Will MasterChef Be Great TV or Bloody Rubbish?

Photo: Courtesy of Fox

As you know by now, Gordon Ramsays new cooking competition show MasterChef premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox. Basically an American Idol for chefs, the spinoff of the BBC original pits 50 amateurs from across the country against one another, with the winner receiving $250,000 and a cookbook contract. But has the show won over the TV critics? We perused the papers to find out.

It gets off to a fast start as a flurry of hopefuls nervously present their signature dishes to the panel in hopes of getting an apron. The surprise: Ramsay isn't the scariest judge this time. (That would be Joe Bastianich, whose glare could cook anyone's goose.)
Matt Roush, TV Guide

The show manages to be hugely entertaining and involving thanks mainly to the judges' personalities and the ability of the producers to spot emotionally charged stories when they see them The golden moments in this series are poignant and personal, not brash. There are enough of them including teary pleading heightened by pre-commercial teases to keep viewers from defecting.
Barry Garron, Reuters

In a country that doesn't need one more great chef as much as it needs millions to know how to produce a dinner that doesn't come out of a take-out container, I'm not sure why there's another cooking show focused on restaurant-quality presentations those of us at home can't smell, much less taste.
-Ellen Gray, Philadelphia Inquirer

It's not great TV, but compared with the concentrated incompetence of Hell's Kitchen, it's delicious.
Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly

American Idol with food, or Top Chef with amateurs There are no great claims to be made for this series But there are no great claims to be brought against it, either.
Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

Instead of ranting obscenities at professional chefs, as he does on Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen, Ramsay is bellowing them at amateur cooking contestants. But otherwise this show is pretty much identical to the others.
Glenn Garvin, Miami Herald