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Masterchef (UK) – “Whoever wins, it’ll change their life!”

And so it has, for the winner of the most recent season of the REAL Masterchef, Mat Follas.  Given that Mat spent a lot of his life in New Zealand, I’m amazed that nobody here has tried to claim him as a local.  That’s gotta be a first. Anyway, Mat has just found a venue for his own restaurant and is working to get it open in just over a month.  He keeps a blog, which includes recipes, news on the food he loves, and some inside goss on his time on the show. Here’s hoping it goes well.

Other finalists

One of my only criticisms of the current version of Masterchef in the UK is the section in the quarter finals where a contestant is eliminated without getting a chance to cook.  This decision is made on the basis of their performance in the “ingredients test” (identifying, say, particular birds, cuts of meat, spices…) and in the “passion test”, where the prospective semi-finalists have to demonstrate how much they want this (and, for those who have only seen the local version of the show, “this” seems to be nothing more than bragging rights – there is no $100,000 cash prize, no book deal… just a trophy designed to go straight to the pool room). I dislike this, particularly, as it seems to favour the articulate, as well as those who are willing to pimp out their emotions for the camera.  It’s the only time of the UK Masterchef week that I really talk back to the TV.

This is all preamble to the news that finalist Andy Oliver was, indeed, a finalist who really wanted “it”.  Despite losing to Mat, he has chucked in his job to follow his dream of a career in food.  He’s recording his “journey” over at The Cook’s Broth.  I don’t know how many of the local contestants would be willing to do this:

i went about making a list of london places which do the food and have the kind of style & vibe i love, so these are the places i’m planning to work in: Bocca di Lupo, The Modern Pantry, Moro, Nobu, Brindisa

There may be other places too, but as i’m mainly offering to work for free it cant last forever, so plan is to take full time cooking job at one of them or somewhere similar in perhaps a month or 6 weeks. In the meantime i’ve got to be Frugal McDoogal because the bills still gotta be paid!

Now that’s what I call having a calling!

According to the Evening Star, the other finalist, Chris Gates, has made a few TV appearances and has had some offers from restaurants, but is still working in his old job.  He’s blogging over at the creatively named Christopher Gates.

It’s hard to compare the skills of these guys and our local contestants, given that cooking plays such a ridiculously small part in the local version, but I haven’t seen anything from the locals so far that matches what these guys turned out on a regular basis.  Subtext: don’t give up your day jobs, MCAers!