…by MasterChef’s packaged stock hypocrisy

MasterChef’s season four top 50 faced their first mystery box challenge last night with contestants having to create a dish in 90 minutes using the protein concealed under the box.  Chicken or beef.  Of course, they weren’t expected to come up with something delectable using only chicken or beef; Gary Mehigan pointed them towards the “wonderful pantry full of incredible ingredients”.

What he didn’t tell them was that times have changed as far as MasterChef’s loyalties go, and some processed food provided in the pantry is more equal than other processed food (also, rather confusingly, provided to contestants).  It’s a minefield, I know.

18-year-old Matt learned this when he faced the stock inquisition (starts 10:43).

Gary's unimpressed

The exchange:

Gary – So are you using… are you making your own chicken stock?

Matt (hesitantly) – I am using the stock that is available in the pantry.

Gary – Riiiiiiiight, okay. So your risotto essentially will taste of something you’ve not made. [Takes lid of tub, sniffs disdainfully, offers a whiff to Matt.]  Can you smell chicken?

Matt – No.

Gary – Hmmmmm.

Clearly, times have changed since  2009 when Channel Ten announced it was “delighted” at having a manufacturer of packaged stock as their main sponsor. Has poor Gary been choking back bile every time he had to taste something made with a commercially-produced stock?  What other products previously pimped shamelessly by the show are now out of favour?  Should contestants be given a sheet updating them as to which of the mass-produced items of dubious culinary value are acceptable and which have been included in the pantry merely to humiliate them?  My tip to contestants would be to lavish Western Star Butter on everything, with a liberal sprinkle of Masterfoods premixed spices.

Does it smell like chicken?  It never has, Gary, but that doesn’t seem to have bothered you in the past.  I smell a rat.

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You might like to check out this Media Watch segment on MasterChef’s product integration.



About Injera

Gets cranky. Sometimes over little things. Sometimes over big things. Sees this project as a "win-win": now things will either be good, or be blogged.