Has the series finally jumped the shark?

According to The Free Dictionary, the term “shark jump” is defined as when a television series begins to use incredible gadgets and storylines in an attempt to maintain ratings. And while Chef maybe not quite at this point yet, if we’re being honest, it’s getting close.

When Chef arriving for the first time, it was like a breath of fresh air. There were home cooks, ordinary people who loved to cook and experiment with ingredients. Watching those early seasons was an amazing change from all of the hours in Iron chief and Hell’s Kitchen who had taken over food television. With a little practice, I felt like almost anyone could be a competitor on Chef.

Sadly, those days are now long gone. The trio of judges, which in recent seasons have included Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sánchez and everyone’s favorite dream killer Joe Bastianich, have continuously raised the bar to levels no true home cook can achieve.

The fact that season 11 is called MasterChef Legends is a clear indication that something is wrong. If there’s a clearer sign that a food fair has lost its way than when producers start dragging the old guard and aspiring foodies to be guest judges. I mean, they brought in Paula Deen. Enough said.

MasterChef may have lost its way and might not be able to recover.

Then there’s the long list of issues a lot of people have with the show and how they present the contestants. We all know reality TV is quite far from reality, but Chef start to feel more like The single person than Chopped.

As Mashed reported, from bulletproof nondisclosure deals to candidates being told what to wear to home cooks being given cooking lessons for ingredients they don’t know to make better television, Chef It sounds more like a fantasy than reality at this point.

Honestly, does anyone really think it would take three hours of TV to hand out 15 white aprons? I hadn’t seen so much filling since the last time I made stuffed shells.

Point of Chef was always to celebrate the home cook. Someone who has no formal culinary training and cooks to feed their family or just because they love food. But even that line is starting to fade. More and more competitors on Chef appear to have formal cooking training.

How is that fair? How is someone who cooks for their four kids and on a budget supposed to compete with someone who went to culinary school but decided not to become a chef? How is that even close to a level playing field?

It’s as if the people behind Chef try far too hard to become a home cooks version of Excellent chef. Even if that means the candidates are not home cooks in the true sense of the word.

In my opinion Chef, a series that I liked very much, is now a shell of itself. It’s more about being really pretentious and cooking meals that no one in their right mind would realistically prepare for their family. I’ll probably finish watching Season 11, but after that, unless they can rediscover their focus and start celebrating real home cooks again, I can move on.

What do you think of Guilty Eats Nation? Do you think MasterChef skipped the shark? Or am I completely wrong in how I feel? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.