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Does anyone else watch "Master Chef UK, The Professionals" on BBC-America?

In my area it's on at very inconvenient times so I record to watch at leisure, but it is now one of my all time favorite cooking shows. To my great amazement, IT'S ABOUT COOKING...!!! Food or Cooking Channels would never carry such a literate cooking show! <sigh>

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  1. I made a thread about this last month when they started showing season 5. We taped it every morning to watch at our leisure... alas they only showed two seasons then started repeating themselves so our fun is over, but it was great while it lasted!

    1. I have been watching The Professionals, though through alternate means. Did you catch the peaches and lentils creation yet?

      1 Reply
      1. re: wattacetti

        Not yet, but I have my VCR set in capture mode for all upcoming episodes, so here's hoping I'm not too late to the ball!

      2. I am, and I love it! So wonderful to see a show actually about, you know, COOKING.

        1. I saw it once ( I think. I guess there is more than one Masterchef) and enjoyed it, but can't seem to find it again. Gonna search right now.

          Okay, I found the wrong one. It was definitely not this one.

            1. Yup, discovered it on BBC America about a month ago. Love the calm demeanor of everyone involved, contestants and judges. Good cooking techniques, respectful of the food and each other, judging that gives both positives and negatives--what a concept!

              1. We, too, found it by accident and love it. My DVR didn't get the last two episodes of the 2011 series, and I just hate not knowing who won. I checked all of the BBC shows available on Amazon, but to no avail. Does anyone know if they are available anywhere?

                1. Stumbled across the show a month or two ago, starts just before I usually get home from work so I usually miss the beginning. Nice to have a show that features actual cooking with no screaming at/abuse of the contestants.

                  1. We're just about to start a new series of Celebrity Masterchef in the UK. Does that make its way across the Atlantic?

                    My guess is probably not - not least because I rarely know many of the so-called slebs which almost certainly means the contestants would be totally unknown to foreigners.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Harters

                      Love Celebrity Masterchef. Seeing people who are good at something else (mostly!) try so hard always inspires. Was so happy when the huge rugby player Phil Vickery won a couple of years ago, making the most delicate food imaginable.

                      1. re: Londonlinda

                        And then there was the actress, whose name I've forgotten, who won and is now making a second foody career. Think she has a cookbook out.

                        1. re: Harters

                          Lisa Faulkner is I think the one you mean. She's also dating John Torode now.

                      2. re: Harters

                        John, I live in the UK, although an American, and for almost 10 years now. I don't think the Celebrity Masterchef would be very popular over 'there.' Heck, I don't even know most of the people who come on to cook these recent shows. :-)

                        1. re: zuriga1

                          June - apparently viewing figures have crashed by 50% over this week, dropping from 4.7 million on Wednesday to 2.63 on Friday.

                          1. re: Harters

                            The celeb Masterchef has always been my least favourite of the bunch. Masterchef and Masterchef Professionals are both about contestants who are absolutely passionate about cooking and want it to be a career. Can't help the feeling that the celeb version is just another attempt by C listers to keep their profile up. Although to be fair in some series the eventual winners have produced pretty decent food. I have to admit a real disdain for celebrity variants of most shows though so I may be a little biased.

                      3. Recently found this on BBC America. Food seems very froo froo... BUT contestants ARE competing to make HIGH end restaurant fare. Like others have posted... shows you HOW to make something!

                        1. I record it and watch it while I'm on the treadmill in the morning. I love it, although I find the food awfully fussy. Still, a totally mesmerizing show.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: LulusMom

                            the food may seem froo froo but it is classic and if you can cook that way you can cook any way you please. Andre Soltner once said you must understand a truffle before you take it out of its boundaries

                            1. re: maryannterillo

                              Oh, I get that. Just like Jackson Pollock had to be able to paint recognizable things. It just doesn't look like food I'd be especially thrilled to eat. Too much going on.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                I don't know if you are also a chef, but when i think of some of the work on this show, I just want to reach into the television. sometimes it's the layers of flavor and texture that really explain and make the dish.

                                1. re: maryannterillo

                                  I love the show, I'm impressed as heck by what they can do. I just don't find myself wanting to eat much of it. Still and all, I find it incredibly compelling television.

                                  1. re: maryannterillo

                                    The cooking pretty much represents the sort of higher end restaurant food that we have in the UK. Not top end, of course, but better than your neighbourhood bistro.

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Totally understand that. I just think when the point is to show how many different skills you have (and not every challenge or participant falls into this), you can end up losing out on taste. All those fussy little jellies that they end up making with the desserts seem pointless to me.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Oh, indeed so. Too many restaurants want to demonstrate how clever they are and forget that we customers have just come out to have a nice dinner. That said, I do like fussy food from time to time.

                            2. I am on a " leave of absence" and am getting some time to watch this show. A a chef of many years this show is an inspiration. it makes me want to cook! as was said in another post...no backbiting, "throwing someone under the bus" or substandard cooking. The Chefs and food critics are extremely talented and believe in mentoring this new chefs. <sigh> thank god for BBC America!

                              1. It's the food of my youth! It's the way my retired chef/housekeeper taught me to cook 54 years ago! The portions were larger back then, but the techniques are timeless. And the most wonderful thing about the show is,,,, NO GORDON RAMSEY. YAY...!!! That's bonus #2 for me. Bonus #1 is that in an episode I haven't gotten to yet, Heston Blumenthal makes an appearance. I have about five episodes taped I haven't watched yet. It's such a joy to see chefs who know there is a difference between a chef's knife and a cleaver!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  I have now watched the Heston Blumenthal/Fat Duck episode (in which he did not appear) and would like to modify my above remarks. First off, many of the techniques are timeless but I don't know how far a Dewer of liquid nitrogen is going to play in kitchens of the future. That said, it occurs to me that:

                                  1. Neither Careme nor Escoffier EVER used liquid nitrogen for anything.

                                  2. Neither Careme nor Escoffier EVER put food on a plate with tweezers.

                                  3. Neither Careme nor Escoffier EVER sent people out from one of their meals with the desire to stop some place for a burger so they'd feel like they'd had a full dinner.

                                  And finally, there is absolutely NO danger that "Modernist Cuisine" will EVER be followed by a "Cuisine Minceur" movement!

                                  But this television series is SOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than anything else currently running that pops to mind for me...

                                2. I've really been enjoying watching it ...

                                  What I find really interesting is how adept the chefs are at desserts. When you watch a U.S. show like "Top Chef", the chefs are always whining about how they aren't pastry chefs and it seems that their dessert repertoire doesn't extend much beyond bread putting and crème brulee. However, the British chefs make both gorgeous mains and desserts.

                                  I wish they'd do a similar show in the U.S.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: stockholm28

                                    Never happen.US chefs don't play this sort of game well.

                                  2. I'm trying to watch--there's about 8 taped right now and they're out of chronological order, with poorly-worded descriptions, so I can't really watch it as a competition show--and from my own perspective it's slow going for two reasons:

                                    1. The mind-numbingly slow cadence I've become used to by US Masterchef/Top Chef presenters just grates more in this new environment. But to their credit when they do talk there is usually some information being passed along.

                                    2. I am entirely unfamiliar with just about everything going on, from ingredients to techniques. Garlic wrapped pigeon leg? Gin and tonic jelly? And I do not know if these are English techniques, or French brought over, or where they come from. But Top Chef Masters dishes are refreshingly pedestrian in comparison.

                                    That said, the reason I'm still watching this show is: consider the episode where the chefs each have 12 minutes to prepare sea urchin. Even one of the judges is unfamiliar, as are most of the contestants, but they are all treated with respect. Compare this to the recent US Masterchef where Jordan was bawled out for rinsing his uni (and then in the UK it's allowed that uni can be rinsed, just not under running water). Masterchef Professionals are treated as good chefs with more to learn, while US Masterchef amateurs are kicked around as idiots for not knowing everything already.

                                    16 Replies
                                    1. re: ennuisans

                                      Yes! A cooking show with smiles, kindness, and no bitter derision or side of humiliation or jumping out of planes? What a concept! It has to make the food taste better, not to mention being a great aid to digestion.

                                      1. re: ennuisans

                                        What do you mean by "refreshingly pedestrian"?

                                        1. re: maryannterillo

                                          Only that when I watch TCM I can understand what's happening, at least in a general way, with the food. "If I can understand it it can't be that difficult" I suppose.

                                        2. re: ennuisans

                                          "And I do not know if these are English techniques, or French brought over,"

                                          Without wishing to be overly pedantic, Masterchef has chefs from all over the UK, not just the English part of our country.

                                          It can be difficult to draw a line between what is British cuisine and what is French cuisine. Particularly so if you are talking about the cuisine in northern France which, only 22 miles away, has a climate similar to ours. I cannot recall the two dishes you mention but both seem to be incorporating typically British ingredients - garlic, pigeon, gin, tonic, jelly. There has typically been a strong French influence in British cooking from, say, the end of the 18th century (when many cooks to the nobility fled France during the revolution). It lasted until World War 2 and, perhap, a little while after. Since then, we have re-discovered our own cuisine.

                                          1. re: Harters

                                            Thank you, that's more than I knew before. Coming from the Ozarks, where we generally throw things into a skillet and try to take them out before they burn up, I have almost no point of reference as to other culinary traditions. And with every chef cross training in different techniques these days it's hard to sort everything out.

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              My impression from the 2012 episodes of Masterchef Pro (UK) that I've watched is that these chefs are almost exclusively "classically trained," which in my book can mean either via a top culinary school, or the older more traditional way through "working up the line" and apprenticeship/mentoring by well recognized premier chefs.

                                              Unless last year's programs marked a change in format, the dishes the chefs have been asked to prepare and/or emulate are all dishes based on fairly traditional "haute cuisine", one of which (to my surprise) was a moderately modern version of a classic Marie Antoinne Careme recipe! You don't often come across those on restaurant menus any more! Even Heston Blumenthal's FAT DUCK recipes would be right at home in several "Modernist Cuisine" restaurants in the U.S., and other parts of the world.

                                              Anyway, when it comes to "Michelin Star" cooking, my impression is that all of the restaurants of that class (globally) pretty much emulate "classic" French cooking, as from the era of "haute cuisine" a la Careme and Escoffier. The daughter of dear friends in the UK graduated from the London Cordon Bleu about thirty (or so) years ago, and that is certainly what she was taught at that institution back then.

                                              But from another forum, a Brit friend shares his experiences with quaint and classic (and delicious!) pub food in classic English countryside pubs. When it comes to food, you guys have it made in the shade!!!

                                              1. re: Caroline1


                                                There has been something of a slight change to the programme over the various series and I think the general standard of chef is now higher than it was in earlier series.

                                                As for the "classically trained", you're right that most have probably gained their skills from an apprenticeship, whether formal or informal - starting in the kitchen as a commis chef and gaining promotions as they gain skill and move around to different places. . As for more formal college training, we have nationally recognised qualifications for both chefs and servers which are gained usually in local colleges, rather than any sort of top culinary school. In my own smallish town (population about 200k), the college has its catering department training young folk in the skills. They also operate a training restaurant, open to the public at nominal charge for lunch and dinner, allowing the students to practice their skills and , in doing so, be assessed by the college teaching staff.

                                                With regard to Michelin, British cooking has moved on since the 1960s, up till which timne there was very much still a fascination that it had to be French to be good. We have now have "ethnic" Michelin restaurants as well as many others which are very firmly in the British tradition - for example this recent meal in a starred pub - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/905486 You'd have to form a view about whether, say, serving a beurre blanc was classic French or has been part of British cuisine for a couple of centuries and we can now claim it as our own. OK, we use the French words - but we use the French words for courgette and aubergine as well.

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  mmmm... "British cooking has moved on since the 1960s" hmmmm...

                                                  In most culinary dictionaries, "classically trained" means a chef has EITHER graduated from a respected culinary school (can be as much as a 3 or 4 year program) ***OR*** apprenticed to master chefs under whose wings they learn everything that is done in and out of a professional kitchen when it comes to shopping for, preparing, and plating the menu. Occasionally you'll find a talented chef who has done both.

                                                  I suspect that at least some of the chefs you write about in your reports of restaurants/inns/pubs where you have dined in the UK (very nice write-up of yours you link to) ARE "classically trained" chefs. With the exception of fast food restaurants, most mom&pops, and street food, the majority of "upscale" restaurants have a classically trained chef as their executive chef and/or Chef de Cuisine, and many may even have a battalion of classically trained sous chefs or even line cooks.

                                                  Until you gain the status of a super elite chef in a super elite restaurant, and depending on the country in which you're employed, you won't be knocking down the big bucks, most especially in the U.S., but I don't know for certain about the UK.

                                                  Being "classically trained" simply means the chef KNOWS the basic techniques for making all of the classic sauces, the techniques for poaching, for roasting, for braising, for confit, etc., etc., etc. Being classically trained does NOT mean a chef is committed to working in "French restaurants" for the rest of his culinary career. It simply means he has the tools to properly prepare food well, whether it be molecular gastronomy, haute cuisine, or foods of any classic "ethnicity."

                                                  No one today, that I know of, plates classic French dishes of Careme and Escoffier in the way they plated them in their time, or the way they were plated mid-twentieth century. If today's upscale "fancy" restaurants plated ingredients of that quality in those portion sizes, they would be rapidly closing their doors and rushing off to bankruptcy court! But some of their recipes do live on. In one of the shows under discussion here, Michel Roux, Jr. prepares his modern interpretation of a Careme dish that he serves in Le Gavroche, and then asks the chefs to make it. And they do! Most very well.

                                                  But that brings up a point I'd like to make. In this day of the internet and television and mass media that does everything except physically touch our taste buds, there is a HUGE amount of "cultural dissemination" in the food world, commonly called "fusion cooking." Personally, hate it! It's one of the things I often weep and rant about on these boards. There are NO top shelf restaurants in the world that I know of that make ANY "pure from the page" recipes of ANY world class classical cuisines, with the possible exception of Chinese.

                                                  For example, most people (and professional chefs) would agree that Michel Roux, Jr. plies and practices "classic French cuisine" at Le Gavroche. I disagree on the "classic French" part. He absolutely uses classic French cuisine TECHNIQUES, but the dishes he serves have borrowed heavily from other cultures and reflect the globalization of our world today. Point: Go here:
                                                  and click on the video at the bottom right of the page. It is a video of Roux, Jr., making his octopus and soft shell crab with sweet tomato and chile dressing that is featured on the menu. What TV cooking show fan can watch that and NOT think of Bobby Flay, who is also a classically trained (French) chef. Chiles are NOT Classic French ingredients!

                                                  So... Even though some of the chefs who appear as contestants on Master Chef UK, Pro may not be currently working in a top-of-the-line-fancy-schmancy restaurant, I suspect all of them are "classically trained," though some of them appear not to understand the full meaning of that phrase, and seem to mistakenly think it has to mean that they have graduated from a first class culinary school. Or maybe the classic definition of "classically trained" has been scuttled in the UK?

                                                  My point is, as always, BEWARE! The media and the web are smushing all of the great cuisines of the world into one common "Cosmic Soup"! God help us all... <sigh>

                                                  Oh, and yes. Buerre blanc *is* a classic French emulsion! '-)

                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    Well, of course, I have absolutely no idea what the individual contestants may mean when they say they have been classicly trained. I can only give you my interpretation about how chefs may be trained in the UK. I did this in my earlier post.

                                                    As for the "first class culinary school" to which you refer, I'm not aware that these generally exist for the UK's catering industry. It is certainly not how chefs would train to receive the nationally accredited qualifiations to which I also referred. As I said, these are gained by attendance at local colleges. If a chef working in the UK holds a qualification, then it would usually be at one of the levels of the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) or, in Scotland, the Scottish Vocational Qualification.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      You mean credentials from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, founded 1895, are not recognized by your NVQ??????? '-)

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        No, I don't mean that ( *).

                                                        What I'm saying, as my earlier contribution (and now repeated for the second time) is that the vast majority of chefs would not train at the Cordon Bleu but would develop their skills either through training on the job, through a form of apprenticeship or would study for the NVQ at a local college. For example, of the five Michelin starred restaurants in my region, two chefs gained their skills through apprenticeships, whilst the other three started out at their local catering colleges (according to online biography information). By the by, I've Googled to see if I could find well known British chefs who claim Cordon Bleu training, without much success - although the second page of Google did identify a Russian chef working in a pub who was Cordon Bleu trained.

                                                        (* As far as I know, the NVQ is entirely skills based and that "credits" towards success are not given for other qualifications. As such, past attendance at Cordon Bleu would be irrelevent, as such, but would, obviously , mean that a student already had skills. I'm unsure why any student, having attended Cordon Bleu would then want to spend further time gaining an NVQ, even at the highest level of the qualification.)

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          Here's a list of the top ten culinary schools in the world, as rated by the Chef Education blog site:

                                                          As you see, Le Cordon Bleu is not ranked number one, but I've mentioned it because it is one of the oldest and largest culinary education institutes in the world, and well respected in all circles.

                                                          You question why a chef would complete culinary school and still seek the experience of working in the kitchens or the world's top chefs. Experience! For example, before they closed, El Bulli was said to have a waiting list of chefs who wanted to come and work there free, just for the opportunity to learn from Feran Adria, and they were willing to pay their own airfare and lodging! There are other famous chefs who also have a plethora of "volunteers." It's always desirable to learn from the top practitioners of any field!

                                                          Cooking, at that level, is a world community, and nearly all of the people practicing at that level now who the others are, if they don't count them among their list of friends.

                                                          One of my pass times is "touring" the great restaurants of the world, and reading the chef's biographies and their menus. It's sort of like computer technology... You can learn a great deal more by reading the catalogs offering the latest equipment than you can by reading computer magazines, and so it goes for learning about and understanding the styles of cooking and the ingredients used. With food, when you stop learning, you are condemning yourself to peanut butter sandwiches the rest of your life! Or maybe just Campbell's tomato soup. Something like that... '-)

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            "You question why a chef would complete culinary school and still seek the experience of working in the kitchens or the world's top chefs. "

                                                            Erm, no I didnt. I questioned why they would undertake an NVQ if they had already completed a Cordon Blue course. Please do try to read my posts correctly - it greatly aids discussion.

                                                            As you correctly point out, many young chefs will undertake unpaid "stages" at the better restaurants. It's a win/win situation. Young chefs get experience and the kudos of being able to put well known places on their CV and restaurants manage to get free labour that they could not afford to pay for. As is reasonably well known, El Bulli consistently failed to make a decent profit, even with the free labour.

                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              Had I been filthy rich when El Bulli shut down, I would have put in a bid on their spice racks. Have you seen them? Glorious!

                                            2. re: ennuisans

                                              I love that "slow cadence" just 'cause it's more real-time, without the screaming "hurry, move it, come on now" that we see on our MasterChef, Anne Burrell's "find-a-chef" show, etc.

                                              What I've been surprised about is the repeat of some of the same ingredients over and over: fish (very little beef or pork), peas 99 ways, broad beans, jellies of everything, and crumbles with some sort of pudding for dessert. That said, (except for being fish-phobic), I'd eat every bite.

                                              Loving the guidance from Michel Roux, Jr., Greg and Monica and those skills tests are brutal without treating the cheftestants brutally.

                                              1. re: pine time

                                                Well said. I think the menus are seasonal...hence the peas

                                            3. Thanks for turning on to this show. I love it! I love Monica and her facial expressions.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: dmjordan

                                                Her facial expressions are priceless. You know *right* away how she feels about something.

                                                1. re: dmjordan

                                                  I reckon Monica acts her role on the show well. If ever she gets fired from the industry, she should look to fulltime acting. Reason for saying this is that I've seen her on other programmes and she is a warm, considerate woman - almost entirely the opposite of her role on Masterchef.

                                                  1. re: dmjordan

                                                    I'm a big fan of Monica,too. When she quietly criticizes a dish it is more biting & dramatic than all of the yelling & screaming on the US shows!
                                                    I learn so much from her technique demonstrations.
                                                    MCUK is just a joy for this Yank!

                                                    1. re: zillabreeze

                                                      Agree completely. And now I'm thinking in terms of "bang on," "cheers, mate," "over the moon," "gutted," and "chuffed." Fun! Or should I say, "lovely."

                                                  2. Well, I've now watched 4 episodes is two days. It started yesterday with 10 chefs and now after the fourth episode there are only two. They ended the episode saying how on the next episode there will be 10 new chefs. What about the two guys from this first round of 10? When is the finale for those two?

                                                    18 Replies
                                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                                      I've seen this just recently, too. Seems like they've dropped the ball on completing one set of chefs then begin a whole new round.

                                                      BTW, anyone noticed that "Oli" is on again? In a recent go-'round, he was one of the final three. Now he's here again, but I get a feeling this is an older show. Are they allowed to repeat? I've tried to catch the dates at the end, but no luck yet.

                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                        Are you sure it is the same Oli? I thought it was a different person with the same name.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Looked to me like the same guy, but I could certainly be mistaken.

                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                            For what it's worth, I too thought it was a different Olie. I remember thinking that must be a very popular name in the UK.

                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              Oliver is consistently one of the most popular names in the UK and I've never met one over the age of about 12 who didn't prefer to be called Oli!

                                                              1. re: Londonlinda

                                                                I'm of an age when I cant hear or read the name Oli without Oliver and Hardy popping to mind!

                                                      2. re: dmjordan

                                                        The 2 semi-finalists from the first group of 10 will go head to head towards the end of the series for a spot in the finals.

                                                        1. re: Coogles

                                                          Ah ha! That explains it. Thank you. That explains why there were only 4 episodes, as well.

                                                          1. re: dmjordan

                                                            You're basically seeing one week of episodes, the following weeks repeat the same format for 3 weeks, then the remaining 8 go to head to head, the remaining four have a week of semi final challenges before the final 3 go into finals week.

                                                            1. re: dmjordan

                                                              The whole structure goes like this (i could be a little off):

                                                              a group of 10 chefs do the invention test
                                                              the 10 get split into two groups of 5 who then do the skills test and two classic dishes test to become 3 quarterfinalists
                                                              the 3 from each group join back up to form 6 who do an invention test and the critics' test, resulting in 2 semifinalists

                                                              this repeats 4 times to get 8 semifinalists
                                                              there's another invention test to become 6 semifinalists
                                                              these are then paired off to do service stints at 1 and 2 star restaurants followed by one last 2 course test.
                                                              this results in 3 finalists

                                                              the 3 finalists cook one dish each for a gathering of starred chefs, do service stint at a 3 star restaurant, and then do a 3 course final test for the winner.

                                                              This week on BBC-A started the 2011 series (season). The previous week was the end of the 2012 series, and why there didn't seem to be any continuity and questions about names (there was an Oli in each season).

                                                              By the way, I only noticed this after reading some comments online, but now I can't get it out of my head. The fat critic is essentially Peter Griffin, right?

                                                              1. re: fooder

                                                                So, didn't the 2011 season just show recently, too? I've already seen Oli (I swear it's the same guy :) ), and now there's --again--Claire and Steven. I'll re-watch, just 'cause I like it that much.

                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                  Well they show 2 hours worth every day, so seasons go by very quickly. So currently they just restarted the 2011 season. Before this was the 2012 season. Before that was the 2011 season again. So if you've been watching this for some weeks now, you'll have seen the 2011 season, the 2012 season, and now another re-airing of the 2011 season.

                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                    Yes, the 2011 show was shown a few weeks back and they're reshowing it.

                                                            2. re: dmjordan

                                                              I'm pretty sure they've been repeating the same season for the past few weeks....The other contestants do show up eventually, and I found it got more interesting towards the end b/c they started doing things like working in high-end kitchens, etc.

                                                              1. re: Sablehart

                                                                I think we were typing at the same time! I'm again seeing Claire, Steven, and Oli, but will watch again happily.

                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                  Claire, Steve & Oli are definitely the 2011 series finalists. .

                                                                  It gets confusing as there was also a Claire in 2010 - and I've eaten at her restaurant, here in north west England. It wasnt that good a place.

                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                    That's sort of sad to hear (about Claire's restaurant).

                                                            3. Never heard of it till this thread but we've recorded it and have watched several episodes. We love it. It's just night and day from the stuff we've been watching like Next Food Network Star. What a change to have people who know what they're doing--and who don't utter a word but let their food speak for itself.

                                                              We don't know what most of the food is we're looking at, the terminology, the Britishisms, but we really like the show. I have to say I LOVE that Michel guy--wish I had had a few people like him in my life for encouragement and enthusiasm. Told my husband I want him to talk to me that way: "It's just superb! It's really yummy."

                                                              That Greg Wallace is great too--I thought he was just like "guest celebrity" but he seems to really know his food. Can someone tell me about him? Is he a chef himself?

                                                              11 Replies
                                                              1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                Wallace's background is as a greengrocer - started selling from a market stall and, eventually, turned that into a multi-million pound business. It was during that part of his career that he started to do some radio programmes about fruit and vegetables and his media career has developed from that. He owns a couple of restaurants in London (neither of which get very good reviews).

                                                                He co-presents all the Masterchef variations, working with a chef - John Torode for Masterchef and Celebrity Masterchef and Michel Roux in the Professional version. At first, he was something of a joke - pretty much just repeating whatever Torode had said, but in later series, his own personality and dining taste has come through and, to my mind, he makes a much better contribution now.

                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  If he's that rich, he could get his teeth fixed...

                                                                  1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                    We Britons are not fussed about having perfect teeth. It's part of our quaint national charm.

                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                      If you say so. ;-)

                                                                      I would just think that if you're that fussy about food, you'd also care about that with which you use to eat it.

                                                                2. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                  Thanks4Food, I totally agree! It's so refreshing to watch this after watching the FN. I also like how when the contestants are eliminated they say things like, "They made the right choice.", or "I just didn't do well." instead of "Those judges don't know what they are talking about!"

                                                                  1. re: dmjordan

                                                                    Agree, plus I like the judge's way of dismissing without shaming: "you had a bad day at the office" is so refreshing after our show's screaming, plate throwing and demeaning judging.

                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                      ahem... Gordon Ramsey is Brit, not American, and there's no other chef on the planet with a temper as vile.

                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        Guess I was referring to the American productions, not just the chef.

                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                          I knew what you meant, but I just can't pass up a chance to take a swipe at Ramsay because I think his temper tantrums are unforgiveable. I totally despise people who think their giftedness entitles them to belittle and badger others.

                                                                          Caroline's rant for the day! Thanks for reading!!! '-)

                                                                    2. re: dmjordan

                                                                      And the contestants just walk away. No goodbyes, no gladhanding (or sniping). Off to the lockers.

                                                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                                                        Yes, it makes me like all the contestants so much more.

                                                                        I also love that there's none of that false friendship as on Next FN Star wherein they're pretending to be grieved when one gets voted off the island. And those "behind the scenes" bits where they're forced to talk to one another as though they'd like nothing better than to see the other guy win.

                                                                        We've been wondering if it's part of the rules that they can't talk back to the judges. They're all so silent and never offer any excuses. Or is it just class? ;-)

                                                                    3. I've seen so many bandaged fingers but with none of the "drama" of how they cut their finger. They only showed someone cutting his finger once and that was because he had to leave the contest because of it.

                                                                      1. AHHH!! We thought we had recorded all the episodes but just finished watching the one where the semi-finalists cook for 30 Michelin star chefs--thinking this was the last of the season. (We had thought that these 30 chefs were going to choose the one they felt should be Master Chef.) But then our semi-finalists walked away saying, "And to think this is just the start of the semi-finals."

                                                                        Will these programs be aired again or are we out of luck?

                                                                        Last week we did try some free download online but it was so annoying with ads coming up constantly that we'd just as well do without.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                          You might check out youtube. They seem to have quite a few episodes there.

                                                                          1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                            They seem to be showing them over and over again mornings and afternoons on BBC America so you may well not be out of luck.

                                                                          2. I wrote to BBC America and asked them to consider broadcasting seasons 1-3. This is such a terrific show, and even the reruns of seasons 4 & 5 have interesting - there are always little bits that you miss.

                                                                            1. After watching the Oli/Aaron episode where they worked in Marcus Wareing's restaurant, I thought I'd look up where Aaron's creativity had taken him since the show. Turns out that after all his difficulty during the dinner service, he's gone on to work for Wareing himself as commis chef. Who says networking isn't important?

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                I reckon the contestants who get to the later stages get some real benefit to their careers (which is, of course, why they enter).

                                                                                My favourite contestant from all five series, Steve Groves, is now head chef at one of Michel Roux's restaurants - "Roux at Parliament Square".

                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                  WOW! That was one public job interview. Or is it more properly called "networking?" (Pun intended.) '-)

                                                                              2. +1 for MC:UK.

                                                                                I love that it seems to be a true test of cooking skills.
                                                                                No "and you have to do it whilst standing on a stool holding a spoon in your mouth."
                                                                                None of the "this will be for bloggers and must feature a Kellogg's product."

                                                                                So far, my favourite is the Pigeon Skill Test.
                                                                                What Top Chef could prep a bird for roasting?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                  I know what you men, Kris. I always thought the Top Chef chefs were at the top of their games but I wonder how many could do some of these skills tests.

                                                                                2. BBC America will finish the second or third go-round of Season 4 next week, and segue right back into Season 5. I wish they would schedule the first three.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                                    As someone else suggested (elsewhere?) I'm going to email BBC America and beg for earlier seasons. I really loved watching season 4 and 5.

                                                                                    1. re: sockii

                                                                                      If you do, please let us know (and maybe give the email address). I'd be happy to email too, creating if not a groundswell, at least a little bump.

                                                                                        1. re: sockii

                                                                                          That was me, that was the link, and I just sent a follow-up request.

                                                                                  2. I am pleased to have found it and completely by accident thumbing thru channels.
                                                                                    LOVE THE SHOW

                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                      now viewed all the taped shows thru the wee hrs of the night and conclusion is -
                                                                                      I no longer think of myself as a very good cook. am mediocre at best.
                                                                                      the 3 in the finals (2011 season is what I've been taping) •is there a newer season on?•
                                                                                      ^^^are dynamos in the food industry. gad any of them could have stepped away with the title but felt the winner was always just a step a head

                                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                        I think I had the 2011 winner tagged all along. Worthy winner.

                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                          Very worthy winner (hand clapped over mouth so as not to ruin the fun for those who still don't know). I'd love to taste the food.

                                                                                          Agree with il Divo. I feel fairly incompetent compared to these people. That said, if I ever serve something with a jelly-thingie on the side, please put me and my diners out of our misery.

                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                            For me, it was a toss up between two of them but I spoiled it for myself when (15 minutes before the end of the finale) I did a search to see if they had any of the recipes posted. The first hit had the winner in the title!

                                                                                            I wish I had seen this show before I went to Barcelona this summer. I would have eaten at Ash's place. Harters, have you ever eaten at any of the contestants' restaurants (from any season)?

                                                                                            1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                              As you'll know, you don't get to know where most of the contestants are cooking, unless they become finalists. And, it's difficult to Google as you don't know their surnames until the final.

                                                                                              So, I may well have eaten someone's food without knowing it - as some contestants have come from my part of the world, it's likely they'll have cooked locally at some point. I have definitely eaten at the restaurant of one finalist. I'm not going to spoil anyone's enjoyment of watching a series by saying which one. But, truth be told, it wasnt that good. OK, but not stellar - and desserts were awful.

                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                And that, in my opinion, is one of the major problems with any kind of rating system, whether it be for individual chef/cooks or the establishment they own/cook in. EVERYBODY has a bad day! I too have gone to "superb" restaurants and ended up wishing we'd grabbed a bucket of KFC and gone to a drive in movie for "dinner and a show." And some "great" restaurants have also made me wish drive in movies were still around! You can read about one such experience on my profile page. It was a stunner!

                                                                                                HOWEVER... There are some restaurants at the top of the Michelin Star list who do have a system that defeats this problem fairly well, and those are restaurants such as the now defunct El Bulli, and America's own Thomas Keller's The French Laundry. These are restaurants that exclusively (with few exceptions) feature "Degustation" or "Tasting" menus, and there is a literal ARMY of super trained people throughout the kitchen and that reaches into the front of the house.

                                                                                                Consistency is always an enemy of elite restaurants, as well as fast food chains. I can get a LOUSY Big Mac at one local McD's, but drive five miles and get a really good one. The difference is the cook.

                                                                                                The error most people make is in thinking that being a chef is a creative job. Being a chef means doing the same thing exactly the same way night after night or your customers are going to scream, "THAT'S not what I was served last time!!!" The result is people like me bad mouthing the cooking at some whoop-de-doo big reputation restaurants. That's life.

                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  Agreed. It is all about consistency - night after night.

                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                    yep and truthfully how many of us can do that?
                                                                                                    last nights' dinner was a masterpiece only because I'd watch these shows that I'd taped. I was inspired.
                                                                                                    but the night before when I'd planned on making my husbands request I didn't-plans foiled by being in a car accident. therefore it was hot dogs creamy green salad fresh bread and corn on the cob-simply couldn't muster more.
                                                                                                    OT: can anyone easily put finger on thread about lost oatmeal cookie recipe? appreciate the link TIA

                                                                                            2. re: Harters

                                                                                              Wow, I finally made it though the whole 2011 series, and what a great build up in the semis, to the final. The episode at El Celler de Can Roca was just great. You could see the chefs grow as the competition went.

                                                                                              1. re: ksbee

                                                                                                It was really great, wasn't it? And they had such wonderful and kind teachers all the way through. Lucky people.

                                                                                        2. "It couldn't be any more Spanish if it chucked a maraca at you." --Gregg Wallace

                                                                                          Our new favorite line from the show: the 2011 finale.

                                                                                          I've been sick for the past few days and so my husband (on vacation) and I are watching a marathon of the 2011 competition. We really can't get over this show and will probably never watch another U.S. cooking competition again--unless something drastically changes and they start allowing intelligence and class. Embarrassing to see the commercials for the U.S. Masterchef show on Fox with everyone laughing about a chicken running lose around the studio. Yikes.

                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                                            You can find a lot of the programs (er... "programmes"?) on youtube.com as well as a large variety of outtakes from the show. I don't know what season it is from, but here's one that I find extremely special!


                                                                                            In it, Michel Roux Jr is interviewing prospective students for mentoring (I assume) and their task is to make scrambled eggs without any instruction of information from him beforehand. If you want to fall in love with a chef who does not have a wicked bone in his body, watch the very last student at the end of this clip who makes his scrambled eggs with a ban marie (the preferred method of any great chef) and it's the very first time I've seen Michel Roux Jr actually take additional bites from a dish after the student/contestant/whoever gets the standard "Off you go!" Charming!

                                                                                            I find it very difficult to believe Michel Roux Jr and Gordon Ramsey can be from the same planet! You can teach so much more with kindness than you can with prima donna tantrums....

                                                                                            Anyway, there are TONS of great cooking clips and entire programs to be found on youtube. They even have the awards broadcast from this year's (and other years Bocuse d'Or international competition. You don't get full recipes and such, so it is no Master Chef Professionals, but if you're in to haute cuisine, the presentations in this competition will knock your socks off!

                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                              The story goes that Michel's father, Albert, who opened La Gavroche, used to get prospective employees to fry an egg as part of the job interview. He wanted to see how much care the chef would take in such an apparently simple preparation.

                                                                                              Never met Michel but have briefly spoken to his cousin, Alain, who runs the other family restaurant, the Michelin 3* Waterside.

                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                I'm intending to write a fan letter to Michel Roux Jr--and maybe Gregg Wallace--even though I never heard of them before this post. I will probably never get a chance to eat food like that in my life, but it's his kindness and encouragement that impresses me so much.

                                                                                                Changing the subject: I made a post on "home cooking" but no one has replied: what's the difference between the chocolate fondant that is so popular as a dessert on this show and then the chocolate moelleux that Claire made? I'm curious about it since Gregg said he's "done with chocolate fondant" after having that moelleux. Wondering if it's possible for a complete rookie like me to make one.

                                                                                                1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                                                  According to this American site, a fondant has runny chocolate in the middle, whilst a moelleux just has soft chocolate. http://thegreengourmande.wordpress.co...

                                                                                                  I think I'll stick with the fondant in that case.

                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                    But it looks as though the photos contradict what he says. All I know is that in watching the 2011 competition, the fondants didn't look as good as the moelleux that Claire made. And Michel and Gregg raved about her moelleux.

                                                                                                    The top photo actually comes from a recipe I found last night that I though I might attempt: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

                                                                                                    Wondering if I can halve the recipe for the 2 of us...

                                                                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  With my husband home on vacation, we thought we'd check out those outtakes you mentioned, but this is all we could find: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0ma5V...

                                                                                                  Don't think this was quite what you had in mind.

                                                                                                  BTW: my husband can do a WAY better imitation of Gregg Wallace. He's now doing it every time we sit down to any meal whatsoever.

                                                                                                  P.S. LOVED the scrambled egg challenge!

                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                    Thanks so much for the link! I wish I had eggs in the house. I am so impressed with this show; I think I've already written at least four posts on this thread which is a lot for me. I love Michel, Greg and adore Monica. (Does anyone else think she looks less stern in MC Pro 2012 than 2011?)
                                                                                                    Who needs screaming for drama? I find myself holding my breath with anticipation as the judges taste the food. I find myself in tears I'm so happy or sad for a contestant. And I'm so amused at all of the facial expressions, British expressions (bags of flavor--my favorite!) and the joy the judges have as they sample a truly wonderful dish. Gads, this emoting is so not me. I swear it's not the alcohol!
                                                                                                    Best cooking show on TV!

                                                                                                    ETA Dang! This is my ninth post!

                                                                                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                      Although that would be "bags of flavour" :-)

                                                                                                3. It just occurred to me that, compared to the US, UK cooks are more likely competing against people they might run into again during their careers. It makes sense they would be more polite about it all!

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                    hmmmm... I suspect that can be said of chefs in any part of the world. Lots and lots of chefs work in restaurants in other countries to get experience after culinary school.

                                                                                                    I think the difference is the quality/type of restaurants Master Chef UK - The Professionals draws their talent from. Most of these "competitors" are pretty high up in the cooking world, or at least have the bg & training that allows them to compete at the haute cuisine level. Can you imagine a Michel Roux Jr in the lineup of ANY Food Network OR Cooking Channel OR Bravo OR NBC OR Fox (ad nauseum for U.S. cooking show broadcasts)????? Dream on! The ONLY reason Gordon Ramsey is so "present" on U.S. television shows/broacasts is because he's such a nasty guy in how he treats people. And yes. I am aware the the BBC's Master Chef series did at one time include Gordon Ramsey in the fold. Maybe they st5ill do, but just not on the professionals?

                                                                                                    One BBC cooking show that I truly wish BBC America would air is Heston Blumenthal's In Search Off Perfection. It's a winner! I have to settle for youtube.com. If you'd like a taste, here's a great introduction:
                                                                                                    A chef after my own heart!!! :-)

                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                      Heston's a lot of fun, and I haven't seen this one before so thanks for the link. I have to say I would never have thought of his solution to the myrrh problem :D

                                                                                                      1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                        Ya gotta admire his sense of adventure! I hope he has those myrrh spoons on sale in The Fat Duck's (presumed) gift shop! "The Fat Duck" or no, it makes my head swim just thinking about what his costs (food AND production!) must have been for just this one single show. Mind boggling!

                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                          Does anyone know if any Masterchefs are coming back to BBCA? We are so bummed we didn't ever know that MC Prof was even on! We used to love Masterchef at Large when it was on and have one old one saved on our DVD forever so hoping they will bring it back soon! Hubby noticed it on the guide today and figures it was the last episode!

                                                                                                          1. re: chompie

                                                                                                            A couple of episodes have shown up on my dvr within the last week or so, but there's nothing more coming up on the schedule.

                                                                                                            1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                              With persistence, you can find both clips and some full episodes on youtube, and Google offers a $35.00 device that transfers the computer streams to your tv screen so you can watch on the big screen. How successful that is will depend on the quality of the picture being streamed from your computer. Works great with Netflix and Zulu, for example, but there's wide variance in youtube quality. A fair to middling amount of Heston Blumenthal is on youtube as well, and other "cheffy" things such as the Bocuse d'Or competitions.

                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                I just got one of those a couple of days ago in fact! My next big project is gathering the Harvard food videos into a YouTube playlist. (I'm up to one!)

                                                                                                                1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                  I'm not absolutely sure, but I think the complete series of the Harvard "food chemistry" videos are available on TED Talks. But I'm no fan of the TED search engine!

                                                                                                                  If this isn't the one full lecture you have, check this out, and there are a whole bunch of the lectures in the series in the sidebar links. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ft0cw...

                                                                                                                  Good luck, and have fun! '-)

                                                                                                  2. The programme is once again underway in the UK.

                                                                                                    We're just about to start week three. The format is that the week starts out with eight chefs and they are gradually reduced to two over the week. That'll mean there will be eight in the semi-finals.

                                                                                                    I'd say that the general standard, so far, is pretty good. Unlike previous series, there hasnt been anyone really hopeless. That said, I don't think I've yet seen anyone who looks like a series winner.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                      I thought the two who went through from week one were a lot stronger than the two from last week. Monica is still on hilariously good form although I think she hasn't been quite as fiendish on the skills test as last year.