Friday, September 7, 2012

MasterChef: The Inside Scoop

The MasterChef finale is coming soon, and I got a chance to participate in an interview with the two finalists, Christine Ha and Josh Marks.

Christine is notable because she's the first blind contestant on the show, but she's also an accomplished cook. In a previous interview, Gordon Ramsay said she had the palate of an angel.

One thing that I've been curious about the show was how all those amateur cooks were able to make some of the more ... precise ... recipes without any recipes in front of them.

I mean, you can cook a soup by taste, but when you're making cupcakes, you need to have a correct formula if you want them to rise and bake properly. I bake a lot, but even so, I need to look up formulas when I make most baked goods.

And I also wondered how much time the participants spent filming the show. On Top Chef, each episode takes two days to film, and they film several episodes each week so the chefs can be away from work for less time.

So how does it work on MasterChef?

I know. And now I'm going to tell you.

The cooks on MasterChef spend six days a week cooking - they get Sundays off - and they're there for 11 weeks. On the cooking days, either they're cooking on the show, or they're in cooking classes. A LOT of cooking classes. And while they don't know exactly what the challenges will be, in the classes they learn things they might use in the challenges.

Josh explained that while there might be a class on making pie crust, they weren't taught how to make a complete apple pie - it was just about making the crust. So it's not like they were taught absolutely everything they needed to know.

During down-time - Sundays and evenings - the contestants also have access to a library of cookbooks. There are enough of each title so each cook could have access to every book. That's a lot of books.

One last secret - Josh is known as the 7-foot chef, and he sure looks tall on television. But is he really 7 feet tall? Almost. 

He's actually 6'11 3/4". Close enough, I think.

The finale of MasterChef will air on Monday, September 10 on FOX. I know I'm going to watch. And I think I'll be cheering for Christine. I really like her attitude - I don't think I've ever heard her say anything negative about her fellow contestants. On the other hand, Josh is from my hometown, Chicago, so I'll also be cheering for him just a little bit, too.

Will you watch? Who do you hope will win?
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