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And what about Master Chef?

Yeah I watched this too. Just realized there's an episode on opposite Top Chef tonite, will that be running 2 nites a week all the time? This was Gordon at his Kitchen Nightmares less obnoxious self. And totally pulling on the heartstrings with everyone tearing up, including me when the woman was talking about her mother dying. I find that Chicago chef funny but damn, he's one WAY overweight dude and those white eyeglasses have got to go. I think the Bastiarache (sp) dude will be the hard ass on this show. I don't know, could be okay but not sure it's DVR worthy. I'm pulling for the Korean guy at this point.

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  1. It seems to be the american idol of the cooking workl - find an unknown homecook with alot of talemt and potential. The set up was totally like AI as well, the apron was substituted for the golden ticket.

    Grahm Parker (the chef from CHicago) is the Paula Abdul of the cooking world. He liked everything, even that nasty beer soup. And, I agree, Bastianich is a total a**!!!!

    4 Replies
    1. re: AmblerGirl

      Graham Elliot Bowles is the Chicago chef.

      1. re: LikestoEatout

        Lord knows why but in my mind I kept confusing his name with Camilla Parker Bowles. Random. Thanks for the clarification.

        1. re: AmblerGirl

          And here I was thinking Graham Parker as in the British musician. Always did like pub rock, pub food, pub drinks...but I digress.

          1. re: AmblerGirl

            Tom Parker Bowles, the British food writer, is the son of Camilla.

      2. I just got done watching the latest season of Masterchef Australia. There its 5 episodes a week for 84 episodes. A lot of the top Chefs of the world were guest judges or involved and the contestant pool was of a very high talent level.I don't expect as much from Fox's version but will check it out this weekend.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chris2269

          I am completely embarrassed. The US version is more GR trash, fake fake fake fake. The British, Aussie and New Zealand versions are legit, classy, real and amazing shows. I knew he would do this to the US version.

          1. re: tobycat

            I was afraid of exactly the same thing. It seems they are trying to make Ramsay more lovable to American audiences who only know him through Hell's Kitchen. By replacing his obnoxious shtick with that of Joe Bastianich, they may succeed, but I agree the show is horribly transparent. I'll give it another crack, maybe it will be less so when they winnow out some of the contestants.

            1. re: jackbauer

              Ramsay is no more loveable than his jerk self on kitchen nightmares, and hells kitchen.

              I was sad to see he was chosen as the main host, but can't say surprised.

              and YES, every other version of Masterchef in the world is about cooking - not pulling your heart strings.

              Almost everyones "signature dish" containing sickening amounts of cheese. This show is about entertainment and the homecook, not someone who really wants to work in a kitchen. In the "prizes" all I heard about was $250,000, no cooking experience.

              This show sucks in comparison to the other Masterchefs! I hope I don't give in and waste more time watching this.

        2. I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did, and agree about pulling at the heartstrings. I got teary for that woman too, and the guy from Boston, and the mac and cheese guy. I'm curious if people really want to win this so much that it warrants all the tears (especially if part of the prize is the chance to work as a chef in a professional kitchen, I think that part would make me cry for the opposite reason); it must be nervousness, stress from all the waiting and exhaustion in there too. But it does seem excessive at times. We'll see if it gets to be too much, but for now I plan to watch it again.

          1. So far, I like this show. A bit over-emotional at times, but some of the back stories were good.

            Didn't realize there's another episode against TC tonight. I'll have to watch MC tomorrow. :-)

            I like the Korean server guy from California - he was really good at what he was doing, and the plating was beautiful.

            Agree on Joe Bastianich being the hardass in the group. The kinder, gentler (so far!) Ramsay is nice. :-)

            @ chris2269 - where did you see the MC Aussie version? Would like to watch it.

            6 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              I watched the MC Aussie version on realitytvfan.org

              1. re: LindaWhit

                I don't watch much Gordon Ramsay, but you say this is the "kinder, gentler" "nice" Ramsay. Yikes. When he wasn't being melodramatic nice, he was being a jerk, I thought. Bastianich may be the heavy, but at least he wasn't getting personal about being mean.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Ramsay's "act" on HK (American version) is all about yelling, smashing his fist into plates of food that weren't properly prepared, calling people donkey (although I think I've only heard that once this season!). The louder the better, I guess.

                  I've seen Kitchen Nightmares U.K. version, and he's relatively nice there. I've seen "The F Word" on BBC-A once or twice, and he's very sweet there as well.

                  His jerk quotient so far on MC is probably at a 10, on a scale from 1-50. On HK, he's closer to 40-45. :-)

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Yeah, that's why I skipped 2/3 of Hell's Kitchen, the schtick (I hope it's a schtick) is obnoxious. But I have to see how it turns out and he actually seems to yell a little less at this stage of the game when only the better chefs are left. Comparatively, he's like Paula Dean on Master Chef.

                2. "Just realized there's an episode on opposite Top Chef tonite, will that be running 2 nites a week all the time?"
                  Joanie - I just checked online at TVGuide - there doesn't seem to be another ep of MC until next week - where did you see that there's another MC episode on tonight?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    There was an ad on the CH web site on the right of the page. When it said 'tonite', I assumed they meant Wed. since they still had half the preliminary contestants to go. It must have been up for yesterday. That's good, I've got too much backed up already. (And does Project Runway really need to be 90 min long? Ugh.)

                    1. re: Joanie

                      LOL on Project Runway - but that's tomorrow anyway. :-)

                  2. I watched last night, and it wasn't bad but I think I'm going to reserve my final judgement until they really get into the competition. I could do without the HK editing, do we really have to wait until after the commercial to find out if they were awarded an apron? So far I liked the Korean waiter, and I don't like the guy who went from cocky to crying in the blink of an eye.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: lizzy

                      Yeah, both he and his "bouillabaisse" were a little phony.

                      1. re: jackbauer

                        I agree, both me and my husband are convinced he is an actor.

                        1. re: lizzy

                          ::::snort:::: Then he's a really lousy one. :-)

                          TWoP's weecap has an interesting take on ol' Dave, the Software Engineer from Boston:

                          "Let's spend some quality time with Dave, a software engineer from Boston, who does not want for self-assurance. "Some people call me cocky," he says. "I prefer over-confident." Look, let's just split the difference and settle on "jackass," OK?"


                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Yes, we felt he was a lousy actor as well.

                            ***" Look, let's just split the difference and settle on "jackass," OK?"***
                            Hilarious, I love it!

                      2. I watched it too. Joe Bastianich (Lydia's kid) is indeed being set up to be the heavy.

                        I liked that they really seemed to taste the food they tried and were wiling to overlook the crappy presentation that these guys don't know (yet) how to do. I would have eaten the catfish and pasta dish for sure.

                        I'm a sucker for any food programming, but this one didn't seem horrible. We'll see.

                        1. I think Ramsay is probably a terrific chef (I'm a little skeptical about the other two). but the first episode revealed a dirty little secret of so-called haut cuisine. The mac and cheese presented by one amateur was praised for its appearance and texture (t did look good), then the judges all said it was "underseasoned" - because it didn't have a load of salt in it. So why should a dish already loaded with cheese need SALT? And since when is salt a synonym for SEASONING? . The fact is most restaurant chefs load their foods with way too much salt (and butter for that matter), and claim that "brings out the natural flavors". This is utter nonsense, and is necessary only for people who have jaded tastes from using way too much salt in their food, which overwhelms the real flavors and makes it actually dangerous for some hypertensive people. It's no great trick to make anything taste "good" at first bite by loading it with fat (e.g., butter) and salt, but try eating that way every day.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: a1234

                            I don't think it's much of a secret that well cooked restaurant food has a good amount of salt in it. The reason the Mac and cheese would need salt is that it probably tasted bland without it. Salt absolutely enhances flavors and helps make the different ingredients taste more cohesive. Lastly, as long as vie been cooking I've known adding salt and pepper as seasoning.

                            1. re: donovt

                              Tasted "bland" to who? "Well-cooked" by whose standards? People who douse all their food with salt and consume three times what is recommended in their diet? (I would love to see how much salt is in a typical restaurant meal that all these top chefs are accustomed to consuming.)
                              I did not say you should not add salt and pepper to some foods. But consider the ingredients in mac and cheese. (1) The pasta has some salt in it and was probably cooked in salted water. Adding salt to a pasta dish is like pouring it on your bread. (2) Most cheeses are inherently very salty. (3) Even cream has some salt, and in any case does not need salt (do people add salt to their coffee and cream)? So the dish needs MORE salt? Do they add salt to EVERYTHING?
                              Yes, I do happen to know salt is a seasoning, but in this case "seasoning" and "salt" were equated. To me "seasoning" is not just salt and pepper, but also herbs and spices, which also enhance flavors. But we do not use them in large amounts in every dish. Perhaps the mac and cheese needed something else to kick it up (a dash of pepper or a drop of sherry, perhaps), but salt added to an already inherently salty dish?
                              Salt may sometimes "enhance flavors", but, as in every seasoning, if overused, it may also overwhelm them or may simply be inappropriate. If the chef added too much pepper or oregano to a dish, for example, most people would immediately object that it was overseasoned. Apparently we are so oversalted in this country we do not say the same about salt - we need it in large amounts in every food. Most foods (like cooked pasta and cheese) already have more than enough in them, except for those who have been oversalting their food for years and have lost their taste for the large amounts of salt already in many foods, like pasta cooked in salty water and cheese. This is no doubt in part a result of all the heavily oversalted processed foods we eat in this country,
                              A cooking tip to those chefs: If somebody doesn't think the mac and cheese has enough salt and want to exceed their recommended daily minimum, that is very easily fixed - they can ask for a salt shaker. Maybe this is an insult to the chef, but it's a matter of taste. People like me, who would probably think it tasted too salty, and people who are sensitive to salt (50% of the people with high blood pressure), have no such recourse.

                              1. re: a1234

                                I eat out at restaurants. And I'm not a fan of overuse of salt and use it judiciously - always have done so at home, so I'm sensitive when a chef oversalts food in restaurants. I've rarely - RARELY - had issues with how the chef in the restaurant has seasoned the dish or dishes I've ordered. I think you're preaching to the choir here about the use of salt in foods. We pretty much *know* how much is used. Believe me, I haven't lost my taste for the large amounts of salt used.

                                But you know what? You weren't there tasting the mac & cheese dish that was put in front of the three judges. You don't know the type of cheese the person used. Until there is taste-a-vision, we'll never know whether it was not seasoned well. We need to rely on the experts who were there.

                                Mac and cheese *can* be bland if it doesn't have the right seasonings. I know. I make it often, and once or twice, I've forgotten to add the salt to the dish as my recipes listed because I was distracted by someone or the TV or the cats. And this is with using the sharpest cheese I could. It definitely wasn't the same.

                                So for now, I think I'll trust that Joe Bastianich, Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot know what they're talking about when they said it wasn't properly seasoned. Because they were there, tasting the food. We know the many accolades given to Ramsay; Bastianich has had various awards given him from Food & Wine and the James Beard Foundation. As for Elliot? He was a 2004 Best New Chef in F&W, 3-time James Beard nominee, and the youngest four-star chef in North America.

                                I think they all know what they're talking about.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  On most matters of food, I would certainly defer to their opinions. But again, this a matter of taste, and these chefs are no doubt used to a LOT of salt. That is my point - it may be a blind spot with them, no matter how refined in other respects their palates are. (The food lacks flavor? Quick, it needs more salt!)
                                  Preferring the subtlety of herbs and spices, I add very little salt to food at home. I have almost never had anything in a restaurant that I felt needed salt, but I very often feel that the food has too much salt. I detest most processed foods with their enormous amounts of salt. Perhaps the chefs are unconsciously doing the same thing the processed food manufacturers are intentionally doing - hiding shortcomings in inherent flavor with sodium.
                                  I can't imagine adding salt to such a salty dish, unless, as you say, he used a non-salty cheese, which is problem in itself - the dish wouldn't need salt, maybe it would need a different cheese!
                                  In any case, if it's still not salty enough, you can always add it at the table, but you can't take it out. Rather than let the diner decide, their chefly egos require them to decide for the diner and salt shakers are no longer on restaurant tables. (We don't have that excuse at home.)
                                  (Historically, of course, the taste for excessive salt grew out of the need to use it to preserve food. In general, the fresher the food, the less you need to enhance - or mask - flavor.)

                                  1. re: a1234

                                    Did you watch top chef last night? Curious as to what your thoughts are on one of the chefs being called out for over salting. (I don't want to provide any more details for those who haven't seen it yet). Do you think the judges on tc have avoided the over salting issue that you feel has plagued the judges on master chef?

                                    You keep mentioning that the chefs should put salt shakers on the table. If salt and herbs are the same in terms of seasonings, should they leave little bowls of herbs and spices as well? If I'm going to a restaurant and paying top dollar, I want to leave the flavoring of my dish in the hands of the chef. I shouldn't need to adjust it in any way.

                                    1. re: donovt

                                      I did not watch, but good for them if they called oversalting. It must have been really bad. Some people think that many chefs smoke, which has dulled their tastebuds so they need the salt to waken their tastebuds.
                                      1. Like many Americans who consume large amounts of salt you are confusing flavorings with seasonings. It is a traditional culinary principal (see LaRusse for example) that salt is a seasoning, not a flavoring, as it is used to bring out the natural flavor of a food, not add a new flavor. Herbs and spices, which add a different taste to a dish, are called seasoning by some but are also flavorings, as they are intended to add a different flavor to the dish. .(To a purist, salt should not be noticed in a dish, as its role is to bring out other flavors, not add one. I might not go that far, but it's interesting that the modern American accustomed to processed foods and oversalting has lost all sight of that concept, and doesn't understand that oversalting is often used to simply cover up bad or non-existent flavor..)
                                      2. It once was quite traditional to have salt and pepper shakers on a table so people could adapt the intensity of the taste of he food. This was never so with flavorings, as this was always considered the provence of the chef. The recent rather arrogant idea that the head chef always knows what is best for the diner and every diner must accomodate himself to the chef's particular sensitivity to flavor has led to the idea that there is no need for individual salting. Again, the use of salt is to bring out flavor in meats and vegetables, not add them, as is the case with seasonings like herbs and spices. Lemon juice plays a similar role with seafood, and it is usually served in a wedge on the side so the diner can control it.
                                      3. Perhaps most important as a practical matter, some people can't tolerate a lot of salt (over half of people with hypertension will have their blood pressure rise with salt), so it is a matter of regard for the health of others that should be of concern to the chef. A diabetic knows to avoid certain foods but someone with salt sensitivity may not even know it and in any case is forced to accept the chef's prescription for salt when it is poured into everything on the menu.

                                      It is interesting to note that in on-line reviews of a new restaurant run by super chef Yannick Cam (Bistro Provence in Bethesda. MD), 2 of 7 on-line reviewers thought their dishes were undersalted. The waiter brought them a salt shaker. Should they have put themselves in "in hands of the chef" and not added salt? I think not.

                                      1. re: a1234

                                        I am not at all confusing flavorings with seasonings. In your first post you asked when salt became a synonym for seasoning. My reply was stressing the point that they are one in the same. I agree with the traditional principal that salt is seasoning, herbs and spices are flavorings. You staed in your second post that herbs and spices were, to you, seasoning as well. You never called them flavorings until your last post. That is why I asked if you think they should be on the table as well.

                            2. re: a1234

                              A high percentage of professional cooks are also smokers, which undoubtedly affects their sense of taste and may well account for the liberal hand with the salt.

                              1. re: a1234

                                So you're claiming that any time a chef says a food needs salt, the food is cooked properly and the chef just has oversalted taste buds? You haven't tasted it, seen the recipe or list of ingredients and you're just assuming the mac and cheese must be fine?

                              2. I really wanted to like this. I turned it off after 15 minutes.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Firegoat

                                  I look at it like American Idol or SYTYCD - these are the auditions. After next week, they'll have picked their 30 and will be helping them learn - really learn - how to cook. At least that's what I'm hoping.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    As a hopelessly addicted American Idol fan, I have to say I LOVED Master Chef. Last night anyway. The "auditions." I don't care either way about Ramsay. We see him enough. But Elliott is the Paula for sure and Joe Bastianich has usurped what would have seemed to be the obvious and has taken over Ramsay's assumed role as the Simon. I loved Bastianich's dry personality. We'll see how this all translates once all the "auditions" are over, but as of last night, I think I'm hooked.

                                2. holy crap
                                  too sensational
                                  they killed the charm and legitimacy

                                  1. this show is terrible! ramsay is the worst!!!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: celfie

                                      Ramsay is way too full of himself. Does he at least keep his shirt on for the whole episode (I hope)?

                                    2. Formulaic and a poor imitation of a successful genre. Graham Elliott plays Paula Abdul/Ellen DeGeneris, Gordon Ramsay plays Harold HIll and Joe Bastianich, while playing the heavy is no Simon Cowell, more like a sneering David Carradine Shaolin master, or maybe as "Bill" from "Kill Bill", and where is Nigel Lythgoe when you need him?

                                      1. i liked it i'm almost ashamed to say. I never watched american idol or whatever though, so I can't say anything about comparisons.

                                        Meh. My taste in shows sucks. I know I shouldn't like it but I do. I'll watch it again.

                                        1. I find Bastianich to be hilarious and will watch just for him.

                                          1. I planned to audition for the show but had a last minute conflict.

                                            Glad I didnt

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                              Just curious, what would have been the appeal to you of being on the show? (assuming it was the kind of show you thought it was?)


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Because it was there, more or less.

                                                They were pretty vague about the specifics of the show, actually.

                                                I'd probably rather be on NFNS but I doubt that will ever happen, so I'll just have to focus on Jeopardy.

                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                  Ah, okay. Now I have to know: what's your culinary point of view?


                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    I would have been Melissa from NFNS. She makes dishes on her show that I make all the time. Or the "Gourmet Next Store" from 2 seasons or so ago with that woman who won by default and bombed.

                                                    Thats why they'll never choose me. Plus Im too old. Im still a better cook and have more personality than some of the contestants.

                                                    Ive resigned myself to Jeopardy though ...

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                      Ah, okay.

                                                      The show seems pretty youth-oriented, but that's TV in general. Still, I think someone who was really spritely and grandparently could be interesting to watch. You know not Serena, but Serena's grandmother. not Aarti, but her mom or grandma. That sort of person.

                                                      (I don't know how old you are C. Hamster, but I'm just making the point that maturity brings some legitimacy sometimes.)

                                            2. i am most disappointed that the dignity in master chef is completely lost. in australian master chef (the best one), there was a kind of sincerity and gentleness as the judges carefully served themselves from the plate and made awkward facial expressions as they attempted to understand what they jsut ate (this part always makes me gag but it's good!). The way fox plays up the sob stories lends to the inauthentic feel, as does the lighting, and ramsay's dominance over the other judges. I also couldn't stand when ramsay would spit food out and conduct himself in a horribly rude manner. It's a shame that a better network didn't pick up the franchise because fox's interpretation is simply awful. Hell's kitchen worked for a while before it became completely generic and formulaic. The US kitchen nightmares is also terrible - sensational, always with a sob story, a resistant chef or owner, some kind of community event etc. The UK kitchen nightmares is so much more compelling!!! I now hate ramsay and I hate fox and I feel bad for americans that think this is what master chef is. It just goes to show that people in other countries are way more intelligent and care more for thoughtful entertainment than americans who like to be slapped in the face by shows overwrought with fake drama

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: celfie

                                                Who are the judges in the Australian version of MC?


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  Main Judges

                                                  George Calombaris - has been awarded more accolades for his work than most receive in a lifetime, and this exuberant chef is still just 31 years of age

                                                  Gary Mehigan - With his award-winning establishments, Fenix and Maribyrnong Boathouse, among some of the finest dining experiences in Melbourne, Gary's credentials command attention.

                                                  Matt Preston- Internationally acclaimed and revered food critic.

                                                  Some of the Guest Judges
                                                  Hiroyuki Sakai
                                                  Jacques Reymond
                                                  Martin Blunos
                                                  Heston Blumenthal

                                              2. Only watch tv online so option are limited. If the blubbering crybaby crap stops Ill keep watching, otherwise I probably won't. If I wanted to watch people cry I would still watch Days Of Our Lives....