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In Masterchef, the contestants go from creating fairly basic looking dishes to much more complex dishes using tools & techniques such as Sous-vides, smokers etc. The presentation also improves vastly with progress.

Is this dramatic improvement completely down to contestants practising between episodes in their own time, or are they provided with additional tuition and help not shown on TV?

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Edited question as requested –  thebunk Apr 16 at 11:43

2 Answers 2

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As far as the US series is concerned, Yes, the contestants are given a huge amount of tuition and access to resources.

As it turns out, the MasterChef-testants do get a bit of training behind the scenes, and everyone has access to “a full library of pretty much every cookbook in the world” between challenges to study. But no one has any prior knowledge of what the challenges will be, no one gets to consult the library during challenges, and the cooking classes aren’t necessarily specifically tailored to that week’s challenges.

And from contestant Josh Marks:

Josh: The cooking class is like, so MasterChef, they really teach you how to be a chef. You’re not just on there cooking all willy nilly, so they’re teaching us baking component classes, where they teach us how to make pastry cream, sponge cake, cobbler, shortbread and pie crusts, etc. But they don’t necessarily show us how to assemble an apple pie and make a pie, but they show us how to make the crust. You know what I’m saying?

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Ha! I bloody knew it! –  thebunk Apr 17 at 20:04
    
There's nothing to neccesarily state that the UK have followed suit though... although looking at the learning curve of its contestants, its more than plausible... –  John Smith Optional Apr 17 at 23:27

I believe that they are provided help with some dishes, and I don't believe that they have much time to practice. The show is shot fairly continuously, and Christine Ha (Winner of season 3 of Masterchef) said in her "Ask me anything" on Reddit that they worked pretty much around the clock for 2 months straight.

On ask.metafilter, one person suggests that when they were in a knockoff type show, they had time to prep longer dishes ahead of time, and that they had outside help to cook portions of the food, with final editing and filming arranged for drama.

Additionally, they talk about the food generally being cold by the time they film the "tasting", and that most of the meaningful tasting is being done by the judges walking around and tasting things straight from the pot while they are being cooked.

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