My new routine on Thursday evenings is to stay in and watch MasterChef Italia, season 2. (This is not greatly different to my old routine.)
Season 2 doesn’t have the same innocent charm as the first season. Season 2 never does. The season 1 competitors were endearingly amateurish. The season 2 competitors are more aware of how the whole thing works.
The season 2 competitors have been a bit smug, too. The judges call them out on this: “Arroganza!” (Arrogance!) “Presuntuoso!” (Presumptuous! Upstart!) the judges have said to anyone who has not shown due humility.
Which judge is the most feared? I don’t think it’s Chef Joe Bastianich, the Italian-American, even though he swears and hurls crockery with food still on it. (Does anything make such a dramatic clatter and bang as crockery when thrown?)
It’s Chef Carlo Cracco who has the most menacing ways. He asks sticky questions and stands imposingly over contestants while they’re slaving over a hot stove.
Chef Cracco has had showdowns with Tiziana, the self-important lawyer who initially didn’t understand the pecking order. Chef Cracco has set her straight. Cheekily, she now admits to having a thing for him. Too bad Tiziano cheated in the last episode, adding olive oil to her dish after time was up! This left a very bad taste in people’s mouths.
Andrea, a humbler contestant, has said that Chef Cracco dishes out praise sparingly. This only makes his validation more sought after.
The best game strategy I’ve seen so far has been from Ivan, the Sicilian. In choosing a team, he selected all the remaining males, leaving the remaining females to work together (or rather, not work together) on the opposing side. The women’s team failed spectacularly to impress anyone!
MasterChef has been a ratings success on Italian tv but it doesn’t have much competition. Except for the night when, on another channel, Silvio Berlusconi faced his critics and gave them an unexpected thrashing with his indefatigable claptrap, consummate yet odious showmanship and utter refusal to acknowledge he has ever done anything wrong.
I’d like to see Berlusconi in the MasterChef kitchen, taking the heat from the judges. But I suspect his plastic face and hair might be too much of a fire hazard.
MasterChef Italia will be on the menu again in our house this Thursday. Who knows what Tiziana will be up to, or whether Chef Cracco will accidentally compliment someone. And will the judges finally scrap those contestants who have reached their limits? I hope so!