We're back for another season of one of my favourite cooking shows of all: Master Chef - where home cooks are celebrated and we're given a glimpse into the kind of talent that exists and thrives in humble kitchens everywhere - reminded that years of passion and experience can add up to epicurean results and I can't wait to see the line up of talent this season!
Thousands came from all walks of life to share their passion for food, but only a handful would be chosen to go under the guidance of three of the biggest names in the culinary world, Graham Elliott, Joe Bastianich, and Chef Gordon Ramsay.
As the show begins, the field has been narrowed to 100 hopefuls all vying for an opportunity to go on - and as the passionate home cook and food contest Maven you know me to be, I can absolutely imagine what it must have felt like.
In the opening sequence the contestants are led into a large airplane hanger, and while our three spotlit mentors enter to a barrage of star struck screams, the contestants are reminded they're in it for a grand prize of $250,000.00, a Master Chef cookbook, and the coveted trophy declaring them, once and forever, a Master Chef.
The first challenge began with contestants presenting their signature dishes to the judges.
Some early people on my radar were Michael from Austin Texas who came out to his father just before auditioning for Master Chef. His Chinese dumplings looked light, pillowy, zesty, and chewy - all at once, and I was thrilled to see him get the first apron.
The "flavour elevator," Ryan from Manhattan also won my heart - which just goes to show, no matter my financial circumstances, I keep a soft spot for trust fund babies and pretty much all of the Real Housewives.
Seven foot Josh who, when asked if he plays basketball said "No, I shoot onions into skillets," was another front runner this round not only for his food, which looked excellent, but for his attitude:
"If I can do what I love instead of what everyone else wants me to do, I'm gonna do it - nothing will stop me."
Those who know me understand why I'm rooting for Josh...
I'm always so heartbroken when cooks don't make it - been there, done that - but when they do and, in the process come to our screens with life lessons, character, and courage, I am all in with a bag of chips.
Salt and vinegar, thank you very much.
And I have rarely been more all in than I am right now for Christine, the first visually impaired contestant on Master Chef. I love her not just because she has risen from adversity to go after her dreams, but because she is the real deal as a cook and I would have given anything to eat that catfish!
Stay tuned tomorrow for recaps on Episode 2.
If you're watching Hell's Kitchen be sure to begin following my take on all of the antics this summer starting with episode 1!
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