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'MasterChef' looks to take home cook to global stage

by jmaloni
Wed, May 22nd 2013 02:40 pm

FOX series returns for fourth season

Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni

America's search for the next great home cook begins tonight. Season four of "MasterChef" premieres at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Undiscovered culinarians will seek to impress judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot, earn a white apron, win the title of "MasterChef," and join the ranks of previous season winners Whitney Miller, Jennifer Behm and Christine Ha. Along the way, they'll be tasked with preparing delicious dishes with "Mystery Box" ingredients and asked to compete in team challenges. When they stumble, they'll be subject to harsh criticism from the panel of acclaimed chef-restaurateurs.

Win or lose, the cooks on "MasterChef" will walk away with a better understanding of their own kitchens.

"I think in every season the payoff of 'MasterChef' is taking the journey with these home cooks and seeing the evolution," Bastianich told BTS. "I think that, as aspiring home cooks all over this country watch these contestants come from their live cooking one dish and evolve into what ultimately one person becomes America's 'MasterChef,' it's an incredible journey, a good transformation.

"We've become more than judges, we've become mentors and tutors and friends to these people. The journey is personal. We are very much involved. And the payoff for us and the viewer is to see these cooks. And the plates they create in the semifinals and the finale is truly amazing, and this year is no exception because, as the show gains in popularity, the bar gets raised higher. The level of cookery, the level of competition this year, is way beyond anything we've ever seen - so truly amazing - something to tune in for."

The good news for this season's winner is that each of the three previous "MasterChef" titlists has gone on to excel in the culinary world.

"Season one, Whitney Miller, her book was very successful," said "MasterChef" Executive Producer Robin Ashbrook. "I think Whitney, to my knowledge, is working on a second book. Jennifer Behm from season two has a catering company that she works for. And, obviously, the biggest success is last season's Christine Ha. Christine has, as expected, achieved incredible things. Her cookbook recently came out. She's traveled the world. She's been a judge on 'MasterChef Vietnam.' I think I'm right in saying she has many big plans. I mean, Christine's world has really blown up, and it's something that we're very, very proud of. She's really kind of made her mark in the food world that we're very proud of."

"MasterChef" airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. on FOX. Find out more about the show online at http://www.fox.com/masterchef/.

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