I’m going to put my hand up and honestly say that I had my reservations about MasterChef 2020.
Without the staple judges of George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston, would MasterChef really be MasterChef?
Had the format gone stale? Could there possibly be any more home chefs in Australia? Could I handle a whole other season of stressful pressure tests, mystery box challenges, eliminations and people yelling “10 SECONDS LEFT”?
The verdict was in. I was unsure if I could really do it again.
But something pulled me back in, and no, it wasn’t my love of Poh or Callum or Reynold (although, here’s a hint for my birthday coming up. Three words. “Popcorn Celebration Cake” from Reynold’s cake shop, Koi.)
No, this year, my palette for reality television has changed — especially since we were going through the arguably the largest global event of our lifetime, the global coronavirus pandemic.
Gone were the days of consuming the toxic and hectic drama of Married at First Sight — where putting toothbrushes in a toilet, throwing wine on each other and yelling and screaming seemed to be “normal” behaviour — and in, with the supportive, creative and incredible chef’s whose passion for cooking and creating tasty dishes is all my anxiety-ridden pandemic mind can handle right now.
Of course, bringing back the old contestants has been a serious winner, all hand-picked to perfection and all so supportive of one-another it makes you want to cry.
Even the new judges, Melissa Leong, Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo have been a refreshing breath of fresh air. Their renewed enthusiasm (and let’s face it, Zonfrillo’s accent) has been such a welcome addition, and now that we’re so far in, you have to question why it didn’t happen sooner.
Then, there was the surprise twist of Hot N Cold theme song artist Katy Perry — delivering arguably the loosest (and most fun) episode in MasterChef history.
For those who missed it, Perry was a pure delight. She was energetic, supportive, with personality for days and was ready to feed her (and her unborn child) some delicious food.
Her flirtation with Zonfrillo while calling him “daddy” was quite frankly, pure golden television — certainly, a palette cleanser to National budgets, coronavirus anxiety and the constant battle we’re all having in our own minds.
But the best part of it all? Watching Reece Hignell fanboy for half the episode. Simply divine.
This year, Network Ten’s MasterChef: Back to Win recorded the highest-rating season launch in five years. And it’s no wonder.
Australian fans have been settling in to watch their old favourites battle-it-out and were obviously intrigued by the new format.
And, if you don’t believe me, the proof is in the pudding (pun intended). When intimate Melbourne dining experience, Enter Via Laundry, was featured in an episode on May 5, fans flocked to the website promptly crashing it. I know because I tried to view it. And if that doesn’t prove the power of a show, then I don’t know what does.
But it’s not just watching that has me hooked. I’ve also found that my love of cooking has increased ten-fold since watching the show and you best stay tuned for the first instalment of ‘Anita tries a MasterChef recipe’ — it could be a winner or an absolute disaster, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
This series is wholesome, informative and just so easy-to-watch, that I’m even planning date nights around it. You may think that’s a little funny, but ask your friends and see if they’re doing the same during a pandemic.
Like the rest of Australia, I have been glued to my TV night-after-night and if I happen to miss one-or-two episodes, you can bet I will read up on it the next day.
MasterChef: Back to Win is seriously the perfect antidote to the isolation blues. It’s more than just a cooking show, it’s an essential relief from the doom-and-gloom that we are currently experiencing.
MasterChef Australia. Back To Win. Only On 10 And WIN Network.
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