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The Judges: Old & New


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I don't know if this is going to settle down in time but to me the show still feels like a bunch of kids have decided to have a party while their parents are away and all they want to do is disobey the rules and make shit up.  As many have commented, the "food cred" amongst these three feels considerably lower than in previous seasons and maybe that's why Melissa is seemingly going over best - because she seems to have the most, although admittedly in a fairly weak race.  Andy is an incredibly likeable guy but he appears out of his depth as a judge.  And Jock's my least favourite but as yet I can't put my finger on what it is I don't like about him.

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10 hours ago, katisha said:

 As many have commented, the "food cred" amongst these three feels considerably lower than in previous seasons and maybe that's why Melissa is seemingly going over best - because she seems to have the most, although admittedly in a fairly weak race.  Andy is an incredibly likeable guy but he appears out of his depth as a judge.  And Jock's my least favourite but as yet I can't put my finger on what it is I don't like about him.

I liked Melissa from the Chef's Line and she has even more of a chance to show her personality here. There is something genuine about her and it comes off in the contestants' interactions with her.

I didn't watch Andy's season so he is new to me and while he seems like a fine enough guy, I agree that he is out of his depth. There's something goofy and slightly inept about him.

There is something off about Jock and I can't pinpoint the reason either. I want to like him but I can’t seem to fully. The favourtism to Laura doesn't help. He is the most competent chef of the judges, but I don't think a lot of us would be surprised to find out he is an arse in real life.

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I think Jock is probably just a little more reserved & so it will take some time for everybody to find their rhythm.  He's probably trying too hard to fill a role that doesn't come naturally at the moment.  I don't worry about the Laura stuff so much (should be barred just because she's worked for one of the judges? is he really biased, or just credits her for doing well, albeit with stuff he knows well?), but I wonder if his particular obsessions as a chef are limiting.  The focus on native ingredients is great, but is he as well-rounded outside of that vision, & as appreciative of a range of different approaches to great cooking? It's hard for me to tell just yet, but it worries me a bit.

I think judges should ideally be connoisseurs of a very wide variety of cuisines, omnivores in every sense of the word, & I'm not sure that the three of them together fully bring that.  With Andy being so young & still coming off more as a peer to the contestants, I need the sense that Jock, as well as Melissa, brings authority not just on his specialties, but on the whole range of what the contestants may produce.  Ideally, he would bring the most gravitas across the board, & I'm not convinced yet that he brings that on anything other than the native ingredients challenges (although certainly he displayed a fair bit range in the dishes of his own we've seen.) 

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Jock has all of Gary's smarm without any of the charm right now. And Gary was only slightly less smug than Scott Morrison. I think he'll get better once he cools down and stops trying to fill the Gary niche, but I'm still not sure what we actually needed on the judging panel was "white dude whose entire schtick as a chef is appropriating Aboriginal culture". We already have Andy's weird Mexican fetish.

Speaking of Andy... like I get why they hired him, but if you compared the previous winners of this to each other in terms of credibility and eloquence, I feel like it's Emma at the very bottom, then Larissa by virtue of being Very Young and only winning last year, then Andy, then daylight to the rest. He's nice and he'll probably improve, but I don't know that "he's the only Masterchef winner with a chef's hat!" is quite the drawcard when most of the winners either didn't go down that path or are pretty new to the industry.

The judges have brought a new energy that has helped the show enormously; I think even with everything else this season being the same, it wouldn't have worked with the old judges. It's fair to say they don't have quite as much credibility as the old judges did at this point in their first season, but 95% of their credibility in the early days was Matt Preston. Gary and George were only picked because they were the most available of the regular Ready Steady Cook chefs, and it took a while for them (well, Gary; George never really did) to get past that impression.

 

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Looooooove Melissa. I really liked her on Chef's Line and I think she's a mighty fine judge who is finding her groove and getting even better. She's definitely going to be a winner they should keep.

Now what they do with the other two will be interesting. I really like Andy but I do agree he seems to lack the food authority. I have a penchant for good natured handsome blokes though (Jesse Palmer of Holiday Baking Championship). I think Andy's connection with the contestants is decent. I feel like the problem with him is just the experience and reputation to back up him being a judge.

He doesn't sell himself well as a judge despite being a pleasant judge?

They really need Matt Moran!!!

I really don't like Jock. There is something about him. An air of..... It's not nastiness which is too strong a word. I can't put my finger on it. He comes off as disingenuous perhaps? Can't put my finger on it.....

 

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3 hours ago, Mellowyellow said:

I really don't like Jock. There is something about him. An air of..... It's not nastiness which is too strong a word. I can't put my finger on it. He comes off as disingenuous perhaps? Can't put my finger on it.....

 

The closest word I can come up with to describe why I don't like Jock is he's dismissive. Recently he and Melissa were talking about an asian dish (I don't remember which one). He professed an opinion and Melissa, in a very measured response, disagreed with him and told him why. The camera caught Jock shrugging in response. It was very dismissive. I don't think it's just Melissa. He's like that with most of the cooks as well. I think he just really thinks he was hired to be the star and doesn't like it when someone disagrees with him. I hope they give him the boot after this season. Maybe they can send him home with Ben.

 

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3 hours ago, zibnchy said:

He professed an opinion and Melissa, in a very measured response, disagreed with him and told him why. The camera caught Jock shrugging in response. It was very dismissive.

Yes, this was Amina's rice dish in the immunity challenge and she said that the texture of it would be controversial. Amina said, "I hope Melissa gets it," and Melissa did wonderfully. The whole food texture discussion is an interesting one. To go an a brief tangent, there is a lot more openness and appreciation for different textures in Asian cuisines while I find Western palates tend to not like or get some textures (e.g squishy stuff, gelatinous things, things of mostly one texture vs balancing the plate with others).

In the same episode, Andy and Melissa were "teasing" Jock about not liking healthy food and veg. That was not the first time either. I think Jock's palate may be too limited on this show if that is the case. Interestingly, Emelia admitted that the good thing about the stressful immunity challenge was that "bloody Jock isn't yelling at us". She didn't sound like she was completely joking either.

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10 minutes ago, Athena said:

Emelia admitted that the good thing about the stressful immunity challenge was that "bloody Jock isn't yelling at us". She didn't sound like she was completely joking either.

What surprised me about that was I didn't feel that she was kidding at all. Then the others agreed. Those three, in the kitchen, were awesome together.

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20 hours ago, SnideAsides said:

Speaking of Andy... like I get why they hired him, but if you compared the previous winners of this to each other in terms of credibility and eloquence, I feel like it's Emma at the very bottom, then Larissa by virtue of being Very Young and only winning last year, then Andy, then daylight to the rest.

Just putting this out there - if you could choose a former winner to be a judge on this show (and obviously we can't take chef's hats into the equation) who would you pick?  I think Adam or Elena would be awesome.

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1 hour ago, katisha said:

Just putting this out there - if you could choose a former winner to be a judge on this show (and obviously we can't take chef's hats into the equation) who would you pick?  I think Adam or Elena would be awesome.

Ooh, Adam for sure. ❤️ I think he's my favourite out of all the winners, closely followed by Diana. 

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Definitely Adam. There hasn't really been the same prestige to the title since Emma won (not that she ruined it, but like... I just had to look up who won season 6), which means it'd be hard to buy anyone from Brent onwards as "worthy" of the role. So if we take out Andy, Emma, and everyone since that leaves us with Julie, Adam, and Kate. I think all three would at least be decent at it, and they certainly would be credible, but something has always unsettled me about Kate (not nearly as much as what unsettled me about the dude she beat though) and I feel like Julie would struggle with giving negative feedback. Meanwhile Adam is popular, credible, TV friendly, won the show at its peak, and judging by his Twitter (truly, one of the greatest casualties of Our Current Era is the cancellation of his annual Eurovision snark) would have no issue going in on terrible dishes and people who make the same thing over and over. He'd be PERFECT.

But if we could add the spin-off seasons into consideration, I'd be fine with Callum (might be a little bit harder this season) for his All-Stars win. Or even with Eamon Sullivan who won Celebrity Masterchef, who'd do a good job filling the "nice attractive everyman who also has a bit of food cred" role they seem to be trying to peg Andy into.

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(edited)
On 5/9/2020 at 9:13 AM, katisha said:

As many have commented, the "food cred" amongst these three feels considerably lower than in previous seasons and maybe that's why Melissa is seemingly going over best - because she seems to have the most, although admittedly in a fairly weak race. 

I think Jock has more industry cred than any of the old judges these days. He has a three-hat restaurant that was the restaurant of the year in 2019. Gary and George never reached that level of critical success and what they did get was yeaaars ago. George was mostly doing fast food chains recently. 

That doesn't necessarily make him a good judge, but I don't think knowledge is his issue, it's expressing it. 

Andy I just don't get. Maaaaybe on a regular season he could be there as like an inspiration, but as others have said, it just feels weird among many of his peers this time around, and he seems to contribute nothing. In fact, it often seems like he's waiting for Jock to weigh in before he offers an opinion. 

My hope is that the show has not caught up/is just catching up to the episodes that were filmed and edited before the new season started screening, so mid-way through they might improve with some feedback (I've seen criticism of their inability to describe what they're eating far beyond this forum). 

Edited by retrograde
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On 5/12/2020 at 4:20 AM, katisha said:

Rumour has it Mel is a diva.

 

9 hours ago, retrograde said:

Both Harry and Dani have since denied this (though I guess they're not exactly in a position to say otherwise). 

We will probably see more after this season is over and people start talking or hinting on Reddit or other social media. Over time, this stuff usually comes out. The George stuff was not a surprise to anyone. 

I like Melissa so it would be disappointing. I doubted that article after she said goodbye to Amina and Amina expressed affection back. Rose was also very expressive about loving Melissa. Kinda hard to believe she's never around the contestants or that Andy hates her. I think there is probably some grain of truth in these rumours (she probably is very on top her social media game) or they are exaggerated. I can see her not getting along with Jock or Poh though. 

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Based on what I have seen so far, I hope they don't just lock into these judges and feel they have to keep them for 12 seasons. Out of all the possible people, I can't believe they ended up with Andy! With Jock, I can see they were probably hoping he would be the Marcus Wearing guy, but he does not have the gravitas, authority, breadth, or the ability to describe dishes. Andy is just like some guy wandered in off the street and  pronounced a dish was "bangin'!"

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5 hours ago, TVbitch said:

Andy is just like some guy wandered in off the street and  pronounced a dish was "bangin'!"

This. And I swear, if he says "epic" one more time, I'm gonna throw a fit. 

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I don't hold a huge amount of faith in that article about Melissa. In addition to all the vague "a source says"-ness, it's Who Weekly, which is owned by Channel Seven, whose ratings have taken a nosedive this year and who have a vested interest in Masterchef not doing well.

It's definitely plausible to me that Melissa does spend a lot of time writing on set (I mean, it'd explain why it always seems to be Andy and Jock walking around the kitchen), but I don't know that she should be forced to drop everything about her real job just to spend three hours watching Poh struggle to make a cake yet again. It'll happen tomorrow too, and the day after, you know? This is a side hustle for her, and I don't know why that's a bad thing.

I also don't think it's necessarily Melissa's job to be the contestants' best friend. She's there to be a judge, not Osher Gunsberg. To be honest, I'd rather someone who's a little bit standoffish than someone who got close enough to them to joke around and have favourites. Not quite as standoffish as Sarah Wilson was in the first season, but she's finding a good middle ground.

But even ignoring all of that... like, we can see the contestants like her. Meanwhile the show is almost actively pointing out nobody seems to enjoy Jock. Surely if she was the issue they wouldn't be doing that.

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(edited)

I just found out that the show is back and finished eps 1 and 2 so far.  I am SICK of Gordon Ramsey turning this nice iteration of MC into the despised American version (and I'm in the USA).  I felt so bad for the team that miscalculated the portions of pork in the team challenge, watching GR berate and badger everyone.  George C. could be a little brusque when he would be in the kitchen, but he was a lamb compared to Gordon. I hope I heard right that he's only going to be there a week.  

It may take me a little while to get used to the new judges - not feeling them so far but it's still early in the season.   Nice to see most of the returning cooks... I liked a lot of them but I was getting a little annoyed at the young Asian girl who turned on the tears on the first day - I remember her crying a bunch during her season and it was tiring then.  I have to ill will towards Reynold but I'm tired of how the other contestants talk about him like he invented desserts.

Edited by patty1h
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On 5/16/2020 at 6:42 PM, SnideAsides said:

I don't hold a huge amount of faith in that article about Melissa. In addition to all the vague "a source says"-ness, it's Who Weekly, which is owned by Channel Seven, whose ratings have taken a nosedive this year and who have a vested interest in Masterchef not doing well.

I am perfectly willing to believe that some PA irked by having a strong woman on set mouthed off to a gossip magazine, but it doesn't necessarily reflect reality or how the majority of those who work on the show feel.

Also this article linked in the media thread explains why she spends less time on set. 

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How are you guys feeling about the judges?

Melissa is fabulous of course but I'm really liking Andy! He's improved heaps and the season has gone on. I like his critiques. They are not fancy but he's getting there.

He's also very good natured. I like the easy going breezy vibe. I think it's a good match with Melissa's articulate fabulousness.

I hope they don't get rid of him. Of the three I'm worried Andy will get the chop because he's got less industry clout.

Jock is just not likeable to me. He grates. Most things he says grates. He just doesn't come off as a particularly nice guy. Even George, shady as he was, was able to act like he cared about the contestants. 

I'll be very upset if they replace Andy and keep Jock.

Anyone know how other fans are reacting to him?

 

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4 hours ago, Mellowyellow said:

How are you guys feeling about the judges?

I'm really liking all three, they create a good diversity for judging... and they appear to be getting along pretty well.  Jock has the experience from working in the food industry for so long, he's able to keep things focused and under control without being a Ramsey.  Andy's like an excited puppy wanting to please everyone.  He'll grow into his role more next season when he doesn't have to oversee his peers.  Melissa is great at showing her heart and describing what the food looks like, which we already know for ourselves, 

Unfortunately, all three of them need to watch a few episodes of MasterChef UK and see how the judges there critique food.  The viewers can't taste it, it's up to the judges to describe what the contestants have done.  Hearing 'that's banging', 'wow, the flavor in that is spot on' and other useless comments does nothing for the viewers.

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I like all three fine, but agree they still need to learn how to describe the food.

The other thing I'm surprised I miss is when a contestant is eliminated, the old judges would specifically name their highlights and best dishes. I'm sure the producers were feeding it to them through an earpiece, but still. The new judges just say "You were great and we'll miss you." 

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All three of the new judges need to learn how to bring volume without screaming.  Ten minutes with a vocal coach and some conscious use of the diaphragm on their parts would really help my ears out.

 

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On 7/2/2020 at 2:50 PM, katisha said:

Meow! Saucer of milk for Chris?

And enjoy this little trip down memory lane with Andy. It's hard to believe, looking back, that he survived his season at all, let alone won it. By the way, Amina lost quite a bit of weight between her seasons, didn't she!

Aww he's pretty adorable.

He's a tad dim but good natured and lovable.

I do wonder if they'll keep him for next season as there has been a lot of criticism about his inability to be articulate. 

I'm torn as I agree that he's not very verbally gifted but he's sweet and likeable imo despite not having all the qualities that make a great judge (a la the fabulous Mel).

 

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On 5/14/2020 at 6:13 PM, Athena said:

The George stuff was not a surprise to anyone. 

I missed why they needed to have a full judge overhaul. What is this stuff about George? Why couldn't they at least keep Matt Preston?

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53 minutes ago, displayname said:

I missed why they needed to have a full judge overhaul. What is this stuff about George? Why couldn't they at least keep Matt Preston?

IIRC, George demanded a raise and when the channel said "yeah in your dreams", he quit / was let go, and Gary & Matt then also quit out of solidarity - the three of them are supposedly very close friends. 

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2 hours ago, Rosenrot said:

IIRC, George demanded a raise and when the channel said "yeah in your dreams", he quit / was let go, and Gary & Matt then also quit out of solidarity - the three of them are supposedly very close friends. 

And it certainly wasn't a good look since George was embroiled in a huge scandal involving massively underpaying his restaurant staff.  He was ordered to backpay quite a large amount of wages.  Hypocritical, much?

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4 hours ago, displayname said:

I missed why they needed to have a full judge overhaul. What is this stuff about George? Why couldn't they at least keep Matt Preston?

My reference to George was about what @katisha mentioned that he was at the time underpaying his employees. Also, a lot former contestants had hinted that George (and sometimes Gary) was not the most liked judge on set. Matt seemed to be the favourite from the former three at least.

When a reality show has been on air for as long as this one has, contestants will start talking at some point about the other onscreen talent.

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Are the judges screeching even louder this season? Seriously, it’s driving me nuts. “THIRTY MINUTES TO GOOOOOOOOO!!” Just stop.

That Andy Allen video was hilarious. I like the guy. I liked him on his season & I’m ok with him as a judge. It’s also rich that his wardrobe is criticized after the bizarre sartorial splendor of Matt. Andy wears odd shirts and occasionally looks like Popeye but who cares. And if his judging comments are weak, again who cares? Is the food good or isn’t it? Leave the technical stuff to Jock. Besides, Andy’s season 4 win was a heck of a lot more deserving than Emma Dean.

But stop SCREAMING!!!

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I like Mel and Jock quite a bit this season, though each has their own maddening moments (the food colour stuff that was brought up for Week 5, for instance, lol). Andy is kind of useless as a judge, but I still like that he doesn't take himself too seriously.

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16 hours ago, limecoke said:

It’s also rich that his wardrobe is criticized after the bizarre sartorial splendor of Matt. Andy wears odd shirts and occasionally looks like Popeye but who cares.

Yeah, I don't get it! Like what's so horribly wrong with his clothes? Why can't guys wear fun stuff?? He's a judge on a TV show, it's not the frigging Oscars or the Nobel Prize ceremony. Who says everybody has to wear dark suits or something? I'm wishing Jock would be a little less formal too from time to time.

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4 hours ago, Rosenrot said:

Like what's so horribly wrong with his clothes? 

andy.png.8390315e21e4141d3b67b315c777db28.png

I fully support fun and informal clothes on TV presenters. Hamish Blake on Lego Masters AU and Dan Levy when he hosted the Canadian Bake Off are two examples that immediately come to mind.

If Andy wants to pay homage to Where's Waldo (/Wally) x Miami Vice x Popeye x LFO, that actually adds to my enjoyment of Masterchef AU because it's interesting and, IMO, snark-worthy. With regard to his judging, if he can't give articulate or substantive comments on the food, I'd prefer they replace him with a comedian like on GBBO or various other competitive reality shows. Being generally likable and having a controversial fashion sense aren't the worst criteria to justify his role on the show (although him not being the least deserving winner of all time may be more questionable), but this is all wildly subjective and the world would be far less interesting if everyone had the same opinions about important subjects like clothes and food reality show qualifications.

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OMG do not even put that out there in the universe!!!

I like goofy, good natured Andy! No complaints here! I find the comedian hosts too loud and in your face at times so I will happily go with the easy going, cheerful, harmless judge.

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On 8/7/2021 at 11:07 PM, retrograde said:

Nice article. I did not find it surprising that Jock is full of BS. I don't like MPW and he definitely has his strangeness and issues, but I find it hilarious that Jock would publish a memoirs detailing how close they were. MPW never seemed warm but he did know talent and several of his protégés are successful in the UK and abroad with lots of Michelin stars. Jock would be more well known if MPW did adore him as much as the memoirs claimed. I can't imagine MPW telling Jock that they would go fishing. Pure fiction.

The drug stuff is a lot of self-mythologizing. I don't really care or believe it but whatever, Jock.

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A thing I find with extreme bullshitters is that they tend to believe their own BS, so he probably does "remember" it all this way, but the publisher must be kicking themselves for not doing more fact-checking. I mean, the publisher says it's standing by him, but at the end of the day, I'll be surprised if they pursue the threatened legal action. Clearly there are more than enough people willing to come forward to say he's full of shit (and evidently a looot of people in the industry in Adelaide who don't remember him fondly). 

Honestly, though, the self-mythologizing is mostly just amusing to me, but the stuff about him setting a worker on fire and then never paying the damages is really messed up and doesn't make me like him much. Please don't let Melissa go Milkshake Duck or something, I couldn't handle Andy being the "good" judge. 

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