Like a never-ending tasting menu, MasterChef just keeps on serving up plates of food. Next summer it will be the 25th year since it first appeared on the BBC and its 15th year in post-Grossman form.
It’s changed over the years, of course. The biggest evolutions have new variations of the show, like televisual NPD. So along with Classic MasterChef, Junior MasterChef, and the obligatory Celebrity version, is MasterChef: the Professionals (BBC 2, 8pm, 11 November).
As professionals, the contestants should be better than the regular crop but, as ever, some of them leave you wondering how they got there. Or maybe that’s naïve, and they are there for precisely that reason. Otherwise we might be stuck watching competent chefs slowly getting better. And where is the fun in that?
Gregg Wallace is still there, mugging away. The once fearsome Monica Galetti has replaced Michel Roux Jr, but these days she is more smiling assassin than terrifying chef. They are joined by another nice guy pretending to be a meanie (and failing), the two Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing.
All big changes, yes, but ultimately, MasterChef remains the same. Contestants cook food. Food gets eaten by judges who pretend it hasn’t gone cold. Judges rate the cold food. Then one contestant wins.
Yes, it’s formulaic and predictable. But like a perfect recipe, that superficial simplicity belies a classic combination that has endured over time. And that longevity means MasterChef can feel entitled to keep the courses coming for a while yet.