Thursday, July 18, 2013

MasterChef - UK vs US

I've watched MasterChef pretty much since its inception.  I love cooking competitions.  Top Chef, MasterChef, Food Network Star.  I love watching people put gorgeous food together, but hey, I LOVE food.  (Not a foodie, just a food lover.)

I hadn't watch the UK version of MasterChef until I moved here, though.  (Our cable provider didn't have BBC America on basic, and now I have satellite.)  And I only just found the show a few weeks ago.  OMG, I love it way more than I ever liked the US version.

Okay, so the UK one is called MasterChef: Professionals.  It's people in the business cooking for their peers and restaurant critics and chefs above them in terms of experience.  The US one is home cooks who'd like to break into being professionals.

On the UK version, there aren't any 'weird' challenges.  The contestants have to do perfectly normal chef things - like de-bone a fish (for the skills test) or make a perfect dish according to what Chef Michel tells them to do - usually some classical dish.

On the US show, there's a lot of back-biting and snide comments.  (Especially this season - which I stopped watching because I couldn't take the bitchiness anymore.)  On the UK show, the contestants are calm and respectful and supportive of one another.

The judges are also a lot nicer in the UK - even when they're giving criticism.  There's no yelling.  I don't think it's in Chef Michel's makeup to shout.  And there's no swearing at people.  Plus, he smiles a lot.  And that Greg guy who also judges?  He's delightful.  I love it when he eats something he loves because you can tell how much he enjoys it.  It's written all over his face. 

With Gordon Ramsey, there's yelling and swearing (not just MasterChef, but on Kitchen Nightmares* and Hell's Kitchen - geez, Gordon, you're going to give yourself an aneurysm.)  And that other judge on MasterChef - the skinny, super-superior one?  Good lord, man, take whatever stick is shoved up your... posterior regions... out and enjoy life again.

Maybe the Brits are just nicer people.  (Okay, I know Ramsey is a Brit, but I think nobody ever told him that it's possible to educate and criticize without berating and humiliating.)  Maybe the British audiences just won't put up with the kind of crap that American audiences clamor for.   I mean, seriously - they have Downton Abbey and we have Here Comes Honey-BooBoo.  Nuff said.

Anyway, I just thought it was an interesting comparison.  What do you think?  Have you watched any of the British versions of shows we have here in the US?

*And if you ever get a chance to watch the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares, even Ramsey is nicer over there than he is here.  But he still drops the f-bomb constantly.


  1. I haven't seen Master Chef, but I have seen Kitchen Nightmares (which is a guilty pleasure because it makes me laugh).

    Ramsey's swearing doesn't bother me (maybe because I'm so foul-mouthed myself) because quite frankly I think the people he's yelling at, deserve it.

    They've asked for his help/expertise because their way of doing things isn't working and their business is failing, but when he offers advice, they argue with/ignore what he says and continue to do what doesn't work.

    It reminds me a lot of writers I know that don't listen to the advice of crit partners/agents/editors because they think they know best....even though they're not succeeding in the biz.

  2. Oh, they deserve everything Ramsey throws at them, but the UK version is just nicer. And I don't have any room to talk about dropping the f-bomb. It's just easier to watch a show when every other word isn't a bleep.

    And if you like Kitchen Nightmares, have you tried Restaurant Impossible? The one I watched yesterday, this chick actually accused Chef Robert of placing insects all over her restaurant to make her look bad. =oX I thought he was gonna have a cow.