• Ivan Jordan RIBA

Masterchef is the New Grand Designs

Around the turn of the last century, a lot of great architecture looked edible. Think of Future Systems huge, candy coated, rum-truffles in city centres.

And now the reciprocal is happening. The Masterchef finalists, bursting with talent, are doing architecture on a plate.

Soon we will all be at it. No longer will it be acceptable to plonk a beautifully cooked belly pork on to delightful herb infused bed of Puy lentils. Now the pork has to be suspended from a faux meat hook made from blown sugar, within a roman barrel vault built in lentils, painstakingly mortared with quince jelly in 15 seconds.

Is Masterchef to food what Grand designs was to domestic architecture?

Both are media supertankers:  politely but bluntly  inescapable, thumping great cargoes of dross on to our sofa.  Each has a presenter unqualified in the field, who is coherent and very enthusiastic, although Gregg Wallace does appear to feign orgasm occasionally.

Although Masterchef is a "competitive" event, and GD not, both find a voyeuristic thrill of watching an amateur fail. Except they are not amatuers anymore, Masterchef is about professional chefs now, just as the multitude of home programmes over the last decade have been about developers, in one guise or another, as that's the game we were all playing.

Perhaps this example of professionalising what otherwise could have been a non-commerce orientated activity is the link: we can't make fancy homes for a while: let's make some fancy food.

I don't think so. Ultimately it has to be great news that people demand better food and better buildings. It doesn't take vast amounts of money - just a bit of care.

And I bloody loved Masterchef. That guy Ash did some awesome food.

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© 2019 Ivan Jordan