YMMV / MasterChef

  • Adaptation Displacement: Anyone remember the original original UK series? Billing itself as "the grand prix of amateur chefs", the show then was similar in principle to the remake where three chefs cooking in colour coded "kitchens" would serve three courses of their devising. Hosted by Lloyd Grossman (who lended it a very fancy upmarket feel), it was significantly more sedate than the current version to the point it could be called an adaptation In-Name-Only. The show pre-dated most Reality Show genre clichés being firmly in the 90s and was a lot more straightforward with chefs being judged entirely on food quality. The sad thing is it's near impossible to find episodes and it has led to a version of Sequel Displacement for those entirely unfamiliar with it, so much so that none of the examples for this show refer to it besides this one.
  • Arc Fatigue / Archive Panic: While the Australian version is generally regarded as the best one of the show, most fans are put off by it simply because each seasons is 63 episodes long, aka filming every single days in the week of the show including the MasterClass segment as a full-length episode, generally agreed to be the most boring parts of the show. Thankfully, the Junior version seems to learn their lessons and is only about 20 episodes long for each seasons.
  • Broken Base: Thanks to the giant amount of differences between each version of the show, many fans completely disagree on which version is the best. On one side generally you'll find fans of the American version, calling out the British version of the show as seemingly lacking personality, focusing almost entirely on the food aspect. The other side generally calls out the American version for bad editing and a heightened focus on drama and personality above anything else.
    • That said, the Australian version of the show is generally seen as a good solid middle ground between the personality focus of the American series and the food focus of the British series and thanks to that (and a few other miscellaneous reasons), most fans seem to gravitate towards that as being the best.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Any time Joe throws whole ceramic plates (with food on them) into the garbage can.
  • Elimination Houdini:
    • Tali from the US Season 3. He made only one dish the judges really liked (his strawberry shortcake), whereas the rest of his dishes have ranged from average to downright terrible, and he's been in the bottom two a total of three times. It's all made worse by the fact that he has quite a big ego, thinks his food is amazing and the judges just don't understand him. He finally got eliminated in the Top 9.
    • David Martinez also from US season 3. So much so that when eight previously-eliminated contestants were competing to return to the competition, virtually all of them said that he did not deserve to still be in the running.
    • Josh from US season 3 eventually became this after he was brought back, landing constantly in the bottom but still managing to stay.
      • An especially shocking moment was when he and Monti were both up for elimination, and the judges sent Monti home, despite Josh having every advantage in the challenge (he had been given a basket with all the required ingredients while the others had to decipher for themselves what was needed from a taste test), and also chose to add ingredients to Graham's recipe in the belief that he could make it better. Needless to say, many viewers were shocked when Monti was given the boot instead.
    • Krissi from US season 4. Despite her consistently bad attitude towards everyone (even the judges) and cooking performance throughout the season (including having lost in every single team challenge except for a tag-team one), she has inexplicably escaped elimination every time. The judges tend to seem far less critical about her failures than they are to other contestants and actually praise her "bloody good effort" despite flaws on her dishes, and she has also shown an inability to move away from her comfort zone, something other contestants are more willing to do. She was finally eliminated in 4th place, ending her run in a Pressure Test after she singlehandedly cost her team a challenge (which she, instead, blamed on her partner) largely because she stormed off.
    • Cutter from US Season 5. He was in the bottom two/three ten times before being eliminated in fourth, while chefs like Francis B. and Kira were eliminated despite Kira having only ever won challenges and Francis B. being widely acknowledged as one of the better chefs in the competition. In episode nine, Ramsay told him that he was a disappointment to the Masterchef kitchen for constantly being so bad, and it was pure luck that Elise was worse than him.
      • Elise would also rank here with multiple failures, including barely skating by the first episode, baking pies (which were supposed to be her specialty) that didn't rank highly. She seemed more lucky than anything though, as she has either been on the winning team or been spared from elimination/pressure tests. She was finally eliminated in episode nine after suffering a borderline mental breakdown, then being unable to make pasta.
      • Leslie is also worthy of a mention. He was a decent to excellent chef in individual challenges, but whether through bad luck or inability to work with others properly, was in six pressure tests, surviving all of them. For comparison, the most pressure tests any chef prior to Leslie had managed to survive was the previously mentioned Krissi, who was eliminated on her 5th pressure test.
    • Nathan from Season 7. He managed to slip past elimination time and time again before finally being eliminated at 7th place. One prime example is the blue team saving him from a pressure test even though his teammates believed he should be there since he was responsible for their loss.
    • Jeff from Season 8 is becoming this. He's the only one left that has not won any challeges, lost every team challenge he was part of and has a Hair-Trigger Temper to boot. Fans have even complained he has been passed over for elimination for other stronger and more deserving chefs.
    • Of the ten episodes of the Chilean version, Annelore has been up for elimination in six. Karla joked that she has a pact with the devil or Hitler.
    • Gleice from season 3 of Masterchef Brasil was very much a controversial competitor. While she was able to make several dishes that received praise from the judges, she also had made quite a few that were unforgivably bad. Among these were her macarons, which tasted terrible and had the consistency of chewed gum but were still able to save her from elimnation, ensuring that fan-favorite Gabriella went home on that challenge, which left many viewers unhappy. When she was eventually eliminated, she came back the following episode, where she cooked, once again, one of the episode's worst dishes. She was eventually eliminated once again, placing 12th, which most viewers cheered over. Many claimed that she got preferential treatment in the show because of her race, which only lead to an even broken base in regards to Gleice.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The energetic, emotive, and well-dressed Luca was this even when he auditioned for and was cut from US Season 3, and it only escalated when he returned and was a contestant in Season 4, to the point where he may have the biggest fandom for any contestant that season.
    • Dara from US MasterChef Junior Season 1, who not only became the first (and to date, only) US contestant to make it to the final without ever once being put up for elimination, but didn't get a single bad comment about any of the dishes she made in the entire course of the season. By contrast that season's eventual winner, Alexander won more challenges overall, but also had a couple of absolutely disastrous dishes along the way.
      • Season two of the Junior version has three of them. The quiet and kind 12 year old Sean, the highly energetic 9 year old Oona, and the always positive 8 year old Abby. All three are beloved by fans for their personalities and raw talent.
    • Season 5 has several:
      • Francis Legge. He's cool, calm, and collected with amazing fashion sense (in episode 10, he wore a black blazer, purple shirt, and a freaking KILT). He can also cook like nobody's business.
      • Christine. Takes no crap from anyone, constantly helps her team win challenges and is one hell of a leader. Some fans say she reminds them of Chef Andi from Hell's Kitchen! Her case is especially noteworthy because she had not been featured much, but once she was given the spotlight, fans instantly took a great liking to her.
      • In an interesting turn of events, Ahran's elimination resulted in a massive outcry to bring her back, and she now has more likes on her Facebook page than any of the other chefs! Not bad considering how... divisive she was originally.
      • Elizabeth Cauvel. As she became one of the obvious frontrunners, fans started to pay more attention to her. It helped that she had a very obvious dislike of Courtney and often said things the viewers were thinking.
    • The Chilean version has Eliana. Most adorable grandma ever on TV.
    • US season 6 has Hetal, who is well liked for not just being nice and a hard worker, but also for her consistently good performances, even managing to perfectly replicate Gordon's beef wellington despite not being able to taste it due to being a vegetarian.
    • Terry from Season 7, a kindly handyman built like a tank who has a wide range of culinary knowledge and abilities, an infallably calm and optimistic attitude, and while he didn't break out of the pack too much due to fierce competition, he never served anything the judges didn't like. Even though he ended up in several elimination rounds due to being placed on losing teams (that he always worked really well on, even when the rest of the team was in shambles), he consistently won his way out of them without any issue. His elimination in place of Tanorria, who arguably did even worse than him in that round and had had several fuckups in the past compared to Terry's much better records, was seen as a great loss for the competition even though Terry himself took it extremely well.
    • MasterChef Canada 2 had David. A high school drop out who wanted to make a change for him and his family, he was a very consistent performer, and had a great attitude.
    • Brazilian Season 1 managed to give viewers many likeable contestants. The best received were:
      • Elisa, a young girl who had a bit of a slow start but managed to become a challenge winning juggernaut right to the top, becoming the season's champion.
      • Helena and Lucio, a married couple who got into the show. They were both shown as very nice people and their love and commitment to each other even in the competition was beautiful to watch. Both are also very competent cooks.
      • Flavio, The Chessmaster and one of the most technical cooks who appeared on the show.
    • Brasil Season 2 is ongoing, but some contestants are already well liked. Jiang, a young and perky Chinese lady who lives in Brazil managed to win everyone's hearts with her incredible charisma and awesome looking dishes. She sometimes has trouble forming and speaking sentences in Portuguese which is just adorable.
      • Similarly Carla has gathered a lot of sympathy from her fellow contestants due to her amiability and soft spoken but confident tone always expressing genuine concern towards people on team challenges. When she was eliminated, Lucas was crying.
      • Cristiano, a man from Bahia with a calm demeanor, but is also quite witty whenever someone gets under his skin also has quite a number of people who sympathizes with him.
    • From Brazil's Junior, almost every contestant has been very well received, but Aisha and Matheus stand out for their sheer cuteness. Daphne is well liked for her amazing focus for a 13 year old girl. Sofia has great technique and is funny to watch. Also, Valentina became a fan favorite due to support given to her because she was a victim of several pedophile comments on Twitter in her first appearance.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In the third episode of MasterChef Junior's third season, Gordon and Graham, wearing old-age makeup are revealed to be in a mystery box, but Joe isn't. They say he didn't make it, and soon comes Joe right behind them in a motorscooter. This becomes a bit less funny as Joe left the show at the end of the season.
    • Season five's Leslie gained a reputation for being argumentative and confrontational on the show, although he seemed to grow out of it in the end. Shortly after the season ended, he was arrested for brawling in public, although charges were not filed.
  • Memetic Mutation: Spain's Season 3 had "León come gamba" (Lion eats shrimp), which got its creator eliminated.
  • Most Annoying Sound
    • US judge Joe Bastianich scraping his teeth on forks during tasting.
    • US Season 5 Courtney's forced breathy voice, as mentioned below.
    • Spain's Junior Season 2 had contestant Teresa, who would speak, cry and shriek in an extremely high pitched, ear-bleeding-inducing tone every single time she got frazzled or became desperate. Worth noting that she was frazzled and desperate a good 95% of the times she cooked.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Season 5's rivals Ahran and Leslie, who had both managed to irk a large number of fans, won a lot of people over in episode 7, where Courtney paired them together to create a surf-and-turf dish, and they worked together perfectly, creating a well-received dish that resulted in the two of them sharing a hug. After they were declared safe, Ahran said she would gladly work with Leslie again.
  • Seasonal Rot: US Season 4 is seen as this by some fans, being considered to the weakest season and quite a downfall from the well liked Season 3, mainly because of so many contestants being out of focus to the point where we barely got to know some of them at all, and the heavy focus and emphasis on drama and contestants with bad attitude (namely Krissi and also Natasha) rather than on the cooking itself.
    • The spin-off, Master Chef Junior, was seen as this even before it began, with fans feeling it would be a dumbed down version of the show because of the competitors being children, and also feeling that having Gordon Ramsay on it would mean the children would be yelled at. But eventually averted this, being well received by fans and critics alike thanks to the focus on good food and the culinary skills of the contestants, the fact that the judges are positive yet firm and never spoil the kids, and also because it strays away from the drama that has plagued the adult version since Season 4, with the children being kind, helpful and supportive towards each other.
    • US Season 5 went straight back to this, especially after the winner was revealed. Most of what can be said has been said above.
      • By now it has become a zig-zag, as the US Master Chef Junior 2 is now receiving high praise (with some news writers calling it the best reality competition on television), especially when compared to season 5 of the adult version.
  • Shocking Elimination:
    • Marion in the second season of the Australian version. Even her fellow competitors thought this in-universe.
    • The double elimination of Brandon and Babalwa in the SA version, followed by Guy in the next episode.
    • Tracy from US season 2; despite being acknowledged by many of the other contestants as the most talented cook from that year and never having a single bad comment for any of her dishes, she got booted at 6th after she made some comparatively minor mistakes in a pressure test. Since the judges offered to send her to culinary school and employ her at any of their restaurants, this has led to suspicions that either the judges thought she was over qualified for the largely publicity-based role that the winner gets and wanted to help her break into the culinary world for real, or that the producers just didn't like her.
    • Season 3.
      • Mike in US Season 3. He had been in the middle throughout the whole competition, with that episode being his first time in the top three (for the first challenge) and the second time in the bottom (for the second challenge), having previously been in a bottom 4 but not having one of the worst dishes. Tanya's elimination in the same episode can be justified due to her having raw eggplant, raw flatbread and leaving a whole raw garlic clove in her dish, but Mike's is shocking when compared to David, who made a disaster of a dish that judge Joe Bastianich threw in the trash can, and also to Tali, who made a huge mess of his entire station and served a messy pizza caked in raw flour that Gordon Ramsay spat out after trying to taste, and somehow managed to evade being put in the bottom three (this despite having three previous appearances in the bottom two).
      • Monti. She makes it all the way to the top 5, consistently putting up good dishes and surprising the judges with more skills than she let on, and had only been on two pressure tests, both from team challenges, and she was one of the best performers on both those pressure tests. Her very first time in the bottom for an individual challenge, and she is eliminated over Josh, who has been eliminated before, was brought back, and has since been in the bottom three for 3 times in a row since returning. He also won the advantage in the Mystery Box and squandered it, landing him in the bottom two, yet the judges still chose to keep him over the more consistent Monti.
      • Can also count for Mike and especially Stacey during the episode where several contestants were brought back for a chance to return to the competition. The two who moved on for a chance to return were Josh and Ryan who made, respectively, a chocolate mousse and pomegranate sauce with a quite unappealing presentation, and a simple pork chop dish. On the other hand, Mike made a chocolate flan that looked beautiful and was flavorful (also counting that making a good flan in one hour is a nigh impossible task) and Stacey also made great looking and tasty ravioli and even managed to make her own homemade pasta and ricotta cheese, something that astonished the judges, but despite these great dishes, both were passed over. Even season 2 contestant Ben Starr wrote in his blog that he felt Mike and Stacey got robbed.
    • Played with when Lynn was eliminated in US Season 4. Though practically every other contestant acted as though it was this, as many had considered him a frontrunner, their surprise seems rather ridiculous as he had clearly performed the worst in that particular elimination test, with Gordon even saying that his dish was the worst he had tasted in all four years of MasterChef.
    • Vern and then Rishi in Australia Season 5. Vern's came halfway through the series despite being a clear favourite to win, and then Rishi bombs out after getting to Top 4 and being acknowledged as the biggest competition for everyone remaining.
    • Tammara and Kaila in the Canada version. They made it to the top 4 and were generally considered to be two of the strongest, if not the strongest competitors of the bunch, and were eliminated one after another for relatively minor mistakes on good dishes.
    • US Season 5 has had a few:
      • Astrid; not because she was an especially strong cook, but more because she got the most screentime of any contestant in the first episode, showed herself to be feisty and unafraid of what the judges had to say, and had what the judges agreed was easily the best dish in that episode's second challenge, causing many fans to predict that she would be a key player in that season. In the second episode she completely tanked in the first Mystery Box challenge and was eliminated halfway through the episode, with Courtney subsequently taking up the Alpha Bitch role that Astrid initially seemed to occupy.
      • Kira; in the donut challenge, she was eliminated over a problem with her dough that made her donuts a bit tough, and for not having enough filling, but her donuts were still edible. By contrast, Courtney ran out of yeast after messing up her first dough and found herself begging for more, and though a contestant kindly gave her more, she proceeded to completely wreck her donuts by confusing her ingredients, using salt instead of sugar, a basic yet enormous mistake that turned her donuts into an inedible salt bomb, but the judges still chose to keep her.
      • Francis B.; despite being considered one of the early frontrunners by both the judges and contestants, he was eliminated in episode 7 after failing to produce an acceptable plate of spring rolls. His were overly greasy and inconsistent, but Cutter, who had already been in danger of elimination twice (including the first mystery box challenge which saw the aforementioned Astrid go home), served spring rolls that seemed to be just as bad, due to being soft, overly sweet, and having virtually no dipping sauce (which the judges stressed as being important). Since Courtney was spared over Kira in episode 4 due to having shown more potential, some felt that the same should have happened for Francis B.
      • Christine; many chefs felt that Ahran's Red Team should have won the challenge anyways, and then that Christine showed far more potential and leadership capabilities than Leslie; Christine was eliminated due to her truffles looking perfect but being too bitter, while Leslie — who had been in the pressure test four times — had truffles that looked disgusting but apparently tasted decent. If anything, Christine seems to have been the victim of extremely bad luck, given that out of the six people who took part in that pressure test, she was the only one who produced truffles that actually tasted bad (nearly everyone else produced truffles that looked mediocre-to-bad but tasted decent, while Cutter of all people nailed both the taste and appearance).
    • US Master Chef Junior 2 sees Sean eliminated in the final six after the team he's in loses the challenge. Out of the whole team (himself, Samuel and Oona) he had been the most consistently strong young cook, and in that very same challenge, everything he cooked was properly done, whereas Samuel, who was saved over Sean, had served soggy fish.
      • The following episode sees the elimination of both Abby and Adaiah. On Abby's case, the salmon she cooked ended up rather overcooked, but taking everything into account, this had been her actual first negative review of anything she had cooked in the competition (her only other criticism before this being her shepherd's pie needing a bit more salt), whereas Adaiah's dish had everything perfectly prepared and was tasty, but it had a smell (not taste) of burnt garlic. Despite the fact that they had been the two most consistently strong young cooks in the final four, they were eliminated in favor of keeping Logan and Samuel, who had also made mistakes in this episode, with Logan serving raw vegetables and Samuel's salmon having some overcooked parts.
    • US Junior's season 4 had eight year old Kya's elimination in the Top 6. From the very beginning and despite being the youngest out of all the 24 contestants, Kya had proven herself as one of the strongest contestants, usually at the top of the pack, winning challenges and almost never making any mistakes while displaying skills and knowledge of food well beyond her years. In the Top 6 team challenge, Kya she made only one mistake, yet the team she was in lost mainly due to fellow contestant JJ becoming flustered and committing many mistakes (including spilling contents from a burning hot pan onto Gordon Ramsay's leg and foot). Ultimately Kya was eliminated alongside JJ, angering many fans, who felt that Kya deserved a chance to stay and make the next challenges be a Top 5 to go down to the Top 2 finale.
    • Season 7 had two:
      • Andrea. She had the best dish of the night while Diamond had the worst. But because Andrea didn't get to the black table in time, she got eliminated. Even though Diamond gave Gordon Ramsey raw chicken.
      • Terry, who consistently cooked extremely well and never made something the judges didn't like... until he was eliminated for his first and only fuckup at Top 8 in place of Tanorria, who, while good, had several hickups throughout the competition so far, and arguably made something even worse than Terry did in that elimination.
    • Season 8 also had:
      • Newton. Yachecia made all the components of her Champagne Poached Oyster dish, but the pasta was overcooked and badly kneaded. Newton made both his oysters and pasta perfect, but he couldn't open his caviar jar. Many argue that he should have stayed over Yachecia for nailing the most important ingredients and the caviar was the only component they didn't have to make from scratch. In a later interview, Newton revealed that he was weakened by his previous stroke (weakness he tried to cover during the competition), which ended up affecting him in the last moments.
      • Daniel. While he did make several technical errors on his truffles, a lot of fans argued that he should have stayed over Jeff and Yachecia as he's proven to be more consistent than the two. While Jeff is still case of a very vocal Broken Base, it's added to the argument that Yachecia narrowly avoided elimination despite having an incomplete box (previously Brien was eliminated for having only four out of six cannolis, while Newton did better components but couldn't add the caviar in the last minute).
      • Gabriel. It's a similar case with Daniel above. His cannelloni had a lot of technical errors, but he's proven to be a bit more consistent than Yachecia who was on her second time in the bottom twice in a row, and Ramsay called her chicken and pork tortellini to be a terrible combination and her tortellini was too thick.


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