Take one ex-MasterChef contestant, add a good measure of cooking, mix in an afternoon timeslot and season liberally with some latent sexual tension and you have Channel 10’s latest addition to it’s already packed cooking-included/inspired schedule.
DISCLOSURE: I loved watching Justine in series one of MasterChef Australia. I remember how gutted the judges were when she eventually was eliminated. And the tears. OH, the TEARS (that was just Gary)! Justine was tipped to be the most successful contestant from the first series, but never really did much. A little bit for Harvey Norman, some blogging for MasterChef during series 2. Even Poh, and later with lesser success Julie, got a TV show! That was until now: welcome Everyday Gourmet with Justine Schofield.
It’s fairly standard afternoon cooking fare, with just a hint of flirt.
It’s shot in a real kitchen, which makes it a little noisier, but also adds some authenticity compared to an otherwise sterile TV studio. Justine is certainly comfortable in getting around the kitchen and preparing food, but her presentation style is still to be locked in. Most of the time she seems to be a little bit too excited, a little bit unsure of herself. As a viewer you never seem to know if she’s talking to you, the other chef on set, the producer off camera. There’s no direct addressing the camera in a Jamie Oliver style, it’s more a polite conversation a la Nigella Lawson.
There’s only been 5 episodes, so there’s lots to come (and lots of opportunity for Justine to hone her presenting skills). She bounces pretty well off the guest chefs… but they are mostly dudes. Like all cooking shows product placement reigns supreme (“That Bosch mixer should make a good job of it.”). Shock horror packet pasta was used (the MC judges would be aghast she didn’t make it from scratch) until the credits roll and you see the pasta manufacturer in question is a sponsor of the program. Is nothing sacred? Oh, right – it’s commercial television.
It’s fun, inoffensive cooking-show television. It provides some great suggestions for cooking that, on the whole, are achievable by just about any home cook. You could do so very much worse. Justine will likely find her groove as a host soon, and everything will settle down. Even the “absolutely” count, which I clocked at 26 in one episode alone. Absolutely.
Everyday Gourmet with Justine Schofield – Weekdays 4pm, Ch10.