‘MasterChef’: Is the reality show scripted? Former contestants confirm it’s ‘far from real’


“MasterChef” has captured the attention of viewers for over a decade with its perfect blend of cooking and competition. The show attracted millions of viewers during its run.

People appreciate Gordon Ramsay’s brutally honest remarks but, despite the show’s success, many people have questioned the show’s legitimacy. After all, reality TV has a reputation for being far from authentic, and some elements of “MasterChef” are hard to trust. The reality TV giant’s new season is set to debut this week, and fans are excited to tune in to FOX and get their weekly dose of screaming and cooking. Whether scripted or not, the cooking show always keeps viewers hooked.


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While most home cooks enjoy replicating dishes from cooking shows, some take the risk of auditioning for “MasterChef.” The cooking competition series pits people with no professional expertise against each other for the title of “MasterChef” and a cash prize of $250,000. Suitors work under great pressure, which is why most of us gawk at the final dishes that look like they’re straight out of the pages of food magazines. Plus, everyone reacts to stress differently, which makes television programming intriguing. Fans naturally ask if “MasterChef” is overdoing things for the cameras, or if what they see is what they get.

Several former judges and contestants have come forward after their contracts expired and have written or given interviews about what really happens on the “MasterChef” set. And that can be a real pain. The contest itself is pretty intense, but that’s just a tiny fraction of the long days of filming, isolation from the outside world, and total immersion in the kitchen.

Is ‘MasterChef’ scripted?

When people ask if a reality show is staged, what they want to know is if it is scripted. The best part is that there is no evidence that ‘MasterChef’ is staged. In reality, if the show is scripted, most likely all participants have signed a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits them from telling anyone. Even if the show isn’t staged, that doesn’t guarantee that everything turns out exactly as viewers see it. Not only is the show being edited to make it more compelling and suspenseful, but it looks like the production is stepping in during filming to make some changes.

“MasterChef,” like many reality shows, has had its share of issues over the years, raising questions about its authenticity. Jessie Glenn, who went through the casting process for Season 3, wrote an account of her experience. In her lounge station, she said hopeful contestants were required to sign a contract allowing producers to use information about them in ways that could potentially harm their projects and their ties to loved ones. When hopeful participants sign the contract, they agree to experience mental and physical distress, she says.

Several outlets also reported that Season 2’s Ben Starr made some startling accusations against “MasterChef.” They reported Starr claimed the show was “highly technical fiction”. Sources said the former contestant claimed he was misrepresented on the show because his verbal bits were cut out of context and linked together. According to reports, Starr accused the production team of deliberately stressing out the contestants to elicit strong emotional reactions on camera.

However, in a blog post published in November 2014, Starr dismissed these reports. He added that no media contacted him before publishing stories about his alleged accusations against the reality show. Starr said he had a positive time on the show. However, he recommended that fans watch all shows for entertainment purposes only and avoid passing judgment on reality TV celebrities as the images are heavily manipulated.

If you’re wondering how contestants serve up great food even though they’re not pros, it’s because they’re supposedly being helped by specialists. Former judge Christina Tosi said judges sometimes give candidates recommendations. Season 5 runner-up Elizabeth Cauvel also said contestants were offered weekend cooking classes, which were optional but extremely valuable as they were relevant to the challenges ahead. So while it looks like competitors are being pushed into deep waters without warning, that’s not the case.

Have you ever observed how every competitor seems to have an endless supply of one type of clothing in their closet? For example, all camouflage clothes for the hunter, or all lace skirts and cowboy boots for the girl next door? These participants, understandably, don’t have miraculously coordinated ensembles or a closet full of the same clothes. The costume department of ‘MasterChef’ provides them with a wardrobe that matches their personality type, and they are then advised what to wear for each week. After all, the “MasterChef” wardrobe and makeup team is trying to create a specific character. And it’s usually done so perfectly that you don’t see it. Season 5 contestant Elise Mayfield told AV Club, “You’re in the outfit you were told to put on, you’re going to get dressed, do your hair and do your makeup.” But all told, there’s something special about “MasterChef” that has helped it stand the test of time, and viewers can’t wait to see even more great food on their television screens at the future.

‘MasterChef’ is currently in its 12th season, which will air on Fox May 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT


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