"Pepe, the third girl on the left is crying, ask her what's wrong," she says. And Pepe Rodríguez, with his characteristic naturalness, interrogates the contestant why she has been moved. We are in mid-January, it is the first day of filming on set so that the aspirants to take the title of MasterChef 7 (La 1, 22.35), after having passed through the casting and an exterior test. It is the first time they meet the trio of judges: the chefs Samantha Vallejo-Nágera, Jordi Cruz and Rodríguez himself. The 15 participants form a row in front of them and are about to premiere in the impressive kitchens. It's the first day of class.
But behind the cameras, it could almost be another day. Throughout the year, three editions of MasterChef -the normal, the famous and the childish- and the team knows at the bottom what to do and how to do it.
"This is the work of a great team that every year tries to do new things, feels the responsibility that it is an important program and the first days are more chaotic, we have to fit in. But then we get cruising speed", says Cruz in a small dressing room next to the other two judges. Talking with them at the same time is almost like seeing them in the contest, they step on each other with the occasional affectionate taunt, the phrase of one is finished by the other, but they usually coincide in what they think of the program. One of those news that speaks is the absence of Eva González as a presenter after his departure to Antena 3 last fall. The production company, Shine Iberia, and TVE decided then not to look for a substitute and thus maintain the spirit of the original format, which never had that figure.
Things start moving with the welcome of the contestants before the cameras. They travel a certain way to get there. First they have waited in a cold and dark corridor; then they have passed a corner where there are a couple of televisions and chairs, where the writers will be during the recording to check that everything is running and make corrections and suggestions. Afterwards, the aspirants have lined up, and then it is the entrance to the set. The joy they show, going through every inch of the set, full of cooking utensils, ovens, the supermarket, the stage where the judges are placed, is exaggerated. They've seen it dozens of times on TV, but that's when they think they do, that they've been selected as finalists.
Outside the screens, the relationship between contestants and jury is minimal. They coincide in the trips when it is time to shoot outside, but always look for something to be distanced. "We try not to have a deal so as not to make friends, you can not make friends with one, because then it is very clear that you would benefit in the kitchen," says Vallejo-Nágera. "We have the right treatment, but in the end it becomes a little affectionate, a small relationship is created, but you have to know where your professionalism is to say, 'hey, you're wrong', no matter how well you fall," he adds. Rodríguez "Empathy is not good, you try not to know the participant so that aesthetically it seems that it does not influence you, this is a serious jury, we like to maintain that line until it breaks down in a natural way," Cruz concludes.
Since that day did the contestants sing? "A chef is not only an artisan, he is also a manager, and, most importantly, a personal one, I have been a chef for twenty-five years and I have been a personal trainer, I am a bit of a psychologist of my workers. look, see the virtues, the defects, or be in kitchens seeing who has started in one way, has evolved from another.You train a little to know what is good and what is wrong with each of your cooking boys. We moved that to the kitchens of MasterChef", responds Cruz." People are increasingly prepared, they have seen the program more and more and more they cook. But in the end they are amateur, the level is what there is. Nor does anything surprise us. One characteristic of ours is to discover in normal people who has a hand and who does not, "says Rodríguez.
On the first day of shooting on set of MasterChef 7 chef Dani García is invited. The three Michelin stars prepared those days his debu in the culinary program To cook in The 1, where he presents traditional recipes. Would the judges of the contest be willing to do something like that? Jordi Cruz is clear that today he would not do it, but he does not rule out that within 10 or 15 years it is a good proposal. Samantha Vallejo-Nágera already did it in Canal Cocina. "I was cooking, I was like Pedro for his house, I used to pump my dishes, mix up decorations and cooking and it was a year of joy, it was my first time on television and you discovered a lot of things. like what people do at home, "he says. Pepe Rodríguez sees it in another way: "I was one of the first in Canal Cocina, first it was a debate and I made a couple of shows and I got so bored and had such a hard time that I did not have fun. I still do not see myself in that format. " "Now you would do it well," Cruz encourages.