Does MasterChef’s Smartphone Ban Make Sense?

Does MasterChef’s Smartphone Ban Make Sense?
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Normally the closest we get to thinking about MasterChef on Lifehacker is when talking about the entirely unrelated Mastercheap challenge from last year. However, the news that a contestant has been kicked off Channel Ten’s reality TV cookfest for using a smartphone makes us wonder just how realistic a total technology ban is.

Our ever-so-slightly-MasterChef-obsessed sibling site PopSugar reports that contestant Mat Beyer has been booted from the show after using a smartphone — something that is banned for all contestants since it could let them look up recipes and other information, as well as enabling them to contact family and friends whenever they like. (Total isolation is a major factor in most reality TV formats.) Due to advance filming, Beyer isn’t expected to disappear from our screens for a month or so.

TV shows can of course set whatever rules they like, and contestants who break them will inevitably face penalties. That said, not being able to make use of those kinds of resources is entirely unrealistic. No-one is going to be able to memorise everything about cooking; being able to check online (and spot relevant information) is arguably going to be a fairly relevant skill for anyone working with food in the future. Your thoughts?

MasterChef’s Mat Kicked Off Show For Using a Smartphone [PopSugar]


  • “Hey, stop slicing- check this tweet on potatoe dauphinois..” – a cook in a kitchen works off experience. They had cooks books a plenty in the house but the show is alll about performance at the time not some hinky gen y short cut. It’s reality tv, sure , but it’s about skill not the tool. And the rules.

  • The term “Reality TV” is a total misnomer anyway. If it was ‘reality’ then you would be able to use all resources at hand including ringing Aunt Flo for her pumpkin scone recipe.
    In reality, if you had to work under the conditions outlined in these shows the employer would be outed for bullying and harassment and the union delegates would be calling everyone out.
    I have stopped watching these shows now as the whole reality genre has completely jumped the shark.
    (Note to self: Idea for new show – “So you think you can jump a celebrity shark”)

  • I think there was something in the news earlier this year, that there were going to be allowed phones to contact loved ones, probably had restrictions on who the could contact etc..

  • Considering they found out “during a challenge where all cookbooks were taken away from the contestants” i think its perfectly legitimate reason for booting him.

    I just wish they did it earlier, i cant stand him. I would have just told him to leave the moment he was considering serving cold beef in the qantas comp.

    • This is true having access to a smart phone during that particular challenge is cheating.

      As much as I hate to use the term but myself and many of my gen Y (ugh) friends do use the Internet as a cooking resource far more than older people, a blanket ban on access to the outside would be unfair because you would he unable to access your “cookbooks”.

  • This is a contest where people have ambitions to be professional chefs (not “cooks”), and run restaurants. They compete against professional chefs.

    If he’s using cookbooks during a time-relevant contest, well, that means he is already a failure at that ambition.

  • Interesting this is considering that Telstra had their T-hubs used in the series – I even remember seeing one in the background when one of the people was been interviewed at the house before a cook off – it was been used as an alarm clock beside the bed … and yes I’m sure it was masterchief…

  • It’s not so much about his long hair, tattooed arm and piercings – we are all attention seekers at some time – as it’s about bootings.
    The producers want to restrict the information on who goes, and when – to say nothing of who the winner is.
    That’s TV, and they have every right to sign the contestants up to their rules.

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