AS the TV commercials for that giant supermarket chain ask at least 23 times each weeknight: Do you want to cook like a MasterChef cooks?

Well, here are a few quick lessons.

Take a whole, big, juicy fish out of the fridge, start hacking into it, then decide you want to cook something else entirely and set it aside.

Put some flour, butter and egg in a food processor, then realise you weren’t supposed to add the egg yet, so throw it all in the bin and start again.

Fry an entire duck breast to siphon off the fat to make a thimbleful of sauce for a single steak dish, then chuck the half-cooked breast away.

Honestly, more food goes into the rubbish on Channel 10’s hit show each night than makes it to the plate.

The bins are the best-fed things there; no wonder George Calombaris is wasting away.

Given this, the only reasons I can think you’d actually want to cook like a MasterChef are if:

A) Your other hobbies are shredding and/or setting fire to money;

B) You’re on some sort of radical aversion therapy diet, where the sight of fresh food being tipped into the trash has a psychological effect on you never wanting to eat chips again; or

C) You’ve been challenged by a genie to find and destroy as much fresh food as possible in a three-month period in order to win your body weight in gemstones.

The thing is, as $8 billion worth of food gets wasted each year in Australia, no normal household should be encouraged to cook like a MasterChef cooks. Except every household is, at least 23 times each weeknight.

Now look, I get that the official recipes for these dishes don’t say things like “start cutting up a fish then change your mind and chuck it in the bin”, but showing “the best Australian home cooks” doing exactly that on TV every night sort of sends the wrong message, don’t you think?

Plus, you know, there are a lot of stupid people out there. I wouldn’t put it past a large section of the population to think that frying a duck breast for fat and chucking it in the bin is a totally acceptable way of making sauce.

To the show’s credit, much of the unused produce from the MasterChef pantry is donated to Second Bite, a charity that redistributes fresh surplus food from supermarkets, growers and suppliers to Australians in need.

According to a recent article the most common foods donated from the MasterChef kitchen include bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, stone fruits, meat and dairy, and the amount varies each week from a few boxes to a whole palette load.

Other leftovers are apparently used in recipe testing, and some goes home with the contestants each day.

That’s all great, but that’s just the unused fresh produce we’re talking about. It doesn’t cover all the perfectly good food that ends up in the bin because it was overcooked, or cut the wrong way, or looked at questioningly by Matt Preston.

So here’s what I propose for MasterChef: cooking challenges where every contestant’s rubbish bin is weighed, with points deducted for every kilo of food waste that ends up in it. Extra points off for expensive or rare ingredients, or anything that Gary Mehigan raised an eyebrow at. Instant elimination for anyone who throws away a truffle.

And perhaps I can suggest a new sponsor for next year — Wastemaster bins.

WasteMasterChef — it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

First published in The Advertiser, July 6, 2015. Click here to read the original article.