Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Did anyone watch the first episode of Master Chef last night? We did, out of curiosity. While I refuse to watch Hell's Kitchen because Gordon Ramsay is a screaming red-faced bully, I do occasionally enjoy Kitchen Nightmares. The restaurant owners in that show deserve every bit of apoplectic rage that Ramsay delivers because the majority of them are careless and unhygienic buffoons. (And I have to wonder about the Heath Department regulations in their areas because none of these places should have passed inspection. Ever.)
But I digress.
Master Chef takes thirty home cooks, puts them through the special Ramsian ringer, and spits out one winner who manages to survive the pain and humiliation of being called a "stupid bitch" or "fucking monkey" on national television. (If you dream of having such things said to you, try this site, you romantic fool.) A winner, who, never having been a chef in the first place, can never become a "master" chef merely via the magic of television. So right off the bat the title of the show is misleading and ridiculous. Maybe "Really Good Home Cook" doesn't have the right overly-dramatic ring for Fox. I think "Gordon Ramsay Rides Your Ass" or, better yet, "Tear Factor" would be perfect.
In addition to Ramsay, we have judges Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. Elliot is a Chicago chef who recently competed on Top Chef Masters. He's gentle and sweet and doesn't seem at all like a food snob despite serving things like pickled maiitakes, "altoid jus," and "pumpernickel dust" at his restaurant Graham Elliot. He provides the "human element" to the judging panel. Bastianich, Lidia's son and business partner to Mario Batali, recently lost a lot of weight which apparently has made him very bitter. He comes off like a real douchebag, second only to Ramsay with his sneering holier-than-thou attitude.
Episode one featured the first round of "auditions," a la American Idol, only with talent. I don't think I've ever seen that many tears shed by adults in a non-funeral situation. Several cooks made the cut and will go on to the next round, but even more people faced ridicule.
I'm not sure I have the stomach to continue watching.
If you missed the first episode, and you'd like a bit of brutality with your mac and cheese, you can watch it online here.