In reality shows, like say Master Chef, you see constant commentary by the contestants as they are cooking. They talk of errors and mistakes in present tense. During the cook, this is not possible because the cooking is timed. Right after the cooking, it's time for the judges to taste. When do they shoot the commentary portions and how are contestants giving accurate details about their cooking and the thoughts running through their minds?

This is applicable to all reality shows. Are the lines merely scripted or is there some technique they use to help contestants remember tiny details and express it in present tense? Looks like a very tough thing to do.

3 Answers 3


What most viewers fail to see is the huge amount of editing that goes into the production of a typical hour-long episode of a reality TV show. In something like Master Chef the production crew would take interviews with the contestants before the cooking, right after the cooking but before the judging, after the judging and after the final verdict has been taken. In all those interviews, the contestants are asked to speak in the present tense to give the illusion that they are narrating current events. The actual event (in this case the cooking) takes a relatively short time in comparison with all the interviews.

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    Agree with the huge amount of editing. Years ago my wife and I participated in a half-hour reality show that was filmed over three days. They shot 18 hours of video which was edited down to 22 minutes of air-time footage (Some people get 15 minutes fame; we got 22.)
    – tcrosley
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 7:23
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    wouldn't that mean the judges get to taste cold food? Interviewing before judgement is going to take a long while?
    – John
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 17:53
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    I've seen interviewswith Gregg Wallace (one of the UK hosts) who says they do eat cold food, and need to imagine it as it would have been just cooked. Commented May 28, 2015 at 13:48
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    I agree the tasting is one plate only. But after the contestant serves the judges and goes back, they can do the recording of the interview in another room while judges are tasting. They do not have anything to do while their food is being tasted. Whichever contestant is waiting can easily give a 45-50 sec recording.
    – User56756
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 23:48
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    it's always interesting when you realize the contestant is responding to questions and prompts. You can almost hear the questions: "how did you feel when you realized you forgot to get salt?" Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 20:11

@SystemDown is right. It's all taped after each task is completed.
Also you were wondering how they remember everything they went through during the challenges.
I believe the crew members must show bits of recordings to the participants and pause the tape to ask what they were going through at that time and record whatever they say.
Some participants may remember what they were thinking, others would just make something up. In my personal opinion i have noticed that the people who are more outspoken or dramatic will be shown more often just to get more viewership (I could be wrong).


They get interviewed afterwards, are 'coached' throughout their discussion and of course only the 'juicy' bits get included - it's as simple as that.

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