MasterChef is without doubt one of the food programs that everybody recognises. Who doesn’t remember the original UK version with Loyd Grossman? Who hasn’t seen the newer versions, such as MasterChef The Professionals or (on BBC1 as I type this), Celebrity MasterChef?
MasterChef has been around since 1990 although it seems like longer. I remember watching the original version with my parents when I was a child, and wondering if I would ever be good enough to go on a program like that (note: I’m still not). The more modern version (originally called ” MasterChef Goes Large” here in the UK) has spread around the world and despite being formulaic – nothing new for modern TV there – remains as popular as ever.
The MasterChef Cookbook showcases recipes from all the UK series of MasterChef from 2005 onwards, from all the different MasterChef variations (Professionals, Celebrity, etc). Each one has been re-written so that the book follows a standard format, instead of the original contestant writing up his / her recipe. While this might seem like a bad thing, it allows for a more coherent end product and escapes the negatives that could have arisen from the fact that not all of the contestants were actually that great on TV. Each recipe is credited to the original contestant, although some of them do say “inspired by…”, which presumably means the recipe has been tweaked somewhat from the original to improve the dish.
Each recipe in the book features useful information such as the preperation time involved, the cooking time and how many people the recipe serves (something I should try and learn from for this site). Some recipes even feature additional “Master tip” sections, basically a paragraph with helpful information relevant to the recipe. The recipe for “Chocolate and Paprika Sorbet” by the memorable Emily Ludolf, for example, has a tip about sugar thermometers.
Overall, this is a really good book. The reason for this is that most cookbooks these days seem to be about a chef rather than about food, and as such feature pages and pages of the chef waffling about what they’ve been up to. There’s none of that in this book, so instead you are left with almost 400 pages of recipes from one of the best food programmes on TV; well worth the £10.49 that Amazon are currently asking for it!