“Burger, chips and a side order of roof tiles, please.”

MASTERCHEF is back on our screens and a crop of amateur chefs have once again set out to baffle the nation.

Not happy with cooking vaguely recognisable flavour combinations (cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, garlic and bread) they’re once again creating what can only be described as downright weird – only it’s lauded as very clever and if we question it we’re obviously a bit dim-witted.

“I’ve made you a stew of beef and old roof tiles with a jelly bean jus and a medley of seasonal buttered video games,” is what the average contestant says.

“That sounds delicious!” said no-one, ever.

Except presenters, John Torode and Greg Wallace, who dig in with gusto.

“This dish is very, very clever!” they say. “The only thing wrong with it is…there could have been MORE roof tiles!”

The other one will add: “I agree. And maybe a little more seasoning.”

A lot of contestants also seem to have an issue with using standard-shaped plates.

Last week a perfectly good burger and chips (a dish so normal it’s very rarely seen on Masterchef) was ruined by the contestant serving condiments in what looked like mini ice-cream sundae glasses.

Next they’ll be serving chocolate and coriander cake on old vinyls and spinach and KitKat ravioli in their grandad’s slipper.

Of course I jest – and it’s possible that I’m a little jealous of those who are truly skilled in the kitchen.

I wish I had the imagination and ability to make some of the dishes that have had viewers’ mouths watering over the past few weeks – and I’m the first to admit that every single contestant has more talent in one finger than I have in my entire body.

But it’s not for lack of trying and since Masterchef returned I’ve been announcing every meal I make in my best impression of its breathy voiceover lady.

“Today Anna has made a creamy fromage and onion sauce encased in a pastry shell, with potatoes chipped and covered in a beef and hot water reduction.”

Smithy, a no-nonsense northerner, examines his plate.

“You mean…cheese and onion pie, chips and gravy?”

“Yes,” I reply. “And if you’re very lucky I’m sure I can find some old roof tiles somewhere.”

Article first published in The Westmorland Gazette on April 2, 2015

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