By Jason Tin: Masterchef contestants are finally speaking out against the competition that has for years let them chase vague dreams of culinary prowess without having to do those annoying apprenticeships.
Reports have emerged that budding chefs, under the instruction of George “Yell Random and Irritating Things When the Camera Focuses on the Big Clock” Calombaris and the other two, have been forced to cook for extended periods at a time. Like animals!
It has even emerged that several contestants were threatened with not being offered a lucrative book deal and cushy existence if they didn’t spend a minimum of a couple of hours in the kitchen each day.
The latest victim of Matt Preston’s gourmet sweatshop is Peter Vickery, who claims his six-month stint in the beautifully-designed Masterchef house had him “losing it”.
Losing what, you may ask? His very grip on reality (television), he says.
“I was going mad,” Vickery told news.com.au. “You can only work out and cook for so many hours in the day.”
Vickery – who dreamed of a career in food – raises a salient point, as most professional chefs are not known for spending any longer in a kitchen than is necessary to complete an invention test or prepare a single dessert.
The 50-year-old account manager from Sydney said his fellow contestants – whose number have been dwindling in a Lord of the Flies-esque manner – were even deprived of basic items in GitmoChef.
“I did have one day where we had no filming for three days and we’d just gotten to the point where they took the newspapers away, had cut off the free-to-air TV and we had no phone, no internet, no nothing, and I was climbing the walls,” he said.
After begging for mercy, Vickery’s usually unbending taskmasters let him leave the house for “a walk”.
The first whistleblower to lift the lid on the abuse occurring within the Masterchef house was Andrew Henderson who was “bullied” when judges slammed his horrible dish for being horrible and borderline inedible.
Most would agree calling his disgustingly unappetising dish “gag-worthy” was probably a step too far and unacceptable behaviour from professional chefs. I mean, even pros like Gordon Ramsay don’t go around belittling staff, hurling dishes across the room and mentally destroying all around them.
There is a happy ending for Vickery, however, who was booted from the show.
“I really pushed those doors open knowing it was the last time I would walk out of that kitchen, and I thought I could fly,” he said.
Since leaving the show, Vickery has started selling vegies or something, free from the horrors of a well-groomed mansion and dreams of cooking stardom.