December 22nd, 2017

manning: uberbitch

Drunken posting, or Why I am Incensed by the Masterchef: The Professionals Final 2017

Hello! It is, I dunno, midnight or something after solstice, and I have insomnia because despite trying to calm down with not-quite-paying-attention-to the Ab Fab and Father Ted Xmas specials afterward, I am still pissed off by the Masterchef: The Professionals Finale. Because there was rampant sexism, OK?

So, before you read any further, if you care at all about being spoiled about the winner of Masterchef: The Professionals, then read no further until you have watched it. If, like 99.99% of the Earth's population, you don't give a damn about that, then read on.

There were three finalists: Craig, Louisa and Steven. Craig was the youngest contestant (though he didn't look it) at 21, and had one of those faces my mind was constantly struggling to maintain a memory of. He was just...forgettable. Louisa, at 22, was second eldest. She was MAGICAL. And I don't just mean that because she was the only woman. Carry on reading and you will see. Steven was the only one on the whole programme with a sense of humour. A lovable teddy bear. Not the finest haute cuisine chef, which is why he didn't win the thing, but definitely the only one to whom my response was, "When he opens his restaurant, I want to eat there."

So anyway, the winner was Craig, because fucking Marcus Wareing (tosser) thought he was a "genius", and repeatedly said so. I don't deny that Craig's food looked and (from the sounds of it at least) tasted like something you'd get in a Michelin-starred restaurant of today. And that, to me, was the problem. He, with his granitas and his liquid nitrogen whatevers, was making exactly the sort of food you'd expect there, now. There was not much he served that I was surprised to see.

Louisa, on the other hand, was perhaps not doing all that which is of the zeitgeist, but she was doing things that Marcus Wareing "had never had before" although given that that was his favourite/most overused gushy anticipatory statement of the show, perhaps didn't mean much. ANYway, the point is, she used a lot of ingredients that were taken from non-European cuisines and blended them successfully with those that were, in unusual and apparently delicious ways. And her presentation was just as modern/de rigueur as Craig's. She is creative, dedicated, flexible, incredibly confident, commanding, attentive and prodigiously talented.

Steven was the only chef who actually looked as if he enjoyed eating as well as cooking food, which is always a bonus as far as I'm concerned. I don't think he was ever going to win the thing, being (a) far too chilled out and (b) actually in possession of a sense of detachment from the competition, like, "this is nice but it is not life-defining in any way". And his food reflected those qualities.

Anyway, the judging of the final was super annoying, because Marcus Wareing was just glaringly sexist throughout. He gushed over Craig as a "genius", and whilst I'm not denying the lad clearly has talent, at least from the appearance and alleged complexity of the dishes, Louisa was at least equally deserving of the moniker. But did she get it? Oh no. His praise for her was much more along the lines of, "Well done you clever little lady, isn't it wonderful that you're here."


Fuck you, Marcus Wareing. Those of us who have been around long enough to see that sort of bollocks from the people we work with recognise exactly how demeaning that kind of "praise" is.

So, I am hoping that in five years or less, the following events will occur.

1) Marcus Wareing will be removed from Masterchef: The Professionals for apparently never having actually enjoyed any foodstuff that is not a very small deviation from classical French cuisine.
2) Louisa, having opened her new restaurant which is receiving the same sort of accolades for innovation as Noma, receives a request for a booking from Marcus Wareing, which she politely declines.
3) Steven, having opened his wildly popular restaurant which serves whacky reconstructions of English pub favourites, gets a call from Louisa re: Item 2). He promptly adds to the menu a new recipe he has been saving for the occasion: Marcus Wareing's Sloppy Spotted Dick.


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