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Chefs return to the kitchen in Masterchef: The Professionals on BBC One

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MasterChef: The Professionals is back on BBC One this autumn for its fourteeth series, as 32 eager chefs from across the country battle to become MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 Champion.

Judges, Michelin-starred chef, Marcus Wareing, highly-reputed chef, Monica Galetti, and celebrated MasterChef judge, Gregg Wallace, will be together again to oversee the UK’s most revered cooking competition. They are excited to uncover the hottest new talent – where outstanding technique, determination and creativity need to be on display to ultimately become worthy of the prestigious MasterChef: The Professionals title.

Monica Galetti says: “The hospitality industry has faced such unprecedented challenges over the past 18 months. Britain’s chefs have been busting to get back behind the stove and I cannot wait for them to get cooking with passion and pride.”

Marcus Wareing says: “This incredible competition demands that chefs push themselves harder than ever before and I’m thrilled that MasterChef gives them the opportunity to prove their ability and celebrate our profession.”

Gregg Wallace says: “As a MasterChef: The Professionals judge and someone who loves eating out, I’m so excited that the series is back. We’ve got some outstanding talent and it’s great to rediscover the joys of beautiful restaurant food.”

Over six gruelling and exhilarating weeks, the professionals put themselves through rounds of cooking challenges against their peers from across the industry – at every level. Chefs competing have experience in the kitchens of pubs, pop-ups and fine dining restaurants, to private homes and super-yachts.

In the first four weeks, eight chefs compete each week, with the aim of making the Quarter Final at the end of the week. The inaugural challenge for the four chefs in each Heat is the infamous and often-dreaded Skills Test. Two of the chefs are set theirs by Monica and two by Marcus. The judges demonstrate their dish, such as Bangers and Mash with Beer & Onion Gravy or Monkfish with Pea and Bacon Ragout, for the viewers at home, then task the professionals with preparing the recipe. This nail-biting challenge piles on the pressure, as the judges witness them either showcase their skills or stagger at the first hurdle. Following this revealing round, the contestants must produce a Signature Menu of two courses within an hour and 30 minutes. This is an opportunity to tip the scales back in their favour for any shortcomings in the Skills Test, and impress the judges with their own cooking – enough to make it to the next round.

Two chefs from each heat are deemed to be at Quarter Final level. The first is an Invention Test, with a twist. Marcus and Monica select an ingredient on which the professionals must base their dish. The chefs have a range of ingredients to work with, but must take the judges’ favoured item, such as tins and preserves, mustard, or cheese, and create a standout dish that celebrates and elevates the chosen ingredient to MasterChef standard. The four best performers then face an intimidating round cooking for the UK’s most discerning food critics, who, this year, include: Jimi Famurewa, Tracey MacLeod, William Sitwell, Grace Dent, Tom Parker Bowles, and Jay Rayner.

Having proved their worth, the professionals that make through to the fiercely-contested Semi Finals and Finals face an array of challenges unparalleled in their careers so far. Cooking to a variety of briefs set by the MasterChef judges and guests, including chef Jean-Pierre Blondet, the contestants are tested to every aspect of their culinary know how. They go out into the wider catering world and open their own Pop-Up restaurant – serving their food to notable industry figures. The chefs have the extremely daunting task of cooking for a room for of the UK’s greatest culinary legends at the Chef’s Table – where distinguished diners include the multiple Michelin-starred Mat Abe, Daniel Cifford, Michael Caines, Aktar Islam and Lisa Goodwin-Allen. The most talented three professionals who make it to the prestigious Finals are offered the opportunity of a lifetime, to hone their skills in one of country’s greatest restaurants – Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester – the three-starred establishment of the world’s most decorated living chef.

Six weeks of intense competition culminate for the chefs, who must draw on everything they have learnt and strived for, to deliver the best three-course menu of their lives. The three judges expect fireworks in the kitchen and only one contender can lift the MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 trophy.

Heats:

32 chefs compete;

Skills Test followed by Signature Menu;

Quarter Finals at the end of each week – plate of food around a themed ingredient such as tins & preserves or mustard, then cooking for the Restaurant Critics.

Semi Finals:

Food memory dish then Invention Test;

Pop Up Challenge serving their food to notable industry figures, then Dish To Get To The Finals.

The Finals:

Final 6 chefs cook a Dedicated to Someone Special dish, then Chef’s Table cooking at MasterChef kitchen – where distinguished diners include the multiple Michelin-starred Mat Abe, Daniel Cifford, Michael Caines, Aktar Islam and Lisa Goodwin-Allen;

Final 4 – A Classic Reimagined, then the Final 3 cook in Master Class Invention Test with Chef Jean-Pierre Blondet cooking from a limited larder – veg only no dairy, followed by service in one of country’s greatest restaurants – Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester – the three-starred establishment of the world’s most decorated living chef;

The Final – three best courses of their lives.