This show was able to hook me in ways that Gordon Ramsay's efforts cannot. It wasn't so much the chief judges. It was, I think, the very interesting contestants. The war between the final three, Caroline, Tommy, and Mark, was especially revealing. And it left the viewers, I'd bet, highly partisan.
Going exactly to the point, the wrong person most surely won. Tommy made a mess of things almost to the very end. But she won on the strength of the TV Food show guest chef appearance. And that was almost entirely due to the fact that she was probably reminding people of Julia Child (otherwise, where did that "skinny girl early in life, large woman later on" come from?) Still, I suppose I should be relieved that Mark didn't win it. The judges seemed to think that Mark could do no wrong. The visiting gourmet judges pronounced his food inedible, but it didn't matter. "Oh, Mark, he's come so far!" He almost cut his own right hand off. "But he came back gamely." He proved completely incompetent at managing a kitchen. (Yet it was "a strength that he knew his limitations.") The judges were always there to make an excuse, especially the fat one. Or, if you wish, the fatter one, Gregg Wallace.
Caroline, on the other hand, did everything well and expertly. Managed the kitchen like a field marshal, cooked to exact standards, earned the praises of the visiting gourmets, but was nitpicked to death, especially by Torode. She clearly deserved to win. It was upsetting that she didn't.
And THAT explains why this show was such a success. By the end, I really cared that Caroline should win. I had invested in the series. And I learned quite a bit more about cooking, by the way, than I've ever done on any of Masterchef's competitors. All in all, a job well done. When does the next season begin?
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