|Created by||Franc Roddam|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||10|
|No. of episodes||205|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Production company(s)||One Potato Two Potato|
Reveille Productions (2010–12)
Shine America (2012–14)
Endemol Shine North America (2015–)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||July 27, 2010 –|
|Related shows||MasterChef Junior|
MasterChef is an American competitive cooking reality TV show based on the original British series of the same name, open to amateur and home chefs. Produced by Shine America and One Potato Two Potato, it debuted on July 27, 2010 on the Fox network, following the professional cooking competition series, Hell's Kitchen.
For the first 5 seasons, the series starred celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay (the co-creator of the series and Hell's Kitchen), Graham Elliot and restaurateur Joe Bastianich. From Seasons 6–8, pastry chef Christina Tosi temporarily replaced Bastianich. On Season 7, Elliot departed as a judge, and in place of a third judge, there were a series of guest judges, one of which was Aarón Sanchez. Since Season 8, Sanchez joined as a regular judge. In Season 9, Bastianich returned as a regular judge, replacing Tosi. On September 19, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a tenth season, which premiered on May 29, 2019 with Ramsay, Sanchez, and Bastianich reprising their roles as judges/hosts respectively.
MasterChef is based on the British BBC series MasterChef. It was created by celebrity chef, TV personality and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay. The competition takes place in the MasterChef warehouse/soundstage located in Los Angeles, CA 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 dining area room used for certain challenges.
While the particular format of the season has slightly varied over the years, the following challenges have all been regularly featured:
- Skills Test: Cooks are challenged to perform a list of common cooking techniques or styles, or to replicate a particular cooking method of a dish (i.e. steaks done to an exact wellness). This type of test is also sometimes used as an Elimination Test.
- Mystery Box: Cooks are all 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 three dishes based on visual appearance and technique alone to taste, and from these three select one winner who usually gains an advantage of some type in the elimination test.
- Elimination Test: After the challenge is explained, judges evaluate all dishes based on taste and visual appeal. The judges nominate the worst dishes for elimination and criticize them before eliminating at least one contestant.
- Team Challenge: The cooks are split into teams by either team captains or the judges. They often occur in a restaurant takeover or pop-up restaurant taking the place of the staff of a particular restaurant. Diners taste both meals and vote for their favorite. The winning team advances, while the losing team will participate in the Pressure Test or face elimination based on the teams' performance.
- Pressure Test: Another form of the Elimination Test, in which losing team members compete against each other to make a standard dish within a very limited amount of time that requires a great degree of cooking finesse. Each dish is judged on taste, visual appeal and technique, and the losing chef is eliminated.
Once the competition is reduced to either the final two or three competitors, the finalists will compete against each other in a three-course cook-off. All courses of the meal are judged and an overall winner is crowned. The winner of each season wins $250,000, a MasterChef trophy, and the title of MasterChef. Some seasons have also added other prizes such as a cookbook deal.
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||Episodes||Premiere Date||Finale Date||No. of Finalists||Winner||Runner(s)-up||Judge 1||Judge 2||Judge 3|
|1||13||July 27, 2010||September 15, 2010||14||Whitney Miller||David Miller||Gordon Ramsay||Graham Elliot||Joe Bastianich|
|2||20||June 6, 2011||August 16, 2011||18||Jennifer Behm||Adrien Nieto|
|3||20||June 4, 2012||September 10, 2012||Christine Hà||Joshua Marks†|
|4||25||May 22, 2013||September 11, 2013||19||Luca Manfé||Natasha Crnjac|
|5||19||May 26, 2014||September 15, 2014||22||Courtney Lapresi||Elizabeth Cauvel|
|6||20||May 20, 2015||September 16, 2015||Claudia Sandoval||Derrick Peltz||Christina Tosi|
|7||19||June 1, 2016||September 14, 2016||20||Shaun O'Neale||David Williams
& Brandi Mudd
|Guest judges [a]|
|8||21||May 31, 2017||September 20, 2017||Dino Angelo Luciano||Eboni Henry
& Jason Wang
|9||23||May 30, 2018||September 19, 2018||24||Gerron Hurt||Ashley Mincey
& Cesar Cano
|10||25||May 29, 2019||September 18, 2019||20||Dorian Hunter||Sarah Faherty|
Note: Bold indicates the winner(s) of the challenge.
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)
MasterChef Celebrity Showdown (aired January 2, 2017)
- Cheryl Hines vs Kal Penn (Mystery Box Challenge)
- Trai Byers and Grace Gealey vs NeNe and Gregg Leakes (Tag Team Challenge)
- Ronde Barber and Tiki Barber vs. Joel Madden and Benji Madden (Pastry Challenge)
- Anthony Anderson and Chef Gordon Ramsay vs. Jordana Brewster and Chef Christina Tosi (Mystery Box Team Challenge)
- Guest Judges: Season 7 Winner Shaun O'Neale and MasterChef Junior Season 5 contestants: Shayne Wells and Justise Mayberry.
MasterChef Celebrity Family Showdown (aired May 15, 2019 and May 22, 2019)
- Johnny Weir and his brother, Boz vs. Tara Lipinski and her husband, Todd (Fish Dish Showdown)
- Lisa Vanderpump and her daughter, Pandora vs. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and JWoww (Blind Taste Test)
- Tori Spelling and her daughter, Stella vs. Jennie Garth and her daughter, Fiona (Home Fridge Swap Challenge)
- Evander Holyfield and his daughter, Ebonne vs. Oscar De La Hoya and his daughter, Atiana (Keeping Up with Gordon Match)
|Season||Episodes||Premiered||Ended||TV season||Time slot (ET)||Season averages (Live + SD)|
|Viewers (millions)||18-49 rating|
|1||13||July 27, 2010||5.75||September 15, 2010||4.81||2010||Tuesday 9:00pm (1-3)
Wednesday 8:00pm (4-13)
|2||20||June 6, 2011||4.40||August 16, 2011||7.12||2011||Monday 9:00 pm||5.27||2.2|
|Tuesday 9:00 pm||5.35||2.2|
|3||June 4, 2012||5.10||September 10, 2012||6.52||2012||Monday 9:00 pm||5.84||2.5|
|Tuesday 9:00 pm||5.67||2.4|
|4||25||May 22, 2013||5.30||September 11, 2013||6.31||2013||Wednesday 8:00 pm||5.63||2.3|
|5||19||May 26, 2014||4.26||September 15, 2014||5.56||2014||Monday 8:00 pm||5.43||1.9|
|6||20||May 20, 2015||3.39||September 16, 2015||4.69||2015||Wednesday 8:00 pm||4.56||1.5|
|7||19||June 1, 2016||3.81||September 14, 2016||4.36||2016||4.03||1.3|
|8||21||May 31, 2017||3.67||September 20, 2017||4.14||2017||3.62||1.1|
|9||23||May 30, 2018||3.52||September 19, 2018||3.56||2018||3.52||1.0|
|10||25||May 29, 2019||3.14||September 18, 2019||2019||Wednesday 8:00pm (1-4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20-25)
Thursday 8:00pm (5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 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," 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.
In February 2018, Salon published "I Am A MasterChef Survivor"  by former contestant Jessie Glenn outlining the abusive practices MasterChef used with contestants, provoking reactions from many in the food industry including New Yorker food correspondent, Helen Rosen.
Earlier American adaptation
West 175 Productions produced an earlier American adaptation, MasterChef USA, broadcast on PBS from 2000 to 2001. The series format was based directly on BBC's MasterChef and lasted 28 episodes over 2 seasons. It was hosted by British chef Gary Rhodes, who hosted the UK version of MasterChef in 2001.
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- "Chef Aarón Sánchez Joins the MasterChef Judges' Panel". Parade. February 17, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
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- Fienberg, Daniel (July 23, 2012). "FOX Renews MasterChef for Fourth Season". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
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- Maglio, Tony (December 18, 2015). "Fox to air 'MasterChef Celebrity Showdown' in January". TheWrap. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
- "An All-New "MasterChef Celebrity Showdown" Airs Monday, January 2, On Fox". Fox. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- "Stars Cook for a Cause on the All-New, Two-Night Special "MasterChef Celebrity Family Showdown," Wednesdays, May 15 and 22, on FOX". The Futon Critic. April 8, 2019.
- "SpotVault - MasterChef (Fox) - Summer 2010". Spotted Ratings. June 9, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
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- "SpotVault - MasterChef (Fox) - Summer 2014". Spotted Ratings. May 30, 2014. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "SpotVault - MasterChef (Fox) - Summer 2015". Spotted Ratings. May 26, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "SpotVault - MasterChef (Fox) - Summer 2016". Spotted Ratings. June 7, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "SpotVault - MasterChef (Fox) - Summer 2017". Spotted Ratings. June 1, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "SpotVault - MasterChef (Fox) - Summer 2018". Spotted Ratings. May 31, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- Welch, Alex (September 20, 2018). "'Big Brother' and 'America's Got Talent' adjust up, 'I Feel Bad' adjusts down: Wednesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
- Welch, Alex (May 31, 2019). "'Schooled' repeat adjusts down: Wednesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- "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.
- Glenn, J. 2018. "I am a 'Masterchef' Survivor". Salon, retrieved Feb 22, 2018.
- "West 175 Productions, producers of the original MasterChef USA".
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