MasterChef China

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MasterChef China
顶级厨师
Dǐngjí Chúshī
MasterChef China.jpg
Format Cooking, Game Show
Judges Cao Kefan
Steven Liu I-fan
Jereme Leung Ji-gang (2013–)
Jonathan Lee Tsung-sheng (2012)
Country of origin China
Production company(s) Shine Group
Broadcast
Original channel Dragon TV
Original run 29 July 2012 – present
Chronology
Related shows MasterChef

MasterChef China[1] is a Chinese television cooking reality show and a spin-off from the original British MasterChef in 1990. The show is sponsored by Joyoung[2] and Zwiliing. Contestants from all over China have competed on the show. It is a stage where ordinary people can realize their culinary dreams and show their love for food and cooking. What the contestants are faced with are weekly eliminations as well as team challenges. Fairmont Peace Hotel Executive Chef Steven Liu, popular host and "Professional Eater" Cao Kefan and the famous musician Jonathan Lee Tsung-sheng serve as the main judges of MasterChef China. The first season airs at Sunday evening on Dragon TV. It debuted on 29 July 2012.

Judges[edit]

  • Fairmont Peace Hotel Executive Chef — Steven Liu I-fan ()

Steven Liu is the youngest executive chef in China, with 20 years of cooking experience. He has been to over 100 countries and cooked for more than 20 top restaurants in 15 countries. He has also collaborated with top chef Gordon Ramsay, the judge of "MasterChef".

Dubai: He was the cooking director of a five-star hotel. He led a staff of 104 people that came from more than 20 different countries. Dubai’s Prime Minister Mohammed was once his guest. The restaurant was awarded the “Restaurant of the Year” prize.

India: He was the cooking director of a French restaurant from the famous hotel chain group—TAJ Hotels Resorts & Palaces Group. The restaurant was named the best restaurant in India.

Bali Island: He was the cooking director of Club Med.

Taiwan: He was the cooking director of The Sherwood.

Great Britain: He was the first Taiwanese cook at the famous SAVOY. He was also the sous chef at the five-star Dorchester Hotel.

He has also been interviewed by CNN, BBC and has been called the “Cool Cook Steven Liu” by foreign magazines.

Liu is the toughest judge on MasterChef.

  • "Professional Eater" — Cao Kefan

Kefan Cao can be simply described as a person who really loves eating. From haute cuisine to street food, he has eaten most cuisines from all over the world and deserves the title of “Professional Eater”.

Besides the cuisine of Eastern China, Kefan Cao, who comes from Wuxi, is also familiar with Cantonese Dishes, Shandong cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Fujian cuisine and Anhui cuisine. Moreover, due to his personal interest, he also knows a lot about desserts and Western food.

He has a discerning palate and often communicates the taste of food to express his culinary experiences. Paying careful attention to the taste of the food rather than whether it is haute or not. That is something he appreciates.

As he has an expansive knowledge about fine food, it is not easy to win his approval.

  • From musician to cooking judge — Jonathan Lee Tsung-sheng

Jonathan Lee is a celebrated songwriter, composer, music producer and singer. He has created a number of classic songs and has become an important part of the Taiwan music scene in the 1990s and late 1980s. He is thus called “The Father of Chinese Pop Music.”

At the same time, he also has quite the discerning taste for food.

He owns several top private food establishments, which are staffed by a number of skilled cooks who are required to meet the demand of every customer.

Lee himself is a good cook. He cooks everyday for his three-year daughter and his mother. He compares the balance of food to that of the balance between melody and tone. He has even transformed his little swimming pool into a kitchen. He is worthy of the title “Food Expert.

Contestants[edit]

Contestant Age Hometown Occupation Status
Wei Han
魏瀚
25 Chengdu, Sichuan French-speaking Tour Guide winner
Gu Xiaoguang
顾晓光
45 Shanghai Self-employed Top 2
Yu Hanbing
于寒冰
34 Chongqing Self-employed Top 4
Yi Min
易敏
35 Wuhan, Hubei Housewife Top 4
Li Liang
李靚
30 Beijing Freelancer Eliminated
7 October
Fan Tiantian
范湉湉
32 Nanjing, Jiangsu Public Relations Officer Eliminated
23 September
Mei Xiaofan
梅晓璠
20 Wuhan, Hubei Nurse Eliminated
16 September
Huang Ying
黃莺
47 Kunming, Yunnan CEO Eliminated
9 September
Liu Junjie
刘俊杰
34 Wuhan, Hubei Advertising Agent Eliminated
2 September
Kang Lu
唐璐
33 Chengdu, Sichuan Shop Owner
Cheng Yongbei
程永蓓
30 Shanghai Artist Eliminated
26 August
Yang Xi
杨曦
26 Kunming, Yunnan Lawyer
Yu Tao
俞涛
17 Hangzhou, Zhejiang Student Eliminated
19 August
Fang Meixue
方美雪
24 Shenzhen, Guangdong News Anchor Eliminated
12 August
Cai Chengqi
蔡丞麒
31 Taiwan Restaurant Manager Walked
5 August

Formats[edit]

Preliminaries[edit]

In the first round of preliminaries, amateur cooks were chosen to cook their signature dish for the three judges. All three judges will taste all the signature dishes and give their comments. Then will vote either a "yes" or "no" for each dish. The contestant will be allowed to advance and earn a white MasterChef apron if he can get at least two "yes" votes.

The second round of preliminaries was designed to test the necessary basic skills that a chef should have. The contestants were required to slice and dice onions. Those who met the standards of the judges are allowed to advanced to the next round and the rest were eliminated.

In the last round of the preliminaries, the theme of the challenge was to create a stunning dish with a core ingredient in an hour. The hero of the dish must be the core ingredient.

Mystery Box Challenge[edit]

In this section, contestants are given different ingredients or a theme that they do not know in advance. They can choose to use all or some of the ingredients they want to make their dish with. The judges would only taste the dishes from the top three contestants and one of them would be chosen as the winner of the section. The winner of the mystery box challenge would receive an advantage in the next elimination challenge.

Invention Test[edit]

At the beginning of the invention test, three kinds of ingredients would be presented and the winner of mystery box challenge would have the advantage to decide the core ingredients in this section. Contestants can choose ingredients that they are familiar with or ingredients that would cause the other contestants to crumble. The other contestants can later choose any other ingredients in the pantry to help with the ingredient chosen. The contestants have 45 to 60 minutes to create a dish and the judges will decide the three worst contestants in this challenge. They would then compete in an elimination challenge, which is the pressure test while the other contestants would be safe in this section and go upstairs.

Pressure Test[edit]

This is an elimination challenge where the last three contestants in the invention test (or the losing team in the team challenge) will compete against each other. The loser in this section is to take off his/her apron, place it on his/her station and leave the competition. The contestants in this challenge would be given a particular recipe that they are required to try their best to imitate with limited time. When they finish, the judges will taste each dish and give their opinions. In the end, they will decide who has performed the worst in this section and he/she would leave.

Off-site Team Challenge[edit]

In this challenge, the contestants compete in two teams, blue and red. The number of members on each team is equal and they would be given a task, such as cooking for a party. There would be a third-party group of judges to determine the winner. The losing team would face an elimination test while the winner would be safe from being eliminated.

Episodes[edit]

Episode 1 (29 July 2012) – Sixty-five contestants from all over the country were given the chance to cook their signature dishes and present them to three judges in Shanghai. All of them have the same goal – to earn a white apron. The 34 contestants who won the apron advanced to the second round of preliminaries — slicing and dicing onions which lasted for three and a half hours. Those who could not get the judges' approval took off their aprons and were eliminated. 24 contestants advanced to the next round. The 24 contestants then had to create a dish with the core ingredient: duck. One contestant was eliminated in the end and there were 15 who stayed in the competition. Only 15 contestants prevailed and entered the MasterChef kitchen.

Episode 2(5 August 2012) – The 15 contestants who proved themselves in the previous episode continued pursuing the honor of Master Chef. They entered the kitchen and were introduced the "Mystery Box" challenge. Contestants can use all or some of the ingredients in the “Mystery Box” to create a dish. Mei Xiaofan was the winner of this challenge and had the advantage to choose the core ingredient for their "Invention Test" in the second round. They only had one hour to finish their dishes in the invention test. The two contestants with the best dishes in this round would be the leader in the team contest in the next episode (Li Liang and Fan Tian Tian), while the last three would have to enter the pressure test. In the last part, Mei Xiaofan, Cai Chengqi and Liu Junjie were required to cook the sample dish given to them. Cai Chengqi dropped out the contest halfway. Mei and Liu both survived.

Episode 3 (12 August 2012) -– The number of contestants dropped to 14 in this MasterChef episode. They continued their competition in Dunhuang, which was in Shanxi Province. The first round was the team challenge. Both teams were required to finish a main course, a dessert and a vegetable dish within two and a half hours. The two menus were fixed. Their judges were 51 local camel groomers.

Li Liang's red team breached the rules by providing an extra dish not stated in the menu, causing unhappiness in the blue team. However, the red team led by Li Liang still won in this part by one vote. Due to the breaching of rules, the judges asked Li Liang to choose 1 contestant in the red team to compete in the skills test with the blue team who lost. Li Liang volunteered himself as he was the team leader.

Fan Tiantian’s blue team and Li Liang took the skill test in the second round. What they were asked to show was their knife skills by cutting pork. The last round was also a skill test. This time, the bottom three in the second round needed to make bean curd. In the end, Fang Meixue was eliminated.

Episode 4 ( 19 August 2012 ) -— 13 contestants survived from last MasterChef episode continued their cooking dream this time. The first round was still the “Mystery Box”. The big box on all three judge’s table confused all the contestants as to what was inside. The answer was seafood. Everyone was able use two kinds of seafood to make their dishes and the judges would only taste the best three out of them. Tang Lu got first in this round and she was given priority to choose the major ingredients in the next round—the Invention Test. They were requested to make a dessert in this test. Tang Lu and Yi Min won this round while Liu Junjie, Yu Tao and Yu Hanbing headed into the third round—the Pressure Test to make large intestines. Yu Tao was eliminated at the end of this episode.

Episode 5 ( 26 August 2012 ) -— 12 competitors were at the Sun Island Resorts to carry-on in the competition. The first round was the Off-site Team Challenge and the two leaders were Tang Lu and Yi Min. Their task was to make a children's menu including a meat staple, a vegetable dish and a special sugar painting because the judges in this round were 51 little children. Tang Lu's blue team beat Yi Min's team with a score of 41 to 10. What was waiting for the red team in next round was the Skill Test that included cutting salmon. Their salmon pieces needed to be cut to 160-180 grams. Wei Han was first to pass. The other five would head to the third round—the Pressure Test. The goal was to make Jonathan Li's homemade "Papa Pasta" after he showed them how to do it. Yang Xi and Cheng Yongbei lost their aprons in this episode.

Episode 6 ( 2 September 2012 ) – The major ingredient in the "Mystery Box" was Jinhua ham this time. All the ten contestants seemed to be confused by the ham. Wei Han got the first in this round which was beyond everyone's expectation. He was given the right to choose the major ingredients used in the next round—the Invention Test. Wei chose cow's tongue for himself and mutton kidney for the other contestants, which made him be questioned by them. Wei, Tang Lu, Huang Ying and Liu Junjie were chosen into the third round—the Pressure Test. The topic was making handmade beef balls. Tang Lu and Liu Junjie were both eliminated at last.

Episode 7 ( 9 September 2012 ) – In this episode, the eight remaining contestants continue the competition in the Fairmont Peace Hotel, which was once the ‘domain’ of Steven Liu. The first round was the team challenge. The winners of the last episode, Gu Xiaoguang and Li Liang were the two leaders in this round. Each team was required to cook two of the signature dishes from the Peace Hotel. With the excellent use of codfish, Wei Han led his team to victory in the team challenge. The red team was then faced with the skills test. In this round, their task was beating egg white. Gu Xiaoguang and Mei Xiaofan were the first two to finish the task. What waited for them was that round’s plus question. Mei made Gu enter the second round with the other red team members——the pressure test. Huang Ying was eliminated in the end.

Episode 8 ( 16 September 2012 ) – The first round in this episode was the “Mystery Box”. What was in the box this time was totally different from before. The seven contestants remaining were required to make a dish according to the word ' missing ‘. Contestants chose their ingredients first then they were told that they must exchange their ingredients with the contestant on their left. This was the turning point of the episode. Yi Min was victorious and was given priority to choose all the contestant's ingredients for the next round. She chose six parts of a pig’s head plus the pig’s tail. Yu Hanbing came in second in that round, which was unexpected and surprised many. Li Liang, Mei Xiaofan and Wei Han all faced the third round—the pressure test. Mei was eliminated in the end of the episode.

Episode 9 ( 23 September 2012 ) – Intense competition ignites between the six remaining contestants on this episode held at Tianbao Mansion, the last off-site Team Challenge venue of the season. Despite disputes between Yu Hanbing and Li Liang, their traditional Chinese dishes won praise from five gourmet judges, including Chua Lam, a renowned food critic from Hong Kong. Thus the other team, led by Gu Xiaoguang, had to face the skill test, which was to assess their cutting skills, turning a piece of tofu into a flower. Gu made it through, leaving Wei Han and Fan Tiantian to face the pressure test, in which they were supposed to tackle with the common ingredient of chicken meat. Eventually, Fan was eliminated.

Episode 10 ( 7 October 2012 ) – This episode began with the Mystery Box Challenge. Five survivors were tasked to prepare dishes of the five major styles of Chinese cuisine, and Gu Xiaoguang came out on top, gaining the advantage to skip the Invention Test in the next round. The other four constants, however, had to prepare something impressive out of plain-looking vegetables. Wei Han’s convincing performance enabled him to skip the Pressure Test, in which the other three chefs were supposed to make a croque-en-bouche in 3 hours. It is a French desert with a cone that’s piled to the top with cream puffs, the making of which requires patience and attention to detail. Eventually Li Liang was eliminated due to the unsatisfactory shape of his pile of puff, despite its delicious taste.

Episode 11 ( 14 October 2012 ) – The last episode saw the birth of China’s first-ever MasterChef. In the re-decorated kitchen, four competitors were divided into two groups. Gu Xiaoguang competed with Yu Hanbing, both dealing with fish, and Wei Han was paired off with Yi Min, both faced with prawns. In these semi-finals, Gu and Wei beat their rivals, stepping forward to compete with each other for the MasterChef title. In the final round, they had to prepare two dishes and one dessert in 2 hours, while their family and the previously eliminated contestants were watching upstairs. Wei’s strategy in this final challenge was to cook completely in the Chinese style, whereas Gu preferred a mixed style. Opinions divided among the 5 gourmet judges, including Chua Lam, who also appeared on the 9th episode, however, Wei’s lobster and shrimp, crispy chicken and Chinese pastry beat Gu’s cuttlefish, shrimp ball and French brûlée. In the end, Wei Han was crowned China’s first ever Master Chef.

Elimination Chart[edit]

Place Contestant Episode
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
1 Wei Han IN IN LOSE IN IN IN LOSE IN WIN PT WIN IMM IN PT LOSE PT HIGH IN IN WINNER
2 Gu Xiaoguang HIGH IN LOSE IN IN IN WIN IMM HIGH WIN LOSE PT HIGH IN LOSE IN WIN IMM IN RUNNER-UP
3 Yi Min HIGH IN WIN IMM IN WIN LOSE PT LOW IN WIN IMM WIN IN WIN IMM LOW PT ELIM
4 Yu Hanbing IN IN WIN IMM IN PT WIN IMM LOW IN WIN IMM IN WIN WIN IMM HIGH PT ELIM
5 Li Liang IN WIN WIN PT HIGH IN LOSE PT HIGH WIN WIN IMM HIGH PT WIN IMM LOW ELIM
6 Fan Tiantian IN WIN LOSE IN IN IN WIN IMM IN IN LOSE PT IN WIN LOSE ELIM
7 Mei Xiaofan WIN PT WIN IMM IN IN LOSE PT LOW IN LOSE IN IN ELIM
8 Huang Ying IN IN LOSE IN HIGH IN WIN IMM IN PT LOSE ELIM
9 Tang Lu IN IN LOSE IN WIN WIN WIN IMM IN ELIM
10 Liu Junjie IN PT WIN IMM IN PT WIN IMM IN ELIM
11 Cheng Yongbei IN IN LOSE PT IN IN LOSE ELIM
12 Yang Xi IN IN WIN IMM IN IN LOSE ELIM
13 Yu Tao IN IN WIN IMM IN ELIM
14 Fang Meixue IN IN LOSE ELIM
15 Cai Chengqi IN ELIM
     (WIN) The cook won the individual challenge (Mystery Box Challenge or Invention Test).
     (WIN) The cook was on the winning team in the Team Challenge and was safe from the Pressure Test.
     (HIGH) The cook was one of the top entries in the Mystery Box Challenge, but did not win.
     (IN) The cook was not selected as a top entry or bottom entry in the challenge.
     (IMM) The cook won the previous challenge and did not have to compete in the next challenge.
     (LOW) The cook was on the losing team in the Team Challenge, competed in the next challenge, and advanced.
     (LOW) The cook was one of the bottom entries in the Mystery Box Challenge.
     (LOW) The cook was one of the bottom entries in the Mystery Box Challenge, and received a penalty in the Invention Test.
     (PT) The cook was one of the bottom entries in the Elimination Challenge, competed in the Pressure Test, and advanced. In Episode 3, as the Blue Team breached the rules of the challenge, it was decided that the leader of the Blue Team (Li Liang) would join the next challenge as well.
     (ELIM) The cook was eliminated from MasterChef.

References[edit]