MasterChef Favourites Week was absolutely delightful

If anyone is wondering (or even reads) where the weekly review of The Americans is, the answer is that I was out all day and forgot to record it, so I’m going to have to find time to watch it over the weekend before I go house sitting. Even if I had recorded it, I fell asleep watching Scandal’s second season this afternoon, and that’s one of the best seasons of drama in the past five years. I wouldn’t have had the energy to review it. Instead I’m going to focus on what has easily been my favourite week of MasterChef this season, as the show found it wise to bring back some of our favourite contestants: Poh, Hayden, Kylie, Callum, Ben and Andy (portmanteau Bendy) and Justine.

One thing I’m constantly amazed by in MasterChef is the way that the contestants follow their love of food to the point that they can guess the special guest in the kitchen before the judges announce their names. I might be able to do this with some television writers, and I was able to figure out that Stephen Schwartz was a guest on Spicks and Specks once, but I don’t really follow chefs. What was great about this week is that the old favourites were back, but also that their careers have followed many different paths. There are previous MasterChef contestants who have their own restaurants, but Callum runs a cooking school, and Justine and Poh have their own television shows. I think Ben does as well; it was on once while I was at the gym.

What really works about having old contestants back, whether it’s to set challenges or be the challenger in the Immunity Challenge is that the contestants can see where MasterChef can take them. Furthermore, they get some valuable advice from past contestants about how to make the most of their time on MasterChef. Also the challenges were great this week, and people produced amazing food. Georgia created a bacon dessert that I immediately wanted to try; her inventiveness has put her at the front of the pack, and even though she doesn’t pull off everything she tries (the duck consomme was not a success, but she managed to stay in the competition. Kylie’s toffee apple dessert is something I want to eat immediately, and Ashleigh excelled as she completed the dessert and really enjoyed the challenge of making it (I’m quite partial to desserts).

I’m also quite partial to Mexican food, which is why I loved the team challenge this week, when Ben and Andy mentored the teams through a Mexican challenge. Given that I live in Melbourne, I really need to try and find out when these feed the public events are on – having previous experience working in a bakery, last week’s team challenge was fascinating.

Most of all what Favourites Week proves is how much having good guests can energise the show. MasterChef‘s preoccupation with Marco Pierre White isn’t my favourite thing. It made for a good week last year, but it’s a bit dull. Favourites Week reminded me of all the fun I had watching MasterChef All-Stars. The joy of watching Julie get back in the kitchen and immediately drop the butter wrapping in her mixing bowl was delightful, and it’s great to have the kind of energy that takes some of the seriousness out of the show. I understand that people are putting their futures on the line, but it needs to be good television as well, and Favourites Week was great television.

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