Culture House Daily

Masterchef is a food programme by tossers for tossers

19 May 2014

12:47 PM

19 May 2014

12:47 PM

There is so much to hate about massively successful TV series Masterchef that I have been glued to it for ten years. But then I always watch Nigel Farage when he pops up on TV, and even sit through that advert for Sheilas’ Wheels.

But let me explain why I think Masterchef is so bloody annoying to me, a food-lover and enthusiastic cook. First there are the hosts, John Torode and ‘Mr Spanky’ Greg Wallace, and their parroting of puerile comments. You know what I mean: ‘Saltiness coming from the…’, ‘Sweetness running through…’, ‘Flavours of the sea’, ‘Tang of the…’, ‘ABSOLUTELY beautiful’.

Then there is the question of John Torode’s upper lip: where is it? And why does he have to wear chef’s whites (I preferred his grey cardigan that made him look like Gavin from Gavin and Stacey) and barely ever smile? Spanky laughs most of his words out, doubtless in order to mask the fact that he is saying nothing of substance.

I hate the smug, self-congratulatory comments by the critics, Jay Rayner, Tracey MacLeod and Charles Campion, who sit there like High Court judges about to pass sentence. They are so damned superior, waiting at their beautifully laid table twiddling wine-glass stems while the hyper contestants run in with plates of nonsense that these overfed, overpaid professional nasties sniff and prod and pronounce on.

Then there are the guest chefs, stern-faced Marcus Wareing – the ex-Ramsay boot boy – and the twee, cherub-faced Tom Kitchin. What do they add?


There is the look of absolute cancer-curing concentration on the faces of the contestants as they stir, taste, whip and dice whichever organic ingredients have been left out for them in a hand-woven hessian basket made by Guatemalan peasants. Masterchef is a food programme by tossers for tossers, and I (normally at least 95 per cent twat-free) can’t get enough of it.

Thyme air. Bone marrow jus. Acidic jus. Chocolate water. Sous vide. Sod it. I switch on an episode, squeezing my eyes almost closed. Spanky is smacking his lips between tastes: “Clever, clever, clever.” He is looking for something else to say but can’t manage it, what with him smiling patronisingly and looking like he could sodomise the pudding in front of him.

John Torode, as he tastes the contestants’ offerings, opens his mouth so wide it could house a family of four.

Oh yes, the contestants. Right now, in the episode I’m glued to, the contestants are in some posh restaurant helping with lunch service. ‘We are cooking for some of the best chefs in the world,’ says one. All the chefs they’re cooking for are British.

It is no wonder that this programme is such a big hit. It’s cookery porn – the stuff that has schoolboys contorting, hiding their erections in the hope of a flash of C-list celebrity clout. Getting a stiffy while boning up on your culinary skills is a big seller.

‘It’s just as well there is a table between us,’ says Spanky as he tastes a pile of mush I can’t quite make out as I tuck into my KFC. ‘Cos I could give you a great big kiss.’ (There are lots of threats of snogging from Greg. He describes mashed potato as ‘a big snog’.)

Anyway, Ping won this year, and so she should have done. Her food was amazing, or as Spanky said, ‘Ping’s desert has got me by the ears, and it’s threatening to snog my face off.’ When it is announced that Ping, the only woman in the final, is Masterchef champion 2014, we are treated to the soundtrack of Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’, because it’s all about vaginas rather than vichyssoise when a woman comes out top.

In the words of Gordon Ramsay – the man responsible for all this kitchen machismo – ‘It’s Masterchef, not masturbate.’ I would hate Masterchef so much less if they recognised this truth. But I’d enjoy it so much less too.

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Show comments
  • Helen Western

    That is slander. John has given kids an adults confidence and opportunities that meant they have a future in an otherwise weary world. Be grateful

  • Nick Harman

    Spanky probably meant dessert not desert, but I imagine the pressure of having to say something about nothing must tell on all of them.

  • Donafugata

    This is exactly my impression of the show, I have never seen it but I have nothing but contempt for it.

    If it is for tossers, Julie, why are you watching it?

  • Bambuddha

    As an ex contestant of Master chef goes large I hate it…and especially that sycophantic green grocer chappie…who really should just stick to selling greens

  • Mike Paterson

    A fun critique of this daft but lovable programme. But second to last para belongs in Private Eye’s Pseuds. So what’s your point? A woman has won Masterchef the past three years.

  • flippit

    It goes on too long, but it holds you every time as you wait to see if a contestant’s made a slip like ‘not enough seasoning’! and sometimes in the early stages you can’t help laughing at the rubbish they serve up, it looks just like mine.

  • manonthebus

    Let’s be honest. It’s just cheap television and it’s just cooking trying to look intellectual. It’s still – only cooking.

  • MaxSceptic

    Hmmmm,,,, Was the tedious Tanya Gold otherwise engaged?

  • HJ777

    Wot, no mention of the hugely over-serious grave tones of the narrator?

    • flippit

      And the music, the drumroll, tense or what..

  • you_kid

    You mean to say: Masterchef is a food programme by tossers for tossers who don’t cook.

  • suzanne.thompson

    Excellent and couldn’t agree more!

  • juliebindel

    I love to hate to love it

    • emil09

      Ah. I just hate it. I think the style of narration is sexist and demeaning to women.

      • Darnell Jackson

        FFS, grow up.

  • emil09

    This is confusing. Do you love it, or hate it?
    Personally, I can’t understand how you’ve managed to tolerate the sound of that ghastly woman narrator for long enough to be able to form an opinion on the content.