themselves etc”, what they really want is fame. This is probably more a comment on elements of society in general, but seems quite applicable in this case.

Chefs; if you want to challenge yourselves, do it by all means. Be a sponge & absorb everything around you; learn, watch & study. Remember, the biggest question you can ever ask is

Why?

But gameshows are not the way forward.







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