Out of the thousands who applied, 56 amateur cooks have made it through to compete over four weeks of heats to be crowned the 2018 champion of the culinary contest.
In the opening episode, the show’s judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace welcome the first batch of seven hopefuls.
This year sees the return of the MasterChef Market, stocked full of ‘the best-quality produce from across the world’, including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses, grains and dairy. The challenge is to invent and then cook one dish using anything from the market. This time the featured ingredients include beef mince, duck breasts, pancetta, cod and mussels.
The contestants have an hour and ten minutes to dazzle the judges and prove they are good enough to stay in the competition. After tasting all seven dishes, John and Gregg decide which four cooks are good enough to stay, while three are sent straight home.
The four remaining cooks then have one more challenge standing between them and a quarter-final place. They must cook two courses that will excite not just John and Gregg but also three special guests; MasterChef 2017 finalists Steve Kielty and Giovanna Ryan and MasterChef 2017 champion Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed.
After the four contestants have cooked, John and Gregg decide which three deserve to take the next step in the competition and go through to the quarter-final on Friday (March 2) at 7.30pm.
L-r: judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace