A small one, but in the Auditions, David Martinez explains to the judges that he learned how to cook because he couldn't afford to take his wife out to the restaurants where they wanted to go, so he instead learned to cook her favorite dishes.
During one audition, Gordon asked a handsome young man, making conversation, if he had a girlfriend. The man responded that he was gay. Gordon, without missing a beat, followed up with, “I’m sorry. Have you got a boyfriend, then?"
On the third day of auditions, Stacey was first up and cooked them a steak with vegetables. Gordon and Joe was unimpressed and while the latter noted that she has the ambition to become a chef, he will not reward it. Graham, the nice guy among the judges, was pissed at both of them and dragged them back to re-taste the dish while pointing out all of the highlights. While it's unknown if Gordon changed his mind, Joe did and rewarded Stacey with an apron. It's both a mixture of heartwarming, as Gordon and Joe very, very rarely go back on their decisions, and awesome.
Joel, a US army soldier, entered the competition to win the money to open a restaurant. He wanted to name the restaurant after his son, who drowned when coming home from Military School. Tearing up as he told his story to the three judges, noting that he must be destined to do this despite surviving being shot at and an exploding truck, he was awarded with an apron. In the commentary he notes that he hopes his son is proud.* The episode with Paula Deen had this crossing over with Tear Jerker. The remaining contestants were told to look in their drawers, where they found pictures of their family (whom they hadn't seen in a long time) along with a letter.
Episode 5: the contestants had to make an apple pie. Christine, who is blind, was plagued with doubt on how her pie turned out and was convinced it was a mess. Chef Ramsay proceeded to describe to her how beautiful her pie was, scraping the top so she could hear how good the crust turned out, and confirmed her pie tasted delicious. He told Christine to stop doubting herself and be bold, and congratulated her on a job well done.
Adding to the heartwarming, she ended up winning the whole damn competition.
The contestants were undergoing a pressure test because they lost as a team to the other group in the preceding competition. When team captain Frank is told he can pick any member of the team to escape the pressure test, Chef Ramsay adds the fact that he can pick himself. Frank immediately responds that there's no way he would because he was responsible for the outcome and it was partly his fault they lost the competition to begin with. Then when he tries to pick Felix, who's idea had been better than Frank's, she too refuses. This happens again with Scott, another contestant, and the opportunity is finally picked up by Stacey, but you can tell how she hates herself for doing it as she accepts while on the verge of tears. It might be Honour Before Reason, but damn if it isn't incredible to watch.
Episode 9, the pressure test was to make tortellini. While Joe demonstrates the process of making and folding tortellini to the contestants, Josh is shown up in the gallery with the other safe contestants moving Christine's hands through the motions and thereby teaching her how to fold tortellini.
Speaking of David, his biggest fear was going back to Chicago without having achieved anything. He made it to the final six, and Graham was so impressed by his progress throughout the competition that he offered him a job in one of his restaurants in Chicago.
David's fellow competitors even applaud him and encourage him to take the job, which of he course does.
Chef Ramsay informed the third place finisher Becky, upon her elimination and tearful statement that she would "sneak into a restaurant" to try to find some work in the food business, that she was welcome to work at any restaurant he owned, whenever she wanted. "The door's always open."
Jordan telling the judges that his deceased mother taught him how to cook, and revealing that the apron he's wearing belonged to her. The judges tell him that his dish is one of the best opening dishes they've ever eaten, and after he gets his apron and leaves, they can be seen sharing the rest of his food — it's just that good.
The capper has to be the shot of Jordan stopping before he gets to the door and dropping to his haunches and crying.
The marriage proposal in Episode 1. Joe can be seen wiping away a tear in the background.
Another one from Episode 1: the final contestant, Krissi, being surprised by her son. The judges have Krissi bring her son into the chamber so he can meet Gordon (Gordon is his hero). When Krissi gets her apron and leaves, Joe starts crying.
Gordon's face when Krissi and her son enter the chamber. He's a huge mama's boy and he loves kids, and the sheer joy on his face when he sees the pair is just adorable.
When Bri is eliminated, Gordon asks her if she has any parting words for Krissi, who had made no secret of her hatred of Bri for being a vegetarian, among other things. Bri's comment: a sincere "Good luck, dude!"
Down to just 3 people in an elimination, Jessie realizes she didn't have any butter left and needed just one spoon. Natasha, who had three whole sticks that she hasn't even touched, refuses to give her any. Without missing a beat, Luca tosses Jessie a stick of butter. Luca had just lost the mystery box challenge and Jessie made no attempt at hiding the fact that she tried to team up with Natasha to screw over Luca for the elimination, yet when she was in trouble he still didn't hesitate. Jessie later notes that Luca is just that nice of a guy.
One of the previews showed contestants Leslie and Ahran getting into a screaming match, and Ahran ending up in tears. Ahran posted a message on her Facebook wall saying: "Hi everyone — I’d like to take the time to say that I know the next episode is coming up in a few days, and for those of you who have seen the trailer may have noticed that I have a huge fight with a fellow contestant, Leslie. Though it will suck to watch us arguing on television, I need to say that he is an extremely genuine, kind and wonderful person (and I would hope to say the same about myself). So please don’t get mad at what happens in Monday’s episode and PLEASE, bash either of us. We actually are really close now and it was just a case of me being immature and cranky!! I wholeheartedly respect all of my cast and I believe they are all extremely talented. There is nothing personal that goes on and I am lucky to have been able to compete in a competition with such passionate, wonderful people. Remember, we’re all characters and just normal, average people trying to live out our lives. Please no hate, it really hurts us. Have a great day!" Unfortunately, she ended up receiving so much hate from Leslie's fans that she wound up having to close all her social media accounts temporarily, although she has since reopened them.
In episode 6, Tyler brings up his panna cotta dish...which wasn't actually cooked by him. He (apparently) mistakenly took one of Jaimee's ramekins, and this resulted in him being disqualified. Gordon makes it perfectly clear that he believes him when he says it was an accident (Tyler's reaction to the news seemed to be quite genuine), but the judges were bound by the rules and sent him home. Tyler accepted and understood the judges' decision, and apologized not only to them, but also to Jaimee for stealing her dish (she forgave him); even Courtney, who won the challenge, admitted that her victory wasn't quite as sweet due to the sudden turn of events. As Tyler left the room, most of the contestants seemed devastated. Considering how fiercely this group has gone at each other in the past, seeing them sympathetic towards Tyler's situation was actually rather refreshing.
After all of Ahran's and Leslie's drama, in and out of the show, in episode 7 they were paired together by Courtney and created a delicious surf-and-turf dish, without bickering or even disagreeing with each other once, resulting in them hugging each other and Ahran saying that she'd love to work with Leslie again as they went up to the balcony, safe from elimination. Two episodes later, when Ahran wins an elimination test and becomes a team captain, Leslie is seen applauding her with a huge smile on his face.
The fact that Leslie publicly supports Ahran, and leaves nice comments on her Facebook page.
After Christine was eliminated, the judges asked her who she thought would be the winner. Without missing a beat, Christine looked up at the balcony and said "Ahran." Ahran later posted a farewell message to Christine on her Facebook page: "It's always hard seeing people you love leave the MasterChef kitchen. Christine was not only a friend, she was family to me. When the show was filming and I would have meltdowns or cried because I missed my parents or just had to rant, she was ALWAYS there for me. She's my best friend, sister, & other half. Send lots of love her way."
Episode 8: Willie was captain of the blue team during the diner challenge, and his team lost. The judges told him that he had a choice: to either save three of his teammates and compete in the pressure test, or save himself and make his teammates all compete in the pressure test. He chose the former. As if being rewarded, the pressure test was to make red velvet cake, which Willie has made many times before, and (along with Leslie) had the top cake of the day. Joe even commended Willie on his honorable move.
Episode 9: Elise (who has had noticeable problems with pressure) finally can't take it anymore, calling for a medic while pale and shaking. Gordon immediately rushes over and helps her, including holding her bottle of water when her tremors threaten to spill it. She leaves the kitchen and then comes back, saying she wants to finish. Gordon then helps her with her pasta (something he's not supposed to do - but at this point many viewers realized it didn't matter anymore), and even Christian calls down encouragement from the balcony (sadly, Elise's dish was horrible, and she wound up being eliminated that night).
Episode 12: Leslie, Ahran, and Victoria were in the pressure test, and were told that TWO of them would be going home. Victoria was the first to go, for serving raw prawns, leaving rivals-turned-borderline-BFFs Leslie and Ahran in danger. When the judges asked Leslie what his experience has been like, he said that it has been better than he could've ever imagined, that he has immense respect for all of the other contestants, and that he thinks Ahran is so amazing for someone so young and even makes sure to refer to her as a young lady, not just a little girl. Ahran is ultimately the second person eliminated, and Leslie is heartbroken to see her go. To call Leslie a Base Breaker would probably be a gross understatement, but seeing him bare his soul like he did showed that he's not a total douchebag.
In episode 4, Gordon decided to help Sofia and gave her a pep talk when she was having trouble with her cake batter. Even though she got eliminated that episode, she did complete the challenge.
During the same episode's mystery box challenge, after learning that Dara was making a souffle and seeing her anxiously watching the oven, Gordon stopped by her station to join her in offering up a prayer to the "god of souffle" that her souffle would set up properly. It didn't, but the judges commended her for her ambition, commenting that they'd never seen anyone try to make a souffle for a challenge if they didn't have to.
Season 3 Episode 5 of Masterchef Junior, Jenna starts panicking when her sauce breaks. Andrew stops what he's doing and helps her fix it. Gordon comments that they've never seen something like that before.
In the first elimination challenge of the second season, the young contestants must cook chicken. One of the contestants, Isabella, ends up with undercooked chicken that cannot be eaten, and when returning to her station, she cannot help but cry because she knows she will be eliminated. At this point, every single one of the other contestants gather around her to show her their support.
Masterchef Asia, Season 1, Episode 9: Before the challenge, each of the contestants is given a dish at random which they must replicate. A problem arises when Jasbir and Priya, who are both Hindus, receive dishes with beef in them, hence, they cannot taste them as they cook. Sandrian and Blanche, who received dishes without any beef in them, were asked by the judges if they were willing to swap dishes with either Jasbir or Priya. Blanche obliges, swapping with a grateful Jasbir, even though it costs her later, when she ends up in the bottom three (but survives elimination). (Incidentally, in a case of Laser-Guided Karma, Sandrian, who refused to swap dishes, made the worst dish and was eliminated.)