Claudia Sandoval, an events planner from California, won MasterChef US Wednesday night, despite spreading her germs by blowing on dishes in two different shows.  It is a given that the home chef contestants make errors in cooking, but Claudia’s culinary faux pas exceeds an ordinary error.  The celebrity chef judges, Gordon Ramsey, Graham Elliot and Christina Tosi said absolutely nothing both times when Claudia put out fires in this most insalubrious way.  That said, she cooked nicely but not brilliantly all along and only cooked Mexican food.  One time she won best dish of the night for a fried tortilla Napoleon with tomatoes that looked indigestible.  In the final, Claudia never bested the more talented and sophisticated Derrick Peltz.  There are some irate comments on the show’s Facebook page about Derrick losing.  One wrote, "Clearly a mistake was made tonight, Derrick should have won, he was more imaginative and she used CANNED Chick peas and claimed them to be FRESH????. Derrick was truly the better cook.”  Another wrote, "Winners selected on racial diversification and gender. Not based on true skills. Mr. Ramsey, all Americans are not so stupid they do not see this.”

This TV show is, after all, scripted and there is a credit for “story” that rolls by very quickly at the end of the show.  It appeared to those protesting the winner on Facebook that Fox decided the winner ahead of time.   I suspect even worse, that the show had a fantasy assist from the federal government’s wish list, that it was time for a Mexican home cook to win and possibly help legitimize their controversial efforts of making illegals legal.  A talented home cook on the show, Tommy Walton from Louisiana, won the Family Circle recipe feature to have his amazing jambalaya in the magazine.  He was sent packing soon after.  Recently, I bought the magazine to get his fantastic recipe.  Like Derrick, Tommy is also a better cook and far more artistic than Claudia, the winner.

Last season, Courtney Lapresi, a stripper, won and at least they did not show a bio feature of her taking her clothes off in the seedy club where she worked.  Courtney had a hard luck story and was needy, but she truly did not cook better than some of the other contestants. Her cookbook attests to her amateur ability with many derogatory comments on line.  Even if a reality show is pure entertainment, there should be some basis of “reality” to the plot. – Patty

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