I don't have a television. This used to keep me from watching too much, but with just about every show a girl could want available online, I probably watch more TV than anyone. MasterChef is one of my favorites. Yes, the chef hosts are handsome with varying degrees of charm. And some of the contestants have heartwarming stories, while others are gloriously despicable. The cooking challenges are fascinating; the Mystery Box is one of my favorites. But there are some great life lessons to be learned from MasterChef.
I love curling up on my bed to watch the show, snuggling next to my sweet dog, who doesn't really care what we watch, but likes naps. If the kids are around, they watch, too. This is what we've learned.
- Bosses come in all shapes and sizes and have different personalities. Chef Graham is kind, but firm and professional. Chef Joe is sarcastic and likes to watch people sweat. Chef Gordon is quick to anger, but has plenty of heart (and is a total dreamboat).
- You can learn something from everyone you encounter. Occasionally, those lessons come at you in a loud, angry voice. You can focus on the anger or you can hear the lesson. All three chef hosts are talented professionals. Gordon might yell, Joe will destroy your soul with one withering gaze and Graham...well, Graham is a sweetheart. But each one has great insight and the contestants should accept criticism for the gift that it is.
- Team challenges are important. Talent matters, but working well with others can help you succeed. And being a jerk can keep you at the bottom, no matter how great you are.
- Creativity matters, but sometimes you have to toe the line to get ahead. In the kitchen, someone has to be in charge. If you don't agree with your boss, you don't always do your team any favors by asserting your opinion.
- Learning to focus in a chaotic atmosphere is key.
- Be prepared for anything. Like making a lemon meringue pie, from scratch, without a recipe. (This is when I know each one of those contestants is amazing. Because I can make a lot of things without a recipe, but not baked goods, because that takes science, y'all.)
- Don't be afraid to try. What seems like an obstacle could be an advantage. (See: Season 3 champ Chef Christine Ha.)
- Keeping it simple can be the best option. Sometimes, the contestants try to take it too far, using a particular ingredient just to be different. Occasionally, it works, but it's a risk and the competitor with the simple, well-prepared dish rarely goes home.
And that Mystery Box challenge? That is one I could win. I play it almost every night, using up whatever I have in the fridge, trying to save my wallet from another trip to the store.
Do you watch competitive cooking shows for more than just the food? Also, who is the dreamiest, Gordon, Graham or Joe? Discuss.
(Images: Anne Postic)