MasterChef (U.S. TV series)
Series logo and wordmark
|Created by||Franc Roddam|
|Presented by||Gordon Ramsay
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||53|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Production company(s)||One Potato Two Potato
Reveille Productions (2010–2012)
Shine America (2012–)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original run||July 27, 2010– present|
MasterChef is an American competitive cooking reality show, open to amateur and home chefs. It is co-hosted and co-produced by Gordon Ramsay. Produced by Shine America, it debuted on July 27, 2010 at 9 pm ET/PT on the Fox Television Network, following one of Ramsay's other series, Hell's Kitchen. The first series was initially seen Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET/PT; it moved to Wednesday nights at 8 pm ET/PT on August 18.
On September 7, 2010, MasterChef was renewed for a second season. The second season started with a two night premiere on June 6 and 7, 2011.
On May 10, 2013, FOX renewed MasterChef for an additional two seasons, bringing its grand total to six seasons. In addition, FOX ordered a spinoff, Junior MasterChef, which will feature participants between the ages of eight and thirteen.  Junior MasterChef will air on Fridays at 8/7c, beginning in Fall 2013. 
MasterChef is based on the first season of the Australian format, produced by FremantleMedia Australia, which in turn was based on the British BBC series MasterChef. Chef, television personality and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay together with restaurateur and vineyard owner Joe Bastianich and chef Graham Elliot are the judges in this new version of MasterChef. The US version, however, has some deviations from the Australian version and is typically famous for its unprofessional reality show language. The challenges also vary from season to season.
Of all the amateur chefs who audition nationwide, one hundred are chosen to cook their signature dish for the three judges. Each judge takes a taste of the dish and gives his opinion before voting a "yes" or a "no". At least two "yes" votes are required to earn a white MasterChef apron, allowing the competitor to advance.
Challenge night 
The contestants who advanced out of the preliminary round next compete in two challenges. In the first challenge, all the contestants complete a certain task, to the specification of the chefs, such as cutting and dicing onions or slicing apples. The chefs who are not eliminated while performing the task immediately proceed to an "invention test". A theme is given to the remaining contestants, who have thirty minutes to create and cook a dish relevant to this theme. The contestants can cook with any ingredient they want, as long as the theme is prevalent in the dish. Once the dishes are cooked, they are all presented to the judges for tasting — by presentation, finesse, and taste. In the third season, the only challenge was the invention test.
Mystery Box challenge 
In Mystery Box challenges, contestants receive a number of ingredients of which they are to make a dish of their choice. The contestants are allowed to use any number of the ingredients they wish, and are free to omit any ingredients they wish. Once the dishes are finished, the judges choose three of the dishes to taste. The winner begins the judging in the following elimination challenge.
Elimination test 
In this challenge, whose theme is in the hands of the judges, the winner of the Mystery box can choose the main ingredient that the other cooks must use for cooking. In the third edition, this challenge has had a number of variations, for example granting immunity, or giving certain ingredients for certain cooks. All the dishes are tasted by the judges (but not all featured in the episodes), and the worst (one or more) will be eliminated.
Off-site team challenge 
The off-site team challenge involves the contestants being split into two teams, blue and red, which consist of equal numbers and are given a task, for example, running a restaurant or catering for a party or wedding (similar to Ramsay's other series, Hell's Kitchen). After the task has been completed, the teams are given the results, which can be determined by third party votes. Members of the losing team compete in an elimination challenge, known as a "pressure test".
Pressure test 
A "pressure test" challenge involves competitors who failed in a previous challenge (i.e. the three worst performers in an individual challenge or the losing team in a group challenge). The competitors are given a dish that they then must create in a particular time frame. Once the contestants have finished cooking, the dishes are taken to the judges to be tasted, who then criticize, vote and eliminate one or more contestants. The contestant(s) who are eliminated must take off their apron(s) and place it on their station(s) before exiting.
Celebrity chef 
A celebrity chef challenge involves a contestant who won a particular challenge. The contestant competes against a celebrity chef in a cook off. The celebrity chef gives the contestant the recipe to reproduce, and the contestant receives a head start to cook the dish before the celebrity chef starts cooking and after a certain time the dishes are presented to the judges who taste and score out of ten. The dishes are tasted by the judges in a blind-tasting fashion, meaning that they are never aware which dish was made by whom. If the contestant scores higher than the celebrity chef, they receive an immunity pin which they can use during an elimination to pass the elimination challenge. This challenge has only occurred once so far in the series.
|Season||Season Premiere Date||Season Finale Date||No. of Finalists||Winner||Runner-up||Judges|
|1||July 27, 2010||September 15, 2010||14||Whitney Miller||David Miller||Gordon Ramsay
|2||June 6, 2011||August 16, 2011||18||Jennifer Behm||Adrien Nieto|
|3||June 4, 2012||September 10, 2012||Christine Ha||Josh Marks|
|4||May 22, 2013||TBA||19|
The premiere episode received mixed reviews from major newspapers and online review websites, with reviews commenting that it was entertaining, but criticized the emotional aspect. The Los Angeles Times claimed the contestants' back stories were "blown up," referring to their dramatization. A Reuters reviewer explained 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." The Globe and Mail said "the contrived sentimentality of it is, frankly, vomitous" referring to the emotion in contestants' reactions.
The program also attracted negative attention in the second season when Agence France-Presse journalist Alex Ogle discovered that the producers doctored a crowd scene said to be of "thousands upon thousands lined up" to audition for the program. In post-production, portions of the scene were replicated so as to make the crowd look larger than it actually was, as evidenced by multiple appearances by particularly noticeable individuals in the scene.
Television ratings 
The series' premiere episode was the highest-rated debut for summer 2010. Though it had 5.75 million viewers and the highest rating in that time-slot, the episode did not surpass its time-slot competitors' viewers figures with the exception of The CW's repeat of Life Unexpected. The second episode held up from the previous installment with 5.90 million viewers and continued to have the highest time-slot share, despite placing third against the major commercial networks.
The third episode on August 10, 2010 earned the highest viewing figures of the series to date with 6.12 million viewers, which was third amongst the five major networks; that night's episode followed the season finale of Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen.
International broadcast 
In 2012, after the success of the Italian version, Cielo broadcast on Wednesday from January to August the first two seasons of MasterChef, dubbed and partly censored, together with eighth and ninth season of Hell's Kitchen, making an evening dedicated to Gordon Ramsay. Joe Bastianich, judge of both US and Italian version of MasterChef, dubbed himself. From April 2013, Sky Uno broadcast the third season.
In México, Once TV México broadcast the first season of MasterChef after the first season of Hell's Kitchen on October 2012.
Earlier American adaptation 
An earlier American adaptation, MasterChef USA, was produced from 2000 to 2001 by West 175 Productions and was broadcast on PBS. That version was based directly from the BBC series and which lasted 28 episodes over two seasons. It was hosted by British chef Gary Rhodes.
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