January 17, 2012 8:00 pm
MasterChef returns for its eighth series, with more fantastically talented amateur cooks who want to test their kitchen skills and take a shot at lifting the coveted MasterChef Champion title. Thousands of applications were scoured, and a short-list of the country's most talented amateur cooks were invited to cook for John Torode and Gregg Wallace. Each created a spectacular dish, which John and Gregg tasted in the isolation of the MasterChef dining room without watching the cooks themselves, their processes, techniques or skills. From these blind tastings, the judges selected the best 24 contestants. Over the course of this week's programmes, the 24 chosen best cooks are split into three groups of eight as they battle for just 12 MasterChef aprons and the chance to go through to the main competition. In this episode, the first eight of the chosen 24 battle against each other. Firstly, they must hold their nerve in the dreaded Invention Test where, with only one hour and 15 minutes, the hopefuls must impress the judges with an exceptional dish. For two contestants, it will be the end of the road. The remaining six must then face the pressure of a professional kitchen, working a packed lunchtime service in two London restaurants, The Living Room and Gilgamesh. After just an hour of learning the ropes, they are set loose to prepare dishes for paying customers. Finally they return to the MasterChef kitchen, where all their hopes rest on just one dish. The contestants must draw on all their skills and influences as they prepare their own food to the highest standard in their last chance to impress John and Gregg.
January 18, 2012 8:00 pm
It is the second of the heats, as the next eight hopefuls pick up their knives and show off their culinary skills. Who will prove that they have what it takes to line up with the successful contestants who have already made it through? First they must overcome the notorious Invention Test and prove that, in only an hour and 15 minutes, they can deliver an amazing plate of food with no planning. For two hopefuls, this will mark the end of the MasterChef journey. The six remaining contestants must next face their first taste of a professional kitchen, as they try to stand up to the pressure of a busy lunch service in London restaurants Prism and Imli. Paying customers' expectations must be met, and with only one hour to get to grips with the dishes the heat is really on. Finally, it is back to the MasterChef kitchens where all hopes rest on just one dish. To impress John and Gregg and ensure a spot in the competition, the six must be on the top of their game to create a plate of their own food that will suitably wow the judges.
January 19, 2012 8:00 pm
It is the final heat, and the last eight hopefuls fight for the remaining coveted aprons and a place in the next round. Who will prove that they have what it takes to line up with the other contestants who have already made it through? First, they have to show off their skills in the Invention Test. With only one hour and 15 minutes to create a dish from scratch, it will mean the end of the road for two of the contestants. The remaining six then face the pressure of a lunchtime service in two busy restaurants, Swan at the Globe and Le Porte des Indes. Thrust into their first professional kitchen, the contestants have only one hour to learn the ropes before they are expected to deliver perfect dishes to the paying customers. Finally, it's back to the MasterChef kitchen where hopes rest on just one dish. Cooking their own plate of food for the judges, the contestants have to be on top of their game to impress John and Gregg.
January 24, 2012 8:00 pm
MasterChef judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace set a truly daunting challenge for the contestants as they continue their search for this year's best amateur cook. The remaining 12 amateur cooks have a baptism of fire as they face each other in the MasterChef kitchen for the first time. Not only do they have to be at the top of their game to ensure good food on time, but their guests for this pressure cooker of a challenge are a group of people who know exactly how high the MasterChef standards are - a selection of previous MasterChef winners and some of last year's finalists. Each of the cooks is allocated a course and then they have just one hour and 30 minutes to prepare the meals. It is an impressive menu, and the guests have four starters, mains and desserts to choose from - but which will be the most popular? With John overseeing the kitchen, the pace and the tension is immense for the amateurs to deliver their own food to the incredibly discerning diners. Not only must they be cooked perfectly and to John's standard, but they must also reach the pass at the same time so that no starter, main or dessert is late.
January 25, 2012 8:00 pm
Only 10 contestants remain in the cookery competition, and now they must face the Great British public for the first time. Judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace set the exceptionally tough task of creating fantastic food in a field. Divided into two teams of five, the contestants have their work cut out for them as they prepare an elegant lunch for 100 patrons of the Jane Austen Festival on The Royal Crescent in Bath. They have just three hours to create six savoury dishes and two deserts between them, but can the teams manage to impress both the judges and the guests, and can they get the food out on time? With a range of ingredients to work from including chicken, salmon, duck, samphire, gooseberries, basil, figs and quince, the menus are set to be mouthwatering. John and Gregg must then decide which team performed the best, at which stage the successful five then have the opportunity of working with one of the country's most exciting and respected chefs, Jason Atherton. They may have triumphed at mass catering, but the five winning team members must now show they have what it takes to cook at the top level. They are each made responsible for one course at an exclusive dinner. Cooking of this standard requires the utmost attention to detail and impeccable timing, but one of the hopefuls won't quite reach the mark and their MasterChef journey will come to an end.
February 1, 2012 8:00 pm
MasterChef continues its eighth series, as more fantastically talented amateur cooks put their culinary skills to the test and take a shot at lifting the coveted MasterChef Champion title. The contestants have been battling to stay in the MasterChef competition, and now only the best nine remain. In this episode, judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace apply the pressure by giving last week's losing team a chance to redeem themselves. The team must once again survive the world of mass catering, and this time the five contestants have to prepare lunch for a massive 350 hungry factory workers. With the clock ticking, they have just 20 minutes to design their menu and only two and a half hours to create over 100 portions each of two tasty and satisfying meat dishes, and one substantial vegetarian option. Can the contestants work together as a team and prove they have what it takes this time, or will the pressure of cooking in volume be their undoing once more? The remaining contestants must then return to the MasterChef kitchen to do battle as individuals. The cooks have just one daunting challenge to ensure their place in the competition - to make a show-stopping dish for judges John and Gregg. With only one hour and 30 minutes to deliver a simply sublime dish bursting with skill, flair, flavour, and presentation, the stakes are high for the contestants. They will have to cook their socks off to show John and Gregg that they still deserve a place in the competition.
February 8, 2012 8:00 pm
Over the last few weeks the contestants have been battling to keep their place in the MasterChef kitchen, and now only the best eight remain. In this episode, judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace ask the remaining cooks to take on three cornerstones of European cuisine; they must each master the art of Italian, Spanish or French cooking. Each group begins by being given a master class by a top chef in their chosen style, a chef who has developed their reputation by being the leading advocate of that country's cuisine: Italian Francesco Mazzei of L'Anima; Ben Tish from The Salt Yard, who specialise in Spanish tapas; and Bruno Loubet, chef in his self-titled French restaurant, Bistrot Bruno Loubet. The MasterChef cooks are taught to prepare a dish that captures the heart and philosophy of their chosen country. They then must compete in the heat of service, mastering another dish working under their head chef, ensuring they reach the exacting standards of not only the restaurant and chef, but the specific cuisine of their chosen area. The contestants must take in everything they can if they are to impress when they return to the MasterChef kitchen. Here, watched by their mentor, they must create one dish that proves they have understood how to encapsulate their chosen country's style and flavours, and show John and Gregg that they have the skill to succeed.
February 15, 2012 8:00 pm
Over the last few weeks the contestants have been battling to keep their place in the MasterChef kitchen, and now only the best seven remain. Judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace encourage the remaining cooks to celebrate the produce of the British Isles. The contestants are faced with a larder packed full of ingredients: locally sourced vegetables and fruits, and produce with a Scottish emphasis, including Scottish lobster and spider crab, North Sea razor clams, North Atlantic red mullet, oysters and langoustines, and Highland beef. To judge their efforts John and Gregg are joined by Michelin-starred Edinburgh chef Tom Kitchin. The contestants have just 90 minutes to create a dish which showcases Scottish produce, with one of the chefs facing elimination at the end of the challenge. The remaining six travel to the Cumbrian countryside for a lesson in just how exciting British ingredients can be. Expert forager and Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan has made his name using foraged and locally-sourced produce at his Cartmel restaurant, L'Enclume. The contestants are taken out to the fields, shoreline and hedgerows of the local area to find the edible treats that are on offer, before working in their most challenging conditions yet - a temporary kitchen set up in a local farmer's barn. They must create a delicious lunch for Simon's 25 guests, including the local food producers and farmers that he works with. With a range of locally-sourced and foraged ingredients to choose from, the contestants must impress with dishes that showcase the wonderful produce.
February 22, 2012 8:00 pm
John Torode and Gregg Wallace lead the contestants in their first foray into fine dining in large numbers. They have to prepare a delectable three-course meal for over 200 guests at Middle Temple, one of the historical Inns of Court at the heart of the British legal system. Guests at the dinner include some of the most high-ranking legal figures in the land. Working under the head chef, the contestants must cook in pairs, with each team delivering one course. Then, the contestants return to the MasterChef kitchen for one more fine-dining challenge. They have 90 minutes to create two elegant courses that can proudly sit on any fine-dining menu, and this time their food will be tasted by two-Michelin-starred chef and legend Michel Roux Jr. With hearts pounding the contestants must endure their most feared and respected critic's view of their dishes before the judges decide their fate.
February 29, 2012 8:00 pm
The pressure is mounting as the country's best five amateurs enter the seventh week of the cooking competition of their lives. John Torode and Gregg Wallace set the contestants the challenge of cooking for three leading restaurant critics. The five have to pull out all the stops as they make their own finest three courses and try to impress the hyper-critically honed palates of their guests: Charles Campion, Tracey MacLeod and Jay Rayner. With one contestant due to leave at the end of the show, the pressure is intense in the MasterChef kitchen as timings go awry, emotions take over, and dishes either explode with flavour or crash and burn.
March 1, 2012 8:00 pm
The pressure is mounting as the country's best four amateurs continue in the seventh week of their incredible, culinary, competitive journey. The heat is on in more ways than one as judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace take the contestants to Thailand for the masterclass of a lifetime. The four are pushed to the limit as they are set an incredible series of challenges, beginning in the country's gastronomic capital, Chang Mai, amidst the bustling street food markets. The cooks are thrown in at the deep end for their first challenge - each is given a market stall to run and a popular dish to prepare, incorporating traditional Thai cooking techniques, which they must then sell to the hungry locals. With David Thompson - Thai food guru and Executive Chef of Michelin-starred Thai restaurant Nahm - on hand to guide them through the basics, the contestants have to deal with unfamiliar ingredients and processes to get the food cooked in time. Will they manage to complete the dishes and impress the discerning locals enough to get them to part with their cash? Next, they travel into the Northern Mountains, to an ancient region heavily influenced by Burmese and Chinese cultures, where the food is unlike anything else found in Thailand. The contestants face an incredible challenge: to create a traditional ceremonial banquet for 50 specially invited guests at the Thai Royal Projects - an initiative set up by the King to encourage the local hill tribes to grow fruit and vegetables instead of opium. The cooks' Thailand adventure culminates in their most daunting challenge to date - cooking a fine dining dinner for one of the most revered Thai princes and his close family.
March 7, 2012 8:00 pm
Only four exceptional amateur cooks remain in the culinary battle to become this year's MasterChef. Judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace ask them to tackle one of the hardest culinary disciplines - pastry.
March 13, 2012 8:00 pm
John and Gregg send the cooks to test their skills at the finest restaurants in Europe.
March 14, 2012 8:00 pm
The cooks face their penultimate and most terrifying challenge - The Chef's Table.
March 15, 2012 8:00 pm
It is the MasterChef final. One cook will be crowned as the MasterChef Champion 2012.