Masterchef Australia is a competition for amateur cooks who want be chefs. I like the show. It makes me want to cook, it makes me hungry, it makes me nervous. I love competition and I will be very upset if my favourite doesn’t win. But no matter who wins, life will go on for me.

Reality tv. How do they get people to be entertainment guinea pigs? What is in it for all the contestants? What drives a person to go on national television to become a chef? Aren’t there easier channels? You could go to cooking school or get an apprenticeship could you not? Why would you put yourself through ‘pressure tests’, ‘mystery boxes’ and public humiliation to perhaps, maybe, become a chef?

It must be the longest, most intense job interview around. Australia is watching you sweat, cry, and often stuff up. It is not exclusive to cooking either. Look at Australian/ American/ etc. Idol, America’s Next Top Model, So you think you can dance?, just to name a few. Perhaps contestants think it’s easier than going to  auditions or getting slop jobs in dodgy restaurants. Is it easier to be ridiculed in front of the world?

There’s the money, of course, which is always a winner. And some may do it for a taste of fame, which often leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth. In the end, the majority do it to achieve their dreams. In the end there is only one winner, so where does that leave the rest? Sure, they have created an entertaining product but after all that work, all that exposure and criticism, how do they feel?

This is worse than a regular interview that only goes for an hour. Usually, these are private meetings with no theatricals. Once you are finished, you walk out, red cheeked perhaps, tummy knots unravelling, knowing that you’ll only have to wait a week or so to know if you’ve scored the gig. Unlike the poor muppets on Masterchef who have to wait months to see if they’ve got the job.

I know why they do it. It’s the ‘journey’, the ‘dream’.

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