Masterchef Back to Win is off and running, with more than a million viewers tuning in for the debut episode on Monday night . Obviously being locked down helps and having a family-friendly product on four nights a week will be a bonus for Network Ten.
Last night’s show brought loads of familiarity, despite the fact that three new judges made their first appearances.
Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen took a backseat as Scottish superstar chef Gordon Ramsay took charge.
Unlike a normal Masterchef series, we’re pretty familiar with most of the contestants, since many of them – like favourite Poh Ling Yeow – are well-established stars in their own right.
Social media was nearly unanimous in its praise of the show, with a few minor exceptions.
Here’s a quick first night review:
Gordon Ramsay: Front-loading the first week with the Scottish mega chef makes perfect sense. It takes the pressure off the new judges, gives viewers some familiarity and lessens the ‘where are Gary, Matt and George?’ factor.
Bless Gordon Ramsay..keep him on for the season please he is such great value. #MasterchefAU
— ObserverofLife (@kkatz02) April 13, 2020
Sound editing: The music was epic in the first episode, rising and falling with each particular moment.
The cooking: Most of these competitors are now professional, not amateur cooks, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that some of the dishes were spectacular despite this being a first show. Still, the desserts from Reynold and Emelia in particular, were remarkable.
— masterchefau (@masterchefau) April 13, 2020
Old faces: Network Ten had no idea of course, that a global pandemic would force millions of Aussies indoors, sequestered with friends and family. But the move to bring back familiar faces will prove to be an even bigger master stroke (no pun intended) as the season moves along. We’re already invested with Poh, Callum, Hayden, Jess etc etc…
I will stop watching the moment Poh gets eliminated #MasterChefAU
— -J- (@jeannebean360) April 13, 2020
Perceived conflict of interest: Social media wasn’t happy with the connections between some of the competitors and the judges (Eg: Laura worked for Jock Zonfrillo, Andy and Ben M. are old mates and have a television production company.).
Lack of unknown backstories: Because this is ‘Back To Win,’ there will be no unknown hero or heroine who rises from nowhere to become an incredible chef. There are still great backstories and there will be plenty of emotional moments, but a cynic might say these contestants have already won their respective lotteries.
The new judges: Hard to get a read on them, since Ramsay did most of the heavy lifting. Jock seems more likely to take on the Gary Mehigan ‘hosting’ role, while Melissa and Andy will inevitably get more confident as the series goes on.
Cuddly Gordon Ramsay: It was only one episode but surely there are some out there who are aching for the F-bomb dropping Ramsay of Kitchen Nightmares to make an appearance.