This season of MasterChef is more intense than ever — harder challenges, more talented chefs, and more Ramsay-isms than ever before, and it’s making us wonder if the contestants get paid. Sure, they get good visibility, but many of the contestants put their lives on hold to go on MasterChef.
Now that a bunch of contestants have returned for MasterChef Legends, there must be something pretty great about being on MasterChef for them to come back, right? Well, production seems to cover some things, but not as much as we might expect. Plus, now that there are iterations of MasterChef all over the world, it’s hard to tell who gets paid where.
‘MasterChef U.S.’ contestants don’t seem to get paid, but they can still make money.
It’s honestly pretty wild to think that MasterChef contestants wouldn’t get paid. They put their lives on hold, but they probably still have bills to pay and finances to take care of.
Not just that, but many contestants quit their jobs to be able to give the amount of time they need to film MasterChef. Plus, several other reality TV shows, such as Survivor, pay their contestants at least a stipend for appearing on the show.
It looks like MasterChef Australia gives their contestants a $630 weekly stipend, which isn’t much more than a starting chef’s minimum wage. However, MasterChef U.S. doesn’t even seem to do that. In an “Ask Me Anything” with Season 6 contestant Christopher Lu on Reddit, he responded to a question about a stipend saying, “No, we do not get a wardrobe stipend.”
On other Reddit threads wondering if the MasterChef contestants get paid, several responses have said that they get nothing for appearing on the show, although we don’t know where those Redditors are getting their intel from.
Others have said that contestants get anywhere from $35 to $50 per day, which would still not be ideal. Contestants don’t have to pay for lodging while they’re on the show, although they might be purposefully roomed with their exact opposite.
‘MasterChef’ contestants don’t get paid, but they do need to give up a portion of any income from the show.
What does that mean if they don’t get paid? Well, contestants might get paid for interviews, appearances, merchandise, etc. that they receive because of their spot on MasterChef.
According to an editorial written by Season 3 contestant Jessie Glenn, who actually never signed her NDA, contestants who sign are forced to hand over a 15 percent “management fee” of any of that income or even gifts to One Potato, Two Potato, which is owned by Gordon Ramsay himself.
In addition to that, in order to get cast in MasterChef, potential contestants need to pay their way to LA for the final casting. While there, about 100 potential competitors are put up in a hotel with their final audition, interviews, and psychological evaluations.
But pretty quickly, about 70 of those competitors are cut, despite the fact they paid to get their chance to be on television.
It looks like the only way to get paid for going on MasterChef is to win, in which case you’d get $250,000. That’s not too shabby, so it might be worth the price of a trip to LA for the chance to win the grand prize. It’s possible things are different on MasterChef Legends, but that seems unlikely.
Watch new episodes of MasterChef Legends every Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.