How to judge a cooking reality show in multiple rounds

I’ve had a slight cold this week, and when I’m sick I like to watch cooking shows. Fortunately for me, MasterChef is on five nights a week, and I also spent much of Thursday afternoon watching old episodes of The Great British Bake-Off. This is one of those posts where I haven’t had much time over the past two days to watch anything, so I’m just putting up a few thoughts on my cooking shows. In The Great British Bake-Off, each round is conducted over a weekend, and the bakers have three challenges to complete. When Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (the best names of judging panel members in television history), they take into account all three bakes. On MasterChef, this is less true, and eliminations can therefore be problematic.

We said goodbye to Jacqui last Thursday on MasterChef, and though she had some trouble in the first few weeks, she was starting to come into her own, and made some amazing desserts (even if panna cottas aren’t really my thing, I’ll accept whatever the judges say). She made it into the immunity challenge, and two days later she was cooking for elimination again. The way the team elimination worked this week is that each contestant had a mystery box, and there were three rounds. Two cooks were saved each round, while the rest had to continue onto the next round without having their mystery boxes replenished. It’s tough. In the first round, Jacqui was a close third to Georgia and Jamie, having made some chocolate fondants (which are always the way to my heart), and from there it got worse. I didn’t see the ful judging of her deflated souffle, but it was deflated, so she wasn’t going to make it through. In the third round, her sub-par but better than mediocre scampi lasagne saw her go home.

In Bake-Off, Jacqui would have been safe. In that third round Ashleigh cooked a great dessert, as did Scott. I think his name’s Scott, I’m not actually sure, but that’s what I’m going with. Neither of those two performed particularly well in the first two rounds, and on Bake-Off Mary and Paul would have argued about which one they liked better in each round. The judges also do that on Chopped, which is always fun to watch. On MasterChef however, they’re judging the individual dish. So when Scott, who fumbled his way into a chocolate mousse got through and Jacqui didn’t, it seemed unfair. Former MasterChef contestants were sending Jacqui condolences on Twitter. In week 6 of the most recent season of The Great British Bake-Off, the judges were torn between sending Kate or Luis home – they were neck and neck, and couldn’t agree on anything. Because Diana had to drop out of the competition, both were safe for another week. MasterChef obviously can’t do that, as they have twice as many contestants and send two people home each week, it’s a much more complex competition. I just think that in a multi-challenge elimination challenge, everything a contestant cooks on taht day should be considered in the ultimate decision.

Other thoughts:

  • Jacqui is now doing work experience at the Piggery Cafe in Sherbrooke, which is in the Dandenongs. They do a very nice snapper burger.
  • I’m excited for the return of The Great Australian Bake-Off on Foxtel, but I’m not sure about having Maggie Beer and Matt Moran as presenters. It’d make more sense if they were judges, but whatever. Also Adriano Zumbo should be a judge.
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