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Master chef: the Professionals (UK)

I'm surprised nobody has made a thread to talk about this program. BBC America is showing it from 8-10am weekdays, and DH and I have been watching it with delight. No whining, complaining, back-biting, or belittling of the contestants. Just actual chefs who (mostly) know what they're doing (some of them are extremely young), doing high level cooking. If it comes out looking like the dog's breakfast the judges are straightforward about it, and if something is really really good, it gets high praise. I also like that before they show us the chefs competing to make a particular dish, the viewers are walked through the recipe so we get to see how they're supposed to be done.

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  1. Masterchef UK and AU are worlds away from the basterdized Fox show all about cooking no sniping...like I said worlds away.

    1. Kaji- are you my fellow UK cheerleader on another site?
      I love this show! So much cooking and constructive commenting. Nice civilized people cooking their asses off.
      Every episode I find myself jotting down a technique or flavor to try in my own kitchen.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zillabreeze

        Not me... but I do think that English shows are almost inevitably superior to the US remakes, whatever the genre... DH loves Top Gear, but it's the personalities of the hosts that make it really work, the US one is just a copycat that doesn't have the same chemistry. And so on.

      2. Just caught this the other day, season pass set, looks like multiple episodes shows each week. Very high quality, not anything like the foxified version.

        1. There's now been five series of the Professionals. Assuming BBC America is showing the latest one (from 2012), then viewers should find it very enjoyable. The standard is generally higher than earlier series, which have had contestants who you would be gob-smacked to learn have ever been let loose in a kitchen.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            You're right H about the standard improving.
            I also like the fact that that if the professionals have made a bad dish and go out , they (mostly) accept that they just weren't good enough. There also doesn't seem to be as much of the mawkish editing of the normal series, with some sad back story about one of the contestants having had their cat trapped in a tumble drier.

            1. re: Harters

              They just finished season 5 last week and they've rolled back into season 4, which I haven't started watching yet. The standard on season 5 was pretty breathtaking, especially once they got to the semi-finals. I love watching people who are at the top of their game doing what they're really good at...

              1. re: Kajikit

                Series 5 is the most recent. Personally, I thought the result was a cop-out. Series 4 had some really good cooking and I picked the winner early on. That said, I picked the winner of series 3 - and have eaten at their new restaurant and found the experience quite dismal.

            2. My favourite programme. Monica Galleti is impressively scary and Michel Roux Jnr excellent to watch. We're pretty well served for great cooking shows in the UK and Masterchef consistently delivers year after year.

              2 Replies
              1. re: stilldontknow

                StillDK - have you spotted that Celebrity Masterchef is due to start another series soon. And I've actually heard of most of the slebs this time.

                On the matter of a wider comparision between American and British programmes, my cable provider (Virgin) has just started to show Food Network UK, which includes both Brit and American programmes. I'm familiar with some of the Yank shows as I've watched them when on holiday across The Pond. But it makes for a very interesting comparision of style of show when you see offerings from the two countries back-to-back.

                1. re: Harters

                  I have Harters although to be honest the Celeb version is probably my least favourite of the three versions. I've got Virgin too but haven't caught up with any of the American shows on offer on the Food Network. Any show where the personalities of the contestants is more important than the cooking is going to piss me off. I love the sense of camaraderie that you get amongst the contestants on the UK versions. You get the sense they all feel closer for having endured the same trial as opposed to trampling over each other to win the glory. I will give the Food Network a look. What I really, really want is more Rachel Khoo. I loved her Little Paris Kitchen and would love to see her back with another series.

                  I agree with you that the standard of Masterchef has improved over the years but strangely I found this years a bit underwhelming with the exception of the three finalists who I thought were a terrific as any we've ever had.

                  I also love how giving so many of the top chefs are of their time on our shows, whether it be on Masterchef, the recent Protégé, the Great British Menu etc. Everyone seems to be determined to drive standards up across the board and I think we've really seen the effects of that on our food culture in the last 20 years. It's very encouraging as well as delicious.

              2. I am so thrilled that BBCAmerica is back to showing this program. I first fell in love several years ago when they showed a season of Masterchef Goes Large (involving Thomasina). For years I would check the listings almost every week to see if they were showing another series, and even as cooking competition shows blew up in America, I trumpeted to anyone that would listen that UK Masterchef blows every one of them away.

                I'm watching the finals week episodes of the 2012 series of The Professionals tonight, and I have actually been crying at the true awe and joy of the finalists at cooking for the Michelin chefs. Top Chef OR TC:Masters at their toughest have never put together a behemoth panel of talent like that (the exalted palates of Robuchon, Ripert and the like are not multiplied by 30 and served simultaneously). When 3-starred chefs declare that a dish is perfect, you *know* that you are witnessing the best moments of these cheftestants' lives.

                Then I moved on to swearing at the intimidation of working at The Fat Duck. I can't imagine more than two or three of the American cheftestants on ANY American cooking competition program being required to deliver molecular gastronomy at The Fat Duck without passing right out.

                I truly believe that Monica coddles no-one, and that Greg spares no praise for anything that is at least delicious, honest cooking. Michel Roux's frequent glee when he sees the contestants being inspired or cooking something inspiring is lovely to watch.

                There is no pain in watching this show other than wishing as hard as possible for the participants to succeed, and when is the last time that happened on a reality show? Bravo!

                1 Reply
                1. re: planetjess

                  The finals week of the 2012 series showed some really keen cooking - stunningly good food. 2012 was more of a cliff-hanger than the previous year, where the winner had been obvious almost from the start.

                2. I just saw 2 episodes (not sure from which season), and wow, what a world of difference from the hype and faux drama of the American version. I'll take a quiet but detailed showing of food prep any day over flaming graphics, high school antics, and spittle producing judges.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pine time

                    You will be soooo addicted by this Wednesday! I'm a fairly new MCUK junkie and proud of it!

                    US "competitive cooking" shows make me want to jump up and take a shower. MCUK makes me want to run to the kitchen and try something new!

                    MCUK is such a lovely show, everyone is so sportsmanlike and kind. I tear up a little at every elimination. The chefs are so talented and humble that it's darn near impossible to pick favorites.