MasterChef USA Logo
|Presented by||Gary Rhodes|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producer(s)||Elizabeth Brock|
|Running time||30-60 minutes per episode|
|Original run||1 April 2000 – 30 June 2001|
|Followed by||MasterChef (US TV series)|
MasterChef USA is an American competitive cooking show that aired on PBS from 2000 to 2001. The series was hosted by Gary Rhodes, and was considered as a hit among cooking shows of PBS. The series was directly formatted from BBC's MasterChef, which used Rhodes as host during 2001. The show had two seasons .
The first season premiered on April 1, 2000 with a total of 13 half-hour long episodes and 1 hour long special. 27 contestants arose from the auditions held in each region, in which office manager Nancy Vaziri of Homewood, Illinois won the title of MasterChef 2000.
The second season started on April 7, 2001 with a total of 13 half-hour long episodes as well as 1 hour long special. Similarly, 27 contestants advanced; wherein business owner Geoffrey Hill of Evanston, Illinois was proclaimed as MasterChef 2001.
When it came to finding a chef to present the show, executive producer Elizabeth Brock initially wanted British cook Gary Rhodes for the job. "He is so alive on camera," points out Brock. "And he also has the unique ability to combine true expertise on cooking with his gift of communicating in an entertaining style."
During the first 9 weeks, twenty-seven cooks from different regions faced-off in a challenge involving their best original two-course menu which must cost less than $60.00 and cook them in only two and a half hours. Nine contestants will be picked to move on to the next round where they will battle against another set of cooks from another region. From there, three will be picked to compete in the finale, where one of them will grab the coveted title for the next MasterChef.
The first season saw 27 cooks battling for a spot in the semi-final round. A set of three cooks competed in the Southwestern, Southeastern, and Northwestern regions while six cooks competed in a two-part challenge in the Midwestern, Western, and Northeastern divisions. On May 27, 2000, the complete setlist of 27 cooks were revealed. In the end, medical practice office manager Nancy Vaziri of Homewood, Illinois was proclaimed MasterChef 2000, winning herself a trip to CuisinArt Resort and Spa, a $1000 Williams-Sonoma gift certificate, a subscription to the International Association of Culinary Professionals and a short-term editorial for Bon Appétit.
|Nancy Vaziri||IL||Midwestern||Medical Practice Office Manager||Winner 24 June
|Lynne Champion||CA||Western||Bed and Breakfast Owner||Runner-up 24 June
|Stephen Both||DE||Northeastern||Painting Contractor||Eliminated 24 June
|Gary Wall||TX||Southwestern||Television director||Eliminated 17 June
|Jennifer Spencer||GA||Southeastern||Insurance Underwriter||Eliminated 17 June
|Bob Hafey||IL||Midwestern||Manufacturing Manager||Eliminated 10 June
|Lani Meltzer||CA||Western||Surgical Assistant||Eliminated 10 June
|Dana Maxey||NY||Northeastern||Investment Banker||Eliminated 3 June
|Scott Stevenson||OR||Northwestern||Realtor||Eliminated 3 June
|Lew Sherwood||NY||Northeastern||Advertising Executive||Eliminated 27 May
|Pietro Fragale||NY||Northeastern||Hospital Administrator||Eliminated 27 May
|Erminia Mack||IL||Midwestern||Homemaker||Eliminated 20 May
|Dhont Martial||IL||Midwestern||Surgeon||Eliminated 20 May
|James Morgan||AZ||Western||Information Designer||Eliminated 13 May
|Michelle Fish||AZ||Western||Scuba Diver||Eliminated 13 May
|Kirk Cochran||GA||Southeastern||Firefighter||Eliminated 6 May
|Nikki Norman||FL||Southeastern||Community and civic volunteer||Eliminated 6 May
|Frances Maxwell||WA||Northwestern||Student||Eliminated 29 April
|Melanie Hartley||WA||Northwestern||Nurse||Eliminated 29 April
|Richard Russell||VA||Northeastern||U.S. House of Representative Deputy Chief of Staff in Science||Eliminated 22 April
|Shanti Jain||NJ||Northeastern||Homemaker||Eliminated 22 April
|Renee Evers||NV||Western||Musician||Eliminated 15 April
|Richard Kronick||AZ||Western||Graphic designer||Eliminated 15 April
|Peter Flores||IL||Midwestern||Paralegal||Eliminated 8 April
|Susan Achinapura||IL||Midwestern||Homemaker||Eliminated 8 April
|Kay Dalton||TX||Southwestern||Mom||Eliminated 1 April
|Richard Winters||TX||Southwestern||Rancher||Eliminated 1 April|
|Ep# / Show-Ep#||Original Airdate||Episode Title / Event||Ref.|
|1/1.1||1 April 2000||Series Premiere: Regional Cook-off 1.1 - 27 amateur chefs from different parts of the country competed in 9 first-round challenges which will minimize the field to 9. In the first cook-off, Skitch Henderson and David Rosengarten judged the cooking of Southwestern cooks Gary, Kay, and Richard W. in a two-course menu challenge. Gary was announced through to the semi-finals, while Kay and Rick are eliminated.|||
|2/1.2||8 April 2000||Regional Cook-off 1.2 - Midwestern chefs Nancy, Peter, and Susan are judged by George Wallace and Michel Nischan. Nancy was proclaimed the winner, sending Peter and Susan packing.|||
|3/1.3||15 April 2000||Regional Cook-off 1.3 - Guest judges Robin Leach and Lidia Bastianich criticized Western cooks Lynne, Renee, and Richard K. Lynne won by a clean slate, defeating Renee and Richie.|||
|4/1.4||22 April 2000||Regional Cook-off 1.4 - Northeast chefs Richard R., Shanti, and Stephen vied in a cookoff watched by Madhur Jaffrey and Carolyn O'Neil. Stephen triumphed, sending Richard and Shanti home.|||
|5/1.5||29 April 2000||Regional Cook-off 1.5 - Northwestern amateurs Frances, Melanie, and Scott competed in a cookoff for Thierry Rautureau and Claudia Cohen. In the end, Scott went forward while Frances and Melanie walked.|||
|6/1.6||6 May 2000||Regional Cook-off 1.6 - Southeastern contestants Jennifer, Kirk, and Nikki battled in a challenge judged by Nathalie Dupree and Colman Andrews. Jennifer advanced whereas Kirk and Nikki stayed.|||
|7/1.7||13 May 2000||Regional Cook-off 1.7 - The second set of Western amateurs (Lani, Michelle, and Morgan) competed to satisfy judges Molly O'Neill and Vincent Schiavelli. Ultimately, Lani saved herself from elimination with Michelle and Morgan.|||
|8/1.8||20 May 2000||Regional Cook-off 1.8 - Midwestern chefs Bob, Erminia, and Jack fought against each other to win judges George Wallace and Stephan Pyles. The challenge witnessed Erminia and Jack lacking skills compared to Bob, eliminating them.|||
|9/1.9||27 May 2000||Regional Cook-off 1.9 - The last group of cooks from the Northeast (Dana, Lew, and Pietro) were judged by Jacques Torres and Jock Soto. Dana gained the last spot in the semi-finals while Lew and Pietro departed the competition.|||
|10/1.10||3 June 2000||Semi-Finals 1.1 - Dana, Lynne, and Scott met in a semi-final round with judges Sissy Biggers and Kit Skarstrom. Lynne was the obvious winner, while Dana and Scott lost.|||
|11/1.11||10 June 2000||Semi-Finals 1.2 - A semi-final round cookoff features Bob, Lani, and Nancy cooking for Sheila Lukins and Claudia Cohen. After a long decision, Nancy was deemed safe. On the other hand, Bob and Lani left the competition.|||
|12/1.12||17 June 2000||Semi-Finals 1.3 - The last semi-final round saw Gary, Jennifer, and Stephen battling for Joan Nathan and Tanya Wenman Steel. Stephen proved stronger, eliminating Gary and Jennifer.|||
|Special 1||22 June 2000||MasterChef USA Special 1 - The special featured a preview of the final-round cook-off. The episode also included interviews with the contestants and season highlights.|||
|Finale 1||24 June 2000||Grand Finale 1 - The finale saw Lynne, Nancy, and Stephen cooking for Jacques Pepin and Robin Mattson in a three-course meal challenge. Nancy's menu which consisted of Mushroom Pâté in Filo Pastry Baskets atop Field of Greens, Morgh Pollo (Seasoned Pilaf of Roasted Chicken), and Fruit Tart Cheesecake was deemed more impressive, defeating Lynne and Stephen for the title of MasterChef 2000.|||
The second season, like its predecessor, witnessed 27 cooks battling for a spot in the semi-final round. A set of three cooks competed in the Southwestern, Southeastern, and Northwestern regions while six cooks competed in a two-part challenge in the Midwestern, Western, and Northeastern divisions. On June 2, 2001, the complete setlist of 27 cooks were revealed. In the end, small business owner Geoffrey Hill of Evanston, Illinois was announced MasterChef 2001, claiming prizes that included an all expense paid two-week stay at Cuisinarts Caribbean resort, Le Creuset cookware, $1000 Williams-Sonoma gift certificate and other cuisine-related prizes.
|Geoffrey HIll||IL||Midwestern||Business Owner||Winner 30 June
|David Ross||WA||Northwestern||Airline Supervisor||Runner-up 30 June
|Lala Cheema||FL||Southeastern||Biology Teacher||Eliminated 30 June
|Josie Aaronson-Gelb||CA||Western||Public Relations Officer||Eliminated 23 June
|Marion Stevens||CA||Western||Retired||Eliminated 23 June
|Cindy Blakeslee||VT||Northeastern||Non-profit Organization Director||Eliminated 16 June
|Kyung Chang||NY||Northeastern||Set Designer||Eliminated 16 June
|Janet Moore||MI||Midwestern||Retired||Eliminated 9 June
|Mary Boyd||TX||Southwestern||Realtor||Eliminated 9 June
|Herman Liu||NM||Southwestern||Management Consultant||Eliminated 2 June
|Kristen Ritchie||OK||Southwestern||Company Vice President||Eliminated 2 June
|Baron Long||CA||Western||Professional Sales Agent||Eliminated 26 May
|Martina Thurlow||CA||Western||Attorney||Eliminated 26 May
|Charles Sweeney||DC||Northeastern||Corporate Communications Manager||Eliminated 19 May
|Joan Churchill||NH||Northeastern||Theatrical Designer||Eliminated 19 May
|Camilla Saulsbury||IN||Midwestern||Student||Eliminated 12 May
|Robert Whitt||IN||Midwestern||Real Estate Firm President||Eliminated 12 May
|Kimberly Davis||FL||Southeastern||Self-employed||Eliminated 5 May
|Peter Hyzak||FL||Southeastern||Sales Manager||Eliminated 5 May
|Gail Singer||CA||Western||Real Estate Agent||Eliminated 28 April
|Heather Rizzoli||CA||Western||Self-employed||Eliminated 28 April
|Laura Chavoen||NY||Northeastern||Business Strategist||Eliminated 21 April
|Tirso Perez||NY||Northeastern||Restaurateur||Eliminated 21 April
|Joseph King||WA||Northwestern||Software Developer||Eliminated 14 April
|Kathy Urbano||ID||Northwestern||Counselor||Eliminated 14 April
|Kaylan Dutta||MI||Midwestern||Engineer||Eliminated 7 April
|Norita Solt||IA||Midwestern||Retired||Eliminated 7 April|
|Ep# / Show-Ep#||Original Airdate||Episode Title / Event||Ref.|
|1/2.1||7 April 2001||Series Premiere: Regional Cook-off 2.1 - Midwestern cooks Geoffrey, Kaylan, and Norita prepared their best gourmet recipes against the clock to try and capture the regional title. With judges Bobby Collins and Susan Feniger on the tasting table, Geoffrey won the first round while Kaylan and Norita were eliminated.|||
|2/2.2||14 April 2001||Regional Cook-off 2.2 - Northwestern contestants David, Joseph, and Kathy cooked for judges Jerry di Vecchio and Tom Douglas. David was deemed safe and through, sending Joseph and Kathy home.|||
|3/2.3||21 April 2001||Regional Cook-off 2.3 - Northeastern contestants Cindy, Laura, and Tirso prepared their best dishes to Laurin Sydney and Benjamin Ford. Cindy triumphed, leading to Laura and Tirso's departure.|||
|4/2.4||28 April 2001||Regional Cook-off 2.4 - Western chefs Gail, Heather, and Marion battled for a spot in the semi-finals. In the end, judges Jacklyn Zeman and Mark Peel announced Marion as the winner, kicking Gail and Heather out of the competition.|||
|5/2.5||5 May 2001||Regional Cook-off 2.5 - Southeastern cooks Lala, Kimberly, and Peter created their best recipes under the guidance of David Brenner and Mary Sue Milliken. Lala advanced while Kimberly and Peter walked.|||
|6/2.6||12 May 2001||Regional Cook-off 2.6 - The second set of Midwestern chefs (Camilla, Janet, and Robert) cooked under pressure. Judges Suzanne Rogers and Damian Mandola unanimously picked Janet, removing Camilla and Robert from the contest.|||
|7/2.7||19 May 2001||Regional Cook-off 2.7 - Northeastern contestants Charles, Joan, and Kyung served up their signature dishes to Tom Bergeron and Richard Kaupp. Kyung successfully granted herself a place in the next round, saying goodbye to Charles and Joan.|||
|8/2.8||26 May 2001||Regional Cook-off 2.8 - Western chefs Baron, Josie, and Martina presented their culinary skills and knowledge to Bill Nye the Science Guy and Michael Chiarello. Josie went through, whereas Baron and Martina didn't.|||
|9/2.9||2 June 2001||Regional Cook-off 2.9 - The last group of cooks from the Southwest (Herman, Kristen, and Mary) displayed their abilities to judges Suzanne Sena and Mark Miller. Mary grasps the last spot in the semi-finals, eliminating Herman and Kristen.|||
|10/2.10||9 June 2001||Semi-Finals 2.1 - Geoffrey, Janet, and Mary competed for the first place in the finale. Judges Barbara Fairchild and Piero Selvaggio were impressed by Geoffrey, sending Janet and Mary packing.||<|
|11/2.11||16 June 2001||Semi-Finals 2.2 - Cindy, Kyung, and Lala were judged by A.J. Benza and Rick Bayless. Lala prevails, defeating Cindy and Kyung.|||
|12/2.12||23 June 2001||Semi-Finals 2.3 - The last semi-final round saw David, Josie, and Marion battling for judges Donna Mills and Allyson Thurber. David became the clear winner, while Josie and Marion went home.|||
|Special 2||28 June 2001||MasterChef USA Special 2 - The special featured a preview of the final-round cook-off. The episode also included interviews with the contestants and season highlights.|||
|Finale 1||30 June 2001||Grand Finale 2 - The finale saw David, Geoffrey, and Nancy cooking for B. Smith and MasterChef 2000 Nancy Vaziri in a three-course meal challenge. Lala's menu which consisted of Shami Kabobs with Mango Chutney, Shrimp Curry with Browned Rice and Red Bell Pepper and Sautéed Squash with Ginger Slices, and Jalabees proved better than David's Dungeness Crab Mosaic with Marjoram Mayonnaise and Pear Chips, Cedar-Planked Halibut with Mashed Potatoes, Garlic Broth and Frizzled Onions, and Toasted Hazelnut Ice Cream with Huckleberry Compote and Geoffrey's Creamy Yellow Pepper Soup Cibreo, Roast King Salmon with Pesto Glaze and Nutty Bundled Green Beans, and Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Tart, winning him the title of MasterChef 2001.|||
Every challenge featured a panel of two celebrity judges. Personalities are listed alphabetically:
On July 27, 2010, Fox premiered the similarly titled cooking show MasterChef among its primetime programs. The show, hosted and judged by British chef Gordon Ramsay and American restaurateurs Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot, followed the new format of the BBC version.
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