Auditions #1/Auditions #2 Award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot return to the Masterchef judging panel. After a nationwide search, only the best home cooks - including an archaeologist, a high school gym teacher, a former pro-football player and a firefighter - were flown to Los Angeles for a chance to prepare their signature dishes and present them to the judges. The judges will taste for flavor, creativity and presentation. But most importantly, in order to earn a coveted white apron and move to the next round, the home cooks must have an immense passion for food and be determined to win. Then, the auditions continue as the judges critique the good and the bad and winnow down the competition.
Top 19 Revealed/Top 19 Compete The judges continue to winnow down the competition in the final round of auditions, but the stakes are raised as the remaining hopefuls are put to the ultimate test in an intense lamb challenge. Then, the Top 19 contestants compete in their first mystery box challenge of the season and must create an exceptional dish using the most basic mystery box ingredients. Later, the contestants participate in the season's first emotional elimination round.
Top 18 Compete/Top 17 Compete In their first team challenge, the Top 18 home cooks face their pickiest judges yet when they visit a local elementary school and are tasked to create a healthy, balanced meal for over 300 school children. Then, judge Gordon Ramsay cooks alongside the home cooks and prepares a dish using the mystery box ingredients, including cod. Two more home cooks will leave the MASTERCHEF kitchen for good.
Top 16 Compete, Parts 1 And 2 The remaining 16 home cooks compete in a team challenge and cook a hearty and balanced steak meal for 101 firefighters. The losing team will face a pressure test and cook their best eggs benedict dish. Later, the bottom four contestants from the previous challenge will try their luck in Las Vegas for the first time in MASTERCHEF history. The four home cooks will split into two teams to prepare their most impressive burger dish at Gordon Ramsay BurGR at Planet Hollywood. The losing team will go head to head in a cook-off that will send one contestant home for good.
Top 15 Compete/Top 14 Compete The contestants must create an exquisite dish using foreign delicacies in the mystery box challenge. Then, a very special guest, Joe's mom and legendary chef Lidia Bastianich, joins the judges to determine the best and the worst pasta dishes in the elimination round. Later, the contestants visit a Hollywood set and cook a lunch meal for the cast and crew of GLEE. The home cooks will split into two teams to prepare a delicious chicken, salmon and vegetarian lasagna dish. The stars of GLEE - Jane Lynch, Cory Monteith and Matthew Morrison - help the judges determine the winning team. In the end, two more home cooks will be eliminated.
Top 13 Compete/Top 12 Compete The remaining contestants must think on their feet when they cook a mystery box challenge with the most unexpected ingredient and a limited pantry. Later, in the elimination round, Season Three Winner Christine Ha, the first ever blind contestant, returns to MASTERCHEF with a big surprise for the contestants. Then, the home cooks prepare an unforgettable meal for a wedding party. The winning team is safe from elimination, while the losing team faces a pressure test involving macaroons. In the end, two more home cooks will be eliminated.
Top 11 Compete/Top 10 Compete Actress and restaurateur Eva Longoria surprises the contestants and selects Mexican-inspired ingredients for the mystery box challenge. The contestant who creates the most impressive restaurant-quality dish will determine which food basket each of the remaining contestants will receive in the elimination round. Later, in the team challenge, the home cooks hit the beach and cook fish tacos for more than 100 hungry surfers. The surfers will determine the winning team, who will earn a huge surprise ??? tickets to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game in New York City. Meanwhile, the losing team faces a pressure test and must cook a perfect chicken breast three ways. In the end, two more contestants will go home.
Top 9 Compete In the next mystery box challenge, the remaining nine contestants will create their most impressive sausage link dish using a sausage maker. The winner of the challenge will select which ingredient the contestants will cook with in the "canned versus fresh" elimination challenge. Some contestants will receive the canned version of the ingredient while others will receive the fresh ingredient. Find out which contestant is the weakest link when one more contestant is sent home.
Top 8 Compete The "hunger games" takes on a new meaning when the home cooks are taken to a remote field where they will split into two teams and compete in MASTERCHEF's first-ever overnight challenge. The contestants will have only a limited box of supplies to cook for sustenance, as well as an impressive lunch for the judges. The winning team is safe from elimination, while the losing team faces an intimidating spun sugar dessert pressure test. Find out who comes out on top in a challenge that will test the survival of the fittest.
Top 7 Compete In the next mystery box challenge, the home cooks get a surprise visit and create a dish inspired by their loved ones. The home cook with the best dish will have an advantage in the elimination round and select the pairs of contestants who will compete in the tag-team sushi challenge. The teams will have one hour to recreate a plate of sushi with one cook preparing the dish at a time. The team with the least impressive sushi platter will face an emotional elimination.
Top 6 Compete Eliminated contestants from this season are given the opportunity to cook their way back into the competition. In the first part of the challenge, the returning contestants must prepare as many perfectly cooked fried eggs as possible, but only two contestants will advance to the next stage. Then, the remaining contestants must prepare a perfect salmon dish that the judges and current contestants will judge in a blind taste test. The contestant whose dish earns the most votes wins a spot back in the MASTERCHEF kitchen.
Top 5 Compete, Parts 1 And 2 The judges get some very special help from their sons, who stop by the MASTERCHEF kitchen to judge the next mystery box challenge. Then, the contestants face the daunting task of recreating one of the greatest dishes the judges ever tasted. Later, in a field challenge, the remaining five home cooks visit a ranch where they will each prepare one Southern-inspired dish as part of a special summer luncheon for local charity volunteers. After the first part of the competition, two home cooks will advance to the finals and the Top Four, while the bottom three contestants will face a pressure test that will end the competition for one home cook.
Top 4 Compete/Top 3 Compete The final four cooks will split into two teams in the next mystery box challenge, and they will prepare a three-course meal using notable ingredients from all over the United States. The winning team will be safe from elimination, while the members of the losing team will go head-to-head in a chocolate desserts pressure test that will end the competition for one home cook. Later, the judges challenge the remaining three contestants to cook with the same ingredients they used in their initial auditions, while creating an elevated and sophisticated version of the same dish. The home cooks must demonstrate how far they've come in the competition in order to earn a spot in the finale and move one step closer to winning a life-changing grand prize.
Winner Chosen The Top Two finalists have one last chance to prove to the judges that they have the passion, skill and drive worthy of the MASTERCHEF title. In their final challenge in the MASTERCHEF kitchen, the two home cooks will conceptualize and prepare the most important three-course meal of their lives. Later, the judges will reveal America's next MASTERCHEF, and the deserving home cook will walk away with a MASTERCHEF trophy, a book deal and the $250,000 grand prize. Find out whose culinary dreams will turn into a reality.