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Masterchef Australia – Strategy Meetings For A Fresh Masterchef In 2014.

Christine Sam of the Sun-Herald revealed yesterday that late last week there was a strategy meeting in Melbourne to talk about the 2014 series of Masterchef Australia.

This year Masterchef had a dramatic drop in ratings with the show averaging about 800,000 an episode. TEN told the Herald it was satisfied that it still held it appeal among the 25-54 year olds and they think there is plenty of life left in it.

However they also say they are looking forward to a new fresh version in 2014.

Indeed there is life left in this show and even though My Kitchen Rules knocked it out of the ball park ratings wise it certainly has a great impact in relation to contestant post-show career changes and viewers trying recipes they see on the show.

What is interesting is Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston are attending the strategy meeting. Sure they have been in all series and would have ideas on what worked this season and what was not so great but they might just be a little part of the problem.

However it also looks like TEN will be sticking with them as the judging panel for next year. Excutive Producer Margie Bashfield told Christine Sams the judges Preston, Mehigan and Calombaris are intrinsic to the show. She also said “I think they’re getting better. They have themost incredibly broad food knowledge. George, I think, has the biggest heart in television….. and Matt has just evolved to another level.”

They are not unlikable nor irritating but they are predictable. Also very glad that George Calombaris and Matt Preston stopped their pantomime routines.

Interestingly just yesterday a neighbour said to me that when they see the ads on television they think “Oh those three again”. So it appears he won’t be watching anytime soon. Admittedly that is only one person, but suspect with no new cast in the judging/mentoring roles they will find it hard to the people who used to watch to turn back in.

Now that does not mean flick the three completely but rotate them through. It also gives Gary, Matt and George the opportunity to have a different chemistry with other people. Matt Preston was fantastic with Marco Pierre White in Masterchef Professionals a show that deserved higher ratings. Though they needed to add a bit more drama in it like the trash talking you see on Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef, and apparently it was there we just did not see it. Not that we will see that show again though all people who watched it thought highly of it.

Some women would be good. This year I can only remember seeing Maggie Beer early on in the season at Baross Bootcamp and Kirsten Tibbles set a pressure test. Maggie Beer might not be invited back due to her outburst earlier this year about reality shows using too many back stories and it not being all about the cooking. Interesting that reality TV is still an OK medium for her to flog her products through.

Also other interesting guest star chefs were Daniel Wilson from Huxtable who had a great TV personality as does Dan Hong who is a favourite of mine. Curtis Stone is a pure pro and one of the best challenges was when he and Shannon Bennett went back to their old high school and went head to head in a team challenge. But that was unique and hard to replicate each series.

One of the highest ratings weeks was Heston Blummenthal week which kills my theory that the cooking has to be accessible to viewers and the viewers can make it. People were lapping up his crazy cooking. Though word on the street is his Roast Lamb he made in Masterclass is delicious and easy to make!

Here are some thoughts on this series on what was good and what could do with improvement:

  • Realising how much I miss the weekly routine of the mystery box and invention test would like to see them brought back as a Sunday staple;
  • The contestants were not as strong as previous seasons but they were at their best when they got to cook their own food there needs to be more of that (see above);
  • Challenges are fun and do break up the week however make them fun but only one a week otherwise some contestants get to coast through on others coat tails and others get put in elmination challenges because of others stuff ups;
  • The girls v boys got people off side at the start particularly with the sexist ads. If they had just divided them that way at the beginning without all the gender war hype I doubt most people would have cared;
  • Immunity pin challenges seemed to be fair this year except for the episode where it was certain one of the contestants would win one regardless of standard of cooking;
  • Dubai was a bit of a let down, it was only two episodes after all the hype and only one really showcased the local cuisine;
  • Hopefully next year they will go to India where there is a huge audience and it is an interesting cuisine;
  • Keep in the come back week (I know I am in the minority on this one), but each year someone always gets unfairly eliminated and should have a shot of coming back in. However making it individual cooking not team challenges some good cooks were unfairly eliminated in this week this year. Twice people put up dish of the day and were gone. 
  • The four episodes are week are a good fit, and they could consider dumping Masterclass, or just have a couple of specials throughout the series.

What do you think would help freshen up Masterchef?

88 comments

1 brain dead dave { 08.27.13 at 12:39 am }

No need to sugar coat it ,daisy. This isn’t my first rodeo,y’all.

2 Craig Cruden { 08.27.13 at 2:07 am }

1. The editing & sob stories are just monotonous. I think every week you hear the same things “this could send me home”, “this is a disaster”. It is obvious that the producers and the directors are pushing people to “wear” their emotions on their sleeves and pushing them in that direction….. I remember several seasons ago them getting upset with a contestant because he would not – and questioned his commitment. STOP IT – It is stupid — low quality production (Plan 9 from Outer Space quality but without any redeeming qualities).
2. The contestants should be required to go through several weeks of boot camp before narrowing it down and starting filming. I just cannot believe that after this number of seasons that most if not all arrive at the beginning of the show with such obvious weaknesses (can’t cook fish, can’t do deserts, can’t butcher, can’t clean clams, or tries to maim themselves with knives on every occasion).
3. Have several regional weeks of bootcamp / competitions for regional cuisines around Australia. Thailand would be one good destination; Vietnam another. Round out the diversity of the food a little with an eye to countries that Australians are interested in (there are so many Australians that make Thailand their second home almost). Bring David Thompson in as a guest judge for Thailand bit.
4. Get rid of George as judge – bring back Matt Moran. George is probably the most obvious of those that have favourites – almost leaning over backwards at times contradicting his statements from previous episodes if it suites him.
5. NO MORE Macaron Towers – it looks hideous and is only meant to torture the contestants not demonstrate cooking skill (well a little – can you make a macaron or not).
6. Invention tests should be weekly – it is a good test of having to adapt to what is fresh at the market this week.
7. Peanut gallery should be restricted only to general help not coaching (i.e. something is burning).
8. Stop the stupid mind games and coaching during competitions….. it can be too easily abused as part of favouritism.
9. Change the elimination formula, no bringing contestants back. Have some form of double elimination. Silver pin for dish of the day (if no dishes qualify don’t award it), red pin for worst dish of the day. If you get two red pins your out. (silver/red do not co-exist but eliminate each other). Elimination challenges are thrown in to narrow down contestants if they are too slow to whittle down the competition.

3 fairybreagirl { 08.27.13 at 2:44 am }

Bearing in mind that I haven’t watched this season at all, I always hated the padding with repetitive pieces to camera of the contestants rehashing what the episode is about. Make the eposodes shorter and snappier, you could enjoy your masterchef fix without wasting so much time.

4 Sarah { 08.27.13 at 4:22 am }

There’s a Stephen King story in which a librarian terrifies the children to whom she’s reading so that she can feast on their frightened tears. When the judges work to get a contestant to cry, I think of her. Particularly shiver-inducing is the satisfied “That’s the stuff” that Gary and George sigh with almost postorgasmic bliss when someone obliges by cracking.

The first three seasons of this show introduced me to new foods and techniques and fanned my interest in cooking. The fourth gripped me less, but even it shone in comparison to the current mess. For most of this season, I felt as though I was as or more competent in the kitchen than every contestant, with the exception, perhaps, of Rishi. It has been a disappointing exercise in mediocrity.

I agree with just about every suggestion for improvement here, and it’s interesting to note that mostly they consist in a return to the basics of the show: good contestants, an emphasis on individual cooking, and a more minimal focus on back story and gimmick. Yes, the formula is familiar, but if the cooking is good, that won’t matter.

5 Qitkat { 08.27.13 at 5:42 am }

First time poster, from an American point of view.

I got hooked on MCA back in season 3, when I realized that the cooking of these home chefs was amazing, and found the whole concept refreshing after the cringe inducing antics of Gordon Ramsay on the American version and the constant encouragement to the contestants to be as rude and nasty to one another as possible. But it’s grown stale and tired with this season’s crop of average, uninspired cooks. I started wishing for somebody to throw somebody under the bus. I agree with many of the other posters here with how the show can be improved.

In the early seasons, it felt like the standards were very high, especially as the judges seemed to be looking for very creative cooks, with skills in many areas, not just specializing in lamb, or pastry, or the cuisine of one culture. It’s great to see someone who has a lot of knowledge of a particular cuisine, but if they can’t cook outside their comfort zone, and do it well, they’ve got no business being crowned a master chef.

I’d like to see:
1. Much better cooks, chosen as in the original concept.
2. Many more individual challenges; there have been far too many team/pair challenges this season to the detriment of some better cooks.
3. Very few restaurant kitchen challenges. I find them alternately boring, then hyperactive, and don’t feel that they really showcase someone’s cooking strengths, but are more about following rules and recipes, and time management in a professional kitchen. Seems like that should be another show entirely, and in the US, is, such as the ones Anne Burrell hosts, or Robert Irvine.
4. Bring back the mystery box every week, as well as the invention tests.
5. Stop having challenges where cupcakes are being judged against lamb curries against kangaroo barbecues against salads. Stop letting contestants cook week after week after week with the same ingredients.
6. Eliminate silly challenges such as baking and delivering pizzas.
7. Teach a master class first showcasing some innovative techniques, no audience, just the contestants. Then the very next night, throw everyone into an individual challenge where they have to use the techniques they just were introduced to.
8. Complete fairness in how an immunity challenge is presented, with consistency.
9. Stop milking the personal backstories for all they are worth. I think it’s been so obvious this season to take away the fact that these folks are such ordinary cooks.
10. Stop letting the judges help some of the contestants in the kitchen, but not others. Maybe introduce true blind judging. Tell the peanut gallery to shut up. They’ve become unbearable.

I don’t think I’ve learned anything from the contestants this season. And I’m not about to make a dish that has 13 recipes and 7 pages, and requires spending $400 on equipment I’ll never use again. I love being challenged to cook creatively, just do it with ingredients I don’t have to buy over the internet, showcased in ways I haven’t thought of before. It has been fun for me as an American to learn the Aussie terms for ingredients, and to learn about native foods I wasn’t familiar with. I love meeting the international and Australian chefs and learning from them. Make better use of these talented folks.

6 Littlepetal { 08.27.13 at 6:14 am }

Even the Masterclass is not up to scratch. It is call Masterclass is where you can learn some techniques on cooking and how the finer points on how to cook some difficult dishes. Not how to poach eggs and make cupcakes. We want to learn some chefy techniques.

zephyr308 – you are spot on with your comment.

7 Andrea { 08.27.13 at 8:33 am }

RR, all of these suggestions are spot on and very helpful ways to improve MC.
Maybe you could send them all to the producers of MC so that know what all your readers are thinking?

8 PollyB { 08.27.13 at 10:41 am }

George #22 – Hear, hear

Can I join TIA,D,NAS please? – Bickie tin:cookie jar, bonnet:hood, glove box:compartment, defence:dee-fence.

9 Suziekue { 08.27.13 at 11:04 am }

I stopped watching MC this year after the first couple of episodes. Tried dipping in on the odd occasions but disappointed each time. Things that would bring me back to MC:

Good amateur cooks.
No backstories, no sob stories, no crying or exhortations from judges for contestants to cry.
No recaps.
Focus on cooking recipes that have reasonably available ingredients and that real people can have a go at cooking.
No stupid Amazing Race challenges.
Blind judging.
Inclusion of women on the judging panel.

Oh hang on – I’ve just described how The Great Australian Bakeoff does it. No wonder I watched ALL of those episodes and eschewed MC. Not rocket science.

10 Andrea, the other one { 08.27.13 at 11:45 am }

Q@24 yes the lamb roast is super easy. The longest prep bit is blanching the garlic cloves three times in milk to get rid of the bitterness. Good luck!

I miss the RR list someone compiles which has a list of every MC contestant’s “I have never tasted/cooked/prepared/used …. “.

Would love to see this bunch of contestants try and write a recipe and have someone try and recreate it.

11 Rosie { 08.27.13 at 11:45 am }

My goodness, Sarah, you’ve hit on something! The judges really did seem to enjoy Christina’s tears a little too much last night.

Excellent post, Qitkat!

You’re in, PollyB!

12 Roo { 08.27.13 at 11:47 am }

Better cooks
Minimal back stories, no crying, definitely no mention of missing the kids
Mystery box challenges weekly
Only one restaurant challenge
No home or office deliveries in challenges
Show the judges tasting each and every dish
Immunity pin awarded for winning 3 individual challenges
Skip the masterclass
No Maggie, more Marco Pierre
Go to India
Recipes that the viewer is tempted to cook (without having to suvee, blast chill or google the ingredients)
Show the top 50 again
Don’t bring back contestants that have been eliminated
Knife licking to be banned (except by Marco Pierre White who has an exemption because he’s delicious).
Let the viewer know what happens behind the scenes – who gets the leftovers? Unused ingredients?
Add a women to the judging panel
Gag the peanut gallery

13 Culinary Boner { 08.27.13 at 11:51 am }

“….who gets the leftovers?”
*puts hand up and waves it around*
Ooh, ooh, Mr Kotter, Mr Kotter!

14 Daze { 08.27.13 at 11:52 am }

Andrea, the other one; it’s Post 4 below. It’s a great list, don’t know if one got started for this season though?
http://www.realityravings.com/2012/06/29/masterchef-australia-ironic-who-was-in-the-bottom-three/#comments

15 daisy { 08.27.13 at 12:16 pm }

BDD@50
Oh God BDD, you make me laugh. You so often make my day.

16 daisy { 08.27.13 at 12:18 pm }

Rosie, are you new?

I like your work too. :)

17 Veronica { 08.27.13 at 12:35 pm }

I’d like to see a guest judge from time to time especially if he/she could mentor in place of the 3 stooges who could then do a blind tasting. For me this would give the show a bit more credibility.

18 Bern { 08.27.13 at 3:16 pm }

Must admit I agree with everything written in the article. I had never thought of India as a food destination but what a top idea! Also perhaps Thailand as having just been there, for a very brief trip, there is Thai food and then there is real Thai food. Dubai’s main ethnic population is Indian oddly enough (according to Wikipedia) which perhaps explains some of the lack of Dubai/ middle eastern food being served/cooked.

I just hope that we have better cooks to start with in MC next year and that service challenges are given equal weight along with cooking / invention challenges. As most contestants seem to want to work in a commercial kitchen, then being able to hand pressure is important and this is where Emma lets herself down.

I do think a female chef/cook/judge definitely would be advantageous and even out the testosterone amongst the judges, good as they are. I do love the invention challenges and also feel that the contestants need to be able to cook in other cuisines other than their own. This is where I feel Samira (much as I like her) is a bit in the league of Sophia and Ashlee from MKR, although thankfully not like them in the bitchiness stakes.

I do think back stories are somewhat important. If this were just a cooking show then maybe I might not watch it. But cooking is a passionate thing and passion is to do with life. Maybe not so many sob stories like Christina’s or Lynton’s but the back stories make the contestants part of the cooks that they are.

I do hope Rishi wins or Lynton but Rishi has been consistent from the start although last night his presentation last night was shocking. Yes, Rishi is arrogant but you will find that with some Indian men, never mind the Aussie male of the species. I like Samira but just am not sure whether she is an all round cook.

I’d seriously like to see MC ask for feedback from viewers as I am sure that they would get a lot of this, positive and negative. No doubt though the television station and production company have their own means of doing this.

19 Bern { 08.27.13 at 3:27 pm }

I’ve just read some more of the comments above and I have to agree that there should be no help from the gallery above during the elimination rounds. In my view, that’s akin to cheating but it is allowed. I did love last night’s elimination insofar as the contestants could ask for help from guest chefs. Also like that the guest chefs then became part of the judging panel and were not showing any favours to the contestants who they had mentored.

I’d love to see a challenge such as an Outback one where the contestants have to go in to the kitchen of an Outback station or an Outback home and use the ingredients on hand to cook with. My husband and I lived in Birdsville (on the edge of the Simpson Desert) in far far SW Queensland for two and a half years in the mid 1990s and we only got a food truck every six weeks during the dry season. In the wet it was far less often than that. I remember running around town one time seeing if anyone had cumin to use in curries when I was having an Indian curry night. I only had a small amount and had to make do with what I had. It’s so long ago now I don’t remember what I did but I got the job done.

Perhaps the contestants also need a dietary challenge such as a gluten free challenge or a nut-free challenge. It’s amazing what products have nut ingredients in them!

20 Andrea, the other one { 08.27.13 at 5:22 pm }

Daze@62. Thanks for the link. I haven’t seen a list for this series. It would be too depressing to read. 😉

21 Littlepetal { 08.27.13 at 5:32 pm }

I miss EH

22 Maz { 08.27.13 at 7:41 pm }

1. We love Masterclass but it should focus on the weeks’ challenge and suggest how the contestants could improve their technique
2. Bring back Mystery Box/Invention Test
3.We like the judges…but they have shown themselves reluctant to criticise contestants who cook only in their cultural cuisine. They should rotate judges so there can be no hiding (Kylie Kwong comes to mind)
4. If you do insist on bringing people back, it should be blind testing by a panel of judges who have not previously met the contestants. The other contestants should not be in on the judging (re Season Two)
5. Immunity. This have never worked from S1 to S5. If you insist on keeping it, it must be surrendered in the next elimination challenge. No ifs or buts.

23 Maz { 08.27.13 at 7:53 pm }

6. Fewer team challenges (the producers obviously believe in collaborative learning outcome) but it allows contestants to cruise or throw others under the bus.
7. G,G,M are not psychologists. They are not qualified to ask ‘how much do you want to be here?’
8. No back stories -I don’t care that your child’s school photo is crumbled and soaking in tears. The winner needs some mystery to flog the cookbook
9. Radical concept- cast on the ability to cook not on ethnicity, occupation or number of dead relatives
10. Gag the peanut gallery. If that doesn’t work get Bunnings to sponsor Duct Tape

24 Maz { 08.27.13 at 7:56 pm }

11. Bring back Top 50 so we have the illusion that the current season contestants are the best of the year’s apllicants

25 Jaycee47 { 08.27.13 at 8:43 pm }

Agree with a lots of comments that Shine really need to take stock of this current series and ditch whoever suggested the format, eg boys vs girls. Was childish and who really goes for this stuff anyway.

1 No more sob stories
2 No background as to why they are here to change their lives…have seen it in 5 series now and nothing has changed
3 No to-camera pieces as to why it means so much to them….soooo tired of usual sob stories. US M/C does nothing like this and it’s great.
4 It would be great to have a challenge that picked a particular cuisine (no contestant from that particular country though) for an invention test (think it’s been done before but not for a while) and that would level the playing field.
It’s a pity that Aussies don’t have a cuisine to fall back on….we don’t have “cultural” recipes and I feel this puts the Aussies at a disadvantage. All of those ethnic dishes turn out to be spectacular though.
5 Agree that a female judge would be a welcome addition/substitute. Maggie Beer comes to mind but I don’t know if she would be willing. Perhaps Stephanie Alexander? Chris Manfield?
6 Blind tastings…..at present the judges walk around and see who’s cooking what so if it was presented “blind” they would not be able to pick their “favourites”.
7 Bring back the KIDS…..they were GREAT and cooked so much better than this last lot! They were much more entertaining and didn’t have any baggage to bring to the show. And you could cook the recipes and not have to buy a thermomix or dry ice! (Didn’t see too much use of the thermomix this series…think I saw it once).
8 Agree that MasterClass should not have an audience and be aimed at actually showing the contestants what techniques they will need for future challenges. And not BASIC stuff either…..how about we learn something too!
9 Agree that there should be a penalty for crying….SHINE – DONT SHOW IT! We are sick of it!!!! I dont give a flying @#&@ what their reason is for going on the show…..if it’s not to cook FFS why apply!!

26 Helen { 08.27.13 at 10:06 pm }

masterclass is the most boring part of the show – watching a cooking segment is ok but having an audience is bad, George’s fancy, fiddly, pretentious food is not what we want to see – Matt’s is usually good. I have been giving Thursdays a miss because of this part.
Also there should be more individual cooking – not team challenges where average cooks get a free ride from the better cooks.

27 Helen { 08.27.13 at 10:09 pm }

Actually everything that Jaycee 47 (above) says about sob stories and reasons for wanting to be in the comp – so annoying and pointless and it’s repeated again and again.

28 Socs { 08.27.13 at 10:35 pm }

LittlePetel, I miss EH too. Where is she? She’s back blogging now, though.

It’s not hard for Shine to fix this is it? I mean, if we can come up with a list … (everything Qitkat said!!). It’s doable! The Great Australian Bake Off manages to do it, and they’ve done is fabulously. I love that show and I don’t even eat sweets!

Bern, there’s heaps of South Asians there because a lot of them have been brought over as labours/domestic workers over the years.

29 Bern { 08.27.13 at 10:37 pm }

Who’s EH?

30 Bern { 08.27.13 at 10:41 pm }

The one major thing I didn’t like about the Kids MC was that some of the kids had received coaching. Great for those families who can afford coaching (I presume to help the kids become camera friendly) but not for those who can’t afford this. Plus one of the joys of working with kids is their innocent natures and their lack of sophistication. I do realise that kids do get coached in sport and a hobby/desire for a career in cooking should be no different but … there is a difference.

31 Andrea { 08.27.13 at 10:56 pm }

EH compiled the first list of “I have never ….before”
Then she changed her name to JLo remember and disappeared after a falling out with someone I think.
I want her back too, and also someone called Fred was very good too with her comments.

32 Walter Shipley { 08.31.13 at 10:26 am }

If the Executive Producer Margie Bashfield recast Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston for yet another MasterChef Australia again, it’s time for organizing a national boycott of TEN.

Us Australians deserve “respectable” shows, not Americanized immorality. Australian’s need HONORABLE chefs, given the lack of unfair judging by Gary, George and Matt this season in particular. How about supporting Australian women chefs?

Think of “Liliana Battle” who redeemed herself by cooking the BEST Dish of the day, only to be stricken of her chance!

Think of Rishi, he put up an Indian dish (curry served with mussels), but Emma used white wine, which isn’t Indian and was judged “raw” by Gary! So how did it make any sense to judge which dish TASTED better by picking the SIZE of the mussels? Given Rishi’s velvety smooth and complex curry sauce was better?

Then again the judges overlooked that fact Samira’s French dish, wasn’t French at all, but applied the same rule to Rishi no less. If I were Rishi I would had sued TEN and MasterChef for taking away my opportunity of winning the contest by unfairly applying the rules only in favor of another contestant.

Whoever wins MasterChef this season is meaningless to be without honor or merit. It’s nothing more than a bogus title, that was awarded unfairly by the removal of other better contestants. The judges have become bloated parodies of themselves.

Who thinks MasterChef Australia didn’t leave a “bitter distasteful experience” this season?

33 daisy { 08.31.13 at 12:51 pm }

Walter, call me a skeptic but I don’t believe it’s the judges but the producers who decide who goes and who stays.
The judges are just window dressing.

34 Littlepetal { 08.31.13 at 12:56 pm }
35 mailz { 09.01.13 at 1:35 am }

Very disapointed also n totally agree with Walter 100%….. should b master fluke not masterchef…Rishi sould have been in top 3…I was so annoyed when samira beat rishi with the French battle she chose it and clearly failed dish by using Corriander. …im turned off MC now ….very disappointing….

36 Delirium { 09.03.13 at 3:50 pm }

Eliminate stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with cooking – i.e. catching your own fish (why?!), picking your own berries, build your own pit fire and so on. Just give them quality ingredients and let them teach and entertain us. The secret is just great casting.

37 New Englander { 09.15.13 at 12:10 pm }

Agreed- bring back the weekly mystery box and invention test.
Bring in more female chefs. And I miss Donna Hay.
Get rid of the audience for master class – they were superfluous and having the judges walk in like rock stars was out of character to the rest of the show. We used to watch and learn from master class but we skipped watching most of them this year as too boring with little to learn.
The girl- boy start to this year was a flop. I was relieved to learn it would last only a week. It was juvenile and felt forced. In fact I was not a fan of theme weeks as a whole. I much preferred mystery box, invention test, pressure test, etc. from early seasons. Season 2 was our favorite.
I’m not a fan of the immunity challenge or the pin. It just never felt real that the judges couldn’t distinguish the difference between a contestant and a world class chef.
Also agree that the calibre of cooking was lacking this year- definitely not as inspiring as previous years. And yes, less sob stories. Though I actually appreciate the back stories it doesn’t all have to be so sad.
More Marco Pierre White. More Marco Pierre White. More Marco Pierre White! We were fans of his in the Professionals season.
Having said all that, we are still likely to watch it next year. And here’s a plug for travel to Vermont next year, perhaps combined with Montreal and/or Boston too. And also a wish for all the older seasons to be added to Netflix.

38 Maguerite { 04.03.14 at 3:32 am }

PLEASE, I agree with the guy who said “send the cryers home” sick sick sick of that. Sick of hearing: Why should you stay in MC – OMG how retarded is THAT. Get on with the cooking and leave the stories at home PLEASE!! Hey I forgot, I don’t have to watch anymore. Well unless I hear from someone that they have a Marco Pierre-White or some no BS guy. And no I don’t care if there aren’t many females. To instill Affirmative Action will make it just SO much for fake. Very few female top chefs in the world, so if the men are better, that works for me. Discriminate if you want, but stop with the stories already. HOW did this show lose its mojo so quickly? I dunno… Let them start printing food.