10 things we learned from the first episode of Celebrity MasterChef
Among many, many other things, I hate cooking almost as much as Donald Trump hates LOSING! and people who are SAD! (Exclamations are Donald’s, not mine.)
I hate doing it in real life, and I hate watching other people do it on the telly.
But someone assured me recently that Celebrity MasterChef was actually much better than the usual cookery-themed stuff on TV, so I approached tonight’s first episode on TV3 with an open mind. As in, open enough to give the show a fair shout, but not quite so open that it inspired me to rustle up a quick courgette flower beignet with organically-psychoanalysed Kobe beef, drizzled in teriyaki jus and nestling on a pouf of hand-reared farro husk.
Anyway, here’s a few things we learned:
1. Some of the time the music on Celebrity MasterChef sounds like it’s accompanying the Battle of the Pelennor Field in Return of the King: sweeping, orchestral, very dramatic. You can almost picture the King of Rohan raising his sword and urging the riders on to glorious “Death! Death! Death!” What this has to do with food, I’ve got no idea.
2. Tonight’s show saw five of the ten contestants take part. We had: weather guru Evelyn Cusack, Eurovision hero Niamh Kavanagh, model Holly Carpenter, ex-Armagh footballer Oisin McConville and, most out-of-place, Amnesty Ireland boss Colm O’Gorman. I appreciate that the pool of well-known faces in Ireland is small, and I’m not being smart-arsed here, but: is there any other country where the head of a large charity is considered a celebrity? It’s just…odd.
3. For the first test of this heat, competitors had to “go back to childhood” for “one dish that tells us something about you as a cook”. If I were on the show, that’d probably be beans on toast. That I’d then refuse to eat, coz I always hated beans on toast almost as much as Donald Trump hates… ah, you know the rest.
4. Interestingly, Colm’s “childhood memory” of food involved breast of duck, cooked in red wine and pomegranate glaze, with a pomegranate, molasses and walnut salsa, fondant potatoes and tender-stem broccoli. Whoa – a long way from beans on toast that you’re refusing to eat.
5. In contrast, Oisin admitted that his relationship with food could basically be summarised as: lived with his mother, ate her cooking; got married, ate his wife’s cooking. But he still impressed the judges.
6. We saw lots of footage of people chopping things, stirring things, pushing things to one side of a prep board to make space for other things, tasting things, stirring things a bit more, testing things – and then those scenes of the judges leaning over and taking a bite of contestants’ dishes, which always looks strangely awkward or uncomfortable to me.
7. And of course, contestants hugging each other. Reality TV literally ceases to exist without people hugging each other for no real reason. This has been proven by NASA and Stephen Hawking (working separately).
8. Judge Daniel Clifford told Niamh at one stage, “You need to learn how to put something on a plate” – which says so much about the weird way this society thinks and talks about food, it’s scary.
9. Holly was the first sleb booted out, after fecking up her sauce by not “reducing” it. I do not understand that concept. She said, “I think I need to look up words like ‘reduce’”. Not the only one…
10. Next Monday we’ll meet our second job-lot of slebs: Olympian Sonia O’Sullivan, singer-songwriter Mundy, popstar Samantha Mumba, actor Simon Delaney and model Nadia Forde – who looks so eerily similar to the departed Carpenter, it could actually be her, resurrected from the televisual dead. But then again, retro is SO IN for food right now.