As much as the craze for reality TV shows sometimes annoys me there are a few I enjoy. Generally, they are ones where contestants have to prove their skills under pressure and exercise some level of creativity.
I am a sucker for the MasterChef series, started by the BBC, and now much-franchised.
Currently the BBC is running MasterChef: The Professionals, in which Professional Chefs have to impress Michel Roux Jr., a respected Michelin-star chef, and Gregg Wallace, a food expert – especially of puddings.
In the early rounds of the show the chefs are given a basic skill test watched over by Gregg and Monica Galetti, Roux’s sous chef at his restaurant Le Gavroche in London. Monica is now my favourite part of the show, and I was delighted to see her turn up this evening in the semi-finals.
During the selection process she demonstrates her culinary ability, before she asks the prospective candidates to repeat the dish of the day. It’s a joy to watch a confident, intelligent woman who is an expert in her industry. She never shouts, curses or bullies anyone. She has high standards, expects good food and is forthright in her opinion.
Equally, she praises the chefs when they cook her a tasty dish.
Tonight it was great to see a young female chef called Alice, clearly in awe of Monica, get flustered by even being in Monica’s presence. Alice said that Monica is an inspiration to women chefs, especially since it’s a field traditionally dominated by men. Monica was clearly flattered, and perhaps a little taken-aback at being someone’s role model.
It’s really important for women to see other professional women succeeding in the industry that they love. What’s particularly great about watching Monica is that the emphasis is all upon her expertise as a chef, with none of the usual rubbish about how she dresses or to whom she’s related.
Monica only cares about excellent food treated well and recipes executed flawlessly. She’s an inspiration, even to the non-chefs watching the show!