Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Recap of MasterChef Canada 2 Premiere, "Fit To Be Tied" OR May I Please Have a Hashtag With That?

The best part of MasterChef Canada's season premiere airing right after the Superbowl is that you
don't have to sit through all the insufferable post-game analysis. Cos no-one needs that crap. And the best part about watching the MasterChef Canada auditions is you can pretty much tell who is going to get a white apron (or who doesn't) as soon as they open their mouths. In addition to that, you can tell who is going to make it through the first few eliminations when their auditions are "featured". We are given a back story and for a select few, there is now a hashtag. The way I figure it, if a home chef gets a hashtag during the audition, production REALLY wants us to get behind them, emotionally speaking. Yeah, it's just that simple.

To refresh your memory, home chefs are given one hour to prep their own "signature dish". A signature dish can be defined as a meal that your kid/mom/significant other/BFF will gobble up. The contestants are then presented to the judges in the audition room (which I have often thought must smell horribly of the previous contestants' food and sweat). Here they are given another 5 minutes to plate, while the judges ask silly questions usually geared to throw them for a loop.

Here are my thoughts on the 9 home chefs who received white aprons in the premiere:

Sabrina Poirier
Office Manager
Montreal, Quebec.
Sabrina is missing her sister's wedding for her chance to win MasterChef Canada. Shocking! What's not shocking is she is taking heat from family members for this choice. Well, maybe she didn't want to sit through all the dress fittings. Or lick the invitations. Or maybe she couldn't take all the unavoidable "When are you getting married, Sabrina?" questions at the reception. Maybe Sabrina made the right choice after all.

Jon Hameister-Ries
Financial Advisor
Vancouver, B.C.
He's a former pro football player who is getting a second chance. I hope he has a third chance somewhere in reserve...I get the feeling this is a sympathy white apron despite the #JonsComeback hashtag. There was just too much awkward. I could be wrong. He could be the one who avoids elimination and learns technique along the way.

The next four white aprons were all lumped together in a dreaded montage. It's "dreaded" because you know they won't get far in the competition.....usually. They are fodder for early elimination. For the record, there are 3 classifications of audition montages:

  • Class 1 Montage: We see a snippet of their signature dish and the judges' reactions. All the contestants are given a YES and we see the triumphant run back out to the competitor's waiting room.
  • Class 2 Montage: We see a bit of their presentation - it usually doesn't go well. All the contestants are politely told they suck and we see their walk of shame.
  • Class 3 Montage: Mixed. Some are given a white apron, some are shown the door.

For crying out loud, their names weren't even given - I had to look them up:

Christopher Siu
Pharmacy Student
Markham, Ontario
Kristen Dwyer
Early Childhood Educator
Conception Bay South, Newfoundland/Labrador
Debra Pangestu
Public Relations Officer
Richmond, B.C.
Andrew Al-Khouri
Tax Officer
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Michael Motamedi
Toronto, Ontario.
I will call him Mr. Negative Space. That's not a sarcastic reference to his hairstyle. He plated his deconstructed signature dish in a semi-circle around the edge of the plate like a happy face with its eyes closed. Then he explained to Alvin, Claudio and Michael - 3 industry leaders in cutting edge cuisine, that the latest trend was negative space on your plate. This was when I started asking, what is wrong with Alvin Leung this season? Was he told to calm the criticism down a few notches? He should have been all over this. Here...I will improvise for Alvin. "I don't like trend-followers. I look for trend-setters." Or, "Negative Space on a plate is only as good as the Positive Space." How about, "Your food matches your hair." Better yet, "There are a lot of pretty pictures on Pinterest aren't there, Michael?" There you go Alvin. You're welcome.

Nathan Young
Digital Media/Marketing
Toronto, Ontario
Remember when I explained about being introduced in a montage? Well Nathan's audition was included in a Class 3 montage. The only white apron awarded in a group of four - the others were shown the door.

Tammy Wood
Retail Clerk
Agassiz, from B.C.
Tammy is a single mother of 6 who lost her husband in an industrial accident five years ago. At last, a home chef to cheer on and get the feels for. I can't blame my leaky eyes on onions. Tammy also hunts. In fact, her signature dish was smoked elk - an ingredient that even Alvin has never tried before. Now that's impressive. Apparently, it was tender...like butter. And she knows technique and how to plate. I am sure she will go far...she was given her own hashtag: #TammysGotGame. Points! Judging from the previews, she knows how to keep her cool.

Jennifer Innes
Dental Hygienist
Vernon, B.C.
This one talks way too much. And she talks about nothing. Maybe it was just me tuning her out after the first five or so sentences, but it was painful to watch. Wait...she's a Dental Hygienist? Geez, she must be one of those who jibber jabbers while you are unable to utter a single word with her hands in your mouth. Talk about torture. Unfortunately she was a featured applicant, which means we will get to hear more of this relentless droning for at least a few more episodes. If this is an indication of her behaviour during the competition, she will have a lot to learn about the culinary world. You see, being a chef is like being in the army or being presented to the Queen. You don't talk unless spoken to. All that "Yes, Chef"/"No, Chef" isn't just fluff for this show. It's frigging real. IF she had a hashtag, I am sure it would be #AlvinWantsYouToSTFUfor5Seconds.

David Jorge
Cement Contractor
Surrey, B.C.
More feels! David is a married father of two young sons and works with cement. Apart from his family, he claims he has made some bad choices in his life. That being said, he has some incredible cooking skills, and impressed the judges enough for Claudio to proclaim David's dish as the best he has seen so far. Michael Bonacini called the family in and handed an apron to the older son J.J. to give to his dad. Talk about tugging at your heart-strings. Needless to say, David got his own hashtag too: #RockSolidDad.

These were the only home chefs in the premiere episode who managed to impress the judges enough to get a coveted white apron. There will be more next Sunday. Last year, there were several home chefs who weren't even shown getting their aprons...including Pino!!! If they keep to the same numbers and schedule this year, there will be 26 aprons awarded. An immediate stress test gets that down to 16 who go on to face their first Mystery Box Challenge in episode 3. Ah, but there were plenty of previews of the next episode which showed others getting their aprons. So here's the spoilery bits...these are some of the ones I could easily spot and identify (there should be 4 more, so this is not a complete list!!!):

Kwasi Douglas
Nikita Scringer
Mina Tasic
Cody Karey
Deanna Brown
Lauren Scheit
Kyle McKenna
Line Pelletier
Inder Kambo
Gav Martell
Robert Mitchell
Debbie MacDonald
Kevin Gregory