The food is served cold on MasterChef due to delays with getting those special shots, so John Torode and Gregg Wallace have to find cheeky way to eat it beforehand
MasterChef is back on our screens for another series – and so are the behind-the-scenes tricks.
The toughest cooking show on TV sees amateur chefs battling it out to be crowned champion during an intense few rounds.
Initially running from 1990 to 2001, the series was revived with a new format in 2005 and has remained relatively unchanged during that entire time.
Top chef John Torode and former greengrocer Greg Wallace are back once again to cast a watchful eye over a new batch of contestants.
What really goes on in the MasterChef kitchen is a very closely guarded secret, but other the years a number of former wannabe cooks have revealed what happens when the cameras aren’t rolling.
Show bosses use a number of tricks to make sure what we see on screen is perfect – and one of the biggest issues is the temperature of the food.
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You may have noticed that the judges never make any comment on how hot the dishes are when they are served.
This is due to the fact that it’s nearly always cold by the time it makes its way up to the judging table, so it would be a bit unfair to critique temperatures.
With so many contestants cooking at once, it would be unfair to make them wait for all the others to have their food tried while their own meal goes stone cold.
The production crew also has to spend ages getting those incredible shots of the meals in all their glory.
Staggeringly, this whole process can actually take up to two hours, so obviously the food is not warm by this stage.
For segments where filming does take a number of hours, the plates will be put in the fridge in the meantime so it doesn’t go off.
However, the judges do have a very clever way of making sure they try the prepared dishes as they were meant to be eaten – piping hot.
Speaking in 2017, former MasterChef finalist Jack Layer explained that John and Gregg start eating the food while it’s being cooked.
When the cameras aren’t on them, they have a little nibble of bits in the pan as they are walking around watching the contestants.
Brand project manager Jack told Stylist: “It’s not piping hot. But John and Gregg are always wandering around when they’re not on camera, trying little bits. They get a pretty good idea about the dish in advance, probably more so than when they taste it all together.”
While former MasterChef: The Professionals star Rosanna Moseley told the Birmingham Mail: “The food stays there for a bit after you’ve finished so they can get good shots of it.
“So it can be cold by the time the judges get to it – especially if you’re last to be judged – but they take that into consideration.”
They make sure that none of the food goes to waste as the production crew get to eat all the leftovers once John and Gregg are done.
That is of course unless the dishes that are served to the judges are inedible, which has happened on the odd occasion.
Leaving food that’s meant to be hot go cold doesn’t impact the appearance, but what about frozen dishes that will melt?
Well there’s a good reason that you always see ice cream served in separate dishes on the show – so that it doesn’t ruin the rest of the plate.
Frozen food always comes out right before the judges tuck in but it still often melts during the delay to take those pictures.
Former contestant Billy Wright explained: “That’s why it’s always in separate dishes. Once the ice cream’s plated, there’s a short delay while the crew take plate shots and as it sits under the hot TV lights, it can melt.”
It may only be on our screens for an hour, but contestants are there at the studios for a lot longer.
The filming dad usually starts at around 7:30am so it’s a very early wake up call and doesn’t end until 8pm.
Although there have been occasions where the hopefuls don’t leave until 11pm at night when filming during the week of the finals.
Birmingham chef Louisa, who got into the final 6 of MasterChef: The Professionals, explained: “Usually two challenges happen on the same long day and there’s a lot of waiting around.
“In Professionals, the skills test and signature dish challenges of the heats are filmed on the same day.
“There is a lot of waiting around. That’s the hardest part! It’s easy to over think what you’re going to do.”
* MasterChef airs tonight on BBC One at 8pm
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