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Vote: Who makes a better Masterchef host? Akshay or Vikas Khanna?

Last updated on: October 24, 2011 14:05 IST

Vote: Who makes a better Masterchef host? Akshay or Vikas Khanna?

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Sukanya Verma in Mumbai

Second time's a charm, right? Doing away with celebrity hosts, the second season of MasterChef India lets food be the real star of its show. 

Barring Akshay Kumar's omission, the concept hasn't changed much. In place of the Khiladi star, Michelin-star awardee Vikas Khanna steps in along with previous season's chefs, Goa Marriott's Ajay Chopra and Leela Kempinski's Kunal Kapoor, running a series of tests and challenges in order to pick a skilled, innovative MasterChef among a crowd of eager-to-please amateurs.

The judges are not particularly charismatic and need to understand the value of spontaneity over sternness. They appear too self-conscious, relying too much on the script to make any real connect with the contenders or audience.  

While last year's competition was won by a Lucknow-based teacher Pankaj Bhadouria, this season offers its own mix, with participants ranging from different walks of life -- from housemaid to insurance executives, entrepreneurs to single mommies.


Image: Ajay Chopra, Vikas Khanna and Kunal Kapoor

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So what makes the new season a fairly satisfactory upgrade? MasterChef India 2, in its latest avatar, is decidedly better scaled, edited and executed.

Instead of squandering too much time on individual introductions or milking excessive sentimentality, the focus is laid on making the proceedings no-nonsense and professional with emphasis on 'taste, innovation, presentation and creativity.'

And so we are transported inside a massive kitchen set with an enormous supply of edibles and culinary tools. Up next, the judges set up a 60-minute challenge with contestants required to prepare a novel dish featuring exotic ingredients like yam and lotus stem.


Image: Contestants cooked up a storm in the first season

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The challenge also serves as an elimination round, wherein each of the top three winners -- Shipra Khanna, Puneet Malik and Joseph Rozario -- are awarded with a customised apron. This is the part where MasterChef impresses. Amidst hardboiled experts scathing comments and shortage of time, contestants aspire to cook out-of-the-box recipes like yam mousse and more.

Finally, the dishes look great. The plating is impressive.  Even as the judges alternate between encouraging experts to finicky bullies, the participants are an interesting lot. 

If the coming episodes can maintain the opening episode's fervor with curious challenges, cuisines and technique coupled with taut pace, the end-result could turn out much more appetising than its last effort.

Having seen the first two episodes of the new Masterchef, who do YOU think makes a better host? Actor Akshay Kumar or chef Vikas Khanna? Vote and let us know!



Image: Vikas Khanna and Akshay Kumar

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