Longtime readers of Just Hungry may know that I am a big fan of the UK cooking-competition show MasterChef. I’ve written about it here several times , and even did my own ingredient challenge for six weeks one year. I also watched most of the Australian version, and commented on it a bit too . Well now there is going to be a U.S. version of MasterChef. Here’s the pertinent part of the press release:
GORDON RAMSAY AND THE PRODUCERS OF THE BIGGEST LOSER ARE NOW CASTING AMATEUR CHEFS FOR A NEW INSPIRATIONAL COOKING SHOW!
Can you cook well despite never having been formally trained? We are currently searching for budding chefs from all walks of life - amateur chefs, passionate foodies, the ultimate dinner party host/hostesses…
Now one of the world’s most acclaimed chefs, GORDON RAMSAY, is giving you the opportunity to become a MasterChef!
MasterChef is a show that celebrates great people who make great food. The show will give contestants the opportunity to develop their cooking skills while being encouraged, mentored and celebrated by the industry’s best and evaluated by world-renowned judges!
If you are passionate about cooking and ready to change your life then audition for MasterChef, an inspiring cooking show from the producers of The Biggest Loser!
• We will NOT be considering professional chefs who work in professional kitchens!
• Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and either a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident with the unrestricted ability to work in the U.S.
To audition, email firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your name, age, occupation, current photo, contact number and a brief description of your cooking experience and style. Please put the city and state your reside in the subject of the email.
They will be conducting casting calls in several cities - see the Fox.com Casting page  for more.
From this Hollywood Reporter article , this American version will be a once-a-week only show. In contrast, the UK show aired 4 times a week for a total of 2 1/2 hours of actual air time, and the Australian version was on six times a week. The thing that I liked the most about the Australian MasterChef was the weekly Master Class cooking segment. Given the once-weekly schedule, this kind of thing will probably not air. And the strict focus on just the cooking, and only the cooking, that makes the UK version the best for me is probably out of the question.
A couple of other things that make me wary of this American version: It’s being produced by the producers of The Biggest Loser, a show I really can’t stand because of its fake-drama; and that Gordon Ramsay will be the host. I do hope this doesn’t mean we are going to see him screaming at the amateur contestants. But we’ll see how it goes.
In any case, if you feel like having a go at showing off your culinary talents on reality TV - go for it! At the very least, it’s finally a cooking-competition show for amateurs rather than ersatz professionals, as all the other similar shows on US TV are at the moment. (BTW, other food-show production people looking to license/copy another amateur cooking competition show may want to look at ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish, and tighten it up a bit for American TV. Just saying.)