I love watching Master Chef Goes Large on BBC Lifestyle. It’s one of those things I didn’t know I was missing until my partner and I moved to Hong Kong. In Tokyo, we were grateful for the handful of English-language channels we got, all of them American (except for BBC News of course).

Here in Honkers, we get BBC Lifestyle, a channel loaded with the sneers, swipes and snickering you just can’t find on American television. We Americans tend to growl, threaten and laugh outright. But we also pussyfoot around thorny issues, downplay bad news and have that “Everyone’s a winner!!” attitude towards grading.

“You’re grandma went to sleep, Baby. No, I think she’s very tired and wants to sleep for a very long time. How long? Forever. Yes, grandma needs her rest, Baby. Now go fetch Mommy her special orange juice.”

“Wow! Two artificial legs!! The last kid I saw in here only got one. But YOU! You’re special, Johnny. You’ll get to play little league with two bionic legs. Why, you’ll be the fastest boy on the field!”

“Congratulations girl! You’re America’s Next Top Model!”

You won’t find any pussyfooting on Master Chef Goes Large. Unlike Top Chef, the judges (John Torode and Greg Wallace) don’t mingle with the would-be chefs. They’re not out to make friends, address grievances or placate divas. The focus is on the food. If it’s good, you’ll move on. If it’s not, there’s the door, and please let it hit you on the ass on your way out.

While John and Greg never address the camera, you do get a narrator in the form of a cut-throat, to-the-point voice over courtesy of one India Fisher. I imagine this woman in a black leather number complete with sheer black hose, red lipstick and painfully high stilettos. You never see her on camera, but I imagine she’s fierce.

India: Jessica is a spinster from South London with a flair for phyllo and an affection for cheese. But will her couscous with quail eggs and red wine reduction be enough to send her to the next round?

John: (tasting the couscous) I’m afraid what you have there is an awful mess. Just an awful mess. I can’t imagine what possessed you to put these ingredients together in the same kitchen, let alone the same dish.

Greg: (red wine reduction dripping from his mouth) Quite right John.

Jessica: (addressing the camera before she leaves) I’m devastated. Devastated. I’ve cooked that dish before. My mum likes it.

Next Contestant.

India: Michael is a father of four from Birmingham with aspirations of becoming Master Chef and opening a small bistro. But will this bricklayer’s dreams be realized or will they come crashing down?

John: What have you made for us today, Michael?

Michael: I’ve made black pudding with turnip crisps and wild duck souffle, I have.

John: Well, let me have a bite. (tasting) Right, that’s exactly how not to make black pudding.

Greg: But your turnip crisps are nicely seasoned and are full of a deep rich saffron flavor. I do believe I like them, Michael. Yes, I do believe I do.

God I love Master Chef. And beginning at 7:35pm local time, you can find me glued to the tube, glass of wine in hand, that night’s dinner ingredients splayed out on the kitchen counter. My partner enters and asks what’s for dinner. “Shhh.” I say. “It’s Master Chef.”

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