Masterchef Australia – Interview With Michael Todd – “Standard Of Cooking The Same As Other Seasons”
Michael Todd looked like he was poised to be one of the great reality TV villains or at least one of the polarising characters of season five of Masterchef but serving raw chicken saw him be the second person eliminated from the show.
Here he talks the chicken, his concept for a reality TV show, and how this season’s contestants are no worse then previous seasons.
He did have a point that it was the first two weeks and nerves were still there. To be fair to all of the other seasons had the top fifty to settle their nerves and get used to the cameras.
Reality Ravings: The producers must have been peeved that you served up raw chicken because you certainly gave great reality TV. Do you think because your dish was so undercooked they had to punt you?
Michael Todd: There was no coming back from that. If they had said Michael you stay and only because your salad was great I would say there would have been a lot of questions asked.
RR: Clarissa’s lamb looked pretty raw as well but she managed to stay safe.
MT: You can get away with it when it is lamb but when chicken’s not done, chicken’s not done.
RR: What happened with the chicken? Have you not cooked a chicken in an oven before? Where did it all go pear-shaped for you?
MT: That dish I always do over charcoal at home. I can cook chicken by conventional means like pans and ovens. The intensity of heat you get from charcoal is far greater then what you can get out of any domestic oven or pan. I just did not time it well enough.
RR: The food is served cold why didn’t you just chuck it in earlier and then not worry about bringing it out on the 2 and half hour mark? You did seem to have plenty of time.
MT: You can overdo chicken as well as you can under. I did think during the rest period there would be enough latent heat to keep it going. I thought there would just enough energy in this left to get me over the line. But did not happen.
RR: What have you thought about the editing of the show so far. Do you think you have been fairly edited?
MT: I’ll tell you the truth I have been back in Adelaide for the best part of two and a half months and have been absolutely flat out. The week the show went to air was the first week of the The Great Gatsby at The Regal. [Ed. Note: Michael owns and runs The Regal Cinema in Adelaide]. We were booked solid everynight for the whole week. I saw the premiere and I saw a little bit of Monday night. Did not see Tuesday or Wednesday, I saw Masterclass and I saw my elimination episode. I had to sit down and make time to watch it. From what everyone has told me the story they have built of me of the footage they have got of me has been favourable. Basically said “it is Mick, you can tell it is you, that you’re not putting it on and we are seeing a real person”.
RR: You were presented as kind off the narrator of the series. You got a lot of air time compared to Xavier who was eliminated last night with you. As a viewer sitting at home we are pretty disappointed about the level of cooking we are seeing on the show this year. In your time on the show was the cooking that bad or are they just showing us all the bad dishes?
MT: Very interesting question there. Let’s be honest in the five years that Masterchef has been on air we have seen the genesis of Facebook, Twitter and My Space and people are probably engaged with that social media then they ever have been and they are prepared to make comments. I don’t think the standard of cooking on my time on the show has been any different from what the last four seasons have been. There are more people involved in social media to make comments.
RR: Do you think the negative gets more people talking online?
MT: Well the negative gets people talking but they can express themselves in a way they have not been able to for the past four seasons.
RR: Right…Is the cooking as bad as we are seeing it on the show? We have been watching it for two weeks and there have not been a lot of culinary highlights.
MT: There has been some good moments on the show. Just remember this we are only two weeks into it and there is still probably a lot of nerves associated with being a part of Masterchef and most of the tasks. If you look back at season one and two and even to a certain extent season three in the early days people had clangers.
RR: Absolutely, even in the later days they had clangers.
MT: I am not the first person to serve up undercooked chicken.
RR: I agree with that. How did you audition? Did you only see the judges on the first day of filming or did you meet them beforehand?
MT: That was my first encounter with the judges. I did audition in Melbourne with the production team where I had to cook and cooked confidently when I was there.
RR: What was your audition dish?
MT: In fact I did two in an hour. I did a twice baked blue cheese souffle with a garden salad and some of my own made pickled quince along with a barra a spicy tomato sauce with clams.
RR: Was being on a reality show different from what you expected?
MT: It was everything I expected.
RR: Would you go on another reality show?
MT: Without a doubt.
RR: What one would you go on?
MT: Well I am actually thinking of getting a reality show of my own up after my experience on Masterchef.
RR: What sort of concept?
MT: The title of my show would be Masterchef: The Deadshits as that is how I felt last night.
RR: What would be the format?
MT: Collecting the worst performers over the last five seasons of Masterchef and getting them all together and maybe getting them coached to really be their best. You don’t make it into the top 22 if you have no skills at all as some of Facebookers etc have put.
RR: Who are the cooks in this series to watch out for?
MT: I ‘d call it the top four. I’ve got short odds on Verne and Rishi, and Lucy and Emma.
RR: Who are you going to miss now you have left the show?
MT: I’ll miss everyone.
RR: Were there any dynamics in the house. Was everyone getting on or was Clarissa getting on peoples nerves as they are presenting her?
MT: It was an interesting experience sharing that space with 22 people.
RR: Especially for someone like you who is used to being in command of your own domain.
MT: There was some days I was wondering how long ago it was that some boys fell out of the trees. A lot of ribald laughter, having too much fun. Everything was funny.
RR: You never got your back story. Did you have one? Were you encouraged to have one?
MT: Not that I am prepared to go on the record to talk about.
RR: So you didn’t tell the producers that? So you kept that private?
MT: Not as private as I could of.
RR: If you had stayed in their longer do you think they would have tried to have drawn it out of you?
MT: They could have tried their very hardest but it was never going to come up.
RR: Thanks for the interview and I was sad to see you go.
MT: I was sad to see me gone but I don’t think it will be the last you will see of me on Masterchef.
Masterchef Australia on TEN – Sunday to Thursday night at 7.30pm.