Why Is ‘MasterChef’ Daddy Jock Pigeonholing Brendan For Dumplings But Not Laura For Pasta

Let’s not split any hairs here: There is absolutely nothing wrong with going on MasterChef with one club in your bag. It’s worked for scores of people in the past. You come on the show able to do one specific thing really, really well. You dance that same tango for as long as the competition will allow you. You get spat back out into the world with a legion of new followers all insanely keen to eat that one thing you can do. Hell, Sashi Cheliah managed to ride a one-note song all the way to the promised land in season ten, winning the entire thing on a simple bed of turmeric. But if I were a MasterChef judge keen on pointing out anyone’s lone kitchen note, my instinct would be to point that out for EVERYONE doing it in the series. Not just looking down my nose at one person while another, who I previously worked with very closely, does practically the same thing.

It’s a curious one, the case of Jock Zonfrillo aka Judge Daddy aka Yiewin McGregor.

Throughout last night’s elimination episode, and several others prior to that, Jock’s spent a not-insignificant amount of time cornering Brendan Pang for only cooking dumplings. Which, to be fair, he most certainly is.

During judging deliberations last night, Jock stated of Brendan’s attempt at that fucked up charcoal cube dessert thing, “[You’ve] got to give the guy credit. He is not a dessert guy. He’s a dumpling guy.”

Which, I stress again, is objectively true.

But the real rub comes from the idea that Jock repeatedly says this about Brendan – that’s a “dumpling guy” and that’s his one and only trick – despite former protege Laura Sharrad also entering the competition with a lone note: Pasta.

Time and time again we’ve seen Jock – whose own pasta background probably makes him quite blind to it – heap praise on Laura for essentially doing the same thing repeatedly. And yet Brendan is the one copping flack for the culinary copy paste.

Social media is getting wise to the growing trend as well, with a few venting their frustrations in a little more unreserved a fashion than I am here and now.


In Jock’s defence here, specifically regarding last night, he mentioned that the Pressure Test dish was “no pasta dish” in judging Laura’s efforts. But mostly, the brow wrinkling here comes from questioning whether one person, who is doing the same thing repeatedly, isn’t extending themselves beyond their comfort zone, while another, who is also doing the same thing repeatedly, is praised for it.

Anyway, it’s only a TV show. The new judges are all still pretty great tbh. This is just a little food for thought.