MasterChef: The Professionals returns to BBC One on Wednesday 2 November, for its 15th series, as 32 ambitious chefs from across the country battle to become the 2022 Champion.
Presiding over the UK’s most revered cooking competition, will be new judge, the acclaimed chef and restaurateur Anna Haugh, Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing and celebrated MasterChef judge, Gregg Wallace. The expert team are eager to discover outstanding new cooking talent and will be setting exacting standards from the moment the kitchen doors open. As only the most skilled, passionate and creative of chefs can come close to the prestigious MasterChef: The Professionals title.
Anna Haugh says: “I’m thrilled to join the MasterChef judging team and meet new chefs on new adventures. I’ll be judging the same way I judge my own chefs in my kitchen – I’ll be firm but fair and my expectations are high. I cannot wait to see what this year’s competition is going to bring.”
Marcus Wareing says: “The hunt for the 2022 champion is on and we’re ready to push these chefs as far as they can go. The sky’s the limit as far as I’m concerned and that trophy is just waiting to be claimed.”
Gregg Wallace says: “What a thrill to get these kitchen doors open again and welcome a new generation of professional contenders. I’m ready to be dazzled and ultimately reveal the next incredible cooking talent.”
Over six intense weeks, the chefs, drawn from kitchens up and down the UK, are put through their paces – first competing in the Heats with the aim of making it to that week’s Quarter Final. In each Heat, four chefs cook against one another for two Quarter Final places. The debut challenge is the nerve-wracking Skills Test – set by Anna and Marcus. The judges demonstrate their dish for the viewers at home, such as Oysters Poached and Smoked in a Beurre Blanc or Summer Fruit Tart, with a Jam, Crème Patissière and Italian Meringue, then task the professionals with preparing their take on the dish. There is nowhere to hide in this nail-biting and unpredictable challenge, as the judges watch them either prove their skills or make a shaky start. The contestants must then produce a Signature Menu of a main course and dessert within an hour and 25 minutes – a chance to make an impression on the judges with their own cooking.
The two top chefs from each Heat take their place in the Quarter Finals. Forcing them to think on their feet, the judges first set the professionals an Invention Test – with a twist. Marcus and Anna task them with creating a dish based around a theme such as brunch, textures, orange and ginger or savoury to sweet. The chefs have a range of ingredients to work with but must stay calm and focused to quickly interpret the judges’ brief and devise a mouth-watering – and MasterChef level – plate of food. The contenders then must pull out all the stops to win over the UK’s most discerning and revered food critics, who, this year, include: Grace Dent, Jay Rayner, Jimi Famurewa, Leyla Kazim, Tom Parker Bowles, Tracey MacLeod, and William Sitwell.
For those who have proven they are cooking at the next level, the Semi Finals and Finals await – where they take on culinary obstacles unlike anything their career to date. The challenges include running their own pop-up restaurant and showcasing their own fine-dining style at a Chef’s Table for a critical audience of the country’s leading chefs including Monica Galetti, Jason Atherton, Matt Abé along with some new Michelin-starred talent – at the Lanesborough Hotel in London.
At the end of six exhilarating and gruelling weeks, battling their way towards the coveted MasterChef trophy, the Final Three have one last opportunity to bring together everything they have learned over the course of the competition, and hope that all their hard work in the kitchen has paid off. They must produce the best three-course menu of their lives for the judges, who will accept nothing less than spectacular in order to crown one contender – the MasterChef: The Professionals 2022 Champion.