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MasterChef Canada is a Canadian competitive cooking reality show, part of the MasterChef franchise, open to amateur home cooks. It premiered on CTV on January 20, 2014, and has aired its seventh season. The show stars three judges: Claudio Aprile, Michael Bonacini and Alvin Leung.[1] The show is produced by Endemol Shine International and Proper Television.[2]

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesday nights on CTV and the Cooking Channel in the United States. The current season airs starting in September of each year in the U.S. It airs also in Sweden, Italy and Spain.[3]

On August 8, 2018, CTV renewed MasterChef Canada for another season, announcing that audition casting for the all new sixth season was greenlit. Filming began in October 2018 and concluded in January 2019. Season 6 premiered on CTV on April 8, 2019,[4][5][6][7][8] and ended on June 10.

The series was renewed for a seventh season, which is a Back to Win season.[9] It aired its premiere on February 14, 2021 and its finale on May 16, 2021.

Plot[]

Amateur home cooks compete in a series of challenges to become the best home cook in Canada through challenges issued by Judges Claudio Aprile, Michael Bonacini and Alvin Leung. The rest of the format is very similar to the U.S. version starring Gordon Ramsay.

Each season begins with around 20 applicants invited to the kitchen. To secure a place in the competition, they are tasked with creating their signature audition dish in a certain amount of time. Judging based on the food plating, flavors, technique, and sophistication, the judges will decide whether or not the applicants and their signature dishes are worthy of receiving a coveted white apron (a spot in the competition). In the first three seasons the traditional audition format (like the U.S. version) requires the applicants to earn an affirmative "yes" (thumbs up) from at least two out of the three judges to advance. Since season 4, changes to the audition format have been made. Applicants who fail to produce a passable dish are rejected and sent home. Some other rejected applicants are given a second chance to compete for the white apron.

  • Skills Test: An immunity challenge where the home cooks observe and pay close attention to a judge demonstrating essential cooking skills (dicing onions and vegetables, filleting fish, separating eggs, French trimming a rack of lamb, peeling crayfish, breaking down a crab, breaking down a duck, breaking down a whole chicken, etc) before they must properly replicate their work. Those who succeed are safe from elimination up on the balcony (and in some cases, those who flawlessly nailed the skills test are made team captains in next week's field team challenge episode) while those who fail to properly replicate must face the Elimination Test, whereby they must make an elevated MasterChef worthy dish featuring that key ingredient.
  • Mystery Box: An immunity challenge where the home cooks are all given a box with the exact same ingredients. They discover ingredients (fruits, vegetables, seafood, kitchen utensils, meat or fish) underneath and they must utilize only those to create a stunningly elevated, MasterChef worthy dish featuring said ingredient as the star of their dish within a fixed amount of time for a shot at immunity. Sometimes, a special guest may also appear to inspire the home cooks and will serve as a guest judge for this challenge before leaving. The judges will usually bring forward the top three (in a few cases, even more or less) dishes up to the judges' podium for tasting based on the beautiful plating, technique and sophistication alone to taste, and from those three (or more) select one winner (or at most two) who usually gains a number of advantages in the upcoming elimination test. They usually win immunity, automatically advancing forward in the competition and win a spot of safety up on the balcony, and have some sort of control over the elimination test, but in some cases, they do not win immunity and must also cook in the elimination challenge, as well as being given the chance to save a fellow competitor.
  • Elimination Test: After the elimination challenge is explained, judges evaluate all dishes based on taste and visual appeal. Contestants who produce the best, winning dishes of the night are usually made team captains for next week's off-site field team challenge episode. The judges nominate the worst dishes for elimination, criticize them and single them out for elimination before eliminating at least one contestant.
  • Team Challenge: The cooks arrive at an off-site location (beach, carnival, airbase, vineyard, wedding, racetrack, school) and are split into usually two (sometimes three) teams by either the team captains or the judges. While contestants who perfectly nailed the skills test or produced the top-notch, best dishes in the previous elimination test are usually made team captains by the judges and get to pick their teams after a coin toss, sometimes the judges dictate and form the teams and their captains. The teams (Red Team and Blue Team; sometimes a Green Team) must create a fine restaurant meal for a group of VIP diners (lifeguards, wedding guests, race car drivers, firefighters, military soldiers, lifeguards, construction workers, etc.). In the Season 1 episode "The Puck Drops Here", the teams were Blue and White due to the colors also being those of the Toronto Maple Leafs, for whom they were cooking. Diners taste both meals and vote for their favorite. This similar challenge often occurs in the Restaurant Takeover or Pop-Up Restaurant challenge (where the final 6 contestants divide into 2 groups of three and run a full dinner service in a professional Michelin-starred restaurant kitchen, serving appetizers and entrees after a tutorial and demonstration from a judge), taking the place of the staff of a particular restaurant. Although the client comment cards are taken into account, the judges ultimately decide the winning and losing team. The winning team advances forward in the competition, safe from elimination up on the balcony, while the losing team will participate in the Pressure Test.
  • Pressure Test: Another form of the Elimination Test, in which the losing team members return to the kitchen the next morning after the field team challenge. After donning on their black aprons, they compete against each other for survival in a replication elimination challenge whereby they must perfectly replicate a very technical and difficult, professional, Michelin-starred dish, sweet or savory (sometimes replicate two or at most three different versions/plates) within a very limited amount of time that requires a great degree of cooking finesse. Sometimes before the test begins, the judges, the losing team captain, or even the winning team, can save at least one member of the losing team from this replication elimination test while in other cases, all members must participate and not one, but one or two contestants are sent home (double-elimination). Each dish is judged on taste, visual appeal and technique. Contestants who produced a flawless, well-executed replication are sent to safety up on the balcony, and the losing chefs are eliminated.

Following the Restaurant Takeover team challenge, the next mystery box challenge is a family-reunion themed episode where the 5 remaining contestants are visited by their family members. This particular mystery box tasks the contestants with making a stunningly elevated, home-style family-inspired dish while their family members look on from the balcony, followed by the elimination challenge/test.

In the Top 3 semifinals, the three remaining semifinalists face the very last mystery box/immunity challenge of the season for a shot at immunity. The semifinalist who wins this immunity challenge will automatically advance to the finals and secure a place in the grand finale, safe from elimination, while the remaining two semifinalists go head-to-head and compete against each other in the final replication Pressure Test of the season to earn to last spot in the grand finale. Other times, the semifinalist who wins this first challenge does not automatically advance to the finals/grand finale and must also participate in the last Elimination Test (which they have an advantage over in terms of getting to choose a key ingredient to work with for themselves while giving different key ingredients to the other two semifinalists).

Once the competition is reduced to the final two remaining competitors left standing, the two finalists will compete against each other in a three-hour, three-course dinner cook-off in a ring-like arena while their family members (joined by previously eliminated contestants), spectate and cheer them on. The finalists join the judges in the private dining room for the judging and tasting of their dishes at the end of each course. All three courses of the meal are judged and an overall winner is crowned after the two finalists switch places with the judges and stand on their podium. The winner of each season wins a $100,000 cash prize money, the MasterChef Canada trophy, and the title of MasterChef Canada. In the first three seasons, the finalists had separate time for each item. Since the Season 4 finale, the finalists must continuously cook non-stop for three whole hours, making sure that each course is ready for serving at the end of each hour and then join the judges in the private dining room once time is up to hear the judges feedback.

Judges and hosts[]

  • Claudio Aprile, Uruguay-born (of Italian heritage), Canadian-raised chef and owner of Toronto restaurant Xango.
  • Michael Bonacini, Welsh-born (of Italian and British heritage) chef and co-owner of the O&B family of Toronto restaurants Jump, Canoe, Luma and Bannock.
  • Alvin Leung, British-born, Canadian-raised chef of Hong Kong heritage and owner of Michelin-starred restaurants Bo Innovation in Hong Kong and Bo London in London, UK.

MasterChef U.S. judge Joe Bastianich guest starred in the Season 1 semi-finals (Episode: "Not-Your-Average-Joe") which aired on April 21, 2014 & Graham Elliot guest starred in an episode of Season 2 (Episode: "Good Things in Small Packages").

Series Overview[]

Season Premiered Ended Episodes Contestants Winner Finalist(s)
1 January 20, 2014 April 28, 2014 15 16 Eric Chong Marida Mohammed
2 February 1, 2015 May 24, 2015 14 David Jorge Line Pelletier
3 February 14, 2016 June 19, 2016 Mary Berg Jeremy Senaris
4 March 2, 2017 June 1, 2017 12 12 Trevor Connie Thea VanHerwaarden
5 April 3, 2018 June 19, 2018 Beccy Stables Andy Hay
6 April 8, 2019 June 10, 2019 Jennifer Crawford Andre Bhagwandat
7 February 14, 2021 May 16, 2021 Christopher Siu Andy Hay Thea VanHerwaarden

Specials[]

Title Original air date Short Summary
MasterChef Canada: A Holiday Special December 15, 2014 Four home cooks (Dora Cote, Marida Mohammed, Pino DiCerbo, and Tammara Behl) from Season 1 return to the kitchen, joined by spouses, parents, and siblings as they complete a series of festive food challenges for the chance to win $10,000 for the charity of their choice. In the end, Pino is announced the winner.
MasterChef Canada: All-Star Family Edition February 5, 2016 The three MasterChef Canada champions and the winner of Holiday Special are joined by their families to compete in four increasingly difficult culinary challenges: the Better-Half Skills Race, the Mother and Child Mystery Box, the Bossy Sibling Coaching Challenge, and the Family Feast Team Cook. Over the course of the two-hour special, select family members will compete alongside Eric Chong, David Jorge, Mary Berg, and Pino DiCerbo, as they work to impress the judges with their creativity and skill. The family who cooks their way to victory will win the first MasterChef Canada: All-Star Family Edition and $10,000 for their chosen charity. In the end, Pino is announced the winner for the second time of the specials series.

References[]

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