Did you watch MasterChef USA?

I did. I missed the first telecast because it was Valentine’s Day and I had hoodwinked the spouse into watching Twilight with me, and it seemed rather like pushing my luck to suggest he now watch a cookery show with me. I am a new convert to cookery shows. I am a new convert to cooking. Seriously speaking. And paradoxically, while I could sit and watch back to back cookery shows all day with my interest not paling for a microsecond, my time in the kitchen is limited to approximately ten minutes after which I start finding the task at hand drudgery and wonder what I could do to speed cook the dish in question, and berate myself for choosing a dish that takes more time than a commercial break to actually become edible. My favourite method of cooking is to list out the ingredients, detail the way they need to be cut, chopped, pureed to the cook, enter when all the preparations have been done, toss in the stuff, stir a bit and trail out leaving the hapless woman to stir and stir or watch until done. Delegation. Delegation. That is the key to effective multitasking. Although, at this point in the day, the only multitasking I need to be doing is rushing to the seat in front of the telly to watch more cookery shows.

Ergo, I sobbed a bit when Masterchef India got over. And almost had a complete nervous breakdown when Masterchef Australia got over. I didn’t enter the kitchen anymore, I wasn’t trawling through recipe books, I wasn’t planning anymore meals,  I was, the unkindest cut of all, not looking forward to eating any meals. The world was a dank, grey place, and I was stuck in a limbo between dal roti sabji and the occasional chicken curry. And then came the announcement that Masterchef USA would be telecast soon. Oxygen mask slapped on and deep breaths drawn. The world was rosy back again. I went back to the television and tried to hunt down Food Food, the channel launched by celebrity chef Sanjay Kapoor. I watched Aditya Bal take very insipid and uninterested looking participants through live cooking demos in his Chakh Le India. (I like this man, even though I don’t actually trust thin chefs ever, he actually throws food together with a love for the edible stuff that eschews all formality of plating and such like which makes no sense to gourmands like me who just want to eat), and I watched Nigella, and thought, here is a role model for me, we both certainly have similar proportions and similar dark hair, now all that remains for me is to work on the orgasmic noises she makes while eating. On second thoughts, doing so would most likely make the spouse a little concerned and have me frogmarched to the family GP for a mental health evaluation, so I dropped the idea and stuck to non verbal expressions of my appreciation of whatever it was that I was ingesting. And I watched Vicky Ratnani being mad on Gourmet Guru and cringed at Maria Goretti being nonsensical fetch all woman with only task at hand to put things into an oven to bake at a predetermined temperature. I actually sat and planned out menus again. The joy of food was returning to my pallid life. And then Masterchef US happened. Gordon Ramsay, bottle blonde and fake tanned, presided over the proceedings with the kind of meanness one cringed at. Tears flowed freely, family celebrated when aprons were won, and much ado was made of backstories, with one contestant talking about her mother who died four years ago for more minutes than it seemed to take her to get her dish ready. And then there was the software engineer who had definitely snorted something illegal before turning up in front of the camera and got heckled at by Ramsay for his attempts to make a bouillabaisse, which we were told takes two days to make. He whizzed around pretend talking French, got caught out by Ramsay, was rejected by Ramsay, bawled his eyes out looking as evil as Chucky, making me want to scream at the judges not to take him in, he would hex the other participants. And I realised I needed someone to hate on this show with a passion, and this guy could be it. Ramsay was the perfect counterpoint to his fellow judges, the one cool and precise and the other a little unsure and reticent, a retreating presence on television despite his rather substantial physical presence. And did Ramsay match upto Preston? Nope. They’re opposite ends of the spectrum. Preston was supporting, nurturing, gentle, although acidic when required. Ramsay is Mean. With the capital M. And that makes it fun.

I loved it. It was miles worse than the Indian version, which I had then thought overflowing with too much drama to be taken seriously enough for me to look at it as a cookery show. But then it is not a cookery show, I realised. It is a reality show about a cooking contest. Once I had made the fine distinction in my head, I was fine and I even had a snort of the chai I was drinking go up my nose when one contestant decided to make mac and cheese with cheese butterflies. The child meandered into the room in the aimless manner that children have and took a look at what I was watching. “You’re watching Masterchef again!” he shrieked in what seemed like pain. “Are you goingtu start cooking again!” So much for validation of my cooking skills. I think I should stick to being a cookery show addict, who hates to cook. Anymore of you around?

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About Kiran Manral

Author of The Face At The Window, ( 2016), Karmic Kids, All Aboard (2015) , Once Upon A Crush (2014) and The Reluctant Detective (2011).
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26 Responses to Did you watch MasterChef USA?

  1. Shruti says:

    me me!!! 🙂 I just hate cooking these days.. n Thank the lord for having a good, reliable cook for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look like i will start cooking again. Gordon Ramsay here I come!

    Like

  2. aneela z says:

    I watched the first episode and hated everyone who was on IMMEDIATELY..except the “cool” judge who has very cleverly kept himself distant from all the crazies around him. Of course Im going to watch it, and scream at everyone so I can get all the “aggro” out of the system.

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  3. Sri says:

    Even i felt sad when Masterchef Australia got over..i was rooting for Marion and when she got eliminated, i wanted Jimmy to win and finally when Adam won, i actually had tears in my eyes!!My hubby looked at me as though i was crazy!;)

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    • Simran says:

      Ooh!! I so agree with all that you said Sri! I loved Marion and was rooting for her. And then I wanted Jimmy to win too. I did cry in the finale. Thankfully the husband wasn’t around to see me bawling or else the jokes would have continued for a few days.

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    • Kiran Manral says:

      I tell you, we need therapy, my husband would agree…

      Like

  4. SM says:

    Me too – hate cooking, love watching cookery shows. Also love watching mum / sister cooking, but, alas, they shoo me out if I don’t help them 😦

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  5. Aathira says:

    So true about Nigella and her orgasmic noises 😉

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  6. faeriee says:

    I dont cook – but pour all my ”cooking instincts” into vegetating in front of the tv and watching masterchef australia with an insane amount of interest, I did not like MC India – so just watched one episode of it. I havent been able to watch MC USA because of kids’ exams – no tv in our home for the next one month 😦

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  7. Megha says:

    Yep. Count me too.
    Been following your blog for sometime now, however this is the first time I am commenting on any blog. I suppose its because I can sooo identify myself with this post.
    I am also a huge cookery show addict and follow them religiously though I know I will never be cooking or eating anything shown on the show considering I am a vegetarian. But I still love to watch the chefs churn out exotic looking stuff 🙂

    Like

  8. Writerzblock says:

    I love watching cookery shows! Never managed to watch Masterchef regularly, but once in a while, yes!!!

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  9. Jaya says:

    i had actually thought i might be a great chef in the making, but disasters in the kitchen and the spouse’s remarks proving otherwise, i have retreated back to the couch where i can watch food network all day and nobody will judge me.
    i haven’t heard of masterchef yet, but iron chef is kinda similar and a riot to watch!

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  10. chanda bisht says:

    I too love to watch these shows but ofcourse cant make a dish like them ,but like to cook but only sometimes.

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  11. Deej says:

    There’s a Masterchef India? Super! I was wondering last night, as I watched MasterchefUK, what will the contestants of my imaginary Masterchef India cook. How powerful am I? I dream it to reality!

    Like

  12. Kanchan says:

    You don’t watch Family Food Fight? 😛 Seriously, Masterchef Australia hooked me on to these shows… though no other show comes close to it in terms of class…And hey the software engineer is the Dolly Bindra of this reality show, guaranteed TRPs 🙂

    Like

  13. Anita Modi says:

    Was in total withdrawal after MC Aus ended, and was thrilled to hear of MC US coming to Star World. However, it lacks the involvement one felt with MC Aus, the show seems contrived, like the people were chosen as much for how tv-friendly they are than their cooking skills, and carefully nurtured rivalries. It’s too truncated — like the Americans can’t do it right and everything must be hurried up. Even more drama than in MC Aus, but I guess that’s expected on tv. I don’t like it much, but, heck, I’ll watch. Caught Family Food Fight; not bad.

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