I was so late in getting hooked on this show, mainly because I avoid all competition shows, save for the circus parts of America's Got Talent.
I guess it was a matter of surfing past the show one night, and being taken by the competitors toiling over their grills. I loved their enthusiasm for what they were doing. Real non-digital work! And not another veiled flesh show. How about that!
Jason Wang, below, was one of my favorites. So passionately expressive! Turns out he is a 34-year-old music teacher. He was one of the three finalists, and well deserved to be there.
Yachecia Holston. eliminated only one week before finale, was my favorite. Loved her embracing spirit. I just discovered she is a minister from Michigan. Heck, I'd give her pulpit a try. I bet it sizzles.
Another of my pets was the cool creative showman, Dino Angelo Luciano, a free spirited dancer from Brooklyn who crossed his heart the Catholic way many times..
Why had I resisted the program for so long? About head master, Ramsay Gordon, seen here, center, I remembered trying to watch his Hell's Kitchens, only to give up on what struck me as scripted, the restaurant operations so bad as to feel facial. Heck, I could have been a master chef in one of those dumps! I make a great mock red potato garlic fry. My no-frills specialty are frozen stir-fry vegetables over the frying pan.
Gordon and a guest judge are conferring with Dino. They were obviously impressed, to such a degree that I wondered how the final decision was actually made ...
But then, came Eboni Henry, below, with a dish so admired by the judges, I got a feeling she was going to be the winner. But, oh no! One of her items in the next entree fell apart upon closer examination. You can feel her heartbreak.
Dino wins!They loved his daring creativity. But they also loved Jason's, too. I guess we can only assume the judging was as fair as it could be.
What not to like about Master Chef? First of all, the one-hour programs are ingeniously staged into sections that each move at a good clip, driven by a spirit of intense urgency (the Ramsay factor) at every frame. There is very little off the off-set stuff that clutters up the other shows, such as footage of home life. None of such bloat that would keep me away. The Master Chef cameras stick to the action down on the grills. Great fast-moving showmanship! Give an A to all the judges: Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi and Aarón Sánchez, for working so well together.
Most of all, to the can-do spirits of the captivating contestants.
I already miss Master Chef.
I see they are re-running an episode next week. I liked the aspiring grill masters so much, I may tune just to relive old times with them in the kitchen.