Name:  Anneliese

Region: Winchester

Age:   38

Profession:  Bank Manager

Personal:  Married


Who taught you to cook?

I started cooking from a really young age, my Mother is Spanish, she and my Spanish Grandmother are both very good cooks. I instinctively learnt things by watching them. My other Grandmother is Irish. She came over to the UK in the 1920s and worked in service. She learnt a lot from the cooks in the house she worked in, in particular English traditional dishes, which she has passed on to me.


What is your biggest cooking influence?

I lived in Spain for seven years from 2001 to 2008, and growing up Spain was my second home, we spent every summer there so it was, and is, a massive influence on my cooking.


Why did you decide to enter the competition?

I had always wanted to be a chef but I took the academic route as opposed to going to Cookery College. I was hooked on MasterChef; I thought I can do that. I felt it was finally time for me to pursue my dream of working in the food industry so I just thought I should give it a go.


Name:  Alice

Region: Swansea

Age:   24

Profession:  Mother and part time model

Personal:  Engaged with son (2) and stepdaughter (8)


When did you start cooking?

My Mother is wonderful at baking and old fashioned, home cooking so she inspired me with her love of cooking. She baked cakes with me and my siblings since we were toddlers. Apparently I could make a Victoria Sponge before I could even talk!


How would you describe your cooking style?

Today my style varies significantly to my Mum’s. Whilst she loves to cook stews and casseroles, I prefer tricky soufflés and technical sauces. I love throwing dinner parties – they are always an extravagant affair, with a day of prep going into the menus.


Why did you decide to enter the competition?

My Mother and I both love the show and she was convinced I would get through. I was so busy with my son being so young, I entered just so she would give me a break, I was totally shocked when I made it through! I would ultimately like to open a fine dining restaurant in Swansea.

9.00pm Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 February on BBC ONE

John Torode and Gregg Wallace start the search for a new MasterChef as the series begins with some tough auditions

It’s already one of the BBC’s biggest shows but Masterchef could be getting a revamp following the mega success of the show in Australia where contestants also live together, Big Brother style, cameras and all.

BBC bosses are reportedly keeping a close eye on the Oz series before possibly incorporating its Big Brother elements to the UK series.

Co-presenter Gregg Wallace says of the Big Brother element, “It’s led to great viewing figures.  A quarter of the population watches in Oz.”

On whether he’d like to see a change, Wallace kept his thoughts to himself, “Well, it’s not up to me. I’m just a spoon for hire, trying to keep the show stirring along sweetly.”

Millions of viewers in the the UK already enjoy the show as it is – will a Big Brother style version keep the viewers and gain more viewers especially with Big Brother ending soon.  Maybe Davina could do some of the voiceovers?

BBC drama The Deep opens to 5m

New BBC drama series The Deep debuted to an audience of just under 5 million on Tuesday night. The BBC One series, which stars James Nesbitt and Minnie Driver, averaged 4.98 million in the 9pm hour slot.

MasterChef may adopt Aussie format

The success of the reformatted MasterChef Australia could influence the way MasterChef plays out in The UK. Gregg Wallace has said that the original UK version could take on some of the aspects of the Australian version given the phenomenal success it has had down under.

Colm Meaney signs on for western drama

Colm Meaney has signed on for a role in period drama Hell on Wheels. Meaney will play a businessman by the name of Thomas ‘Doc’ Durant who is determined to make his fortune building the transcontinental railroad. The actor will join Anson Mount, Dominique McElligott and Common on the cast.

The rave music, the yelling, the “cooking doesn’t get any tougher than this!”, the preposterous challenges that no chef would ever face in the real world and the husky voice-over… yep… Masterchef is a creature of habit and as is as predictable as can be.

Yet, we all tune in to see people making tits of themselves with green pancakes and snort when Gregg Wallace opens up his mouth and hovers over puddings like a trembling, gaping bum-hole over an open latrine.

It’s the dumbest cookery show ever made, designed to make you dizzy with thumb-screws and high-octanery. I just wish it would get some amateurs on again as that’s when the show is truly at its best.

Anyway, the show is slowly taking over the world. You may not know it, but Masterchef is becoming one of Britain’s greatest exports.

The show has been a gigantic hit in Australia and will be fronted by Gordon Ramsay over in The States. Now, the show is going to appear on French television, and Christ knows what that lot will make of the format!

And what will the format be? Surely the French will play it a bit cooler?

When asked to identify ingredients, my generalised sweeping view of the French will see their intelligence insulted as cigarettes hang from pouting lips… “It’s celeriac you idiot! An unborn foetus could tell you that!” Except it would be in French, of course.

In fact, I hope all the contestants on the show are like the grumpy old women that Keith Floyd used to come across, shrugging and scalding pro-chefs for ‘doing it all wrong’. That would make for excellent television.

Naturally, it won’t be anything like this as, y’know, France is a modern first-world country and all… but it’s fun to speculate. I do hope Gregg is the host of the French one… I see him having a similar grasp of the French language as Del Boy, and that would make for TV gold!

Tonight sees the start of Masterchef The Professionals (BBC Two, 8:30pm) which sees young chefs who work in professional kitchens all vying for a trophy that looks like an electric ring on a ’70s hob.

Masterchef has become something of a franchise which is staggering if you consider the old format of the show which featured Lloyd Grossman tottering around a rubbish, cavernous studio drawling out his vowels over creamy whatnots and blanched thingummybobs. As a child, I would sometimes catch it on the box and feel like it was broadcast for 16 hours at a time.

I hated it.

Then came the revamped version with Gregg Wallace bellowing “Cooking doesn’t get better than this!”, Torode looking like a coked out Serpico and general Never Looking At The Camera And Yelling At Each Other From An Inch Away Of Each Others Faces.

It was fun!

However, of late, the joke has started to fray as the show has stopped being a camp pleasure, rather, something that seems to be taking itself increasingly seriously. What’s more, it’s losing its raison d’etre.

You see, Masterchef is always most fun when we watch the development of rank amateurs and the emotional highs and lows and all that box ticking journey television gunk. Now the makers of the show seem more intent on giving us the celebrity version and the ‘professional’ version. Two groups of people that, really, we only have a passing interest in such formats.

Also, in this ProVersion, Torode is replaced with the charmless Michel Roux Jr. who fails to add the warmth when Gregg is getting into supreme bellowing mode. He just stands there… all thin and fuzzy like a gaunt Alan Sugar.

The recent trailers for the show see the line that this new show has “no time for amateurs” and boy, don’t we know it.

This show is in danger of derailing if its not careful… so do us a favour eh? Bring back those that need the opportunity given by Masterchef as opposed to those already a few rungs up the ladder from us proles.

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