MasterChef (U.S. TV series)
|Created by||Franc Roddam|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||136|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Production company(s)||One Potato Two Potato
Reveille Productions (2010–2012)
Shine America (2012–2014)
Endemol Shine North America (2015–)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||July 27, 2010– present|
MasterChef is a U.S. competitive cooking reality show based on the original U.K. version of the show MasterChef, open to amateur and home chefs. Produced by Shine America and One Potato Two Potato, it debuted on July 27, 2010 at 9 pm ET/PT on the Fox TV Network, following the professional cooking competition series, Hell's Kitchen.
The show has been first-run as a summer series, with Season 5 concluding in September 2014. On May 10, 2013, Fox renewed MasterChef for an additional 2 seasons, which extended the show through a sixth season. Season 6 began airing May 20, 2015 at 8/7c. For the first 5 seasons, the show starred chefs Gordon Ramsay (the co-creator of the show and Hell's Kitchen), Graham Elliot and restaurateur Joe Bastianich. For Season 6, Christina Tosi replaced Bastianich as a judge. Casting for an 8th season was announced via Facebook.
MasterChef is based on the British BBC series MasterChef. Chef, TV personality and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay together with restaurateur and vineyard owner Joe Bastianich (later replaced by pastry chef Christina Tosi) and chef Graham Elliot were the original judges in the US version of MasterChef. The competition takes place in the MasterChef warehouse which includes a large kitchen area with several cooking stations which is overlooked by a balcony, a well-stocked pantry, a freezer/fridge area and a fine-dining restaurant/seating area used for certain challenges.
In the first four seasons, amateur chefs were initially selected through nationwide auditions, selecting a total of 100 competitors to the start of the televised competition. In the preliminary rounds, each of these had an opportunity to prepare a signature dish for the trio of judges. They were given a limited amount of time to prep their dish, and then 5 minutes before the judges to complete the cooking and assembly of the dish, during which the judges ask about their background. The 3 judges taste the dish, and vote "yes" or "no" to keeping the chef in the competition; 2 "yes" votes are required for the chef to move on and receive a MasterChef apron, while those who fail to do so leave the competition.
At least one round was then used to trim the number of remaining chefs to about sixteen to eighteen. One type of challenge has the chefs performing a routine task like dicing onions, during which the judges will observe their technique. Judges can advance a chef to the next round or eliminate them at any time during the challenge by taking their apron. A second type of challenge is to have the chefs invent a new dish around a staple ingredient or theme, with the judges advancing or eliminating players based on the taste of their dishes.
In Season 5, auditions were dropped, and thirty competitors were challenged directly in the MasterChef kitchen to get an apron. In Season 6, twenty semi-finalists were surprised when they were told they had to go into head-to-head competition with another competitor cooking a dish with the same main ingredient; the winner received an apron. There was then a final last-chance cook-off where each judge selected 2 non-winners to compete for the final 2 aprons.
Subsequently, the formal competition begins typically following a 4-event cycle that takes place over 2 episodes, with one chef eliminated after the second and fourth event. The events typically are:
- Mystery Box: Chefs are each given a box with the same ingredients and must use only those ingredients to create a dish within a fixed amount of time. The judges will select 3 dishes based on visual appearance and technique alone to taste, and from these 3 select one winner who will gain an advantage in the elimination test.
- Elimination Test: The judges take the mystery box winner to the pantry, privately explain the theme of the elimination test, and tell of at least one advantage. The most typical one is selecting the specific ingredient to use or dish to recreate, but judges can include automatic advancement to the next round, assigning certain ingredients to specific chefs, saving competitors or even creating teams as to challenge their competition. The rest of the chefs are then informed of the decision and given 5 minutes to collect any ingredients from the pantry they need and a fixed amount of time to complete the dish. Judges evaluate all dishes based on taste and visual appeal, and select 2 dishes as the winners of the competition to become captains in the team challenge. The bottom 3 (or more) dishes are criticized, and the judges select one of those chefs to leave the competition; those who are eliminated must remove their apron and place it on their station before they leave. Often, one elimination test will involve a "tag-team challenge", in which the winner of the Mystery Box assigns the remaining chefs in pairs, where teammate cooks and the other gives directions. At certain points, the chefs switch places and keep going until time runs out.
- Team Challenge: The cooks are taken to an off-site location where they're split into 2 teams by the team captains, typically through a schoolyard pick. The teams will typically have to prepare a meal for an odd number of diners (in case of a tie) in a limited amount of time. Diners will sample meals from both teams and later vote as to which meal they preferred; if a diner doesn't get a meal from a team due to food not being ready on time, that team automatically forfeits the vote. The losing team will participate in the pressure test once they return to the MasterChef kitchen. One such challenge involves a "restaurant takeover" which involves the cooks taking the place of the staff of a particular restaurant.
- Pressure Test: Members of the losing team compete against each other to make a standard dish within a very limited amount of time that requires a great degree of cooking finesse, like a souffle. Some of the losing team members may not have to participate determined by the judges or team captain or even the winning team, and are sent to watch the challenge from the balcony along with the winning team members. Each dish is judged on taste, visual appeal and technique, and the losing chef is eliminated from the challenge; that chef must remove their apron and place it on their station before they leave the competition.
This cycle continues until only 4 chefs remain, upon which the judges eliminate 2 chefs to select the final 2 competitors. In Season 1, 2 cooks would face off against each other to cook three dishes, with the one cooking the better dishes advancing to the finale. However, since Season 2, the 4 cooks remaining split into two teams of two. The best team automatically advances to the top 3, with the losing team facing off against each other. In the top 3, from Season 2 to 4, the winner of the mystery box gets first choice in choosing one of 3 ingredients, while the second best dish gets second choice, and the loser gets whatever is remaining. The 2 best dishes advance to the finale. From Season 5, the top 3 individually face each other to serve VIPs, and while the winner moves to the finale, the remaining 2 compete in a final pressure test for a spot in the finale. The final 2 face off in preparing a complete three course menu in a fixed amount of time (2 hours overall in the first 3 seasons, one hour per dish since Season 4) in which the judges evaluate both the individual dishes and the overall meal's composition. The judges then select the winner of MasterChef, who wins $250,000, their own cookbook and a MasterChef trophy.
Season 1 aired as a summer series initially on Tuesday nights at 9:00 PM ET/PT, debuting on July 27, 2010; it later moved to Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM ET/PT on August 18.
On September 7, 2010, MasterChef was renewed for a second season, which started with a 2-night premiere on June 6, 2011.
On May 10, 2013, Fox renewed MasterChef for an additional 2 seasons, which will extend the show to at least 6 seasons.
On July 22, 2015, Fox renewed MasterChef for a seventh season.
|Season||Season Premiere Date||Season Finale Date||No. of Finalists||Winner||Runners-up||Judge 1||Judge 2||Judge 3|
|1||July 27, 2010||September 15, 2010||14||Whitney Miller||David Miller||Gordon Ramsay||Graham Elliot||Joe Bastianich|
|2||June 6, 2011||August 16, 2011||18||Jennifer Behm||Adrien Nieto|
|3||June 4, 2012||September 10, 2012||Christine Hà||Joshua Marks†|
|4||May 22, 2013||September 11, 2013||19||Luca Manfé||Natasha Crnjac|
|5||May 26, 2014||September 15, 2014||22||Courtney Lapresi||Elizabeth Cauvel|
|6||May 20, 2015||September 16, 2015||Claudia Sandoval||Derrick Peltz||Christina Tosi|
|7||June 1, 2016||September 14, 2016||20||Shaun O'Neale||David Williams
|Guest judges [a]|
MasterChef Celebrity Showdown (aired January 18, 2016)
- Ta'Rhonda Jones vs Kaitlin Doubleday from Empire (Mystery Box Challenge)
- Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker vs Terry Crews and Rebecca Crews (Cupcake Tag Team Challenge)
- Gigi Hadid vs Devon Windsor (Supermodel Signature Dish Face-off)
- Christine Hà, Luca Manfé and Claudia Sandoval vs Addison Osta Smith, Zac Kara and Amaya Baéz (Champions vs Juniors)
|Season||Time slot (ET)||Episodes||Premiered||Ended||TV season||Season averages|
|Viewers (millions)||18-49 rating|
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," which referred 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 Season 2 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 especially noticeable people in the scene.
Following the success of the first Italian season, Cielo broadcast the first 2 seasons of the show in 2012. In 2013, Sky Uno broadcast Season 3 and, shortly after the victory of Luca Manfè, Season 4, and also Seasons 5 and 6 as well, with reruns on Cielo.
Canadian CTV broadcasts MasterChef.
Cosmopolitan Television, in Spain, has broadcast all seasons of the show so far. STAR World India broadcasts the show in India and Sri Lanka.
From January 4, 2016, the show will air on Watch TV in the UK starting with season 1.
From January 17, 2016, the show will air in France, in dubbed version on AB1 starting with season 1.
Earlier American adaptation
West 175 Productions produced an earlier American adaptation, MasterChef USA, broadcast on PBS from 2000 to 2001. That version was based directly from the BBC series and which lasted twenty-eight episodes over 2 seasons. It was hosted by British chef Gary Rhodes.
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- Official website
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 23, 2012). "Fox's 'MasterChef' Renewed For Season 4". Deadline. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
- Fienberg, Daniel (July 23, 2012). "FOX Renews MasterChef for Fourth Season". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (February 28, 2013). "FOX Announces Finale Dates for 'Bones', 'The Following', 'New Girl' & More + Summer Premiere Dates Including 'So You Think You Can Dance'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- Maglio, Tony (December 18, 2015). "Fox to air 'MasterChef Celebrity Showdown' in January". TheWrap. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- "MasterChef: Summer 2013 Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 13, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- "MasterChef: Season Five Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 16, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- "MasterChef: Season Six Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 17, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- Porter, Rick (June 2, 2016). "Wednesday final ratings: 'MasterChef' premiere adjusts up, 'Wayward Pines' adjusts down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- Porter, Rick (September 15, 2016). "Wednesday final ratings: 'America's Got Talent,' 'Big Brother adjust up, 'Blindspot' adjusts down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
- "MasterChef USA: reviews". TV Tonight.com.au. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- "Fox's MasterChef faked crowd shot". realityblurred.com. June 22, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- "Busted! Fox's 'MasterChef' faked crowd scene". Inside TV. June 22, 2011. Archived from the original on June 24, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- "West 175 Productions, producers of the original MasterChef USA".
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