BBC’s MasterChef set to return for 16th series


The UK’s biggest cooking show MasterChef returns to our screens next Monday at 9pm on BBC One.

Over eight exciting weeks, judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace are once again primed to discover the UK’s best amateur cook.

Masterchef hopefuls

The 60 contestants starting the competition range from a cattle farmer and hairdresser to a music festival producer and an architect. They share one common goal – to prove their worth in the MasterChef kitchen and take home the prized trophy.

Kicking off the competition, the cooks this year face two brand-new challenges in the heat rounds.

Success will earn them the right to wear a MasterChef apron.

Their first test is the Signature Dish round. The six contestants bring from home the ingredients they need to put their best culinary foot forward.

They have an hour and 15 mins minutes to deliver an impressive plate of food.

The best two cooks, who wow John and Gregg from the start, earn themselves a MasterChef apron. They’ll also go straight through to the third round cooking for past MasterChef winners and finalists.

The remaining four get a second chance to prove themselves in another new test – the Three Ingredients Challenge.

They must think on their feet and create a dish that includes all three of the ingredients included in the mystery box in front of them.

It’s crucial they make an impression because at the end of this challenge, two more cooks earn themselves a MasterChef apron and two are sent home.

Quarter finals

The six best cooks from the heats return for the quarter final – where they come face to face with a one of the UK’s top food critics – (in order of appearance) Jay Rayner, Grace Dent, William Sitwell, Tom Parker Bowles and Jimi Famurewa.

Each critic sets the home cooks a challenging brief that they have 90 minutes to deliver.

Only the best contestants will be judged worthy by the critic and the MasterChef judges of continuing in the competition.

Semi finals pressure

The pressure is ramped up for the nine semi finalists. Any small mistake could cost them their competition.

First, they are split into three teams cooking for special Trafalgar Night dinner. Each team must cook a fine-dining course in the galley of HMS Diamond for over 100 of the ship’s company.

Then it’s back to the MasterChef kitchen for a cook-off centred around John and Gregg’s favourite ingredients. After this, two contestants must go home.

In the second semi final, the seven remaining hopefuls are challenged with cooking at an entirely new level – recreating the exquisite dishes of a Michelin-starred guest chef, Tom Kitchin.

For two cooks, their MasterChef journey will come to an end.

Finals and the Critic’s Table

The finals are in sight, but not before one last nail-biting semi final test – the infamous Critic’s Table.

The five cooks must produce a fine-dining dish for the judges and exacting critics, William Sitwell, Grace Dent, Jay Rayner and Jimi Famurewa.

Holding their nerve or cracking under the pressure decides their fate – only four can make the finals.

After seven demanding weeks, the four MasterChef finalists must give their all for the ultimate drive to culinary glory.

The finalists’ first daunting culinary challenge is on the island of Mauritius – a gastronomic melting pot that fuses the cuisines of Africa, Europe, China and India to create a style of cooking that is truly unique.

The finalists have to keep their culinary wits together as they are challenged to recreate both high-end Mauritian fine-dining dishes and traditional street food tutored by the islands leading chefs.

Cooking with ingredients and techniques they have never seen takes them totally out of their comfort zone.

Well, we can’t wait. Pizza ordered!