MasterChef spices up new series with some added ingredients

John Torode and Gregg Wallace will each be giving one amateur cook a free pass before challenging the rest to the all-new Reinvention Test...

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MasterChef returns on Tuesday 10th March and, hold onto your pans, there are some changes. 

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Nothing too dramatic, of course. Why mess with a winning formula? There’s just a dash of this and a swirl of that to give the show, now in its eleventh series, a bit of added kick.

There are five amateur cooks per episode and, as usual, they start off with a ‘Calling Card’ dish, which they choose themselves from their catalogue of tried and tested recipes. It gives them a chance to show judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace what they’re all about. You can learn a lot from a perfect dollop of sauce. 

Then – and here’s the first change – John and the Greggster each select their favourite dish without telling the other. They reveal their choices and the two lucky souls in question get a free pass straight through to the final round. If it turns out Gregg and John were backing the same person, the second judge to reveal their chosen dish must revert to their reserve choice. 

With two cooks safe (for now), the three remaining chefs must face a brand new challenge: The Reinvention Test, which calls on them to cook a new dish using the same main ingredient from their Calling Card. They have access to that most inviting of places, the MasterChef larder, and it’s their last chance to impress the judges. 

Most likely feeling like a deflated soufflé, the losing chef from this test must hand back his MasterChef apron and leave, while the other two are reunited with the pair who got the free pass to face the final task: cooking for three previous MasterChef winners. 

These seasoned tasters will help John and Gregg choose the two chefs heading into the quarter-finals, with two more chosen in the same way the next day and all heading into the first quarter-final at the end of the week. 

For the first week only (due to Comic Relief on Friday) this process takes place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but after that it will be repeated for the next three weeks on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until we’re left with four sets of four quarter-finalists heading into the knock-out stages…

MasterChef: understanding the rules of a cookery show doesn’t get much tougher than this…

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See MasterChef tonight at 9:00pm on BBC1