Friday, 23 July 2010

Dining out at home

Watching Master Chef (as I do), thinking about the relevance (or irrelevance) of the way the show is programmed to run, then thinking about the wider implications made me mentally re-program the program.

*The show is meant to find Australia’s best/top amateur cook
*Presumably anyone with formal cooking qualifications is prohibited from entering the arena
*The winners in the individual weekly challenges are judged on presentation and taste of their food, and sometimes on their ability to lead their team

These things are all well and good for a professional chef, or apprentice, but for an amateur, albeit a ‘professional’ amateur, I find some of the tasks they are expected to perform absolutely mindblowing, and, I venture to suggest, well beyond the ability (and desire) of many qualified chefs cooking around Hobart as we speak!

My question is does anyone out there in normal-land actually plate up food as appears to be so all-important on MC? When you cook your lamb cutlets at home and serve them up, do you place the mashed spuds in an artistic well-sculptured ‘pile’ in the middle of the plate, then imaginatively and strategically drape the cutlets sexily around the mash ‘pile’ then pseudo-randomly strew assorted double-podded broad beans and baby carrots amidst your red wine jus?

My logic tells me that for a competition such as this to weed out Australia’s best amateur cook, they should look a tad deeper than someone’s ability to plate up in the most politically correct way possible.

I use the term ‘politically correct’ quite deliberately, because I think the current vogue of food presentation should be left to the professionals – ie the guys who do this for a living. Let them compete for most artistically draped cutlet. Us mere eaters-at-home, who do not depend on the payment of the bill at the end of the evening’s restaurant dining out experience, are wanting good food (whatever each of us individually consider to be ‘good food’) at the end of a day. I honestly don’t think too many of the general populace are at all concerned with the plating up trend, despite my firm belief that we do, indeed, eat with our eyes.

Yes, yes, I know it’s specifically for entertainment, and adding the country’s and world’s major chefs to the equation adds that extra je ne sais quoi, and credibility, to the show, but REALLY?

I challenge the fact that whoever ultimately wins this title actually IS Australia’s best amateur cook. Those CWA ladies (as one example) should take out a joint legal action against the show challenging this very claim, I reckon!

Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

I don't watch Masterchef for that reason.

sir grumpy said...

They're not looking for THE best amateur cook, Rita, just a show from a handful of hopefuls that will provide a vehicle for advertising and promotion.
I suppose on their terms the prsentation goes forward as someone who wants to run a restaurant where that's imprortant.
I was fooled the first time but won't be fooled aqain (The Who!) by what is just a load of rubbish.

Anonymous said...

So good food can't look nice?

Rita said...

Anon 5.03 - good food usually does look fabulous! The question I was asking in the post was whether your average home (=amateur) cook actually plates up like that. No hidden message, or agenda.

Anonymous said...

Personally I like to plate up food well. I'm not a great cook but I think that there is nothing wrong in making it look good.
There certainly is some skill involved but we don't have to stick with the meat and three veg piles on the plate that was the way from years gone by.
While I'm here I might say that I am not a fan of masterchef but love the show on I think SBS these days about cooking through the ages, last nights show on the 70's was hilarious!


Tassiegal said...

Anon - I think you mean supersizer go... its BRILLANT. (Rita you HAVE to watch it...8:30pm on Thursday on SBS). Missed episodes can be found on You Tube.

Anonymous said...

Yep thats it!


DL said...

Hi All,

totally off topic but thought i would share- We went to bosso and boo in battery point for breakfast yesterday! Was absoultely wonderful could not fault it.

Their menu is full of local produce!

Oh and they are on the look out for fresh rhubarb.

Anonymous said...

I ate at Fenix (owned by Gary from MasterChef) while in Melbourne over the weekend.

Food was pretty good but the service was rubbish, even by Hobart standards.