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Masterchef Australia – The Pro’s and Con’s Of Season Three

Masterchef Australia Season Three was not a failure, it was just a flop in relation to the ratings compared to the previous two seasons.

Shine Australia who will be producing the series next year will have to make some changes to regain the viewers trust and respect. In fact in the Daily Telegraph todayMatt Preston and Gary Mehigan admitted changes did need to be made to the format of the show.

They said:

“Our job is to listen to that criticism and see what is valid,” Preston said while Mehigan said that he secretly wished Ten would scale back the series to three nights a week.

“Channel 10 would never let that happen (but) I don’t want to kill it by being on air too much,” he said.

The MasterChef studio and kitchen could also use a revamp, Mehigan added.

Matt Preston also said in the hard copy of the paper he would like to see:

No Science Lab: I like things that bear a resemblance to home. I’m not a big fan of the sous vide style of cooking;

Keep It Simple: Give them six minutes to produce a soft-boiled egg and see who’s the best;

Mystery Magic: I’d like to see more mystery boxes because they have an element of play-along-at-home;

Immunity Challenges: We should have made (immunity challenges) harder and harder as it went on.

Here are my views on the positives and negatives of season three:

The celebrity guest chefs/judges and the locations where the contestants were sent were amazing, this was a positive and a negative. At times I felt these actually overshadowed the main point of the show, that is the contestants and the cooking. At times there was a little bit of ego involved by the production company that said we are sooo huge we can get these guys to come on the show. The biggest example of this was the Dalai Lama, which resulted in an episode which was totally sychophantic towards him and was not about the cooking challenge at all. In fact it was dull. Hopefully next year we won’t have Cardinal Pell setting a pressure test for them to make communion wafers.

The special guest chefs like Nigella Lawson, Heston Blummenthal and Anthony Bourdain were amazing coups and certainly very popular with a lot of viewers, however other judges like David Chang,  Thomas Keller and Rene Redzepi are really not on anyone one but foodies radars. The resulting fandom that went on when they were introduced each episode was five minutes taken from actually seeing the cooking and dishes;

One guest judge I thought was not treated with the respect she deserved was Christine Mansfield, she had to judge a cake that she had not even made. Why wasn’t one of her amazing dishes from Universal  made to be the dish the contestants had to cook in the pressure test?

Next onto the editing – all to often we only saw six or seven dishes so the viewer could easily work out who was the top and bottom three. It made the show predictable and for episodes on end we didn’t see the food from the “middle of the pack” like Craig, Mat, Kumar, and Sun, so it was difficult to assess what their cooking style or standard was. Instead we got lots of talking about how badly they wanted to be on the show.

The same goes for the people who got all the to camera time. Dani, Ellie, Kate, Jay and Hayden were ones that came to mind. Early on it was Alex and Chelsea. In fact Alana barely got a look in, and even now I feel I don’t know her.

There were some great challenges I loved the three hatted restaurant one in finals week, the canteen challenge in the mine, the United Nations catering challenge, and the Nigella Lawson relay cooking one is just a few that come to mind.

The challenges I did not like were the Gingerbread House challenge in finals week, there was little cooking in it. The challenge in New York where they were sent to different boroughs to explore the cuisines was an obvious set up of which restaurants they had to go to so no real exploring. Though the highlight of that challenge was the saucy Eric Ripert smirking at Sun’s cake with the rose in it.

The immunity challenges were inconsistent, I think enough has been said about the Eamon Sullivan challenge where Dani won an immunity pin which put her through to the final’s week, but also how some contestants went up against chefs cooking one of their signature dishes, to going up against an apprentice. I thought the weaker contestants were the ones that managed to score an immunity pin, like Ellie, Dani and Hayden.

Kate was particularly hard done by, and so was Billy Law who went up against the elderly cake baking champion who they were never going to let lose. This episode veered into pantomime with people running down from the peanut gallery.

Which brings me to another point of the over the top acting the three main judges did throughout the season. The huddles, the bad jokes, the fake looks of disgust to try and get the contestant to think it was bad, then cue happy music and a big grin from the judges saying how delicious it was. Guys you are comdiens not chefs. At times only Matt Moran brought any levity to proceedings.

The lack of consistency in the elimination challenges. The first one where Tom was eliminated was a case in point, he did nothing but be team captain in the Sonoma challenge, and he had to go head to head with Kumar who put himself forward, meaning one of the better cooks was going to be eliminated in the first challenge;

The coaching from the peanut gallery in challenges. With them yelling out take it off the stove it is burning, to reminding them to put ingredients in it. Also this could also work the wrong way with people shouting out the wrong advice, I think Dani and Jay were both guilty of this.

The overt and covert favourtism, Ellie slid through the competition because she was a judges favourite, though I will give her props for performing well in pressure tests. However this favouritism was again seen in the final elimination challenge when she was finally gone.  She was given far greater time frame to fix a dish that she had stuffed up in the Spanish challenge (stuffed capsicum and caramelised oranges),  she ended up cooking Creme Caramel. Whereas Alana had to cook two dishes in a much shorter time frame, what would have she done if she had wanted to change her dishes?

One of the greatest travesties of the competition was cool headed Cleo being eliminated, due to her cooking two dishes, the toffee and the ganache, at the same time. She was told to start again, however at some stage of the challenge her box of ingredients had been removed so she was unable to start the ganache.  She should have been able to restart cooking them as there was still time on the clock.  

Spoilers – which occurred again this year in the previews of the episodes. I hope Channel Ten have put in their contract with Shine that if there is a spoiler there is some sort of financial penalty. We saw Billy was safe prior to an elimination challenge, and that Dani had won an immunity pin.

This year there was no episode where the contestants had to outline what their cookbook was going to be. Previously this has been a top three challenge, and we heard about what their concepts were for weeks on end in the previous seasons. This year the only one who had an idea was Michael with his garden to kitchen recipe book. Not an original concept however at least he had one. By them not having this challenge mean the producers were not confident in the contestants cooking abilities?

I appear to have dwelt on the negatives, however I will say Masterchef is still one of the best reality TV shows made in Australia. It creates more chatter, main and social media comment then any other show on our screens. Hopefully with some tweaks we will see it back to its best.

What do you think could be done to improve the show next season? What challenges would you like to see? Would you like to see a change in personnel ie the judges? What can Shine do to bring you back into the Masterchef cult?

41 comments

1 brain dead dave { 08.09.11 at 4:52 pm }

Jowlsy: “We should have made ammunity challenges harder and harder as it went on……unless it was for Dani”

Gary “Hindsight” Mehigan-““Channel 10 would never let that happen (but) I don’t want to kill it by being on air too much”

Too late maybe , Gary-the venison has bolted.

2 Miss Piggy { 08.09.11 at 5:06 pm }

I reckon you’ve hit the nail on the head on all points Emma, but the thing that really peeved me was the inequitable immunity challenges, totally bogus! I have to say that have Rene Ripper-dipper on the show is a bit of a coup tho…

3 Chunks { 08.09.11 at 5:34 pm }

Yep, nodding my head all the way through, although I didn’t think Hayden was really one of the weaker contestants.

Thought everyone might like to know what’s become of one of last year’s more obscure contestants from the Top 24. It doesn’t make for pretty reading:

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/338/1505118/restaurant/Perth/Capriccis-Restaurant-Rockingham

4 J { 08.09.11 at 6:24 pm }

I think they should bring back the mystery box challenge – It’s a good one, and make the immunity challenges harder, rather than easier. We want to see the contestants getting better and better by doing difficult challenges.

5 Dmc { 08.09.11 at 6:38 pm }

Less endless recaps and more cooking. Show a much wider range of dishes than just top and bottom 3. More creative challenges such as the relay.

6 Kaylen { 08.09.11 at 6:45 pm }

Agree with everything that has been said.

Will we get listened to, though? Am thinking probably not. 😉

7 EH { 08.09.11 at 6:52 pm }

Great post, RR. Hope the flop in rating this season will bring back the MC we have loved. Glad S3 is over and looking forward to a great S4.

Few points I like to add:

– Realistic challenges with realistic time frame. Many poor performances and poorly done dishes were due to shortage of time.
– It will be nice to have a female judge.
– Too many open pantry challenges towards the end of the show resulted in some contestants playing safe using the same cooking techniques – Michael (sous vide), Alana (smoked lamb/tuna).

8 Toby Tom { 08.09.11 at 7:27 pm }

Nice post, pretty much summed things up.
– Need one female judge.
– More on the contestants, as well as the cooking. I hardly knew them at all.
– The ‘cry wolf’ editing – OH IT’S A DISASTER! Oh it’s not! Got utterly sick of it.
– The utterly obvious. “If I cook badly I’m going home.” “this meat can’t be undercooked or overcooked.” No shit Sherlock.
– I thought that when things got out of the kitchen they got more interesting, such as in the farm or the UN. Would like to see them tackle a restaurant wars situation.
– Uneven challenges, such as the catering challenge. Those suits were obviously going to give their team a harder time. it’s not hard to do a challenge where two teams have the same testers/voters.
– For heaven’s sake, 2-3 nights a week is sufficient! No wonder everyone was sick of Dani.
– Frankly the immunity pin system is broken; we’ve only seen one pin in play all season, which makes it more suspicious that the show is fixed.
– Could do some public good if some cookoffs were for charity.
– No advice from judges. Just listen to the contestants and that’s it. No peanut gallery shouting either.
— Show all the freaking dishes damn it! The US program manages it.

When it’s good TV MC is a lot of fun. But when it’s not my attention is focused elsewhere and it’s in the background. I’m still going to give it a shot next season, but back to basics and make it better.

9 Dutch Courage { 08.09.11 at 7:45 pm }

Why don’t they hide the immunity pins in this huge kitchen or the pantry and let the contestants look for it? And then not let the other guys know when you found one….oops… that would be copying….that’s boring

10 AnonyMousse { 08.09.11 at 7:58 pm }

Perhaps they should stop treating their audience like idiots – why recap something that was shown on screen literally 5 seconds ago? Is it really necessary to waste a minute after each ad break to recap what happened before the ad break? If you’ve got to recap after an ad break, keep it short.

Spread the interviews out over all contestants. Even if some aren’t as camera-worthy as others, we should be able to see everyone who’s in the competition, not just the 5 favourites. Seriously, Kumar would go a couple of weeks at a time in the show without a single word. Dani, in comparison, got so overexposed that she got a hate club.

Lastly – Show all the damn dishes, already. Even it’s just a quick 5 second flash of the dish.

11 seepi { 08.09.11 at 9:06 pm }

“Next onto the editing – all to often we only saw six or seven dishes so the viewer could easily work out who was the top and bottom three. It made the show predictable and for episodes on end we didn’t see the food from the “middle of the pack” like Craig, Mat, Kumar, and Sun, so it was difficult to assess what their cooking style or standard was. Instead we got lots of talking about how badly they wanted to be on the show.”

So true!
– More invention tests and mystery boxes.
– Show all contestant’s dishes, even if briefly.
– Lose the recaps altogether.
– Lose the commentary from the contestants that does not relate to food
eg” to be top three someone has to go’ etc.

12 TB { 08.09.11 at 10:02 pm }

All very good points, though I must admit I like it being on every day – I like routine :)

My suggestions – Start with top 12 instead of top 24. One elimination a week, based solely on cooking, no elimination from team challenges – that way the stronger cooks should make it through to the final stages. More restaurant challenges.

Last two weeks to be very intensive with challenges, restaurant services etc – judges decide who is eliminated at the end of the week based on the overall performance for entire week (much like Masterchef UK). Final to be decided by cooking of a 3 course meal to be served as if it were in a restaurant (ie. one course at a time, food to be hot at time of service) – points awared for each course, winner is the one with the most points.

The main problem with this season was the poor quality of the contestants at the end, two were clearly out of their depth and the other three weren’t exactly brilliant or innovative – this situation partly brought about by the silly immunity challenges and the team challenge eliminations.

Oh and don’t split the damn final into two parts and stick another show in the middle. By ten o’clock I’d completely lost interest and didn’t care who won.

13 seepi { 08.09.11 at 10:15 pm }

Yep – I quite like 5 nights a week too.

I also dont’ really mind advice from the other contestants or the judges – altho sometimes it has seems a bit biased.

I used to really like it 3when Matt Preston took the food really seriously, and talked of silky smooth sexy custard etc. Not ‘has he done enough to beat kate.’

14 KC { 08.09.11 at 10:21 pm }

Its funny because a few of the criticisms this year could be said of some of the previous years such as inconsistent immunity challenges and extremely bad acting and not enough focus on cooking.

To be honest, I gave up watching this year pretty much by the New York episode because it all seemed like a farce. It seemed rigged and the contestants were so much more bland than the previous years and if they weren’t bland and boring they were annoying. The only real positive I got out of this year were the really cool chefs they got in and the knowledge I got about chefs from around the globe.

How to improve:
– I know its not really that possible but please get contestants that are more interesting. And have a better range and ability in cooking. I don’t know if it was just me but last years and the previous years’ contestants generally seemed to have more talent and ability especially when it got to around the top 5 to 10. I honestly think that Adam, Callum, Marion, Justine, Chris etc etc would have trumped anyone of the cooks this season.
– PLEASE LESS SOLO CAMERA TIME. I don’t mind we don’t get to see the other dishes because of time constraints. But I don’t want to hear the running commentary. I can tell what’s happening with my own eyes I don’t need anyone to tell me.

It really was these two things that made me give up on watching Masterchef this year and hopefully next year will be better. Even last year and the year before my news feed on facebook was loaded with Masterchef news. This year, only one or two things in the finale. Because its on so many days, if Ten doesn’t find ways to fix the problems, its just going to end up being like a ratings disaster that goes on for days.

15 littlepetal { 08.09.11 at 10:41 pm }

Have less team challenges (especially down to the Top 8) and when it’s a team challenge, make sure its a team challenge and not individual challenges like the Westfield challenge.

When celebrity chefs are involves, contestants should be cooking one of their dishes or they are they to play an active role rather than to just judge.

At the end of the day, just have more cooking and let us salivate on some amazing dishes (that we can replicate at home!!!)

Not sure I will watch next year. I guess I will be suck in again by their lies like this year. We were told these were amazing cooks, better than last year, less tears and back to basic cooking. None of these were true.

16 Moo { 08.09.11 at 11:16 pm }

The one thing that’s really getting on my nerves is the contestant-to-camera commentary, especially when the contestants discuss events in the present tense AFTER they’ve obviously completed the challenge.

I know this is a common and notorious reality TV convention, but I’m just sick and tired of it. Stop treating us viewers like we can’t figure out for ourselves what’s on our screens; we’re not retarded.

17 Jo { 08.10.11 at 12:11 am }

Great points Emma, let’s hope the producers are reading.

I don’t actually mind it being on everyday, provided they scale back the recaps and the looong tense pauses that make the show look clunky. I’m don’t think the immunity challenges necessarily need to get harder, either – I’d be happy if they kept them consistently difficult from start to finish.

Totally agree about the lack of screen-time for middle of the pack contestants, however for me personally it was probably a blessing in disguise for Alana because I didn’t mind her when we didn’t see much of her, but as she got more airtime, I really started to dislike her.

And I’ve always hated the pantomime of reality TV and honestly I thought it wasn’t any worse this season than the previous ones – it’s always been that bad. This is the first season I”ve followed and it was because of the contestants – which was in complete contrast with everyone else who mostly had indifference or dislike for them! Perhaps not having anything to compare it to allowed me to enjoy it more.

18 Moonstruck { 08.10.11 at 2:34 am }

Really annoying was the repetition/recap by a contestant 2 seconds after the judges told them what they had to do. They treated the viewer like a complete moron, or that they had the attention span of an ant. Even by recording and ff couldn’t avoid those recaps. Season 1 was a half hour show during the week and so it was tighter and it was only about 3 and a half hours a week. Season 2 was 1 hour and despite that we still didn’t get to see all contestant’s food. It also doubled the on air time.
In Season 3 there were quite a number of 90 minute episodes (some team challenges and the masterclasses) and so it was overkill and overexposure of the less than impressive contestants.

19 G { 08.10.11 at 8:39 am }

To improve Masterchef, the biggest thing is transparent challenges and objective judging. i.e., BLIND TASTINGS! On each and every challenge – week after week we hear positives and negatives about each dish, which ultimately means the judges can pick whoever they choose to go home.

Challenges where the public (or the UN, etc) vote can also be extremely unfair as people vote for a dish they enjoy, rather than one that was cooked the best. Take the UN challenge for example. I reckon whoever made the duck, no matter how good or bad, would probably have gotten the votes because it is generally a popular canape. Whatever that vomit dish Billy made was, even if made perfectly, probably wouldn’t have got votes because it is not very appealing.

I would like to see more of the “basic skills” challenges (although still difficult to judge objectively), and stuff like “name that spice”, or “name the ingredients” in a dish just by tasting it. Care needs to be taken for contestants to (for example) all write down the ingredients first, rather than a challenge I remember from Season 2 where it was “sudden death” for whomever was first to incorrectly name one; something again that makes it unfair as it is then dependent on the order you are picked, rather than knowledge.

And of course immunity challenges should all be even. Against an experienced chef, cooking the chef’s signature dish. Contestant gets recipe, chef doesn’t, period. The chefs should not waste their time making cocktails and being friendly either – they should be there to win.

20 Paul { 08.10.11 at 9:08 am }

1. No more political correctness bullshit – cater for the majority not the minority. This was the single biggest turn off factor for me this year.

2. The dishes should generally be ones that the every day chef can aspire to. Lets not use ingredients and appliances that are out of reach for most people.

3. I like pork and pork crackling but seriously it started to get a bit boring after a while. Ditto lamb.

4. Zumbo challenge should be at final 6-8 stage. Not final 3.

5. I know logistically its extremely difficult but in my opinion they need to find a way of not having the contestants locked up for almost 6 months. It really limits the type of contestant that we get.

6. Recaps are not needed any more. Everyone is now familiar with the format of Masterchef. Whilst there was a need in S1 and maybe S2 they are no longer required. Same with the pieces to camera.

7. Agree with RR. Judges need to tone it down and get back to basics.

8. More emphasis on the cooking in challenges and less on Amazing Race type stunts.

I didn’t mind the series however it didn’t grip me as much as S1 and S2 did. I do think that people are very harsh generally on Masterchef. It still rates enormously well and has a huge influence on the food industry nation-wide.

They’ll tweak it again next year but I expect we’ll hear the same old complaints that we hear year after year.
That’s something that will never change……

21 Culinary Boner { 08.10.11 at 9:33 am }

Raver, all good points as are the others made by commentators here.
Just stop treating the audience like a class of special needs kiddies. Oh, and I want to see every dish, not just the selection the editors have chosen so they can build up their crapola, boring, lame-arsed ‘personality’ scenarios. Production this year had the directorial competence of Ed Wood, but without the campness.

22 Maz { 08.10.11 at 9:52 am }

1.Poor casting: it would seem that this year they deliberately eschewed anyone that was professionally employed as they feared the criticism that members of the legal profession were over-represented last year. Here is a suggestion-cast people who can cook regardless of their demographic.
2.There are standard dishes/techniques Masterchef contestants need to have: scones, baking a cake, hollandaise, pasta, cooking steak, temper chocolate etc etc. As part of the audition process this should be tested not rock up with a cold dish
3.Why the complete lock down-this is not Big Brother. Its bollocks that contestants are restricted to ten minute phone calls per week, can’t go for a walk or even go home. Most contestants seem to reside on the east coast of Australia so distance (with an airline as sponsor) is a poor excuse.
4.Inconsistency of the Immunity Challenges. It’s not there to be won actually so why make it easy?
5.Less contestant pieces to camera. We know you don’t care that someone is about to eliminated so why bother pretending?
6.No sob stories. I don’t care if your Great Aunt Myrtle’s cat died ten years ago. Really, I don’t.
7.No faux psychology question from the judges. A contestant is hardly going to say, I am here for the $100k and get invites as a z-grade celeb to movie premieres. Oh and get a blog.
8.Team challenges. You know who is at fault. Then the judges/producers should put them into elimination. Not the group-think that saw Tom eliminated.
9. Religion and politics don’t mix. The Dali Lama should NEVER have been on MC. Nor should the producers have done the Kate beat-up. No-one would have noticed otherwise.
10.There should be a couple dishes every week that I can go to where a Masterchef shops and get the ingredients. People want to try new things but it doesn’t help that rather than showing how it is cook we hear ‘If I cook this badly, I could be going home.’ This year Coles really struggled with the recipe cards. Yes I am a bogan and that at the end of the day is who MC is catering for.
11.On the upside, at least ten minutes was dedicated to Indigenous cooking this year.
12.Don’t think a female judge will improve things (please not Anna Gare from JMC). Matt Moran seems to call a spade a spade.

23 Culinary Boner { 08.10.11 at 12:28 pm }

just for bdd – http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/gallery/gallery-e6frewxi-1226110426120?page=9

but this brings me to request no. 158 on the list so far posted here – more hot chick contestants (preferably over the age of 33) and less women with moustaches (unless they can cook like Heston)

24 David Allen { 08.10.11 at 1:25 pm }

Really hate the comments from the contestants where they say stuff like “I’ve got to make sure not to burn the duck” and they have burnt the duck, “The sauce can’t be too sweet” and it’s too sweet,etc. Along with the DISASTER!!!, um no it isn’t ploy this is stupid editing.

Didn’t even watch the final. The contestants just didn’t do it for me this year except Rachel running.

25 brain dead dave { 08.10.11 at 1:32 pm }

Thanks Boner, I’m salivating.

Spot on ,David Allen. My favourite is “This ice cream has to be cold”

26 NT Kate { 08.10.11 at 2:38 pm }

I agree with most of the above, and think Matt Preston’s comments were pretty on the mark.

But I think overall the biggest problem was that they claimed to have a storyline – viz the contestants are growing and improving as people and cooks – but didn’t actually tell it using pictures, just repeated the words over and over rather unconvincingly.

To bring this storyline off, they needed more basic skills challenges at the beginning, growing in complexity; gradually harder challenges in immunity cook-offs/eliminations rather than a semi-random mix; more overt coaching of contestants at the beginning, and little or none at the end; showing them practicing back at the house; showing their relatively bad dishes at the beginning, and feedback/improvement as they went along etc etc.

And on the individual contestants, they could have dumped the ‘how do you feel/my happy family/(dead) rellies/how desperate are you to be here’ crap and had instead a video diary of the contestants ‘food dream’, showing us how how they developed the concept/practice their skills etc as they go along. Kumar’s recipe sketches, for example, were potentially viewer gold, and I’m sure he would have enjoyed the pre-publicity for whatever he does eventually publish; ditto the cello-man’s idea!

Plus tie the masterclasses more overtly into the process – I quite liked the couple of challenges which showed up who had paid attention and who hadn’t! Could also go back to more challenges based around particular countries cuisines, but use masterclasses to talk about ingredients/cooking styles and key dishes for those countries by way of preparation.

I’m not saying they should stick to that storyline next year – just that whatever storyline they do pick on, they need to design and edit the show around it, rather than making it seem like just a last minute thought bubble.

The other major issue was that the ‘its all about picking the best people’ claim was repeatedly undermined this season and last by the game show randomness of some of the eliminations. Why have an elimination for a whole team where one or two people stuffed up? Toss the guilty out without a second chance, or only put those who really did stuff up in the elimination. Otherwise it is just not fair. Similar problem with the uneven nature of the immunity pin challenges. And make the two eliminations more equal affairs.

Personally, I think I’d consider switching to a points system – make (almost) everything the contestants do get scored, and keep a running tally. Bottom scorers each week/half week go into elim, top scorer for the week gets to do the immunity challenge…

Above all though, to get me watching again, its actually got to be about food I’m interested in cooking for myself, and that doesn’t require weirdo expensive gadgets like a sous-vide machine (though I have to admit that I have found a do it yourself on the cheap version using an esky online, though I haven’t tried it out yet!).

That means drop the silly ultra-tight deadlines, and give them enough time to complete the dishes so they can be judged on taste and execution, not whether or not they are still raw.

And I really liked the old mystery boxes that bore some resemblance to the kinds of odd bits and pieces I might find in the fridge and ponder what to do with, combined with one or two unusual ingredients that I might be persuaded to try if the dishes looked tempting enough…

27 Fides { 08.10.11 at 3:31 pm }

Loving all the comments everyone – let’s hope someone who has some influence next year has a look.

Don’t have anything new to add, except for the things they did get right this year. I did like that the Thurs eliminations involved cooking. Although there were inconsistencies there (like the first elimination, which would have earned its winner immunity in S2 ) Would have liked some basic skills or taste test components (but not sudden death, and with a penalty so you can’t just name every protein like Peter did) in a multi round elimination. Remember back in S1 when the losing team simply had to nominate who was to go and that was it, no cooking involved?

Agree that it’s the mystery box/invention test that makes this show. I don’t sit at home thinking about what I would cook in a mine, or on lamb farm, so they really stuffed that up too many times this year. A disappointing Sunday night set the mood for the whole week really, no matter how much hyperbole they’d use for the upcoming challenges.

28 Reality Raver { 08.10.11 at 3:45 pm }

Shine Australia hello *waves* please have a look at what my commenters are saying. They have some great points. We all want to love it again. It is like a favourite singer who puts out a bad album you are always prepared to give it one more shot.

29 robbo { 08.10.11 at 5:42 pm }

Agree with just about everything said here.

Too much time getting the demographic, geographic, cultural, age and gender balance right with a tearful background story when recruiting contestants and not enough emphasis on cooking skills. Then too little emphasis on the cooking in the programs because many of the contestants had weak cooking skills.

Judges misleading viewers by praising one contestant more but then giving higher scores to the one they criticize more.

Stupid challenges that unfairly eliminate stronger contestants and leave in the weak.

Inane recaps.

Flameball and long ads before every result announced.

Excessive lockdown rules. Why eliminate Matt for a phone then show Kate and Michael making phone calls before the final. We did not want to hear them anyway or buy the stupid T-hub it was made on.
It made me want to support Matt rather than despise him for cheating.

Why should Kate have got special treatment just because she had a family. Everyone should have got at least the treatment she had or preferably better.

Show us what each contestant cooked, not just top and bottom three.

Tell us what the dish tastes like. Viewers can see but not taste.

Use equipment that viewers can access. I do not have liquid nitrogen in the pantry.

Shop where the masterchef shops. Use ingredients stocked by Coles if that is who is sponsoring the show.

Tone down the product placement. I will not by Western Star or ask a retailer if they take Westpac. Best moment was trying to make sausages in the beach challenge on the domestic Sunbeam mixer and finding it totally inadequate for the job.

Make the immunity challenges fair.

After a team challenge sen the weakest person to elimination, not the Captain.

Fix continuity. In one flashback I felt sick with CAPTAIN flashing on and off the chef whites.

Shut the peanut gallery up. Kate would/should have been disqualified in the final except for them.

Fix showing results on website before show airs.

Tonsils and tears do not make pleasant viewing on a cooking show.

Contestants are not actors. Give them believable lines. Look how Michael struggled over saying it was fourteen weeks after the final when we all know it was twice that.

We don’t need to see the convoy heading over the Harbour bridge, Anzac bridge etc. when we know they in reality would have taken the cross city tunnel.

Send Gary to school so that he can get his Maths right after the Maggie Beer chook terrine. If the dish takes 1.5 hours in the oven and 15 minutes to rest and they added 30 minutes extra for the contestants. Tell us how Gary managed to fifteen times skin and bone out his chicken. mix his farce, cook his raisins in verjuice and place it all in the dish prior to cooking in a whopping zero minutes.

There were some good moments in the show. The three hat challenge I thought was excellent but the chook terrine, gingerbread house and snowman were not worthy of the final week.

30 Anonymous { 08.10.11 at 6:37 pm }

1. Improve the casting this years contestants were soooo bland and had little talent
2. Less team challenges
3. Blind tasting
4. Introduce point system contestants do challenges the whole week get points for it and then the bottom two go to elimination
5. Show us what people are really cooking not just random recaps
6. George and Gary stop over using stupid puns that are’nt even funny
7. Stop projecting two or three contestants give everyone equal camera time
8. Realistic time limits e.g. the newyork elimination challange where they only got 90 minutes to do 4 dishes without recipie i found that unfair.
9. I got sick of contestants over reacting e.g. Kate in the last few days, Dani ,Ellie to name a few
10. Finally the judges and the producers and in fact the whole franchise needs to get over themselves

31 Anonymous { 08.10.11 at 6:50 pm }

One more thing whats with the fireball coming in before every single announcement.

32 LL { 08.10.11 at 7:34 pm }

Can anyone tell me what Maz was referring to in his comment when he said this “Nor should the producers have done the Kate beat-up. No-one would have noticed otherwise.” I don’t remember.

33 davsimp { 08.10.11 at 10:46 pm }

Wow, RR you and everyone else here has made some brilliant comments, I agree with all of them. I didn’t see the first series but have now been spasmodically watching it online. I tell you what, it’s pretty damn good. I really liked how after a team challenge everyone from the losing team has to vote someone out. It isn’t anonymously either. They go up to them and say “I voted for you coz blah blah etc”. They all seem to get on but at the end of the day they know it is a competition and are not scared to arsehole someone if they are not up to scratch. Series four could take quite a few pointers from series one I feel.

34 davsimp { 08.10.11 at 11:15 pm }

LL, it was about the big kerfuffle of Kate refusing to call the Dalai Lama “His Holiness”. She is a Christian and therefore believes only God is holy. They made a huge deal about this, in the papers, online etc, but when we saw the episode, she was just as respectful as everyone else there, so it was a media beat up about her refusing to acknowledge him with his renowned title.

35 Toby Tom { 08.11.11 at 12:30 am }

Ugh if there’s a points system please don’t take an eternity to reveal the score. I always Fast Forward through those moments.

36 ahahaha { 08.11.11 at 3:18 am }

First off– I have to say, some people are forgetting that the show is masterCHEF australia, aka looking for the best amateur CHEF. A quick look at a dictionary should be able to make that clear.

Anyway, despite the unnecessary drama, unnecessarily long recaps, and unnecessary (not to mention idiotic) obviously after-event commentary, I stuck on with the show because it’s not entirely bad. Guess I’m just gonna reiterate what most had said since a lot have commented before me:

1) lessen drama. just because a contestant’s all puffy-eyed and squeezing the liquids out of their eyes doesn’t mean they’re a good chef (or rather, cook). toss them away, d*mnit. also, PLEASE lessen the “tense” pauses. and don’t ask a contestant what the hell they’re feeling when they’re just told they’re eliminated. I’m surprised nobody threw a punch somewhere.
2) lessen the recap. a minute should be enough, and put it at the beginning of the episode ONLY. on that same note, we don’t need the contestants commentating on what’s going on when we can clearly see the events happening. and please no stupid comments like ‘if you don’t cook it correctly, it’s going to be bad’. surely out of ALL the contestants there’s someone who can give a better line if you want some ‘reaction’. if they can’t let go of the idea that ‘someone has to do commentaries’, then use a narrator instead.
3) show us what everyone cooked. if you cut down the recaps and unnecessary comments you should have enough time. my little sister was always looking out for Kumar but never saw much from him.
4) more mystery box challenges, and make them harder. like, always put in two odd ingredients but would still work somehow.
5) make immunity challenges progressively harder. also, only make it chef vs contestant. that eamon challenge was ridiculous, even though he won at the celeb ed.
6) more taste tests, identifying ingredients, and basic skills tests. also, reinvention tests. chefs have to be creative, afterall.
7) no repeat masterclass. I remember souffle and risotto done at the MC kitchen and one at a restaurant masterclass.
8 ) it’s nice to watch the gingerbread house ep, but it was disappointing as an elimination challenge. also disappointed with the snowman one. it’s the freakin finale. they should’ve done something like Alvin’s immunity challenge at s2 with him making a vietnamese banquet, or michael’s immunity challenge where he had to cook 3 dishes as well. actually, the immunity challenges were more interesting than the finale.
9) realistic times. they’re amateurs for a reason. everyone in the production should feel awful for maggie beer getting guilty about it. I hope it ate away at the judges’ minds at night. it was an obvious mistake that no “15x tried-and-tested” comment can save.
10) better writers, d*amnit. gotta stop the ‘boom-boom’ sh*t.
11) not complaining about how many times it’s shown on tv, but cutting the episodes to 3x a week is probably for the better, especially since they’re already on the 4th season.

what I liked the most:
1) team challenges. I always liked them all (prob except the beach one), especially since kitchens need teamwork.
2) guest judges. it’s great to see familiar faces like MPW, heston blumenthal, thomas keller, etc, but it’s also great to see chefs that probably only foodies and chefs know. we get to know more people and more restaurants.
3) immunity challenges. at least, the ones with real chefs. it’s nice to see them at work, and it’s great for a contestants as they could see what they’re supposed to measure up to.
4) basics challenges.
4) Matt Moran.

Crossing my fingers that masterchef people are reading all of the comments in this site. Glad that Preston and Mehigan know the show NEEDS to improve.

37 sourkraut { 08.11.11 at 1:51 pm }

ho hum
All well and good. Next year Ten will come out with the same bullshit lines that they came out with b4 the start of this year, ie “we have listened to the viewers comments and made changes to suit etc etc etc”. Then lo and be-bloody-hold it will be straight back to the “same old same old” just like this year, and the bogans will be sucked in via the emotional psycho-babble all over again.
FORGET IT this has passed its use-by date

38 Paul { 08.11.11 at 1:57 pm }

Actually, thinking about it my biggest wish in regards to Masterchef is that those who have promised to never watch Masterchef again, really do never watch it again.

39 ArtAttack { 08.11.11 at 2:14 pm }

Agree, they should give them adequate time to cook impressive meals, rather than all the ‘speed challenges’….
Agree, they should show more of the dishes than just the top/bottom 3.
Agree, it would be more sensible to make the immunity challenges progressively tougher, if the contestants really are improving throughout the show as much as we are told they are.
I actually quite like being introduced to chefs who are respected in/at the top of their own industry, even if I’ve never heard of them/their restaurant before.

One thing I would like, is for them to somehow incorporate some challenges with quite long prep times, to allow them to tackle some other dishes like slow roasted meats, slow-rise breads, etc – these are often things I really enjoy eating at restaurants, because I generally wouldn’t have time to prepare them myself.

Having it on fewer nights a week would also be a blessing…

40 LL { 08.11.11 at 3:50 pm }

Thanks Davsimp. I missed all that in the news. Life must have taken over. Ll

41 sourkraut { 08.12.11 at 1:21 pm }

Paul
I didnt realise I had upset you that much, but yes you will most likely get your wish wrt moi next season.
Still cant help thinking you either work for ten or you are unable to stand justifiable criticism of the show. Pity.