When does MasterChef: The Professionals 2019 start?

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Keep up to with all the Masterchef: The Professionals 2019 news including individual interviews with the finalists.

When does MasterChef: The Professionals 2019 start?

This year's competition will start on November 5 on BBC2 - another 48 eager chefs from across the country will back themselves to become Champion of MasterChef: The Professionals 2019.

The judges

Judges, Michelin-starred chef, Marcus Wareing, highly-reputed chef, Monica Galetti, and celebrated MasterChef judge, Gregg Wallace, will be side by side once again to preside over the UK’s most revered cooking competition. They are determined to uncover the hottest new talent - where outstanding skills, commitment and creativity need to be on display to ultimately become worthy of the prestigious Professional MasterChef title.

Monica Galetti says: “This series is going to be fierce. The chefs are going to have to pull out all the stops and keep us on our toes. I cannot wait to discover who is going to emerge on top.”

Marcus Wareing says: “I want bold, I want brilliant and I want beautifully-cooked food. That’s what will get my attention and really help a chef stand out.”

This year's Masterchef: the Professionals challenges

Over seven intense weeks, the determined professionals will push themselves through challenge after challenge, to inch closer to gastronomic glory. Pitting themselves against peers from across the industry at every level; the contestants hail from pubs and pop-ups, to Michelin-starred kitchens and catering in the armed forces.

Launching the twelfth series are the heats. Over four weeks, 12 chefs compete in the first two programmes each week, with the aim of making the quarter final in the third programme at the end of the week.
The inaugural challenge for the six chefs in each heat is the infamous and often-dreaded skills test. Three of the chefs are set theirs by Monica and three by Marcus. The judges demonstrate their dish, from pan-fried calves liver with a bordelaise sauce to braised artichoke with a saffron aquafaba mayonnaise, 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 dish within an hour and 15 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: the quarter final. Three chefs from each heat show go through.

Facing two more demanding challenges are the six chefs up to quarter final standard. 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 onions, coffee, pumpkin or rice, 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: William Sitwell, Grace Dent, Jimi Famurewa, Tom Parker Bowles, Tracey MacLeod, Amol Rajan and Jay Rayner.

Knockout Week is the first time the final 12 professionals are in the MasterChef kitchen together, competing in even tougher and more revealing culinary challenges to stay in the running. The invention test kicking off this fifth week demands the chefs step up a level to produce one sweet or savoury dish that boasts of their raw cooking talents and ability to work under pressure. Choosing their ingredients and working without advanced cooking equipment such as water baths or machinery, they must produce that knock-out dish to be one of the eight strongest contestants, automatically put through to the next stage. The other four have to rally their spirits to win one of two remaining places in a cook-off using only the ingredients left in the larder.

The ten chefs are divided into two groups and leave the MasterChef kitchen for the first time for a brand-new round - the pop-up challenge. Over two episodes, each contestant takes on a food stall at Pergola London, a rooftop destination on the booming pop-up food scene. Watched on by Monica and Marcus, each chef must produce their own dish and make their culinary mark, with limited time and cooking facilities. Their plate not only has to wow the judges, but needs to win over a select guest list. The diners range from chefs to key creators within the street food and UK pop-up scene. The pop-up challenge reveals an added twist when the chefs learn that each guest votes for their favourite dish. The chef with the best dish sails straight through and the remaining four chefs return to the MasterChef kitchen to prove to the judges they merit a semi-finalist place, with an extraordinary dish.

Semi-final week launches with eight chefs battling it out in two cook-offs. The contenders have to produce a personal dish that conjures up a vivid food memory. This can be a memorable plate, place, or person that trigged their passion for food and started their desire to become a chef. The judges identify the two standout dishes, putting those chefs straight through to the next stage. Winning one of the remaining four places rides on an invention test using only plant-based produce. Sweet or savoury; it will have to be spectacular to secure a place in the next round.

The six remaining chefs are split into two groups. The professionals get an incredible opportunity to cook with and learn from two leaders of the culinary industry. Three chefs travel to the hills of Mid-Wales to cook with chef Gareth Ward at his Michelin-starred destination restaurant, Ynyshir. This remote location gives rise to chef Gareth’s lauded fusion style of ingredient-led, flavour-driven food. The other three go to London’s Hide; the newest, jaw-dropping restaurant for Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous. This accomplished chef has been making waves in the culinary world and won a Michelin star at Hide within the first six months of opening.

The last obstacle between the six semi-finalists and a place in the finals, is the preparation of a two-course menu. Inspired by their time working in such prestigious restaurants and learning from the best, the chefs must excel using their most polished techniques, taste and creativity to compel Monica, Gregg and Marcus to make them a MasterChef: The Professionals finalist.
The four exceptional chefs through to the finals must now take on an almighty challenge with the most high-stakes service of their careers - the chef's table - one of the country’s most esteemed and prestigious culinary events, held in central London. The professionals must create their own dishes for a dining room full of the greatest chefs, who between them hold over 20 Michelin stars. This is a moment to either shine, or lose face, in front of their food heroes. Presiding over the service, are Monica and Marcus, whilst Gregg Wallace puts his experienced palate to use amongst the diners.

Back in the MasterChef kitchen, the four hopefuls must create a 'sense of place' through a plate of food that embodies somewhere special to them. They must use this chance to transform the ingredients into a sophisticated dish that is personally evocative, but also sparks a response from the judges - overshadowing their competition. The judges’ decision will propel three of the chefs to the next level, to cook at one of the finest restaurants in the world. For one chef, it’s the end of the road.
In this penultimate task, the final three fly to Portugal for the opportunity of a lifetime cooking with legendary chef, Jose Avillez, at his flagship two Michelin-starred Lisbon restaurant, Belcanto - the pinnacle of Portuguese gastronomy.


Chef Jose is the creative force behind 13 restaurants in Lisbon, Porto and the Middle East. He has used his passion to introduce the world to the eclectic cultural food influences of his country and forge the identity of Portuguese fine dining.

Chef Jose spends two days with the chefs, giving them a masterclass in his food and teaching them about the spirit and history of Portuguese cuisine. They also face their most humbling challenge yet, when they cook in service for a dining room full of guests - made up of chefs from across chef Jose’s restaurant empire, and judges, Marcus, Monica and Gregg. The pressure is on to produce two Michelin-star level food for a highly revered crowd.

Finally, back home, the chefs face their last cook-off - the culmination of seven gruelling, career defining, life-changing and exhilarating weeks. The finalists must bring everything they’ve got to the table. Inspired by the places they’ve been, the range of food they have worked with and the skills they have strived to perfect, they must take their style of food to a new height and create the best three courses of their lives. They face one final crucial judgement from Marcus, Monica and Gregg, to be crowned MasterChef: The Professionals Champion 2019.

Who won MasterChef: The Professionals 2018?

Laurence Henry, sous chef at two Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains, won MasterChef: The Professionals 2018. The youngest of the 2018 finalists, Laurence is the twelfth winner to be awarded the prestigious title, and become part of Professional MasterChef history, along with outstanding past champions: Gary Maclean; Derek Johnstone; Steve Groves; Claire Lara; Ash Mair, joint winners Keri Moss and Anton Piotrowski; Steven Edwards; Jamie Scott; Mark Stinchcombe and last year’s winner, Craig Johnston.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th October 2019

When does MasterChef: The Professionals 2019 start?