MasterChef (U.S. TV series)

For the most recent completed season, see MasterChef (U.S. season 7). For the PBS television show, see MasterChef USA. For international adaptations, see MasterChef.
Genre Cookery
Created by Franc Roddam
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 136
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s) One Potato Two Potato
Reveille Productions (20102012)
Shine America (20122014)
Endemol Shine North America (2015)
Original network Fox
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release July 27, 2010 (2010-07-27) – present
External links

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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]


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:

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,[6] which started with a 2-night premiere on June 6, 2011.

On October 6, 2011, MasterChef was renewed for a third season, which started with a 2-night premiere on June 4, 2012, following Hell's Kitchen.[7][8]

On July 23, 2012, MasterChef was renewed for a fourth season,[9][10] which premiered on May 22, 2013, in its new Wednesday at 8:00 PM ET/PT timeslot.[11]

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.[12]

Series overview


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[2] 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
Brandi Mudd
Guest judges [lower-alpha 1]
  1. The guest judges rotated between Wolfgang Puck, Aarón Sanchez, Edward Lee, Kevin Sbraga, Richard Blais, and Daniel Boulud


MasterChef Celebrity Showdown (aired January 18, 2016)[13]


Season Time slot (ET) Episodes Premiered Ended TV season Season averages
Date Premiere viewers
Date Finale viewers
Viewers (millions) 18-49 rating
1 Tuesday 9:00pm
Wednesday 8:00pm
July 27, 2010
September 15, 2010
4.07 2010
2 Monday 8:00pm
Tuesday 8:00pm
June 6, 2011
August 16, 2011
6.04 2011
3 Monday 9:00pm
Tuesday 9:00pm
June 4, 2012
September 10, 2012
6.43 2012
4 Wednesday 9:00pm 25
May 22, 2013
September 11, 2013
6.31[14] 2013 5.59[14] 2.3[14]
5 Monday 8:00pm 19
May 26, 2014
September 15, 2014
5.56[15] 2014 5.43[15] 1.9[15]
6 Wednesday 8:00pm 20
May 20, 2015
September 16, 2015
4.79[16] 2015 4.61[16] 1.5
7 Wednesday 8:00pm 18
June 1, 2016
September 14, 2016
4.36[18] 2016



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[19] the contestants' back stories were "blown up," which referred to their dramatization.[19] 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."[19] The Globe and Mail said "the contrived sentimentality of it is, frankly, vomitous" referring to the emotion in contestants' reactions.[19]

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.[20][21] 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.[20][21]

International broadcasting

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

Main article: MasterChef USA

West 175 Productions[22] 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.

See also


  1. Andreeva, Nellie (13 January 2015). "'MasterChef Junior' Renewed For Season 4, Christina Tosi Joins As New Judge". Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Graham Elliot Leaving 'MasterChef' Franchise". Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  3. "Fox orders 'Idol'-style cooking competition".
  4. "Master chief USA Teaser". TV June 21, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  6. "Renewed: MasterChef USA". TV September 8, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2010.
  7. Kondolojy, Amanda (March 28, 2012). "Premiere Dates Announced for 'So You Think You Can Dance', 'Hell's Kitchen', 'MasterChef' and 'Hotel Hell'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  8. Official website
  9. Andreeva, Nellie (July 23, 2012). "Fox's 'MasterChef' Renewed For Season 4". Deadline. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  10. Fienberg, Daniel (July 23, 2012). "FOX Renews MasterChef for Fourth Season". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  11. 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.
  13. Maglio, Tony (December 18, 2015). "Fox to air 'MasterChef Celebrity Showdown' in January". TheWrap. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  14. 1 2 3 4 "MasterChef: Summer 2013 Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 13, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  15. 1 2 3 4 "MasterChef: Season Five Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 16, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  16. 1 2 3 "MasterChef: Season Six Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 17, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  17. Porter, Rick (June 2, 2016). "Wednesday final ratings: 'MasterChef' premiere adjusts up, 'Wayward Pines' adjusts down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  18. 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.
  19. 1 2 3 4 "MasterChef USA: reviews". TV Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  20. 1 2 "Fox's MasterChef faked crowd shot". June 22, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  21. 1 2 "Busted! Fox's 'MasterChef' faked crowd scene". Inside TV. June 22, 2011. Archived from the original on June 24, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  22. "West 175 Productions, producers of the original MasterChef USA".

External links

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