Masterchef Canada has started on TV. Mr B and I are hooked already.
It is true that almost every week it will be possible to find, at some time or other, a version of
the Competitive Cookery Concoction which is Masterchef. We have almost finished watching Celebrity Masterchef in which lots of celebrities whom we had either never heard of, or who had faded into dim and distant memory, battle it out among the frying pans
and blast freezers. I'd never even heard of a blast freezer before I watched Masterchef. Live and learn, I always say, and if you can freeze a strawberry jelly along the way, well, what's not to like? By the end of this week we will know who will be "crowned"
Celebrity Masterchef. Will it be Rylan whose claim to fame is starring in a reality programme? Or fragrant Kimberley, she of the annoying transatlantic accent? Or earnest Sam? Or, our favourite, the other one, you know the one I mean, but I have momentarily
forgotten his name as well as how he earned his celebrity status. I would ask Mr B but he is having a shower.
As well as Common or Garden Masterchef and the Celebrity version, there is Masterchef - the Professionals
where real chefs, sous-chefs and the occasional pastry cook put their careers on the line. I will always remember, with horror, the poor guy who was lambasted by the judges for unhygienic kitchen practices. Poor guy came on Masterchef in search of fame and
fortune and possibly lost his day job as a result. Be careful what you wish for, that's all I can say.
Being careful what you wish for, incidentally, is the back story to the Limelighters' latest production
Into the Woods. The Limelighters, regular readers will recall, are members of a youth theatre group of which grandkids Jack and Hazel are founder members. The first half is a kind of fairy tale fantasy, involving Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack (of beanstalk fame)
and Little Red Riding Hood. By way of a warning, the telling of the tales owes more to the original Brothers Grimm than the sweet Disney versions. By the end of the first half, Rapunzel and Cinderella have both nabbed and wed their True Loves, Jack has become
a multi-millionaire and Little Red Riding Hood and her granny have been rescued from the Greedy Wolf with the large ears, eyes and mouth "all the better to hear / see and eat you with!" Then comes the second half and everything goes horribly wrong. As I said,
be careful what you wish for.
The contestants on Masterchef Canada know exactly what they wish for and they're not about to listen to any Wise Words of Caution from the likes of me. One young lass has even
decided to forego her own sister's wedding in order to continue on the programme and have her dishes critiqued by the judges. As always on Masterchef, there are three judges, including a kind one, a steely one and one in the middle. Every so often, the steely
one relents and dissolves into slush, like my stewed apple when I have left it on the stove too long.
It would not be Masterchef if there wasn't at least one Usher Gene moment per programme.The Usher
Gene, I need to explain for newer readers, is possessed by female members of the Usher family (of which I am one.) Among the most prominent characteristics - the ability to find room for "just one more" object in any cupboard, fridge or larder, no matter how
crammed full it might appear to Mere Mortals unpossessed of the Usher Gene; and a propensity to weep copious tears at heart-tugging moments in any book, film or TV programme.
I thought Masterchef Canada might
have missed a trick on this but then, at the very end of the first programme, the judges invited one of the hopeful contestants to fetch his family in to hear their verdict on his culinary offering. In trooped his wife and two totally adorable boys insistent
that their Dad was the best cook in the world. Well, those judges were hardly going to break bad news in front of them, were they? This wasn't going to be the Grimm version of a fairy-tale.
the judges called the older boy over and handed him a white apron with the Masterchef logo embroidered upon it - the physical proof that a contestant has made it into the next round. "Go, give that to your Dad!" said the Steely One. I blubbed. Mr B looked
at me askance. He will never understand the Usher Gene.
Masterchef Canada is set to run for several weeks so I imagine there will be many more Mystery Box challenges, team challenges, visits by famous Canadian
chefs whom Mr B and I won't know from Adam and Usher Gene moments to savour.
Like all the very best recipes, Masterchef delivers exactly what I'm wishing for.