Episode Report Card
Mr. Sobell: B | Grade It Now!
Sous Chef? More Like Boo-Hoo Chef

Welcome to MasterChef, which you should not confuse with Top Chef Masters, even though they both have the word "Master" in the title, nor should you confuse it with Top Chef, which, again, has a very similar title. But MasterChef is totally different. Whereas, those other shows feature professional chefs competing for prizes and accolades in a series of weekly cooking competitions, while this one features weekly cooking competitions for prizes and accolades involving rank amateurs. See? Totally different. The lawyers assure us of that. Also, MasterChef is quite popular in Australia. So it has that going for it.

But don't take my word for it. Let's let Gordon Ramsay, the star of that other reality cooking competition program that you should not confuse for MasterChef and the host of this particular program. This show pits amateur cooks in "the most intense culinary competition on earth." MasterChef has scoured the country, sifting through thousands upon thousands of talented amateurs to whittle down the field into a group of elite home chefs who will compete for $250,000, a chance to publish their very own cookbook, and the title of Top... Master... Chef... Guy.

OK, it's going to take us a few weeks to sort this all out. In the meantime, let's meet the judges.

Graham Elliot is a Chicago-based chef who, when he was just 27 years old, became the first chef to earn a four-star rating. You may better know him as the arch-nemesis to Wylie Dufresne from the last two seasons of Top Chef Masters. Joe Bastianich claims to own 20 of America's best restaurants as well as three award-winning Italian wineries. From the look on his face, he'd just as soon shatter that wine glass he's holding and use the shards to cut you a new smile than he would finish that impertinent sangiovese. And of course, you've already met Screamy.

So, if I've heard the show's pleasant female narrator correctly, we've got 100 chefs who've been brought to Los Angeles for a final audition. They've got one hour to make a dish that will be judged upon taste and presentation. Please the judges, and they'll be handed one of 30 aprons granting them entry into the competition. Fail to pass muster, and it's an evening of mockery and derision, and possibly a good tongue-lashing from Gordon Ramsay. I know, I know -- he hardly seems the type.

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