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Nothing ever changes when it comes to Britain’s two great/terrible obsessions: fame and TV competitions involving cooking fancy food.
Celebrity Masterchef proved that – returning for its thirteenth series, even when the contestants weren’t famous and couldn’t cook the fancy food properly.
Even though the food wasn’t fancy (at least compared to the Bake Off’s Showstoppers) it didn’t deter us. We didn’t want to make or eat it anyway.
Formulaic: Nothing ever changes when it comes to Britain’s two great/terrible obsessions: fame and TV competitions involving cooking fancy food. Celebrity Masterchef proved that.
It didn’t matter whether they were ‘celebrities’ or people we had literally never heard of.
Our appetite for watching people competing in TV kitchens remained the same (insatiable) – much like Celebrity Masterchef’s popularity.
Not even the continuing presence of Gregg Wallace as a presenter – grinning, sweating, and drooling over the dishes (and the female competitors) – has affected its appeal. And if this hasn’t, you figured, surely nothing will. After all no one actually likes Gregg Wallace do they? Not even fans of Masterchef.
Is there a bigger, more unpleasant, buffoon on mainstream television? It’s hard to think of one.
‘Give us something fantastic! I’m hungry. Make me happy!’ he implored them, managing to make the prospect sound slightly disgusting.
Yummy? Even though the food wasn’t fancy (at least compared to the Bake Off’s Showstoppers) it didn’t deter us. We didn’t want to make or eat it anyway
When he asked ‘what’s in your mussel and clam broth?’ you just despaired. (What do you think?!)
Gregg it was who provided the show’s first classic ingredient, brainlessly bellowing ‘I’m excited to see you!’ at Episode One’s participants for reasons best known to himself.
It certainly wasn’t because they were exciting, as e virtually admitted when he said of this series twenty contestants ‘they might be able to dance, sing, play sport… We don’t care !’
‘We don’t know you mean!’ viewers must have cried.
Who’s who? The line-up in this year’s series illustrated Celebrity Masterchef’s two big flaws compared to its Reality TV rivals. Yes you guessed it – the celebrities and the cooking
CELEBRITY MASTERCHEF: WHO ARE THE 2018 CONTESTANTS?
Mummy’s boy: Spencer hopes to make his mum proud by taking part in her favourite TV show
Occupation: Reality star
Most famous for: Being a Lothario on Made In Chelsea. He’s now married to Vogue Williams. The newlyweds are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their baby boy.
What to expect: Spencer says he’s ‘super competitive’ and hopes to make his mum proud as it’s her favourite show.
Diva: Gemma, who is known for her GC persona, will take no-nonsense from the judges
Occupation: TOWIE star
Most famous for: Gemma rose to fame on ITVBe show TOWIE. The bubbly blonde, who refers to herself as the ‘GC’ is reportedly appearing on the show as compensation for falling on-stage at the Radio 1 Teen Awards.
Watch out for: Fiery temper and no-nonsense attitude.
Ambitious: Frankie’s New Year’s resolution was to learn how to cook so may be somewhat of a novice in the kitchen
Most famous for: Frankie rose to fame as part of S Club 8 being becoming a pop sensation in girl group The Saturdays.
What to expect: The mum-of-two is somewhat of a novice chef after making it her New Year’s resolution to learn how to cook.
Improvement: Josh Cuthbert revealed he joined the show for wife Chloe Lloyd, thanks to her distaste for his cooking
Most famous for: Appearing on the X Factor as part on Union J.
Josh recently married his fiance Chloe Lloyd in a romantic Oxfordshire ceremony.
Watch out for: The singer is the second member of Union J to appear on the show after Jaymi Hansley last year, so is sure to have picked up a few tips.
Clean eating: Clara loves healthy food and hopes to improve her skills on the show
Occupation: Radio 1 DJ
Most famous for: Presenting the mid-morning show on BBC Radio 1, which she took over from Fearne Cotton in 2015.
Watch out for: Clara eats healthy, clean food says she loves cooking and hopes to improve her skills her show.
Whisk and Chasse! AJ could impress the judges with his signature da
Occupation: Strictly Come Dancing
Most famous for: Appearing on the hit BBC1 competition last year alongside Mollie King.
AJ said he can’t wait to ‘Whisk and Chasse’ into the kitchen and could impress with his dance moves.
Funnywoman! Zoe’s career has veered from comedy to TV
Most famous for: In 2004 Lyons won the Funny Women Awards. Since then, she has toured the UK stand-up circuit, as well as playing regular gigs in London.
Watch out for: Zoe’s signature dish before a show is chicken, couscous and asparagus.
Scared: Martin says appearing on Masterchef is scarier than playing Rugby for England
Occupation: Former Rugby player turned actor
Most famous for: The rugby union footballer played lock forward and gained 31 England and 3 Lions caps.
Feeling the fear: He said: ‘I had a mixture of terror and excitement going through my head’.
Working 9-5: Stella is no stranger in the kitchen and published her own cookbook back in 1990
Occupation: American country singer-songwriter
Most famous for: Being the sister of Dolly Parton. Parton is best known for a series of country singles that charted during the mid- to late-1970s
Watch out for: Stella is no stranger in the kitchen and even published her own cookbook back in 1990.
Homecooked grub: Jean doesn’t consider herself a ‘fancy cook’ but loves to cook at home for her children
Occupation: Broadcast journalist
Most famous for: Jean won a nationwide search for a presenter that led to roles presenting for CBBC.
Watch out for: Jean doesn’t consider herself a ‘fancy cook’ but loves to cook at home for her children.
Food poisoning? Anita jokes her culinary skills are so bad the judges ‘might have to go to hospital’
Most famous for: Harris sang with the Cliff Adams Singers and had a number of chart hits in the 1960s.
Watch out for: The singer jokes her culinary skills are so bad the judges ‘might have to go to hospital’.
History: The fiesty redhead has already clashed with judge Greg Wallace back in 2008 on the show Just The Two Of Us
Occupation: Broadcast journalist
Most famous for: Carol is the lead singer of Eighties group T’Pau as well as solo hits including One Heart.
Watch out for: The fiesty redhead has already clashed with judge Greg Wallace back in 2008 on the show Just The Two Of Us.
Oven roast: The bubbly soap star says she doesn’t believe she’s a good cook but can put things on a tray
Most famous for: Chizzy is best known for her role as Mo Effanga in Holby City. She has already appeared on Strictly Come Dancing.
Watch out for: The bubbly soap star says she doesn’t believe she’s a good cook but is good at over roast dishes.
Vindaloo: Keith revealed didn’tmake a ‘vindaloo’ after his England football hit
Most famous for: Keith has a lengthy acting career and is also the father of singer Lily Allen.
Surprise: The actor failed to make a ‘vindaloo’ after his England national football anthem hit in 1998.
Scrumptious: Stef says her specialty in eggs and can make the perfect poached egg
Most famous for: Stefanie is a track and field Paralympian who competes for Great Britain, competing mainly in category T44 long jump and sprint event.
Watch out for: Her competitive nature. Stef says her specialty is eggs and spent two years perfecting her poached eggs.
Woops! Michelle was called out by the judges for putting too much cheesy mash on her fish pie
Occupation: Television personality and presenter
Most famous for: Michelle is best known for her work on BBC programmes such as Watchdog and The One Show.
Culinary mishap: The presenter was called out by the judges for putting too much cheesy mash on her fish pie.
Revamp: Jay is best known for presenting the Repair Designer
Occupation: Furniture designer and entrepreneur
Most famous for: Presenting the Repair Designer. His first TV appearance was alongside Kirstie Allsopp.
Watch out for: Jay will no doubt bring some of his budget money-making skills to cooking.
Eye on the ball: Panesar is an English international cricketer so will bring his a-game to the competition
Most famous for: Panesar is an English international cricketer.
As a left-arm spinner, Monty made his Test debut in 2006 against India in Nagpur and one-day debut for England in 2007.
Experienced: John is no stranger to reality TV shows and cooked for his fellow housemates on Celebrity Big Brother
Most famous for: John is probably best known for the role of Christian Clarke in the soap opera EastEnders.
Watch out for: The actor is no stranger to reality TV shows and cooked for his fellow housemates on Celebrity Big Brother.
Soap star: Lisa is best known for her roles in The Bill as Samatha Nixon
Occupation: Actress and television presenter
Most famous for: Lisa is best known for her roles in The Bill as Samatha Nixon, in EastEnders as Naomi and in Hollyoaks as Tracey Donavan.
Watch out for: The actress isn’t afraid to have heated debates, having been a regular on the Loose Women panel.
CELEBRITY MASTERCHEF: WHO ARE THE 2018 CONTESTANTS?
The line-up in this year’s series illustrated Celebrity Masterchef’s two big flaws compared to its Reality TV rivals. Yes you guessed it – the celebrities and the cooking.
Neither is good enough to be impressive (like GBBO) or bad enough to be funny (like CBB).
As usual too many of the 20 contestants were either too obscure (AJ Prichard/Jay Blades/Stella Parton/Clara Amfo/Chizzy Akudolu/Jean Johansson) or dull (Anita Harris/Monty Panesar).
Bizarrely, in Week One, three of the five were both:
Michelle Ackerley, Josh Cuthbert, and Martin Bayford proving tediously bland next to the notoriously eccentric/energetic Carol Decker (from T’Pau) and actor/comedian/all-round show-off Keith Allen.
When ‘TV presenter’ Michelle admitted ‘I just keep having that realisation: what am I actually doing here?’ we sympathised, albeit thinking it was more a case of ‘who actually are you?’
Who? Josh Cuthbert meanwhile was introduced as ‘best-known for being a member of the boyband Union J’ – a contradiction in terms if ever there was one
Josh Cuthbert meanwhile was introduced as ‘best-known for being a member of the boyband Union J’ – a contradiction in terms if ever there was one.
Just how appealing/entertaining/gripping it was watching a member of Union J char-grill some prawns and serve them in a cabbage wrap?
Logically the answer was: not very.
And yet five-six million of us dutifully fed our obsession with ‘fame’ and food/TV cooking contests.
All in all it was little wonder the opening show was merely a starter, an appetiser, for the next two episodes: next week’s meaty/juicy main course (featuring Spencer Matthews), followed in a fortnight by the mouth-watering pudding that is Gemma Collins.
Our cup runneth over…
Hold your horses: All in all it was little wonder the opening show was merely a starter, an appetiser, for the next two episodes: next week’s juicy main (featuring Spencer Matthews)
In terms of the competition, Episode One followed the traditional Masterchef pattern:
1. the contestants introduced themselves by (over)emphasising how limited their culinary skills were.
2. in the first round they then (mostly) produced something that was perfectly fine/edible
3. they panicked about working in the kitchens of a prestigious London restaurant but coped ‘surprisingly’ well, largely without incident.
4. they (mostly) sailed through round three, cooking miraculously complicated, tasty, dishes.
Here are my awards for the evening
BIGGEST DRAMA QUEEN
‘Being on Celebrity Masterchef is terrifying. I feel like some kind of gladiator who’s going in to fight on his own against some lions’
– Keith Allen on cooking a burger for Gregg Wallace
BIGGEST ROCK STAR
‘At home I’d have drunk half a bottle of red wine by now and wouldn’t care !’
– Carol Decker explaining why she was nervous making chilli con carne on Celebrity Masterchef even though she’d ‘played some of the biggest stadiums in the world.’ Her reaction to their positive comments? ‘They were very nice indeed. I might have a little glass of wine later !’ Hic.
BEST/WORST MOTHER: ‘I cook regularly because I have two kids and I don’t want them to die so I cook’ – Carol Decker
‘I cook regularly because I have two kids and I don’t want them to die so I cook’ – Carol Decker
BEST/WORST MISSED OPPORTUNITY
‘This thing about ‘food presentation’! I just don’t understand ! There’s got to be a Food Presentation Workshop that I can go to somewhere!’
– Keith Allen, after we had just spent 15 boring/pointless minutes watching him work for a day in the kitchen of Covent Garden restaurant, Smith & Wollensky. If that didn’t count as a ‘Food Presentation Workshop’ who knows what Keith was expecting?
BEST/WORST PROTESTETH TOO MUCH
‘This might look like I know something about food but I don’t’ – Keith Allen in Round One, chopping an onion
‘I’m making chicken with nice salty olives to bring a bit of depth to it’ – Keith Allen on his dish in Round Three that the judges said was ‘moist’, ‘succulent’, ‘well-cooked’, ‘well-seasoned’, and had ‘great flavour’ with a ‘lovely’ cider apple sauce
TALLEST DRAMA QUEEN: Former rugby international Martin Bayford (6ft 10”): ‘I’m just trying not to remove any digits. Hopefully no one dies’
TALLEST DRAMA QUEEN
Former rugby international Martin Bayford (6ft 10”):
‘I’m just trying not to remove any digits. Hopefully no one dies’
TALLEST PROTESTETH TOO MUCH
Former rugby international Martin Bayford (6ft 10”): ‘that may well have been a fluke’ – after the judges were ‘impressed’ by the ‘nice flavours’ in his Asian prawn curry, pickled fennel, and rice
Former rugby international Martin Bayford (6ft 10”): announcing that the two dishes he was making in Round Three were ‘a wild garlic and morel mushroom soup’ the judges found ‘absolutely delicious’ and a ‘fantastic’ rack of lamb with Dauphinoise potatoes
STADIUM-SIZED PROTESTETH TOO MUCH
‘My children say they know when tea’s ready because the smoke alarm goes off’ – Carol Decker
‘An opulent dessert’ – John Torode describing Carol Decker’s fondant, which followed her ‘yummy, ‘flaky’, ‘delicate’, cod wrapped in Parma ham made in her own fish stock, ‘seasoned really well’ with ‘vibrant’ pea puree sauce
MOST HONEST/LEAST EXAGGERATED PROTESTETH TOO MUCH: ‘I don’t even know what you would call it. It’s mince, rice, and tomatoes’ – Michelle Ackerley on the dish she was preparing
MOST HONEST/LEAST EXAGGERATED PROTESTETH TOO MUCH
‘I don’t even know what you would call it. It’s mince, rice, and tomatoes’ – Michelle Ackerley on the dish she was preparing in Round One.
Gregg Wallace: ‘Is that not on its way to being a chilli?’
Michelle: ‘That’s a good point. So what I am making is… a chilli !’
Michelle’s fish pie admittedly had more mash in it than fish but even she caramelised some pears for her ‘warm pear salad which she served with ‘a sweet mustard dressing and edible flowers.’ This is probably more than any one of us ever did. Inevitably she was voted as the night’s loser, rather than Keith Allen.
X FACTOR-STYLE PROTESTETH TOO MUCH
‘If I can make this better than service station cook that would please me enormously’ – Union J single Josh Cuthbert who eventually produced ‘a black cod fillet marinated in miso dressing’ and some fancy French mini apple turnovers)
WORST X FACTOR-STYLE ‘JOURNEY’
‘The judges may have seen there’s a journey I can take vis-à-vis food presentation’
– ex-‘rebel’ actor/comedian Keith Allen uses the J-word to justify staying in the series
WORST X FACTOR-STYLE ‘JOURNEY’: ‘The judges may have seen there’s a journey I can take vis-à-vis food presentation’ – Keith Allen uses the J-word to justify staying in the series