What is the format in the other versions? I have heard it described as American Idol but with Chef's.
The Australian version is a bit different to the Uk version. There are places you can find all episodes (at least of the currently screening second season) online. And to get a sense of how it works, you could also pop into the Masterchef Australia forum here. This was hugely successful last year, and is doing even better this season. It screens here 6 days a week (yes, really!) with a basic run down as follows:Sunday
- Mystery box (a bit like a Top Chef quickfire, with a dish made from some or all of the ingredients in the box). This is then followed by the Invention Test, where the winner of the Mystery Box chooses the core ingredient around a theme (desserts/Greek/vegetarian etc etc). Bottom three go into the Pressure Test. Winner of the Invention Test goes into the Celebrity Cook-Off. Monday
- Pressure Test. Bottom 3 have to replicate an often complicated dish (sometimes with a recipe, sometimes purely on taste). Worst dish boots the cook.Tuesday
- Celebrity Challenge. Winner of the Invention Test cooks against a well known chef in replicating one of their signature dishes. Blind tasting by the judges. If the amateur's dish is chosen (and it's happened a couple of times) they win an immunity pin they can use to get them out of an elimination.Wednesday
- Team Challenge. A bit like Top Chef - contestants are placed into teams to produce a meal for a certain audience/purpose (cruise ship/child's birthday party etc etc). Winners get to meet chefs and eat at a good restaurant. Losers go to elimination.Thursday
- Elimination. Sometimes the worst performers are chosen (like in Top Chef), sometimes the whole team goes up. Elimination often focuses on core basics - taste tests to ascertain contestants palates, or making the best pesto/mayo or a mise en place challenge. Loser booted.Friday
- Masterclass. No competition. Judges review the challenges of the week and cook for the contestants demonstrating their own approach to the dishes. Essentially a cooking class for the amateurs (and us).
The success of Masterchef Australia has been predicated on the absence of bitchery and nastiness that characterises much of reality tv. It is not without its cheftestant fools, but the focus is very much on a positive learning experience, watching the amateurs improve week to week (and, of course, sometimes crashing and burning). This season they didn't even bother with auditions; just straight to the Top 50, and then spent a week whittling them down to the starting line of 24 amateur chefs. The judges act very much as mentors, and the vibe between contestants is very supportive and positive, cheering each other on etc etc. Very very little on personality clashes, and rarely are there spats and fights over things. Just amateur chefs trying not to screw up and cook good food. It will be interesting to see how Ramsey goes. With his abrasive personality, I wonder if the same feel-good uplifting, supportive tone will be something this version will aim for.
Edited by Freeoh, Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:52 PM.