Masterchef Australia – Guest Post – Strategic Thoughts From Matt
Matt has again put his strategic thinking hat on and gives his take on how the game is being played.
Over to you Matt:
Second-time lucky Jay appears to have taken a few of my thoughts on Masterchef strategy to heart. However, like more than a few others on Masterchef, he discovered that you have to back up strategic nous with tactical action.
It’s why my first rule of Masterchef strategy is “Be Able To Cook”. It’s a cooking show, after all, and while strategy can put you in an optimum position (usually through actions which don’t involve cooking – picking teams/choosing an action such as the fishing challenge), it puts you in an optimum position TO COOK.
Last night was a good example. Jay followed Rule Three “Nice Judge, niiiice judge” – which states that you should seek to emulate your judges’ cooking skills whenever possible – not, I hasten to add, by fawning over them, like my favourite cougar, Rachel. Rearrrr!
Jay has been boning up (hey, it’s a cooking show) on Matt Moran, reading his awesome eponymous cookbook. Smart move – it won’t be the last Matt Moran dish in a challenge, and you can just bet that if you throw a few Matt Moran elements into an invention test or Mystery box, the big fella will notice, and it might tip a vote your way.
Also – if you’re going to invest six months of your life in the Masterchef house, you’d better treat it like a uni course and study. The opportunity cost alone demands this.
However Jay discovered that mere study isn’t enough. You have to remember as well. Strategically, I am a little divided on the wisdom of revealing he’d read the book. On the one hand, it made him look stupid for not remembering it. On the other, it demonstrates his seriousness about this competition to the judges. From an end-game perspective – and the smart competitors should already be planning their final-three speech to the judges – I like Jay’s move.
The actual cooking part was an interesting challenge, and I love the way there are a few new elements in this season, like the Amazing Race-style fishing detour challenge. Changing the game up means that Survivors, sorry, contestants, can’t completely rely on past seasons as a guide. I suspect next taste test, everyone will be trying hard to name basic ingredients first, just so they’ve got enough to cook with.
I actually thought the competitors were better off for NOT having a great amount of ingredients. That way you could keep it simple. Didn’t work for John though, although I suspect in the end it was his cooking skills that let him down. Props to the judges for eliminating him – the temptation would have been to keep John on board for the emotional factor. John, however, wanted to be treated like everyone else. Unfortunately for him, everyone else included Alex.
This was one of the rare times when Rule Two, “Winning Isn’t Everything” wasn’t important. Rule Two states that the important thing isn’t winning a challenge, it’s not losing, because losers are eliminated and winners start equal with second-last place the next night.
However with 24 contestants and 12 slots, merely “not losing” was never going to cut it. You simply had to cook really, really well.
From now on though, Rule Two should be paramount. Simply “not losing” for the next month or two will see you into the top 12 – where you can start thinking of the end game.