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Cooking doesn't get tougher than this!
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A cooking-themed reality show that has different formats in different countries. In Britain (1990–2001, 2005–), three to six people compete per episode and one of them goes through to the next round at the end. In Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Canada, South Africa, Peru, Chile, Spain and Argentina (and many other countries), the format is a standard Reality Television show, with people leaving each episode and the contestants being whittled down to one over time. The series also have spawned multiple spin-offs, including MasterChef Junior, MasterChef: The Professionals, and so on.

Not to be confused with Master Chief.

Note: the Australian version of the show has its own page, as does the Canadian version.


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This show contains examples of:

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    General 
  • Deaf Composer:
    • Those who have allergic reaction to certain ingredients. Thea from Canada Season 4 is allergic to shrimp and she unfortunately has to cook one as a result of basket swap. As a result, she can't either taste or devein her shrimp properly. Fortunately for her, Miranda who assigned the basket to her not knowing she had allergies felt guilty and offered to help her for a bit.
    • Muslim contestants when asked to cook pork suffers almost the same problem as those with allergies; They can't taste and touch the ingredients note . Australian season 5's Samira El Khafir was eliminated over a pork brioche bun.note 
    • Averted in Canada Season 5's Black Forest Cake pressure test. Reem, a Muslim contestant was allowed not to use kirsh syrup, an alcohol, in her cake considering Muslims are forbidden to drink or serve alcohol.
  • Enemy Mine: Tag Team cooking challenges, as they will often be rigged to deliberately put two contestants who do not get along or have different working ethics together.
  • Epic Fail: Now has its own page.
  • Everybody Lives: Every time contestants produce flawless soufflés in soufflé pressure test, the judges won't send them home.
  • Food Porn: Kinda goes without saying, really.
  • Genre Blind:
    • Nobody ever seems to prepare for the Food Science/Molecular Gastronomy challenge despite it being in almost every single version of the show.
    • Pretty much every single contestant that goes into the show without bothering to practice making desserts, as these are an integral part of the competition, especially for Pressure Tests. More often than not, those who haven't practiced baking desserts end up struggling in these Pressure Tests and are eliminated.
  • Honor Before Reason: Any time team captains choose to save his/her team members from pressure test instead of themselves count as one. Bonus point if the one receiving immunity decided to stay cooking and pass it to someone else.
  • Manipulative Editing: Considering this show is reality TV first and foremost, it's not surprising that several contestants reveal that the end result is a product of careful editing of what the producers want to show, although the truth is anyone's guess.
  • Melodrama: "Cooking doesn't get tougher than this!" said repeatedly in the series.
  • Product Placement: The fact that almost every celebrity chef's restaurant is featured when they're introduced says something in itself.
  • Reality Television: The examples not from Britain are examples of this. The British show is a lot older, so follows a more standard cookery contest format.
  • Recurring Element: This competition has several challenge formats that are present throughout the seasons. Sometimes, these concepts are implemented in tandem.
    • Mystery Box: Contestants are given a box in their station containing ingredients they have to cook in that challenge. In US Season 1 and 2, they only have to cook using only what's in the box until Season 3 where they were also given a staple or limited pantry depending on the condition. It also contains non-ingredients, either kitchen equipment (they have to cook only with that equipment) or other random things like loved one's letters, an iconic-eating utensil, or even a blindfold.
    • Team Challenge: Contestants are divided into color-coded teams, mostly two, in order to cook for a group of people with similar backgrounds or people in celebratory events (cowboys and cowgirls, elderlies, first responders, children, lifeguards, vegetarians, people attending weddings or birthday parties), serving foods to critics, or selling food items. The winning team is usually decoded to public votes.
      • Another type of team challenge which becomes common starting from US season 3 is Tag Team. Contestants are divided into teams of two in order to replicate a platter which consists of multiple small dishes.
    • Pressure Test: Usually after losing a team challenge, contestants have to create a dish (or sometimes multiple dishes) in a very short amount of time, with very limited ingredients, or with high technical difficulties. To emphasize those contestants' chances at becoming the winner are in danger, they are required to wear black aprons.
  • Spinoff: Oh boy. You won't believe how many international spin-offs this show has. This wiki article will explain how many there are.
  • Spinoff Babies: The Junior spin-off, with kids ranging from 8 to 13 years old.
  • Supreme Chef: All the judges are considered some of the best chefs in the world. Also, the goal of the entire competition is to be the best cook of the 24.
  • Springtime for Hitler:  It would probably be easier to count the times the Mystery Box winners don't shoot themselves in the foot with their "advantage."
  • Warmup Boss: The preliminaries of the US and Australian versions of Junior seem to act as this, as the kids are grouped by the food category they do best in.
    • By Season 6 of the US MasterChef, this becomes the process to earn a white apron either in pairs or a group of four battling out on a certain group (be it either a certain dish or main protein).
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Every trailer of an episode in which a team challenge happens will show you the ensuing Pressure Test as well... and from the people you see cooking in that, you can tell which team lost the challenge.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: Repeats almost exactly what happened in the previous 20 seconds after every commercial break, leading to an episode that counted down the seconds remaining for the Pressure Test twice. The British version does this, at points where commercials would be.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When the winner of a previous contest is given an advantage, they are encouraged, by the judges no less, to attempt to set up stronger opponents for elimination. For the team challenges this typically works well as the advantaged team captain can sabotage the opposing team (which is bound to include some skilled rivals) and force them into a pressure test. However winners of Mystery Box challenges will often sabotage all of their opponents equally, instead of disadvantaging the more skilled opponents and advantaging the less skilled ones. Equal disadvantage turns out to be no disadvantage at all since only the single worst performer is eliminated.
    • Picking up teams in adult Tag Team challenge is mostly filled with this. While pairing the strongest cooks with those who are not compatible with them as their deadweight may result in the team performing the worst, those sent home are usually the deadweight because they are the cause of the team's horrible performances. Even worse, there are sometimes cases when the leftover teams are the one performing worse than those set up for failure.

    US Version 
  • Crazy Enough to Work: This seemed to be Dino's preferred method in the U.S. Season 8. His cooking was often wildly inventive and often went in directions that had never been done before and theoretically just should not have worked. When he failed, it could be spectacular, but his success was enough to carry him to the finale and win in the end.
    • In Episode 7 of Season 2, Esther cooked a coffee cheesecake for the coffee challenge, which Gordon did not like the sound of. He was pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted great despite its pedestrian appearance, and Esther's dish was declared one of the best of the evening.
    • In Episode 13 of Season 2, Ben Starr seared scallops over a bed of sauteed bananas, an idea he cooked up on the spur of the moment. The judges were fascinated by this idea and were surprised when they found the bananas actually worked effectively with the scallops. Although Adrien ultimately won that challenge, Ben was praised for pulling off this idea as well as he did.
    • In Episode 6 of Season 3, the crab dish challenge saw Ryan give canned crab to Monti in the hopes she'd be tripped up and sent home. Monti's plan is to produce scotched eggs wrapped with the crab instead of regular meat as would normally be done. The judges were quite perplexed at this daring move, and were amazed to find it was delicious. Speaking highly of the dish, they complimented Monti for outwitting Ryan after having struggled so much early on in the competition, allowing her to become a major frontrunner later.
    • In Episode 8 of the same season, Stacey was one of four people assigned to make a trifle dish by Tanya in the dessert challenge. Choosing to put her own twist on the blend, Stacey added balsamic vinegar to her dish, a move that baffled everybody in the room. It ended up being deemed the best dish of the evening, with the judges praising her for taking such a risk and making it work.
    • During the auditions of Season 4 Brian, an early entrant actually fillets a beaver's tail for the judges. Naturally the judges didn't know what to make of this but Gordon actually considered it one of the best things he'd tasted up to that point in the auditions, and with two out of three votes Brian got through to the next round.
    • In the opening challenge of Season 4, Jessie was bold enough to fry langoustine as part of her dish. The judges had never heard of such a move and were quick to assume it would not work; Instead, Jessie went on to win that challenge hands down, as the judges were amazed at how good it tasted.
    • In Episode 5 of Season 5 Scotsman Francis Legge produced a box of donuts, all twelve of them with a different flavor. The one he recommended Gordon try? The one topped with prosciutto. To Gordon's amazement, it tasted amazing, and Francis was praised for having worked so much flavor into his colorful batch.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Played with with Bri, the vegetarian from Season 4. She cooks amazing vegetarian dishes, but she doesn't taste the meat she cooks and she usually has trouble cooking meat, so it's no wonder some of her worst dishes were meat dishes.
    • Hindu contestant Hetal from Season 6 cooked expert vegetarian dishes, but would not taste meat or milk when she had to use them as ingredients in a dish.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Luca from season 4, while an early fan favorite generally in the first half of the competition performed well enough to avoid elimination rather than consistiently plating favorited dishes (and even Gordon wondered if he was ever going to shine outside of his percieved Italian-Cuisine crutch)... but then started just getting better and better until he became nearly unbeatable either in team or individual challenges, and [[spoiler: eventually won the whole competition even over the more consistient-from-the-start Natasha).
    • Monti from season 3 generally looked overwhelmed at the start and had the tendency to make wild technical errors (including outright causing a fire during an early challenge), but proved to be incredibly resourceful as the competition wore on as she gradually grew more and more confident and ended up being one of the most constiently strong performers the entire season, ultimately finishing in the top 5.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Season 7, the blue team trashed the red team in the farming team challenge 81 to 20.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Monti in Season 3. She managed to burn her stoves twice (one of those was while making a trifle). Her firetruck-red lipstick and meganekko look do not hurt at all.
  • David Versus Goliath: Season 9 contestant Shanika refers to the story after being picked to go head-to-head in episode 14 in a black forest cake challenge by her opponent Emily, who is a strong cook and specializes in baking, and being allergic to the main ingredient (chocolate)note  so she also couldn't taste her dish...and winning.
    Shanika: David has beat Goliath.
  • Deaf Composer: Most seasons in the US have at least one vegetarian, meaning they cannot taste their dish when a meat-centric one comes up and the show never makes exceptions for dietary concerns unless it's a health-related one. This means that the chefs are basically cooking blind, since they can't taste their dish after the non-meat ingredients touch the protein note . The quality of the dishes have zigzagged, with some successfully "guessing" at the correct flavours while others failing because they have no way of telling what their dish tastes like.
    • Dino, of Season 8, is vegan, and he explained on Instagram that the way he was able to get past his self-induced handicap was to smell the ingredients and do an educated guess from there. Christine, somewhat similarly, went by her own memory of the appearance of ingredients, and she let the rest of her senses do the work from there. Given that both of them won their respective seasons, this is likely a case of the other senses compensating for what one sense can't do.
  • Death by Irony: Not a literal death, of course, but upon Josh's first elimination, he declared that Christine would go on to win the whole competition. Afterwards, he earned his way back into the competition, making it to the finals ... where, indeed, he lost to Christine.
    • Jaimee Vitolo from Season 5, a bakery assistant who is fairly good at baking, was eliminated in a croquembouche pressure test, something she had made previously, over Christian who is more of a savory cook.
    • In a MasterChef Celebrity Showdown Special 2017, Gordon Ramsay was defeated by his own dishnote .
  • Death Glare: Season 4's Natasha's default expression. Almost every time she was seen onscreen, she looked like she was plotting a horrible demise for somebody. Krissi herself had a lot of these, too.
    • Judges Gordon and Joe can also be very good at this when contestants infuriate them in any way, be it with horrible food, disregard for cleanliness while cooking or serving, or having a bad attitude when the judges are sampling dishes.
    • Season 5's Cutter was shooting these at Dan after the fiasco that was their team (see Epic Fail below), along with Courtney who put the team together.
  • Determinator:
    • US season 3's Christine, who is unable to see how things are cooking and how her plating looks, unless she asks her aide, Cindy, how things look. She nevertheless constantly puts up tasty dishes, many with nice presentations, and has even put up good dishes baked from an oven, in which she can't taste her dish while it bakes.
    • Season 4's Jessie, after losing a fingertip to the mandoline during a team challenge, is made to sit out the rest of the challenge for her safety and that of the food. Instead, she coaches and directs her team from the sidelines, leading them to win the challenge even though she, personally, can't cook with them.
    • Taylor went through the Audition rounds three times until she finally received an apron in Season 9.
  • Disability Superpower:
    • The Judges noted that Christine has an amazing palate due to her blindness; culinary school students would often be blindfolded during a taste-testing assignment to better allow them to understand the flavours of various foods and spices. Christine, being actually blind, has all of this heightened, allowing her to make minute adjustments to the taste of her dish on the fly because of this sensitivity. As expected, during the course of the season Christine did not fail to deliver.
    • Christine, again, in the offal challenge. Knowing how offal looks, being blind is certainly an advantage, which she lampshades when she hears the other contestants' disgusted reactions.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Gordon is this whenever he is the expediter in restaurant challenges, since he will often yell at the contestants who deliver terrible plates to customers.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first Season has a ton:
    • First off, it features a Top 14 (the lowest in the U.S. version)
    • The setup of the MasterChef Kitchen was different, with the judge's station at the far left side of the kitchen.
    • There was no immunity given to the winner of the Mystery Box Challenge (well there was one instance, but it was optional).
    • The first two Pressure Tests were palate tests and the person with fewest correct guess would be eliminated. By the third Pressure Test, it would go into the format a lot of viewers know.
    • The way they decided to make the final 2 had the final four compete tournament style (two pairs would compete one at a time, and the winner of that pair will move on to the finale).
    • The first four seasons had the judges put the chefs through a few skill tests in order to weed out the numbers for the top whatever.
    • Generally there was a lack of the backstabbing or "Bad Attitude" contestants that littered nearly every other season to a certain extent.
  • Endangered Soufflé:
    • In the semi-finals of Season 1, the contestants had to make a chocolate soufflé. Whitney, the eventual winner, had a case of both Carrying a Cake and Endangered Soufflé as she had to hurry and present the soufflé to the judges while the soufflé slowly sank.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Season 3. All three of the soufflés were properly risen on each side, even though the judges thought the task may have been too difficult to do in an hour, especially since the three soufflés have to be cooked properly are both savory and sweet with different time needed to rise properly.
    • In season 8, one pressure test was to make a soufflé. In a subversion, all the soufflés were deemed so good that nobody was eliminated that episode.
  • Enemy Mine: In Season Five, Leslie and Ahran do not get along, but a tag team challenge actually improves their relationship somewhat.
  • Everybody Lives: Done twice with Souffles, the 14th episode of Season 2 and the 17th episode of Season 8, all three contestants produced souffles of sufficient quality and the judges declined to eliminate anyone, citing that in light of their accomplishments doing so would be unfair.
    • In a similar vein, during the 22nd episode of season 4, all four contestants in the dish replication elimination challenge successfully replicated the dish and were all spared from elimination.
  • Face of a Thug: Derrick from Season 2. He plays in a heavy metal band and looks the part, but he was one of the nicer contestants that season. Joked about when the chefs had to cook for children and Christian picked him for his team. Joe was worried he would cost the team some votes by scaring the kids, but Christian assures him that Derrick would not be allowed to interact with the kids.
  • Face Palm: This is primarily Gordon's trait whenever he sees cringeworthy attitude or bad dishes when other judges are tasting, fingers-rubbing-eyebrows and hands-rubbing-temple variation included. Later this trait is shared with Christina starting from Season 6 and Aaron in Season 8.
  • Fat Bastard: Averted by Graham Elliot in the US version; despite probably weighing as much as Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich combined during the first four seasons, he's easily the nicest of the three judges. As of Season 5, he's no longer fat either. Played straight with Season 4 Krissi, who was vindictive, had a Hair-Trigger Temper, hated everybody else in the competition and was a big hypocrite on top. Her only redeeming quality was that she had her son as her top priority.
  • Fingore: Season four's Jessie cut off the tip of her finger with one in an excruciating sequence featuring spurting blood, and Gordon retrieving said tip — stuck in the blade of the mandoline — with a knife. It's pretty much the worst thing you'll ever see.
  • Foreign Queasine:
    • In the Second Season, Christian won the first Mystery Box challenge and got to set the theme for the next challenge, which was based around one of three European cuisines. Joe Bastianich revealed the first choice of Spanish cuisine, Graham Elliot revealed the second choice of French cuisine, and then Gordon Ramsay revealed the third and final choice of ... British cuisine. Despite his attempts to talk it up, Christian and the other two judges couldn't stop laughing. A little later, after discovering that he didn't actually have to take part in the challenge himself, Christian said that he wished he had chosen British cuisine, just to witness the epic clusterfuck that would have resulted among the other contestants.
    • Similarly, in the Season 3 the chefs were assigned one of three desserts — American Strawberry Shortcake, Italian Tiramisu, or British Trifle — for an elimination challenge. The chefs with Strawberry Shortcake and Tiramisu all appeared fairly confident, while the reaction of the chefs who got the trifle could basically be summed up as "What the fuck is this shit?" — though in the end, Stacey's trifle actually ended up being the best dessert, and Monti's was also praised.
    • Season 4 created an entire Mystery Box based on this: the Box contained a variety of bizarre ingredients from around the world, all with labels in their own languages which none of the contestants could read. Some contestants found things they recognized (Bime), some found familiar-looking foods and cooked simple "safe" foods with that (most contestants used the purple yam and/or the flank steak), some experimented to varying degrees of success (Jordan), and some were, understandably, hopelessly lost.
      Krissi: *spitting* I think I just ate some nasty Chinese pubic hair! (dried seaweed)
  • Foreshadowing: In the first season, Whitney's age (22) is constantly brought up to make her seem like an underdog, with how she has less experience... while Slim, who's the same age, never gets the same treatment aside from rare occasions where she's being compared to Whitney. Cue Slim being eliminated a little over halfway through the season and Whitney going on to win, concluding the underdog story they were going for.
  • Frat Bro: Season 7's Dan. He said so every other time he was on the Confession Cam. Despite this, he was an incredibly good competitor who consistently did well on topics he knew of, was very much a Nice Guy and improvised extremely well on topics he wasn't familiar with.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Stephen and Derrick in Season 6, who keep ribbing and challenging each other but still having deep-seated respect for each other's abilities and being able to laugh things off. When Stephen is defeated before the finale by Claudia, Derrick even says that he can't believe he's saying that he'll be missing Stephen.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: One episode of Season Four had the Judges bring their children in as guest-stars. Gordon's son immediately began trying to hit on the female contestants.
  • Full-Name Basis: A Running Gag in the US version is that, if a chef introduces themselves by their full name when they first meet the three judges, they will continue to be referred to by their full name for the duration of their time on the show.
  • Generation Xerox: Played for laughs in one episode when the Judges' kids show up to help them with a challenge, and they're all dressed as miniature versions of their fathers. The resemblance is quite striking.
  • Genre Blind:
    • Many contestants fail to realize that many of the usual genre tropes are not applicable. The standard "I am not here to make friends" behavior is just going to make you look bad in front of the judges. Not that some haven't done it anyway. And that's to say nothing of the fact that the winner of every Mystery Box challenge is given the opportunity to screw over anyone who's pissed them off.
    • Every Mystery Box winner will try to screw over their rivals using their advantage, but 9 times out of 10 it just ends up making them look better because of the odds. Conversely, they usually screw over whoever they tried to help, as giving them too many advantages or high-end ingredients cause them to overthink their dishes, ending up with something overly complicated and not very appealing.
  • Gentle Giant: Big" Willie Mike from Season 5, by far the largest contestant of that season with a big heart to match, and was easily one of the most well-liked contestants of that season.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak:
    • US Season 2 had Jennifer, a former Beauty Queen who described herself as a "Boy with boobs" because she used to be a tomboy in her childhood.
    • US Season 8's Cate referred to herself as a former tomboy because she grew up hunting, fishing and camping with her dad, which gave her experience with meats like deer and trout.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Seen occasionally in Season 4 when Italian contestant Luca talks to Joe. It may or may not be subtitled.
  • Gratuitous Spanish:
    • Season 3 Monti and David sometimes exchange words in this due to having Spanish background (Monti was originally from Puerto Rico). One of those instance is when David asked Monti if she had rice because he forgot to bring one from pantry in dessert corn challenge.
    • Season 7 had Andrea (Cuban-American) and Alejandro (Venezuelan) exchanging some of this during a team challenge.
    • Season 9 Aarón's conversed with Alecia and Cesar, the latter Mexican-American.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • In the U.S. Season 7, they had some guest judges come in to fill in the third spot next to Ramsay and Tosi. These included;
      • Wolfgang Puck - (Episode 3, 18-19)
      • Aarón Sanchez - (Episodes 5-7)
      • Edward Lee - (Episodes 8-11)
      • Kevin Sbraga - (Episodes 12-15)
      • Richard Blais - (Episode 16-17)
      • Daniel Boulud - (Episodes 18-19)
    • Joe himself returns for the finale of Season 8, joining the main three judges.
    • Christina returned for Season 9 to help host, and be the main judge, of a pressure test. The dish? Cupcakes.
    • Seems to be the big gimmick of Season 11 Masterchef Legendsnote  which includes:
      • Emeril Lagasse - (Episode 1)
      • Curtis Stone - (Episodes 2 and Finale pt.1)
      • Paula Deen - (Episode 3)
      • Masaharu Morimoto - (Episode 4)
      • Sherry Yard - (Episode 5)
      • Michael Mina - (Episode 6)
      • Nancy Silverton - (Episode 7)
      • Johnathan Waxman - (Episode 8)
      • Roy Choi - (Episode 9)
      • Dominique Crenn - (Episode 11)
      • Niki Nakayama - (Episode 12)
      • Ludo Lefebvre - (Episode 14)
      • Nyesha Arrington - (Episode 15)
      • Suzette Gresham - (Episode 16)
      • Michael Cimarusti - (Finale pt.2)
  • Haggis Is Horrible: Subverted in Season 2 , a Scottish lady named Pauline auditioned with a dish containing haggis and Scottish salmon en croute with a Scotch whisky and dill sauce. The dish certainly looked very appetizing, and Graham and especially Gordon enjoyed her dish, though Joe did not.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Christine, the blind chef in season 3, still manages to make delicious and beautiful looking (to the point Ramsay once asked if she was really blind) food quite a few times. Other contestants have stated that she has an amazing palate and that makes her a strong contender, and when finding themselves eliminated, four contestants declared she would be the winner — which she eventually was.
    • In a different way, Jaimee from season 5. For perspective, Christine started having eyesight problems in her late teens, and lost her vision altogether around 4-5 years before appearing on the show. Jaimee started having major issues with her speech and movement days before the season started, and didn't even get a diagnosis on her condition until months after filming ended. Just competing on the show at all in the face of her disorder qualifies her as this, and the fact that she got through to the final six cements it.
  • History Repeats:
    • Season 3: In the episode down to the final six, eight previously banished contestants come back, and one of those comes back to join the final seven. The end result was Josh against Ryan in a dessert challenge. Josh previously beat Ryan in a dessert challenge, resulting in Ryan being kicked out. He does it again with a fruit tart, as the final six were blind taste judges and Josh won in a landslide.
    • Season 4: Natasha and Bri go head-to-head as captains for the Top 8 team challenge, which eventually results in the latter's team's loss and later elimination in the pressure challenge afterward. Bri is eventually brought back with the "redemption" challenge. Two episodes later, in the Top 6 team challenge, Natasha and Bri are once again competing captains, and once again, Bri's team loses and Bri gets eliminated by the pressure challenge.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • In Season 2, Jennifer won the mystery box challenge and got to select the item everyone got to cook with. When revealed that each of them gets 500 dollars worth of Black Truffle to work with, Jennifer was presented with her second "advantage"; to save herself from elimination in exchange for not being able to participate in cooking. In the context of the contest there was absolutely nothing to gain from staying. However Jennifer chose to stay as no true chef would turn down the chance to work with actual Truffle. Frank from Season 3 passed the chance of being excluded from cooking in a pressure test and gave the chance to his teammate Felix, who refused and passed the chance to Scott, who also refused. Stacy ended up taking the chance, but she was in tears and admitted that she felt bad for taking the pass.
    • Also in Season 3, Monti ended up as team captain in a challenge to cook for 101 cowboys and cowgirls, with her team consisting of herself, Josh, Felix and Becky (not her choices, as the judges decided to switch the teams that the captains picked). Her team ended up losing the challenge, and before the pressure test, the judges ask the four team members to decide between themselves which one of them would be saved and not have to take part in the pressure test. Josh, Felix and Becky all used their vote to save themselves, but Monti felt that, as team captain, she was responsible for the team's loss and she would take on the pressure test, so since only her vote would count, she chose to save Felix.
    • On two occasions in Season 4, Luca gives his own ingredients to competitors who had tried to ruin his chances earlier that episode and are now running short on something. Joe even asks him whether his generosity will cost him. He wins the season.
    • In the 8th episode of Season 5, Willie was the blue team captain in a challenge where the contestants had to work the line at a popular diner in L.A., and his team (narrowly) lost. He was then given a choice for the pressure test: either he could save himself, and let all six of his teammates compete, or he could elect to compete, and save three of his teammates. He chose the latter option (ultimately saving Daniel, Francis L, and Victoria), saying that he was a man of integrity and he felt responsible for the team's loss. Considering how Willie had presented himself up to that point in the competition, it wasn't surprising that he made this decision.
    • In Season 6, the first team challenge ended in a loss for Darah's team. After several questionable picks for team members to be safe (according to Katrina, she put friendships ahead of performance), Darah's last choice for immunity was to Hetal. Hetal promptly said that she was not comfortable accepting the immunity, since she felt she didn't perform up to the standard needed to accept immunity, and passed her immunity on to Derrick, one of the stronger performers in that challenge. She then proceeded to excel in the pressure test, putting up the best cinnamon buns out of the 5 people in the challenge.
      • Darah herself declined the opportunity to save herself, admitting their loss was largely her fault due to her poor leadership. This backfired for her, as she was ultimately sent home.
    • In Season 8, Yachecia was given the choice to either save herself from the pressure test or save all bar herself and one other. She picked the latter and chose to compete against Jennifer, who struggled coping under pressure. After Jennifer lacked a lemon for her fish, Yachecia gave her one despite Jennifer boasting about defeating her (her coping mechanism to said pressure problem).
    • In the episode after Willie from Season 5 above chose to save his own team member, he created a very disappointing dish using ingredients selected by Joe (tomato soup with an egg and flatbread), that Ramsay stated was a one out of ten. However, Cutter brought up a small, terrible "artisan" pizza, while Elise served a tiny, bland ravioli that she openly admitted was terrible, and after tasting everyone's dishes, the judges, rather than select the bottom three dishes, told the contestants who made the two worst dishes to raise their hand. It was obvious they were implying Cutter and Elise, and they both raised their hands... as did Willie. Gordon repeated the worst two, and Willie kept his hand raised, while Cutter put his down. The judges eventually had to tell Willie that he was safe.
  • Hot-Blooded:
    • Stephen from Season 6. This actually was part of his appeal, as even Gordon got used to his intensity.
    • David from Season 7, which is ironic for a professional Poker player.
    • Jeff from Season 8 tended to butt heads, his fellow competitors were aware that he was hard to order in a Team Challenge and had a rage fit in the middle of a pressure test.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Season 3's Frank, who did not save himself the first time he was a losing captain of a pressure test but did the second time, despite admitting beforehand the second time that Josh deserved the immunity. Unlike other examples, Frank was clearly unhappy with his choice.
    • Krissi from Season 4 had a lot of these moments. Namely...
      • After the first team challenge, Jordan, captain of the losing team, was told to save three people, and he could choose to save himself, which he did, and teammate Krissi openly called it "a bitch move". After the third team challenge, the losing team being led by Krissi and including Jordan, Krissi was told she could pick and choose which teammates would compete in the pressure test (and she decided to keep there people she disliked like Bime, who scored many of the points for their team). She chose Jordan as one of the competitors, and saved herself. Jordan IMMEDIATELY called her out on it, while the others could only laugh at this.
      • Later in the competition, Krissi talks trash about Bri when Bri gives a name to one of her dishes (a dish which got her the win in that particular challenge). Move on to another challenge, and Krissi gives one of her dishes a name too.
      • Later, after she and Jessie lost their team challenge, Jessie, Luca and Natasha started to talk among themselves about how Krissi ruined it for Jessie by walking out and not knowing how to make a simple crepe. Krissi could hear them and went to confront them for talking behind her back. All the way back in Episode 11, Joe reprimanded Krissi for talking behind his back for disagreeing with his critique.
    • In Season 4 episode 24, Natasha refused to give Jessie butter while she had 3 of them stacked, saying that it could make the latter's dish better than hers. Meanwhile, she was helped the same way three episodes ago during pho dish challenge in which she forgot garlic (a crucial component in said challenge so much that forgetting one could eliminate her) and Luca willingly gave her some.
    • Leslie of Season 5 criticized Daniel for complaining about his leadership while Leslie previously gave Daniel the exact same treatment when it was the other way around.
      • Leslie and Cutter have called each other out with a sense of this trope at least once. Leslie told Cutter to take responsibility for his actions while he was seen giving up all leadership duties when Francis B. took over during one team challenge and nominated other people to take part in following pressure test, seemingly unaware or not caring that he was the biggest reason for his team's loss. Cutter told Leslie not to become an anti-critic during one pressure test while previously he became very defensive after Gordon tasted his overly sweet velvet cake to the point of interrupting Joe and Graham when they gave feedback, on which Leslie immediately called him out.
  • Informed Ability: While Season 4's Lynn was by all means a great cook and had some of the best plating skills in the competition, the way his competition constantly raved about how big of a threat he was and how he was probably going to win it all left some viewers feeling he was overrated, as while he had some moments where he truly shone, he generally performed as a middle-of-the-pack to slightly-above-average competitor in individual challenges. Thus, the informed part is not his ability to cook, but how better he was than the rest of the cast.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Cowboy Mike" in Season 3, "Big Willie" for Willie and "Scottish Francis" for Francis L. in Season 5.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged:
    • Subverted by Christine from the third season. She's near-completely blind, was the first blind contestant to compete in MasterChef, and ended up winning. However, she was an extremely strong contender throughout (only landing in the bottom thrice), and her disability was treated respectfully by the judges and editors. Lampshaded as well - she once commented that she wanted to be taken seriously during the competition rather than just being "inspirational".
    • Subverted again by Jaimee from the fifth season. From the earliest weeks it was obvious that she had some kind of disorder, as her movements tend to be jerky and erratic, and she often has trouble speaking. However, as her specific condition hadn't actually been diagnosed at the time of filming, it wasn't mentioned on the show. While the season was broadcasting, she confirmed that she had been diagnosed with dystonia.
  • Irony:
    • Andrea from Season 7 was hit hard with this. After losing farmer team challenge in a landslide, she and Nathan got into a fight. She then said she "can't wait to see you (Nathan) go home." Nathan ended up getting saved by Dan's team, securing his spot in top 10. Andrea? Eliminated after serving her dish three seconds too late, despite hers being the best in that pressure test.
    • Any time contestants mention they will excel at a challenge because they have good knowledge on the stuff or other advantages but end up cooking one of the worst dishes and/or get eliminated because of it. The opposite also applies.
      • In Season 5 episode 3, the pressure test for the losing team was to make Blueberry Pie to Elise's delight, since she kept proclaiming that she was a baker and pies were her specialty (her first challenges placed her in the bottom after making subpar chicken potpies). She landed in the bottom 2 for a raw and grainy crust.
      • Tommy, Claudia, and Shelly from Season 6 had a good background with chicken and waffles, a theme for one elimination challenge. Tommy was the only one who averted this trope while Claudia and Shelly ended up in bottom two with the latter's elimination. Meanwhile, Hetal, who is a vegetarian, won the challenge along with Tommy.
      • In a vegetarian team challenge following the chicken and waffle elimination challenge, Hetal's team lost despite her being a vegetarian and team captain. In the following animal head pressure test, Gordon even questioned what was wrong with her since her meat element in the dish she cooked was better than her "vegetable" element.
      • Newton from Season 8 is a ranch owner from Texas who should know how to process and butcher meat, so the judges expected him to pass a lamb rack frenching skill test. Not only did he fail miserably, but when he and 5 others had to participate in a dish replication elimination challenge involving lamb rack, he landed in the bottom two for undercooking the lamb and adding too much mustard, only barely avoiding elimination thanks to Sam's raw meat. Christina even lampshaded this twice.
        Christina: All right, Newton, ranch owner from Texas, you definitely know meat, how would you feel if you left tonight on a butchering and meat-cooking challenge?
        [after tasting]
        Christina: Argh! Newton, if I though anyone was gonna nail this challenge I thought it was you!
  • Jerkass: Many in the US version.
    • David could be this in season 1 or Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Sharone could be this at times too.
    • Max in Season 2 and also Christian who do not treat his competitors or the judges with any respect. Suzy as well was quite the mean one herself.
    • Season 3's Tali and Ryan are both smug and have an irrational hatred towards some contestants (David and Monti), but Ryan takes the jerkass flavored cake with inappropriate comments that he does not feel sorry for saying (telling Monti to flash her nipples to the army they were serving in their first team challenge and then said that was a joke). Becky and Felix, meanwhile, take more of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing approach, acting sweet towards the judges while being smugly condescending the other chefs. Josh was also prone to trash-talking, having quite the bad attitude pretty much every time he fell to the bottom and had to compete in a pressure test.
    • Season 4's Natasha wastes no time in coming out as a mean-spirited trash talker right from the start. She immediately shows disdain for Kathy and especially Krissi and makes rude remarks about their efforts, later verbally attacks Beth to the point of making her cry, refused to clap when Gordon said Bri was already officially in top 10 (to which Gordon jokingly asked if her hands hurt), and rolls eye whenever other contestants received praise by judges. Krissi herself can dish the trash talk and foul language towards other contestants pretty good herself, while Jordan is more like season 3's Becky, being a nice guy in front of others while talking crap about them behind their backs. James also tended to take the same approach as Jordan of being nice to people and trash talk behind their backs, and was genuinely annoyed at Luca for clapping when Bime was brought back for a chance to get back in the competition.
      • It should be noted that Natasha only started showing disdain for Kathy after Kathy tried calling her out during a challenge when she should have been focusing on her cooking. Additionally, Beth was already starting to cry before Natasha verbally attacked her, and Natasha only did it because Beth insulted her cooking. In Natasha's own words, that's something you should never do to anyone in the competition, and something she wouldn't have ever said to Beth before that point.
      • However, during that challenge, Beth tried to point out flaws in Natasha's cauliflower puree, and Natasha shut Beth out and constantly refused to listen to her. It turned out that the puree was indeed a big failure and nobody liked it, something even Joe Bastianich mentioned. It is when the team is discussing what caused them to lose that Beth points out the puree being disgusting, and Natasha goes berserk. Keep in mind that in later episodes, she sometimes casually badmouths other contestants' cooking in Confession Cam.
    • Krissi of Season 4 eventually cements herself as, easily, the biggest Jerkass in the show's history. She loudly and proudly argues with everyone and proclaims how she hates some of them, and after Kathy's elimination (Kathy and Sasha being her only friends), she admits that she pretty much hates them all and wastes no chance to talk smack on everyone she can. It eventually shows the most with her irrational hatred of Bime and her utter glee at his mistake during the citrus meringue pie pressure test that gets him eliminated. She spends the whole thing cackling, gloating at the camera about how her "plan" to get Bime eliminated worked, and even when Natasha comments how hard the whole thing is to watch, Krissi comments that it isn't hard to watch for her. What makes it even worse was he actually helped her team out for the team challenge more than everyone else. Further along, she continues to ignore her faults, becoming increasingly confrontational and louder, and it's gotten to the point where the other contestants are becoming more open on how much they dislike her.
      • Eventually she had gotten so bad that she did things such as fling sauce with a spoon at other contestants who were arguing with her during a pressure test, and she walked out on Jessie during a team challenge after they argued, returning only when there was barely any time left to do anything.
    • Season 5's Leslie, who is arrogant, loud, argumentative, has shown to be incredibly petty (such as his choices of three people who would take a pressure test, which he chose due to dislikes and grudges) and comes across as rather immature despite being the oldest contestant at age 56. It seems telling that several contestants have openly shown a dislike for him during the competition, very much like with the previously mentioned Krissi — and while Krissi's ex-competitors have said that a lot of her drama was exaggerated for the show, Leslie has shown the exact same behaviour on Twitter (re-tweeting comments from people hating on the other contestants) as in the show, and his co-competitors have said that he comes across as a self-obsessed jerk in real life. In episode two, when Elizabeth was asked who would mess up and pointed out Leslie (saying he talked too much and was too abrasive), he started snarling at her that he'd worked hard to get where he was. Viewers promptly pointed out that he'd married a rich woman and was a stay-at-home dad who was interviewed while sunning himself on their yacht. Whoops.
      • A prime example of this is in episode 5, when, after his team lost (due to him abandoning his post as captain), he started whining that "I'm sorry I wasn't the leader you guys wanted!" and tried to blame the other contestants, even though Gordon himself said Leslie was the worst leader he'd ever seen on the show. He was also incredibly condescending to Ahran (to the point when Christine had to physically pull him away from screaming in her face and tell him to leave her alone), and his nominations for the pressure test were Christian for deciding on the menu (which Leslie should have as captain), Daniel for suggesting Francis B take charge and also because Leslie didn't like that Daniel didn't save him last time, and Ahran for daring to speak against him. After the episode aired, he began retweeting nasty comments about Ahran on Twitter until someone told him to act his age and stop. Ahran, on the other hand, posted an apology regarding the matter, but ended up receiving so much hate (including death threats and threats of sexual violence) from Leslie's fans that she was forced to temporarily close all her social media accounts. In a later episode (diner challenge), he managed to completely destroy his toast and eggs, then proceeded to blame Daniel for "not offering to help" and got into fights with both him and Cutter (who told Leslie he needed to "shut up and cook", and to accept his mistakes). To top it off, he again started re-tweeting people insulting the other chefs and calling them names.
    • A lot of Season 5 viewers also seem to dislike "aerial entertainer" Courtney, likely due to her ever-present Louboutins stripper heels (extremely expensive yet she continuously laments how poor she is), alarmingly obvious narcissism, and endless supply of overweening cockiness. The most notable example was episode 12, when her team lost the challenge and faced the pressure test, and she was given the choice to save anyone on her team, including herself. She did outright say in a past episode (when Willie was in a similar situation) that she would save herself, but she managed to basically give the finger to her teammates by saying "the reason we did so wellwas because we had such good leadership", and saved herself because she was so proud of herself. Her winning the season over much-likable Elizabeth didn't help her case.
    • Season 5's Ahran started off as one due to having a bad temper combined with a very short fuse, but ended up averting it after a couple of episodes after she buried the hatchet with Leslie and mellowed out.
    • Season 8 had a short-lived example with Mark, who looked like he didn't care about the competition and even suggested to another competitor to "ignore" whatever advice the judges had. He was the first eliminated.
    • Season 9 had another contestant named Mark, who was arrogant over his skills despite being 19 years of age, claiming that all his experience from his mother's restaurant was enough for his skills, and it led to not only a team challenge lost, but his elimination.
    • Season 10 had an example of Dorian. Despite her sympathetic background and normally a nice contestant, her attitude in episode 9's tag team challenge was irritating at best and downright abusive at worst. She immediately said she was sabotaged when Nick paired her up with Subha who had a reputation of moving slowly in non-individual challenges despite being a good cook and spent her time at the sideline yelling at Subha to follow her direction and to not shut down while being angry at Subha for asking her questions when it was her turn to cook and not communicating with him at all.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • After being criticized for trying to turn the ravioli dish that all the cooks were expected to prepare into an Italian-Mexican fusion dish, US Season 4 contestant Howard openly asked what the point of the challenge was if all the contestants were expected to cook the same thing. This caused Joe to launch into a hell of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech in which he basically accused Howard of being a talentless idiot who was wasting his time trying to make it in the culinary world, and that he should go back to his day job. While the smarmy, petulant way in which Howard phrased his question left him wide open to that attack, many fans pointed out that the judges do tend to chew contestants out for producing dishes that don't fit their very specific criteria.
    • Leslie in Season 5, episode 8. Before everyone was called in to see the results of the pressure test, Leslie stated that he was trying not to say anything to piss anybody off, to which Daniel replied "When are you gonna apply that to the rest of your life?" Later, after Willie chose to save Daniel from the pressure test, the judges asked Daniel why he thinks he keeps being spared from pressure tests, and he says that he hasn't made any enemies. Leslie starts laughing, since Daniel has never missed an opportunity to insult or criticize him, and Daniel starts railing on Leslie for being so immature. Leslie may have been better off with an eyeroll, but it's unsurprising that he'd find the comment unfair. Later on, Leslie fit this trope to a T when the judges were reviewing his red velvet cake and deemed it delicious, to which Cutter interrupted that Leslie was a one-trick pony. Later, after Cutter got mediocre reviews on his cake, he stated that he thought Leslie should go home, primarily because he doesn't like him. When the judges were deliberating, the two got into an argument, with Cutter saying Leslie needs to be more mature and stop being anti-critic, to which Leslie replies "Yeah, because you've done such a great job so far".
    • Shanika in Season 9 might be blunt, but she has made some good points regarding team challenges. In Episode 6, she rightfully called all of Chelsea's decisions wrong (like choosing teammates instead of the easiest dish, her lack of leadership, and even who she chose to save, based only on who was nice to her). Then in Episode 8, where she rightfully called Juni's leadership nonexistent, and was very vocal against his idea for an orange-zested mashed potatoes, suggesting to serve fondant potatoes instead for a better presentation. And in Episode 9, she was right about not drawing smile faces with sauce on the kids' plates, despite Julia brushing her off. In all of these challenges, Gordon had to repeat exactly what she said to make the team captains listen.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • As Season 5 moves along, Leslie seems to be gravitating more and more towards this trope. He certainly came off as a giant douche in the beginning, but he started to win people over around the time he and former rival Ahran were paired together and they actually worked well together, burying the hatchet and even appearing to become friends. Since then, he has had occasionally obnoxious moments, but he always at least tries to work well with others. Then, in episode 12, he and Ahran faced elimination together, and he teared up talking about how much he had come to respect not only her, but all of his fellow contestants. Ahran ended up going home, and he looked utterly devastated.
    • In Season 9, Shanika has been very supportive of others, despite her blunt character, as she is comforting people from the balcony. Bowen chose her as his partner because he likes how honest and direct she is.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Season 4's Kathy endures an especially long one, having to cook through four challenges, only to get eliminated in the end despite largely not being at fault. First, the team she's on loses due to poor leadership and too many cooks in the kitchen. Krissi and Natasha specifically were the crux of it, the former being mouthy and consistently antagonistic, while the latter refused advice that resulted in her cauliflower puree being bland. To make matters worse, Kathy's original suggestion to put a rub and season on the steak to test it before serving was ignored. In the subsequent pressure test, Kathy had arguably the third best dish, but the nature of the challenge meant only two contestants would be saved. Bri and Krissi produced near perfect eggs Benedict, whereas Kathy's egg broke. Paired with Luca against Natasha and Beth, she recommends a simple burger, but Luca ultimately pushes for a more complicated recipe they both have difficulty with, losing as a result. Finally, in a sudden death challenge against Luca, she cooks a perfect lobster, while Luca's is just slightly overdone. Unfortunately, Kathy's lack of presentation and overly acidic salad compared to Luca's is what sends her home.
    • Bime gets put through a similar string of events shortly thereafter, courtesy of Krissi. One week he is a team captain and winds up with Krissi on his team, who spends the whole time complaining that he is a terrible leader and generally being unpleasant. When they lose, she blames it all on him and shows nothing but disdain when he is saved from the pressure test not through his own choice but that of the judges. The next week, Krissi is a captain and Bime is assigned to her team, leading to her saying he's an "idiot" and deciding to have him make fried chicken because she figures "even he couldn't screw it up". She then continues to blame him when some of the chicken comes out raw, and once again blames him for the team's loss. When it turns out his chicken won their team the majority of their votes and it was the fish that lost them the challenge, she still makes Bime compete in the pressure test while saving herself. Bime winds up accidentally putting cream of tartar in his pie instead of cornstarch and is eliminated, while Krissi watches and gloats the whole time. Made even harsher when, after that episode, an interview revealed that the reason some of the chicken was raw was because Krissi ordered Bime to have the chicken in a salt water brine for a very long time rather than cooking it earlier, and not only that but Bime had noticed that some chicken was raw and Krissi decided to serve it anyway. Taking that into account and adding the fact that Krissi either did not notice or did not care about Jordan's flawed salmon, it's obvious that the loss of the challenge fell squarely on Krissi's shoulders due to her terrible leadership, which she refused to accept responsibility for and leads to this trope for Bime.
    • Gordon has a rather cruel moment towards Lynn in the episode where he was eliminated. Gordon had seen Lynn seriously struggling with the baking challenge and knew that his dish was utter crap, but when he calls him up for judging he refers to him as "the plating expert" and "Mister Finesse", making Lynn extremely uncomfortable because both he and Gordon knew that his dish looked awful. Gordon then goes out of his way to make a big show of having the other judges see how terrible the dish looks and calls it the "worst dish he's ever tasted in four years of MasterChef".
  • Large Ham: US Season 6 gives us the uber-intense Stephen and the flashy, flamboyant Tommy.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The judges seem to get hit with this during a Mystery Box challenge in the Junior season, when they comment on how amazed they are that Dara was bravely attempting to make a blue cheese soufflé, saying that nobody in the show's history had ever attempted to do a soufflé in a challenge unless the judges had specifically asked for a soufflé to be made. However, anyone who has seen the adult seasons will remember Season 3's Monti making a corn and lavender soufflé (which Gordon gave high praise to) on a challenge in which they had to make any dessert they wanted using corn as the main ingredient.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: In Season 10, Subha was selected to compete with the losing team in the elimination challenge twice by the winning teams' captains. In one of the episodes, he saved the plating of his food at the last 25 seconds, but managed to get it done. If this hadn't happened, Subha would have been eliminated instead of Fred Chang, resulting in the entire losing team from the last team challenge to be "Elimination Houdinis", and the winning team to lose one member.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: In Season 6, it became customary to have contestants compete for a spot in the top 20 as part of the first few episodes, whereas in prior seasons, the top 20 competitors had already been determined by the season premiere. In Season 8, rather than having everyone make a dish during the second round of each episode, the bottom-placing contestants from the first round are subjected to a pressure test.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Gordon Ramsay's other franchise, Hell's Kitchen, the American version of MasterChef is this.
    • Contestants are not professionals who can be berated for their failures and are also chosen for their skill instead of their ability to cause drama.
    • The contestants support each other to a much higher degree than on the more cutthroat Hell's Kitchen, on which sabotage and backstabbing are par for the course. On MasterChef, it's almost expected that the contestants assist other contestants who forget crucial ingredients or who suffer from equipment failure.
    • Also Seasons 10 and 11 of the US version are this as contestants are more supportive of each other than before and lesser drama than past seasons.
  • The Load:
    • In Season 3, most contestants actively chose Christine last in team challenges because she's blind. Joe even thinks that her disability is bound to make her a detriment in team challenges, especially those that take place in actual restaurant kitchens. Christine, however, proved any of her doubters wrong when her excellent flavor profile and, in the team challenges that she was the captain, leadership capabilities paved the way for her team's victory.
    • In spite of the fact that she had frequently shown herself to be a strong home cook capable of cooking and baking, as season four progressed Krissi became this, because nobody else in the competition wanted to contend with her attitude and often nasty behavior towards her fellow competitors.
    • Nathan proves to the this in Season 7 in team challenges. He proves to be strong enough in pressure tests and challenges to keep surviving throughout most of the competition, but nobody wants him around in team challenges due to his seeming inability to listen to advice or directions and odd failures at seemingly basic tasks.
    • Season 10 has Subha who, while a talented cook who often does well in individual challenges, is consistently shown to be useless at best and an impediment at worst in team challenges. So much that for the challenges that had the winning team choose one of their own members to cook in the Pressure Test, he was chosen more than once because of that.
  • Manipulative Editing:
    • Ben Starr from Season 2 used to make a lot of comments on how the producers spliced bits of audio to make a commentary they want. One example include his comment on how the tone on Bri's "If Krissi goes home, I'm fine!" in Season 4 Top 11's elimination challenge had a jarring shift in tone.
    • David Miller from Season 7 wrote blog posts that explained and commented on things that happened in the season episodes. The one that invokes this trope the most is his infamous rage quit on top 5's elimination challenge where a number of factors for it (Dan's extremely faulty basket, Shaun's mind game, and producer's questions that was a deliberate effort to anger David) were removed from the final product so that it would appear David exited the set for no reason.
    • Fred Chang from Season 10 used to make several Reddit posts during episode discussion about some informative things happening behind the scene (including Noah calling Subha "Subaru" out of nowhere in one episode which Fred explained that "Subaru" was actually Subha's nickname that he himself asked others to call him with in the competition to keep people from thinking Noah was butchering Subha's name's pronounciation) until he erased them.
  • Manly Tears: Shaun from Season 7 was normally very well-composed and level-headed, but would break down every time he mentioned his late father.
  • Mean Brit:
    • Surprisingly for a show involving Gordon Ramsay, this isn't really used or invoked that much. Gordon can be harsh at times, but generally tends to play the "strict but fair" judge role in between "nice judge" Graham and "mean judge" Joe, and can also be quite pleasant, especially when he sees contestants do really well, or when a contestant surprises him with something unexpectedly tasty. He ups his mean side in Season 8, however.
    • Also averted with Francis L. in US season 5, being one of the nicest and most likable contestants of his season.
  • Melodrama: The US version never misses a chance to hype up how difficult the next challenge is. The show will also always go to commercial right before the judges announce a decision.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    • Season 3 was the first to have a "redemption" challengenote . All of the other returnees were cheered by the final six... that is until Ryan came, leading to a collective silence from all the participants.
    • Again in US Season 4, but this time the ostracized party was Bime, for no clear reason. Except for Luca, but he likes everybody.
  • My Greatest Second Chance:
    • Luca originally auditioned in Season 3 and didn't get past the audition. He finally got selected in Season 4 and ended up winning the season.
    • Midway in Seasons 3 and 4 some of the eliminated contestants were brought back to compete for a chance to return to the competition. Season 3's returnee Joshua would make it to the finale.
    • Season 8 had during the Selection Duels Taylor and Cate, both lost their respective duels for Season 7. From them, Cate won the apron. She made it up to the top four before being eliminated.
    • For Taylor, it's more like "My Greatest Third Chance" as she has been in the audition round since Season 7 and lost to both Andrea and Cate in the first two seasons. However, it all paid off in Season 9 where she finally won an apron. She made it up to the top nine before being eliminated.
    • The premise of the upcoming Season 12, which is a Back to Win season. It consists of 18 contestants from previous seasons and 2 grown-up contestants from Masterchef Junior returning to the kitchen.
  • Nervous Wreck:
    • Nathan from Season 7 went frenetic in Team Challenges, most notably when he fainted in the middle of an Elimination Challenge when he was paired with Shaun for a tag-team challenge.
    • Jennifer from Season 8 couldn't handle pressure at all, with Gordon describing her performance in one challenge as "An aeroplane nosediving after hitting a turbulence." This reason alone was also why Yachecia was reluctant to take her in a team challenge and later chose to go against her knowing that the pressure would affect her performance and defeat her.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Teasers for next episode in version usually mix clips in order to avoid spoiling who will success or fail. It's taken a step further for some episodes involving team challenge and pressure tests where they sometimes use clips from later episodes to mislead viewers about the winning and losing team. In Season 5 for example, a teaser for episode 7 shows clips from three different pressure tests.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Graham Elliot fits this to a tee; always gentle in delivering comments to the worst dishes and tries to give as much constructive criticism to the contestants who cooked them.
    • Luca in Season 4 was portrayed this way. He almost never had anything bad to say about other contestants, and he would willingly share his ingredients with his competition if they were short and he had enough to spare.
    • New judge Christina Tosi is even nicer and friendlier than Graham, expressing disappointment rather than offense whenever she tastes a subpar dish (which makes it more ironic that it was Joe she replaced). By Season 8, Aarón Sanchez seems to be even nicer and affable than her after she upped the Brutal Honesty by that time.
    • Darah from Season 6 is arguably a Deconstruction: she didn't have a single negative word to say about any of her teammates after they lost their first team challenge, which visibly annoyed Graham and Christina (the former even called her out on it). Her approach to leading her team in said challenge was to walk around smiling and patting everyone on the back, and even letting them choose their own stations. Their loss was unsurprising and her choices to spare from the pressure test were not based on hard-work, but "smiling attitude" instead, which made even Graham question it briefly.
    • Terry from Season 7. A large, huggable teddybear of a chef who never got heated, never insulted anyone, never got stressed or yelled at anyone during the team challenges, and took his loss better than anyone else in the entire season.
      • Dan of the same season is also this. He may appear as a goofy fratbro, but he has a good heart and took his elimination well.
      • Brandi of the same season also never had an ill will or word towards anyone in the competition.
      • Shaun, while not above competitive trash talking, was also always very down to earth, never picked on inferior competitors during said trash talking nor when he won challenges, citing that he explicitly wanted the best out of his competitors so he himself could improve by cooking against them, which ends up working out as he ran with the championship.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Ben Starr from Season 2 was known to sport a collection of oddly patterned chef's hats.
    • Tali from Season 3 would occasionally don a fedora.
    • Mike from season 1 and Bime from Season 4 were always seen sporting a fedora.
    • Another Mike, this one from Season 3, always sported a cowboy hat except during food truck team challenge when he wore a simple cap.
    • Season 6 Nick also wore hats in every episode.
    • Season 8 has Newton (whose first name is also Mike), who almost always is wearing a cowboy hat. Jeff is also almost never seen with his backward cap too.
    • Season 10 Micah often had his backwards baseball cap. Jamie had one too, though he wore his forwards.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between:
    • In the first five seasons, Graham, Joe, and Gordon were this, respectively.
    • By Season 8, Graham and Joe are not in the panel and Christina Tosi and Aarón Sanchez took their places. Aarón is "The Nice" (his comments are mostly constructive and serious without any sign of annoyance), Gordon is "The Mean" (he is the most blunt of the three), and Christina is "In Between" (she can be both sweet and stern when she needs to be). In fact, Gordon takes on "The Mean" role up to the level that in the season 8 finale, Joe, who came back as a guest judge, is now more of the "In Between"!
    • In Season 9. Gordon and Joe alternate between "Mean" and "In Between", while Aarón stays as "Nice"
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination
    • In Season 4, there was supposed to be a Top 20, but only 19 contestants start off, ten women and nine men. An unknown male contestant was seen being chosen alongside the other nineteen to make it into the MasterChef kitchen, but whether he dropped out or was disqualified before the Top 20 began competing was never revealed.
    • In Season 5, the contestant Gordon was forced to withdraw from the competition due to illness after making it to the top 19.
      • Also there is Tyler, who accidentally served Jaimee's panna cotta instead of his own. He was eliminated not for anything regarding his dish, but for breaking a core MasterChef rule: he served someone else's food.
    • In Season 6, it was announced at the top of episode 6 that contestant Dan Collado had withdrawn from the show for personal reasons. These reasons have not been made public as of yet.
    • In Season 7, Andrea was eliminated for not getting her food to the front in time. Despite having the best sausage according to Gordon and several other contestants, she was eliminated for being three seconds too slow.
    • In Season 11 (Legends), Mary Jayne withdrew from the competition after experiencing medical issues offscreen.
      • Tay was eliminated due to not using all 5 required ingredients during the California spot prawn challenge as he forgot his uni butter despite not having the worst dish.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • In Season 5, There were Francis B. and Francis L., who was mostly referred as "Scottish Francis".
    • In Season 8, there were two Caitlyns. Redhead went by "Caitlyn" and Blond went by "Cate" to avoid confusion.
  • Only Sane Man: Francis L. and Christine from season 5. Neither gets involved with the drama of the others (although Christine did step in once to defend Ahran against Leslie, who was screaming in her face), and they're both talented and born leaders. This has done much to endear them to the viewers, who are getting sick of the drama being favored over the actual cooking. Sadly, Christine and Francis were cut at 12th and 11th place respectively, as they both delivered their first dishes that landed them even near the bottom (Christine made bitter-tasting chocolate truffles, while Francis L. made a caramelle drenched in juice from uncooked beets).
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In Season 3, David wins a challenge to determine what kind of dessert the contestants will make during elimination. He chooses corn, and spends a good deal of time building up the audience to how well he knows how to make corn rice pudding. After the home cooks gather their ingredients from the pantry however, he realizes that he forgot to grab any rice, a key ingredient to his much vaunted corn rice pudding. For added effect, after his grim realization, the camera cuts right back to the MasterChef pantry's door slowly closing.
    • Season 4's Bime has this when he realizes he accidentally mixed up two ingredients during a citrus meringue pie and it was too late for him to start again.
    • Season 5's Tyler has an Oh, Crap! of epic proportions when he realizes that he has accidentally served Jaimee's dish, resulting in his immediate disqualification.
    • Nathan experiences one during season 7, when during a challenge to make bibimbap, he realizes that he doesn't know how to cook rice.
  • Older Than They Look: Season 6 Tommy was 53 at the time and he looked a decade younger.
  • Pass the Popcorn: In the U.S Season 6, after Nick pairs up chefs that don't like each other for an elimination challenge, as he heads up to the lobby, he comments "Give me some popcorn and a six-pack; I can't wait to watch this."
  • The Peter Principle: Contestants who cook a good enough dish to win an elimination challenge become team captains in the next episode's team challenge. On several occasions, this reward proves to not be much of a prize, as for some contestants, cooking the best dishes of the elimination challenge has no correlation with the contestant having the skills required to effectively lead a team to victory, be it from poor planning, poor command, or both. Bad enough performance as a team captain may, in the worst cases, lead directly to said captain being eliminated in the pressure test that ensues for their failure, all because their solo cooking excellence led to a "promotion" to the very different role of team leadership.
  • Pet the Dog: As seen above in the Kick the Dog trope, Kathy went through a quite harsh process to end up eliminated despite not being the worst performer. However, after all this, Gordon Ramsay, having been impressed with her tenacity and how hard she fought to stay, offers her a job in his New York restaurant. This echoes back with when she was chosen last for a team challenge for a second time, where she told Ramsay that maybe he saw something in her that others didn't... and unfortunately, it's painfully averted after the show, when Kathy tweeted how she attended the first day (with a chef's jacket and all) to learn work at the restaurant just as Gordon promised, but when she arrived the second day, they dismissed her, telling her they'd "Call her when they needed her" and never giving her any actual explanation for why she was dismissed.
    • Also seen with Natasha in the episode where contestants' families came to visit them. Krissi's son was unable to make it due to tests and could only send a pre-recorded video to her. Natasha expresses sympathy for Krissi despite the two of them hating each other.
  • Product Placement: This seems to be one of Graham Elliott's main duties. Not quite Once an Episode, he'll approach a contestant and they'll do a mini-commercial for the brand of knife or cookware being used. Ramsay and Bastianich don't seem to be on the hook for it, though.
    • Season 3 would like you to know that all of the steaks in this episode can be purchased at Walmart. On the bright side of things, Graham seems to have been left off the hook for the mini-commercials.
    • Season 4 gets even more blatant with shilling for Walmart, with it being mentioned multiple times in every single episode, often along with how little the given ingredients would cost if bought at Walmart. For example, an elimination test that was based on two baskets of food: one that could be purchased for under $5 and the other for under $25 at Walmart, with both the store and the prices repeatedly mentioned Even more hilariously, that same episode featured Graham lauding a rib-eye steak's quality to the skies - in front of the vegetarian Bri.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Christine went from being Season 3 winner to a full-on judge in MasterChef Vietnam.
  • Put on the Bus:
    • Joe Bastianich left after Season 5 as it took too much of his time. However, he has returned (see The Bus Came Back above for more information).
    • Graham Elliot left after Season 6.
    • Chrisitna Tosi left after Season 8.
  • The Quiet One: Season 4's Lynn Chyi is seen as one.
  • Quirky Curls: Season 7's Brandi had very big, very curly, and very blonde hair with an adorable Kentucky accent. Andrea from the same season very much a Spicy Latina with her own curly brown hair.
  • Rage Quit: David tries this briefly in Season 7 in the top five during a pressure test after a basket-swap gives him a poor set of ingredients he doesn't want to work with. It doesn't last long because Ramsay heads after him after he stalks out of the kitchen and talks him out of it.
  • Reverse Psychology: In Season 6, Stephen was given the choice of choosing his teammates first or his protein first. Instead of going directly for the lobster he wanted, he made it look tough so Shelly would give it to him and he still got everything in the end.
  • Running Gag: Krissi, from Season 4, who was on the losing team of every single team challenge, at least those that are teams of three or more people. She did perform well in the one single tag-team challenge they've had so far, but putting her with more than two people seemed to be a guaranteed loss for any team who had her.
  • Sassy Black Woman:
    • Season 4's Sasha Foxx. Even Joe Bastianich's meanest stares did not faze her one bit. That didn't prevent her from being eliminated in the first Elimination Test.
    • Season 8's Eboni has this side, but unlike Sasha, she can back up her talk with her cooking.
    • Season 9's Shanika. During her audition, she expressed her goal to be the female version of Gordon, and has delivered all her opinions "Straight, raw Shanika" in her own words.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: In the first 9 seasons in order to get an apron a contestant would have to impress one or two of the three judges depending on the season. In season 10, contestants have to impress all 3 judges (or obtain a battle pass to duel against the other two battle pass picks) to get an apron. Also the challenges are more difficult as well.
    • Back to Win requires each dish made each week to have three consistently made portions, usually saved for the final couple of episodes.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man:
    • Luca from Season 4 wore suits to both his Season 3 and Season 4 auditions and continues to wear them throughout the competition. He hardly ever wears anything more casual than a nice button-down, occasionally with a vest over it.
    • Similarly, season 5's Leslie has always worn colorful vests and ties; the only times he hasn't looked dressed-up is during team challenges.
    • Fashion designer Tommy from Season 6, who frequently wore colorful and extravagant outfits, rarely wearing a casual t-shirt. (During one team challenge he even sported a leopard-print sweatband.)
    • Tuxedo salesman Nathan always wore a different, you guessed it, tuxedo for every single episode, in a variety of colors.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Ryan and Tali from Season three, who would argue with the judges or insist that, even though all three judges had panned their food, they simply didn't understand the "genius" behind it. They maintained this haughty attitude towards the other contestants, insisting that they had superior talent even when they were clearly outperformed. Tali was more guilty of this, though, because Ryan at least admitted his molten lava chocolate cake was the worse of the two of them after the judges asked the person with the worst dish to step forward and remove their apron.
    • Krissi from Season four also keeps up the trend of arguing with the judges, as she continually defended a catfish dish that the judges had said was terrible and claimed the only reason they were criticizing her was because she had to fight with Joe on television, never mind the fact that the guest judge, season 3 winner Christine Ha (who is known to have an excellent palate) also said that her dish was not good. She was saved from elimination that challenge, but not before Gordon told her point blank that she didn't have the talent to back up her attitude. This has not stopped her from continuing with this attitude, especially on team challenges. Once she was on the losing team of a team challenge, and the winning team got to choose who was safe from the pressure test. They chose Krissi because they all think that they could beat her later on, but she thinks it's because they want to invoke The Only One Allowed to Defeat You on "the best cook".
  • Springtime for Hitler:
    • In the second season, Adrien won a mystery box challenge, and got to select which chefs would work with which cuts of pork in the following challenge. He therefore took a relatively easy cut for himself, and assigned Christian and Ben (the other two of the top three in the mystery box challenge) the hardest two cuts. When the chefs were done cooking, Christian and Ben's dishes really impressed the judges (Joe even told Adrian that his plan to get Christian eliminated had backfired), while Adrien's dish was felt to be unspectacular. On top of all that, Alejandra, who had gotten the pork loin and whom everyone expected to ace the challenge, served up raw pork and duly got kicked out of the competition.
    • Happened again in Season 3. Ryan won a mystery box challenge, and got to choose which chefs cooked with fresh crab, and which ones cooked with canned. He chose Christine (who's blind) to cook with fresh crab, believing her to be a threat, and therefore giving her something that could literally hinder her and which she was unfamiliar with, and gave Monti canned crab, because he wanted her to get eliminated due to a personal dislike of her. On the other hand, he gave Tali, his best friend in the house, fresh crab, believing he would knock it out of the park. Monti was complimented for her crazy idea (Scotch egg with canned crab) actually working, and Christine not only survived, but made the best dish out of all of the chefs. Tali? Bottom two for the second elimination test (out of two), and barely surviving thanks to his incredibly poor use of the crab.
    • Once more in Season 3, and again with seafood. Felix had to assign nine different fish species to the contestants — she gave Christine, David, and Tali easy ones (salmon, yellowfin tuna, and arctic char respectively; in the third case, she reckoned, correctly, that he would screw it up), while Frank, Becky and Monti, her greatest competition, received hard ones that they had never seen before (catfish, rockfish, and John Dory). The latter were all acclaimed (Frank took first while Monti received second), while the former ended up all in the bottom three with Tali going home.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Ryan had a lot of similarities to season's 2 original Big Bad Max, both arrogant New Yorkers from wealthy background that tended to look down on the other contestants, though Max tended to be more of a Smug Snake while Ryan was pretty much Up to Eleven in the arrogant factor.
    • Howard was similar to Tali in that he always wanted to cook the dishes of elimination challenges "his own way" and frequently earned the judge's Ire for not respecting the basic craft of the dish, though Howard lacked Tali's more immediately pretentious True Art Is Comprehensible mentality.
    • Courtney was similar in many ways to Natasha from season 4, not only just being dark-haired Femme Fatale types, though the difference was Natasha wore her ruthlessly competitive side on her sleeve while Courtney was more of a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Tempting Fate: Season 8 had Necco, who by that point was considered one of the strongest competition, brush off Gordon's advices for cooking Hanger Steak with a "How hard can it be?". Gordon promptly left him by calling him "Mr. Humble" and surely enough, he got eliminated (his steak was rare instead of medium rare and his plating looked bizarre).
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Season 1's Slim. Making a poorly made dish that Joe threw in the trash was bad enough, but she sunk her chances in staying when she said she would make the same dish again if given another chance.
    • Season 8's Mark, who openly said to "ignore" whatever advice the judges had. He didn't last long.
    • Season 9 had another Mark, who also dismissed the judges' advice on a team challenge because it wasn't how his restaurateur parents did it, and the failing dish led his team to the Pressure Test where he got eliminated.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Luca from Season 4. After failing to enter the competition in season 3, he also began to struggle during the top 13, constantly hanging out in the middle of the pack or lower... until the final 8, where he launched into a nearly perfect streak of being in the top 3 for any given episode, wasn't put up for elimination again until the final 3, and ended up winning it all.
    • Gerron from Season 9. He started off as one of the weaker chefs in the competition, but come around the second half, he started to shine more, and was improving in skills he lacked from the start (desserts and plating as prime examples). And just like Luca above, he ended up winning it all.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Judge Joe Bastianich has taken this route since his return from Season 9. His criticisms have been toned down, and he seems to be friendlier to the contestants. And not once did he trash somebody's dish.
  • Trash of the Titans: Messy and dirty stations have been a point of contempt with the judges.
    • In Season 3, Gordon took a moment to scold Tali for leaving his station a disaster, all his dirty pans and pots on the floor and the counter and stove stained with flour. Gordon warned him that he would be fired from his kitchen in a minute, and closed with describing his resulting dish with "If you cook in a mess, you produce a mess"
    • In Season 5, Joe stopped the work in the kitchen to openly scold Astrid for throwing all her garbage on the floor of her station, pointing out that it's disgusting and anyone can get hurt, but still let her off with a warning. Astrid only mumbled if they had any cleaning staff around.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • This was both played straight and averted with season 3's Christine. Played straight during team challenges, where the captains chose her last in all but two of the challenges (and in one of those two, Christine herself was a captain) because they didn't know what else she could help with other than prepping and serving, and judge Joe Bastianich tended to underestimate her in team challenges too, mostly on the one challenge she wasn't picked last. But then it was averted with individual challenges, where nobody thought of her as easy to beat, seen in parts such as Ryan giving her fresh crab instead of canned crab to work with (figuring she would have difficulty handling a live creature that could pinch her) because he thought of her as a big threat, and when three eliminated contestants said she would win the whole competition, one of those three being the very person she faced and defeated in the finals to claim the title.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye:
    • Samantha, from season 3. Out of any contestant of the first three seasons (and now including the Season 4), she was the one seen the least out of them all. We never saw her audition, we never saw her moving along, and the first time we got to hear her actually talk was during the very first Mystery Box challenge, where she was eliminated. Season 7's Cassie also receives the same treatment.
  • Wedding Episode: Some team challenges take place at a wedding. Most notable examples include:
    • Season 7 features Season 6 former contestant Nick Nappi's.
    • Season 9 has Season 7 winner Shaun O'Neale's, officiated by Gordon himself.
    • Season 10 has Season 9's winner Gerron Hurt's wedding right in the MasterChef kitchen.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: From Season 2 onwards, the winning contestant of the previous season returns as the guest star for an elimination test. The exception is Season 3 wherein S2 winner Jennifer did not return. Eight seasons later, she returned for the Season 10 premiere alongside fellow winners Christine and Shawn to support the contestants.
  • What the Hell, Player?: The judges did this to Sharone and Whitney in the penultimate episode of the first season,after the former served up a dish made up offish livers, while the latter used mostly canned ingredients for her dish, figuring the food critics they were serving to wouldn't know the difference. Gordon openly said that he considered the two to be the best cooks in the competition, and couldn't believe that one of them was now going to be eliminated before the final.
    • Season 5, episode 9: Both Cutter and Willie got this, Willie because after he was given a huge basket of Italian food... made tomato soup with a fried egg on top, and Cutter because he made an absolutely ridiculous looking mini pizza, and then attempted to call it an "artisan pizza". Gordon said that Cutter's looked like it had been thrown together in ten minutes, and was a disappointment to both him and the MasterChef kitchen, while Joe asked him if he even knew what the ingredients in the basket were (Cutter said he didn't).
      • Gordon delivers this hard to Willie, Daniel and Francis L. in episode 11's caramelle elimination challenge because they made poor effort to stand out; Francis L. colored his pasta dough red to make it look like a candy while giving a puree that doesn't go well together with the rest of the element in his dish, Daniel gave red wine to his caramelle dough while making a sauce with confusing balance of taste, and Willie made a dessert out of the pasta. In Willie's case (the whole anger was expressed when Gordon tasted Willie's dish), Gorden was so unimpressed because he said the former's dish sounded disgusting, looked liked a regurgitated dog vomit, and was just unappetizing.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math:
    • Daniel in season 5 gets some fun poked at him when he's asked to produce 12 donuts and instead makes 16, and explains that he went to art school.
    • Both Jeff and Brien failed to make 6 cannolis in Season 8, instead making five and four respectively. Newton jokingly got a round of applause for actually completing six.
      • A similar problem would occur later on when Yachecia failed to make three white chocolate truffles, and could only put in a half part of the white truffles.
    • Invoked in Season 9. Aarón was expediting the red team's entreés.
      Aarón: Ok, guys. I'm gonna fire three six tops. Smartie-pants, how many is that?
      Emily and Samantha: 18!
      Aarón: I wanna go to the college you all went to!
    • Mark in Season 9 could only box seven out of his twelve cupcakes due to running out of time.
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…: In Season 7 Episode 14, the Mystery Box had only a cast iron skillet, a single knife and a wooden spoon, with the added twist that Gordon would be cooking along with the contestants. Gordon gets from a pantry a big turnip to use it as a rolling pin. He served two dishes, a savory steak and a sweet one.
  • You're Drinking Breast Milk: One of the Hopeless Auditionees in season 4 revealed this as the secret ingredient of her macaroni and cheese, causing Ramsay to do a Spit Take.

    International Versions 

  • Curb-Stomp Battle:  In the first season of the Canadian Version, one team won a overwhelming 107 votes out of 15.
  • Determinator:
    • Khaya from the SA version is pregnant but continues to outclass all of her fellow contestants.
    • In the Chilean version, most contestants are still working at their regular jobs. Ignacio works nights as a garbage collector, so he almost doesn't sleep when he is cooking for the show. He also took the trope Up to Eleven when he went in a wheelchair with a broken leg. And he is the most probable winner and the only one who already has an offer to cook in one of the judge's restaurants.
    • Canada season 2's Jennifer, who after forgetting a key, must-have ingredient for a difficult dish and having a bit of a meltdown, pushes on and decides to, on the fly, make up a substitute for the ingredient she lacked. She works non-stop and the most focused she has so far and manages to produce a great dish, stunning the judges. Other contestants lampshade how much she falls into this trope during that challenge.
    • A more extreme version of US Season 9's Taylor is Josh from Canada Season 6 who went through every season's MasterChef Canada auditions until he got an apron.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The main reason Vicky, from the Spanish version S2, will be remembered. Because "I can't cook with a hot guy in front of me." Because "Is he hot?" is probably her catchphrase. But mostly because of her hilarious teenager-like reactions to one of the judges (doe-eyes, giggling, blushing, babbling, almost burning food to a crisp,...). Obviously, everyone and their cat can see (and laugh about) it... even the jury himself. Yeah, watching MasterChef Spain is almost like watching a flipping soap-opera.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty:
    • Judge Andrew Ratkinson in the SA version.
    • And judge Alvin Leung from the Canada version. He is loud, strict, demanding and will get in contestants' faces if they produce crap food. That being said, he is very supportive towards contestants who do well and will never fail to give high praise to a good dish.
  • The Eeyore: Eric from MasterChef Canada. He shows happiness whenever he does well, but the rest of the time, the look on his face is that of a sad, scolded puppy.
  • Emotionless Girl: MasterChef Canada Season 5 contestant and eventual winner Beccy, who was both still a teenager and rarely showed any emotion but cool calm. She sometimes crossed this with Deadpan Snarker.
  • Everybody Lives: In MasterChef Indonesia Season 2, all five contestants survived the dish replication challenge because of different reasons than examples above; none of them successfully replicated the dish and each of them made equally fatal mistakes ranging from using wrong cooking technique to serving raw lamb chop the judges couldn't determine who had to go home.
  • Evil Wears Black: The Black Team in Indonesian version, as the name implies, wears black to show they are antagonistic toward the remaining contestants, trying to usurp their place. Some of them even go so far as wearing Gothic-esque getup.
  • Fingore: Poor Zaq in the UK series 15 managed to cut the end of his pinkie off while peeling an apple within a minute of his introduction, and Jon Torode immediately sent him off to hospital. We never even learned what he was planning to cook. After recovering he was invited back for the final heat of the series, but was eliminated in the first round.
  • Flanderization: Averted in the case of Gregg Wallace, who's been co-presenting the British version with John Torode since 2005. Gregg has always been a bald Cockney with a shouty style of delivery who really, really likes pudding.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • Matt Preston from the Australian version towers the other two judges, standing at a 6'3'' height.
    • Antonino Cannavacciuolo, the fourth judge of MasterChef Italy from Season 5 onwards, has a quite intimidating body shape; however, he rarely ever gets angry, instead delivering very spicy remarks when confronting the contestants.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Both Joe and Graham from the US version have each made an appearance in the Canada version. Joe guest starred in Season 1 for an Italian themed Mystery Box Challenge, while Graham guest starred in Season 2 for an small ingredient Mystery Box Challenge.
  • Haggis Is Horrible: Subverted in the Austalian version, Fiona, the Scottish participant  made a haggis for her audition dish in Season 7. Even though judge Matt Preston was initially disgusted by the idea of eating haggis, he liked Fiona's dish enough that he gave her the Master Chef apron.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rodrigo, who was one of the most probable to win the Chilean version, resigned from the show to save Daniela who was eliminated. He also claimed that he wanted to focus on his career as a teacher.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • In Canada Season 4, after losing team challenge, Alisha decided to save Barry who worked the hardest in said challenge from pressure test with Matt also agreeing with the decision. Even though she later produced a dish that could potentially send her home (and she did go home), when asked by Chef Alvin whether she regretted the decision she made had she known what would have happened, she firmly said "No" and Chef Alvin praised her for that.
    • In the 6th episode of MasterChef Argentina, contestants were divided into two teams to cater for a wedding. An unexpected change of schedule put them far behind when it came to the main dish, to the point that two of the judges had to jump in and create dishes of their own so the guests would get to eat without too big a delay. Based on early dishes and teamwork in general, the red team won. Juan, the captain of the blue team, was given the choice to save himself or a member of his team from the pressure test, and he chose teammate Pablo. And then the judges pull off the twist, noting that teams needed the judges' help in completing the challenge, so they tell the captain of the winning team, Natalie, that she had to put a member of her team into the pressure test. Natalie said her team performed admirably, and then promptly put herself into the pressure test, which one of the judges mentioned was what a true Master Chef would do.
    • Cody from MasterChef Canada Season 2 eerily goes and suffers similar route as US Season 2's Jennifer. Between three choice of ingredients, he chose savory black truffle and forfeited his immunity because he didn't want to pass the chance of cooking with this ingredient and said that the risk was worth it. His dish was also deemed one of the worst in that challenge just like Jennifer's.
  • Irony:
    • Miranda from MasterChef Canada Season 4 won a challenge and was told she was able to switch other contestants' baskets in the following five-ingredient elimination challenge while having the option to keep her own basket. Being a competitive person, she chose to keep hers. Despite having the advantage, she was the one eliminated in that episode after serving borderline raw flank steak.
    • In the Brazilian version, Season 5, there was an Aphrodisiac challenge, in which the only ingredients the chefs could use were considered to be aphrodisiacs, or at least usually related to romance (shrimp, escargot, strawberries, chocolate, etc.). The winner of the challenge turned out to be the priest of the competition, who was actually teased about the possibility of being the worst; the one who said the priest was probably going to fail ended up being in the bottom 3 that competition.
    • In Canada Season 1, Dora saved Pino from a pressure test because while he was a good cook, she thought he was a one-trick pony for relying on his Italian heritage too much. She went home in the following week, the same week Pino won an elimination challenge after cooking Jamaican-style food.
  • Isn't It Ironic?: In the 2021 UK series, the "triumphant" music for the announcement of the winner was "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" by Phil Collins. A histrionic song of desperation over lost love. It's not as if the producers didn't realise how inappropriate it was, since someone had actually gone to the trouble of editing together the vocal and instrumental versions to eliminate all the lyrics except for the two phrases in the title.
  • Jerkass: A non-US example, we have Gonzalo, from the Season 2 of the Spain version. He spent all his time on the show insulting his fellow competitors and picking fights with them and sometimes even with the judges (mainly with Jordi). He constantly whined and complained, and at one point he refused to take part in a task for a team challenge (this after having won the mystery box challenge) and promptly decided to quit the competition, to the astonishment of the judges and viewers, but noticeably, to the delight of the other contestants.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Matias and Alejo from MasterChef Argentina often got under the judges and contestants' skin due to their prepotent behavior, seemingly believing they were better than the others. They actually were very good cooks, making amazing dishes, and their behavior got better as time goes and after many scoldings from the judges.
  • Large and in Charge: Paola Carosella, one of the judges of the Brazilian MasterChef. After two season, it's still to appear anyone, contestant or otherwise, who is taller than her.
  • Laughing Mad: Jennifer from Canada season 6 had a mild case of this in Confession Cam when she and her fellow teammates had to bake one savory and one sweet plate-sized cheesecakes in 80 minutes.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: In the Spanish version S1, Pepe and Maribel. He criticized her artichokes to make her mad. She flirted with the other judge to make him jealous. They argued, and seconds later, they were laughing. It was awesome.
  • Manipulative Editing:
    • Elin's team's performance on MasterChef Indonesia Season 5's Top 3 fine dining challenge might not be the best, but one (poorly hidden) action from a judge in that round (taking a stack of unused bowl from another team's station and put them messily on hers, causing them to drop into the floor) had a shade of this to make it look like her team did way worse than it was.
  • Melodrama:** The South African version seems to have followed in the US versions footsteps, with Khaya seeming always managing to screw up at least one aspect of her dish and finishing at the last minute. Despite this, she's only been in one Pressure Test and is always winning challenges.
  • Motor Mouth:
    • Spain season 3 has contestants Antonio and Andrea, who if left unchecked, can go on long rambles of non-stop talking, especially Andrea.
    • Canada season 2 has Jennifer, who admits during her audition that she talks a lot when she's nervous, often going on and on to the point of annoying some of the other competitors. However, during the poutine Team Challenge, the Green team turned this to their advantage by sending her out to advertise their poutine to the crowd, which helped them win by a narrow margin.
  • My Greatest Failure: The first Mystery Box of Canada Season 7 (which features contestants from previous seasons; see My Greatest Second Chance below) tasked the contestants with recreating the worst dishes that they cooked during their season, many of which sent them home:
    • Andre's uni dish from Season 6, which was too light on the star ingredient though it didn't send him home
    • Andrew's poached egg from Season 2, which was completely overcooked and kept him from being brought back
    • Andy's lobster dish from Season 5's budget vs. luxury Pressure Test, which was overly salty
    • April Lee's Piña Colada dessert from Season 3, which melted and led to her elimination
    • Barrie's Wagyu beef dish from the Season 3 semifinals, which was undercooked and sent him home despite his advantage in that challenge
    • Christopher's ground pork dish from Season 2
    • Dora's beef cheek stew from Season 1, which was under-seasoned and visually unappealing
    • Jen's Salisbury steak dish from Season 5
    • Jeremy's monkfish dish from Season 3
    • Mai's poached salmon dish from a Season 4 Mystery Box
    • Marissa's Asian street food platter (which she had made with Nadia) from Season 5, the failure of which the judges blamed on her lack of communication during the Pressure Test
    • Thea's pork belly and pork cheek tamale from the Season 4 finale.
    • Season 7 of the Canadian is subtitled as Back to Win, featuring 12 former contestants from the first six seasons coming back for another chance at winning the title.
  • Name's the Same:
    • In Canada season 3 there was Sean and Shawn, with different spellings but the same pronunciation. The latter was often referred to as "Doctor Shawn" because he was also a practicing MD. Even though Sean was eliminated three weeks in and Shawn lasted considerably longer, the full title stuck until the end.
  • Nice Hat: Shawn from Canada season 3 was rarely seen without his backwards baseball cap.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In MasterChef Canada Season 4's tag team challenge, Thea who won the first challenge tried to help Matt and Justine who was in chaos by giving them instruction since they saved Thea in earlier episodes. Unfortunately, having too many voices (Thea was joined by Mai whom she saved earlier in the episode) in the latter two's station end up jeopardizing their teamwork even further resulting in them producing the worst replication that night, something that Mai acknowledged in Confession Cam. This trope also happened to Matt and Justine during the tasting. They tried to share all the blame and credit given to their dish which the judges praised as they stayed as a team. Because of this, however, the judges couldn't tell who performed the worst, ultimately sending both home.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination:
    • Season 3 of the Italian version had Beatrice, who was disqualified for using someone else's sponge cake to make her own dish after her sponge cake didn't cook properly. She was later readmitted after winning a challenge where eliminated contestants could return...only to lose the next Pressure Test.
    • Season 2 of Indonesian version has Nuuril, who was automatically disqualified after failing to complete her dish on time in a pressure test. While Andrea above failed to bring her dish to black table on time, three components Nuuril had to cook were still on pan when the time ran out, rendering them unservicable.
      • Several episode later, one contestant named Adeline withdrew from competition because of family reasons.
    • For the seventh season of the Canadian version, April Lee was forced to withdraw due to a back injury off screen. Barrie, the person who was eliminated prior to this incident, was brought back as the team challenge needed equal numbers.
  • Oh, Crap!: Adriano Zumbo walking into the MasterChef kitchen with a covered dish is enough to scare any contestant. Particularly the V8 cake.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: On the 2019 UK series of Celebrity MasterChef, Dom Parker from Gogglebox was introduced as "one of the country's most famous armchair television critics".
  • Patriotic Fervor: Played straight and invoked in MasterChef Brazil Season 4. One elimination test was to use some of the most culturally relevant ingredients of the north of Brazil. One of the judges even made a speech in regards to the beauty of the variety in Brazilian gastronomy when talking about the ingredients that drove some participants to tears and to try their hardest to honor their nation's cuisine.
  • Product Placement:
    • The SA version would like to remind you that it's sponsored by "Robertsons — The Spice People" at least ten times an episode.
    • There was an entire episode in the SA version dedicated to being a Product-Promotion Parade for Nederburg wines.
    • MasterChef Canada follows the tradition by shilling for Alexander Keith beer and "German-made Miele Appliances," the latter of which is oddly mentioned alongside things contestants need for their challenge.
    • A very interesting example in the Spain version, where the show does product placement for itself, several times per 2 hour episode. This is because in Spain, MasterChef has been so successful that they have a magazine, online cooking classes with professional chefs, and even a summer camp for children and teenagers where they can learn how to cook.
  • The Quiet One: In SA, Brandon was shaping up to be one until he entered the top 18, then he started referencing classic western animation and soccer in literally every one of his sentences.
  • Red Baron: Alvin Leung, the "head" judge of MasterChef Canada. You'd think he'd have some nice title about politeness or moose, right? Nope. "Demon Chef".
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • In the 2010 season of the UK version, the judges were faced with a heat where two of the three contestants performed brilliantly. Forced to choose which one went through to the quarterfinal...they opted to let both of them through. It's happened a few times since.
    • Happened twice in the 2012 UK Professionals version. Not only did two chefs dodge an elimination in a heat as described above, but the same pair of chefs ended up winning the season together as well because the judges couldn't decide between them.
    • And occasionally reversed, including the spring 2013 UK series, when the judges decide to kick an extra contestant out if several don't perform well enough to earn a place.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Cody from Canada Season 2 was this sometimes. Especially the time he forfeited his immunity to cook with black truffles to show how great he was. He ended with one of the worst dishes that night and was nearly eliminated.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Greg Wallace likes the buttery biscuit base.
    • Incidentally, that song actually made the UK Top 40.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: In the Spanish version, judge Pepe Rodríguez punished a contestant who had cooked a really bad meal by forcing him to eat it.
  • Too Clever by Half: The contestants in a Canadian pressure test had to make a box of doughnuts, in at least three varieties. The others predicted that Eric would make four. In fact, he made eight. But some were failures, and Alvin Leung reamed him out for going overboard.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • A meta example in the Australian season 7. The judges were impressed at how high the contestants' standards were, and, by the end of the first audition, told the remaining contenders for the Top 24 that, had they been in the previous seasons, they would have won an apron already. When 2014 Master Chef Brent Owens were brought back to observe the first round, he, too, was amazed to see how much more organized, and professional, the contestants were compared to his own experience.
    • Eric in Canada Season 1. He was seen as one of the weaker and unsure chefs in the kitchen and was also criticized for his Complexity Addiction. However, he was able to gain his confidence and surpass his rivals, Kaila and Mike. And just like Luca and Gerron, he ended up winning.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Judge Alvin Leung was Drill Sergeant Nasty in the first season of the Canadian version, to the point of many viewers considering him worse than Ramsay at times. Come Season 2 he's still tough, but has softened up considerably and is more willing to joke with and encourage the contestants.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Kaila from the Canada version is the epitome of this trope. She was thought of by others as the weakest contestant and she was constantly underestimated and sometimes even insulted. She went on to prove herself as one of the fiercest, strongest contestants and made it to the final 3, where she was eliminated by the narrowest of margins.
  • What the Hell, Player?: One chef on the UK edition (MasterChef: Professionals) bringing forward a dish that consisted of quail and chocolate cake. Facepalms all around.
    • In the Australian version Season 3, Sun made toffee using the "completely wrong way", at least according to the judges, putting the sugar on foil and using a blow torchnote . But it worked, and she was saved from elimination.
    • In one UK season, a contestant made sausage, beans on toast followed by potato dumplings with plum for dessert. This trope ensued, hard.
    • Paolo from the fourth Italian season tried to fry his sea bream without flour, and when he borrowed some from his neighboring contestant, judge Barbieri forced him to throw it away, because he was violating the rules. This huge misstep caused him to make the worst dish and be eliminated. Also, for reasons even he or the judges couldn't explain, he took a sausage from the pantry to put on his plate.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Subverted in Brazilian MasterChef season 5. The very first winner, Elena, could save five people, she picked people she wanted to form alliances with and left behind the man who got second place in the task, Dalvio. The challenge was to make french omelet, which, as it turned out, he was really bad at, managing to be the first one to leave that season.
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    Masterchef Junior 
  • The Cameo: Junior season 5 and 6 winners Jasmine and Beni were diner guests for a team challenge in Season 7.
  • Determinator:
    • US Junior season 2's Abby, during a challenge where they had to cook a restaurant-worthy dish, and she can only use two ingredients to do it. She never lets that deter her and she pushes on, managing to have one of the two best dishes of the night.
    • US Junior season 7's Reid, after being burned on the hand by hot oil during a team challenge, decides to head back into the kitchen rather than sitting the challenge out after receiving first aid. He not only provides motivation for his teammates, but also manages to perform several smaller tasks one-handed while keeping his injured hand in an ice bath.
  • Disappointed in You: In the American version of Junior, the judges say this when the semifinalists fail to produce a perfectly soft-boiled egg.
  • Everybody Lives:MasterChef Junior Season 5 plays with this trope with The Muppets' help as guest star. In top 6's steak frites challenge, Miss Piggy also participated as contestant alongside the young cooks. She tricked Gordon into cooking the dish for her, resulting in her disqualification since she didn't present her own dish. In one sense, one contestant did go home, but not one of the original young homecooks.
    • Happens three times in Season 7 where the judges deem those on the bottom still executed dishes well enough to not eliminate anyone. First during a cupcake challenge, then in an eclair challenge, and then in the Top 6 restaurant challenge where both teams ran the restaurant equally well.
  • Flanderization: The first season of MasterChef Junior featured a challenge in which bowls of more-or-less whipped cream were inverted over the judges' heads.[1] This was a legitimate — if messy — test of the kids' ability to whip the cream to stiff peaks. But since then, every season has had the judges getting dumped on, after skill tests only loosely related to the goop being dumped.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Goes without saying.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Gordon Ramsay, who is often a Cluster F-Bomb waiting to happen, has to come up with creative alternatives for MasterChef Junior. He does let one slip when the kids are challenged to whip cream into stiff peaks and hold it over the judges' headsnote  and he gets covered in half-whipped cream as a result.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Junior Season 5 has Gonzalo who originally comes from Peru and Aarón Sanchez exchanging some of this during Episode 3's mystery box challenge. In elimination challenge, Aarón calls Gonzalo forward in Spanish.
  • In-Series Nickname: Alexander "Big Al" Weiss in the American version.
  • Instant Costume Change: This is what the show implies to happen when the judges in Junior US after a messy team challenge. It's not really apparent until the kids comment how they were able to change so fast in later seasons.
  • Irony: In US MasterChef Junior Season 5, Shayne, a meat lover and barbeque enthusiast from Texas, isn't so enthusiastic when the burger challenge turns out to be making a vegan burger. He ends up making the winning burger.
  • Laser-Guided Karma / Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In an episode of Season 5 of MasterChef Junior, Miss Piggy and the Swedish Chef made guest appearances. As soon as Christina learned that Miss Piggy cheated in a challenge by having Gordon Ramsay cook the steak-frites for her, not only was Miss Piggy eliminated, she was the only contestant to be eliminated in that episode!
  • Lighter and Softer: The judges justifiably rein in the criticism a bit for Junior.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Midway through US Junior Season 5 some of the eliminated contestants were brought back to compete for a chance to return to the competition. Season 5 returnee Jasmine won the competition.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Almost all the children in the first Junior season, with special mention going to Dara and Kaylen, who were always the most supportive towards the other contestants.
    • The children in the Season 2 of Junior as well, especially during the first episode where every one of them gathered around to cheer up a girl who had gotten upset from making a mistake.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Addison from Junior season 4 would have different colored softball caps.
    • Ivy from Junior season 7 is never seen without her fedora.
  • Once a Season: the second episode of every season of MasterChef Junior opens with a race of some kind, with contestants each representing one of the three judges and the losing judges getting covered in food note .
  • The Pollyanna: Eight-year-old Abby, the youngest contestant from the second US season of MasterChef Junior, who is always chipper, happy, supportive and positive. Nowhere is this clearer than in episode 4, where she goes into the elimination challenge being able to pick only two ingredients to make a high-end dish, the least amount out of everyone. Abby remains completely unfazed and remains happy and positive through the entirety of the challenge, and ends up putting forth one of the best dishes anyway.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: An interesting variant pops up in MasterChef Junior. The young participants, aged eight to thirteen, are capable of genuinely amazing culinary feats from sushi to beef wellington, but a significant number of them struggle with the task of baking and icing a cake — one of the few tasks one might normally expect someone that age to have some experience with.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Season 8 takes off the kid gloves by having the challenges be a step up in difficulty. The more silly challenge results are not there as well, possibly because they would have to include a heavily pregnant Daphne.
  • Springtime for Hitler:
    • All of the first three MasterChef Junior semifinals happened in the same pattern: the winner of the "advantage" (Troy, Adaiah, Jimmy) gave the easiest choice to the weakest competitor (Jack, Abby, Jenna) and took the second best for themselves, hoping to go up against them in the finale. Instead, the biggest threat who got the "hardest" assignment (Alexander, Logan, Nathan) ended up doing the best in the semifinal and actually winning the overall competition against the second hardest assignment (Dara, Samuel, Andrew).
  • Stock "Yuck!": A Mystery Box challenge for Junior. The judges took food from every category listed on the trope page, put them in boxes, and told the contestants to make something awesome with them.
  • Take That!: The children from the US version of MasterChef Junior will occasionally take a verbal jab at the judges, sometimes out of simple innocence, and sometimes because it's obvious they can get away with it. The producers themselves do it to the judges by having a specific challenge early on where the children pour stuff over the judges, such as season 1 having heavy cream and season 2 having maple syrup.
  • Tiny Tyrannical Girl: Several of the girls in MasterChef Junior, but Sarah, at only 9, probably fits best, especially when she yells at Gavin to "Whip it like a man!" during the whipped cream challenge.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: MasterChef Junior featured at least double eliminations in every episode except the finale which meant that some of the children barely got any screen time outside of the first episode.
    • A more unfortunate side of this is that there are kids who made it quite far into the competition but has almost no screen time before they are eliminated. A prominent example of this is Syd from Junior season 5 who, aside from episode 1 which is her audition episode, fades into the background until episode 7, halfway point of the season. None of her dishes made it into the cut and she did not appear in Confession Cam between those episodes.
    • The premiere of Junior Season 2 sends four children home, with contestants Nasir and Berry barely getting to say anything at all before they were eliminated. Season 3 premiere follows suit with eliminating five kids.
  • Wedding Episode: Junior Season 6's first field challenge features a wedding.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: During Masterchef Junior season 6 Joe instructs the teams how to run the kitchen for their field challenge catering a wedding. He draws a diagram of the guests' table meant to have eight seats, but Gordon points out he accidentally drew nine.
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