MasterChef contestants do not know the recipes, but they are taught through cooking classes, and they have access to cookbooks and recipes beforehand.
MasterChef has just wrapped its twelfth season on FOX and still shows no signs of stopping as it continues to grow in popularity and as the cooking competition reality show continues to display the culinary skills of amateur chefs.
While the show may be popular and long-running, there is still mysticism about it. One of the biggest questions is whether the contestants are given the recipes or ideas ahead of the challenges.
While it has not been confirmed, from reports and statements shared by former contestants, it seems that they do not have recipes for the main challenges.
But contestants are assisted with cooking classes and access to cookbooks and recipes to inspire them for the challenges on non-filming days.
MasterChef: Do contestants know the recipes for the “Quickfire Challenge”?
Another popular question is about the “Quickfire Challenge” and whether contestants are given recipes prior to the challenge.
This is a question answered with a yes and no. This is as it is believed that the only time that contestants are given the recipes is when they have to recreate a dish that was created by one of the chefs or guest chefs on the show.
But if it is a “Quickfire Challenge” that requires them to think on their feet, then they are not given recipes.
MasterChef: How do they know recipes?
MasterChef is premised on non-professional chefs with no professional cooking experience or who are currently earning money through cooking, competing to be named MasterChef.
In order to do this, contestants must compete in a series of cooking challenges that challenge their skill and growing expertise in several rounds until the victor is announced.
It is a high-pressure and stakes competition which has resulted in many wondering whether the contestants are allowed to bring in their own recipes, cookbooks, or phones to the competition to get inspiration about what dish to make.
But MasterChef takes the premise of the show seriously, and therefore, it is confirmed that contestants are not allowed to bring their phones or recipes into the kitchen during filming.
This is as contestants are required to think on the spot when they are creating their dishes in order to win the judges over.
Therefore, the dishes that are made during the final cooking challenges on every episode are dishes that have been inspired by the week-long work that the contestants have put in.
This was asserted by season five contestant, Elise Mayfield, when she shared, “No. No recipes.” Going on to add that, “There are moments when you’re like, ‘Oh my god, it worked!’ I don’t know any other way to explain it other than that it is amazing what the human brain can remember when you’re under pressure.”
While the contestants do not get assistance during the challenges, the show does provide them with tools like a “cooking bootcamp”, recipes, cookbooks, and time off.
MasterChef contestants go through a “cooking bootcamp”
One of the biggest ways that MasterChef helps its contestants to improve their cooking skills and the ability to think on their feet when they need to create new and innovative dishes is through the “cooking bootcamp.”
Allegedly, during the week on non-filming days, the contestants undergo a “cooking boot camp” where professional chefs come in and teach contestants basic cooking techniques and skills that every chef should have.
This is to help the amateur cooks to know what to do fundamentally when they are creating a dish.
MasterChef contestants have access to cookbooks and recipes
Another way that MasterChef prepares contestants before the time that they have to be in the kitchen cooking without recipes, is through the availability of cookbooks and recipes.
The show is believed to have a large library that contestants can look through during the time when they are not filming so that they have inspired recipes to use when they have to think of a dish to make on the fly during the final cooking challenges of each episode.
Some contestants attempt to memorise recipes using flashcards before they walk into the kitchen.
MasterChef contestants do have time off to hone their skills
While the format of shooting has changed, which has affected the number of days that contestants are given away from filming, it is believed that in more recent seasons, contestants get Sundays off to do whatever they want.
This could mean exploring the city, or for some it could mean getting cooking inspiration and studying recipes and cooking techniques to help them in upcoming challenges.
Thus, some contestants use their free time to memorise and learn as many recipes that may come in handy during the challenges of the show.