Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Master Chef vs. Top Chef

I miss a lot of my TV shows. A friend asked recently if I've been watching Big Love, and the sad but obvious answer was no. I briefly considered buying the season pass for Lost on iTunes, but decided I didn't want to shell out actual money for the ultimate wind-up. Top Chef is another show I don't watch anymore - not because it's not on here, but because Belgian TV (on which one channel, Vitaya, appears dedicated exclusively to reality TV) is about three seasons behind.
BBC, however, has its own reality cooking show, or as they call it, "cookery competition" - Master Chef. And I was thinking tonight that I might actually like it better. Here's why:
1. No annoying Padma. Seriously, is she on prescription painkillers? Everything she says is soooo draaaaaawn ouuut. Those commercials where she was dancing were so . . . embarrassing. And she is obviously too skinny to know the first thing about food. I do miss Tom Colicchio, though.
2. I think they make the contestants work harder on Master Chef. Tonight, they sent them to Buckingham Palace to cook for the employees' cafeteria lunch service there. Not an easy job, and not likely to prompt illusions along the lines of "I could do that!" Last week, each contestant went to a well-known London restaurant to carry the lunch service. (Notice that they're not sent during dinner.) This all stands in stark contrast to, say, preparing for a cook-off before a ballgame.
3. There is less drama - the contestants are simply there to cook. Sure, one could argue that this makes the British show less fun to watch. But I can do without - at some point Top Chef began to suffer from Project Runway-itis, i.e., when it becomes obvious that not even the top contender will actually become the celebrity chef (or designer) for whose job they are supposedly vying.
4. Also, MasterChef is on several times per week. And not even at the same time, just to make things more interesting!

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