Rick Bentley

Tosi gets cozy with chefs; Rossum bares all

Christina Tosi has joined the “MasterChef” judging team.
Christina Tosi has joined the “MasterChef” judging team. FOX

For the first time in six seasons, there will be a new face judging the huddled masses trying to prove their culinary worth on the FOX competition series “MasterChef.” Christina Tosi takes over for the departed Joe Bastianich.

The first “MasterChef” appearance by the 2015 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef was last week. She got her first taste of what it’s like to sample 40 different dishes as the new competitors battle their way to the title.

That trek could take the competitors through challenges such as cooking for Las Vegas entertainers, visiting a cattle ranch to prepare meals for ranchers and cowboys or running a professional kitchen in the restaurant takeover challenge.

“Obviously, with the addition of the new judge, Christina Tosi, not only has it t brought a touch of glamor to the panel, but baking is a phenomenon, and baking is chemistry. Baking is something unique,” Gordon Ramsay, fellow host/judge, says.

Tosi is the chef and co-owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, a central bakery that produces baked goods daily for five New York city retail outlets. The University of Virginia gradate also has penned two cookbooks.

On “MasterChef” she will be dealing with adults. But, she’s also part of the judging team for “MasterChef Jr.”

Tosi judges all chefs the same.

“I think being in a kitchen and loving food means having a point of view and having perspective. And fair is fair, and right is wrong. One of my favorite parts of coming up in a kitchen was learning how to think about food and saying, ‘This is good, but how do I make it better?’ and learning how to be okay with, you know, ‘I’m doing a good job, but I can do a better job.’ I think that’s such an important life skill, whether it’s in the kitchen or how it translates to the way you approach life in general,” Tosi says.

Bare neccesities

One of the ways premium cable has set itself apart from network television is by being able to use stronger language, crank up the violence and show nudity. All you have to do is look at an episode of “Game of Thrones” or “Girls” to see the differences.

It might surprise you that in serious programs on the premium channels —such as “Masters of Sex,” “The Affair” and “Shameless” — that there are serious debates as to how and when to use nudity.

That’s where actors like Emmy Rossum step in to make suggestions about certain scenes in “Shameless.”

“ I think sometimes we see drafts or ideas and we think, well, this doesn’t feel necessary. How is this furthering the story?,” Rossum says during a panel discussion on sexuality and television presented by Showtime. “I think we’re just trying to find the honest truth of what a character would do in that moment, and if the honest truth involves sexuality, it involves intimacy between two characters, whatever, or violence between two characters, as long as it feels real.”

When a scenes exposes her both physically and emotionally, she counts on those around her. Her fellow actors, along with the crew, help her feel comfortable and not exploited.

When it comes to something being exploitative, that doesn’t just mean nudity. Rossum has seen scenes that have been emotionally exploitative. A character can cry too much for no reason because that seems like the obvious thing to do, which can feel wrong to the actress.

“What I think is so interesting about showing sexuality as part of art is no different than showing any other part of life to inform the art. Sexuality is a part of life, I hope. Sometimes you do have sex for a reason that has nothing do with sex. Maybe it’s about power. Maybe it’s about insecurity. Maybe it’s about just wanting to connect. Maybe it’s about just wanting to feel good. But I think, regardless, what’s so great about the shows on Showtime is that they don’t show in a gratuitous way,” Rossum says.

And, don’t think it is just a bunch of men sitting around in the writers room coming up with these ideas. Rossum explains the female writers on “Shameless” write raunchier stuff than the male writers.

“And, I don’t think that our female directors are any less apt to push the envelope,’ Rossum says.

Other news

Musical moments: Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan are the first set of performers locked in to take the stage at the 2015 “CMT Music Awards.” They will be broadcast at 8 p.m. June 10 on the cable channel.

Star power: Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj lead the “BET Awards 2015” with six nominations This year also marks a special milestone for the awards as it is the 15th anniversary. The event will air June 28 on the cable channel.

Book it: Mary Alice Monroe’s novel “The Beach House” will be adapted into a Hallmark Channel Original Movie starring three-time Golden Globe nominee Andie MacDowell and premiering on the network in 2016.