Banijay’s hit format MasterChef has now surpassed 500 series since its reboot in 2005, reaching this milestone with the first-ever MasterChef Tamil, which is currently on air.

The multi-award winning, iconic cookery show created by Franc Roddam has been running for more than thirty years. Crowned the Most Successful Cookery Television Format by Guinness World Records in 2017, there have been 64 local versions to-date and more than 10,000 episodes have aired around the world, in addition to the milestone 500 seasons. Last year alone, despite filming restrictions, there were 43 productions across 30 markets.

Lucas Green, Global Head of Content Operations at Banijay says: “Reaching this milestone is a fantastic achievement for the MasterChef family. Whilst staying true to the core values of the format, each version is unique, adapting to celebrate the individual cultures and craft of their region. The amazing teams on all 500 productions have created life-changing opportunities for our contestants and delivered world-class entertainment and iconic moments for millions of viewers around the world.”

The original series of MasterChef was first seen on the BBC in 1990 and ran for 11 years. In 2005 Franc Roddam, in partnership with Shine TV, reconcieved the format for BBC Two, which then moved on to BBC One in 2009. In the same year, Australia became the first territory to adapt the format, with the season finale being the country’s most-watched television programme of the year. Over a decade on, the territory’s remake is still enjoying huge success, with it being named the Most In-Demand Reality Series of 2020 (Parrot Analytics).

Franc Roddam, MasterChef Creator adds: “I am immensely proud of MasterChef, which has entertained millions and transformed the lives of thousands. I am so grateful to all those who have contributed to its global success and helped maintain its popularity and freshness over the years.”

MasterChef continues to evolve year-on-year, with iterations to date including MasterChef Junior, MasterChef Professionals, MasterChef All Stars, Celebrity MasterChef, and most recently, MasterChef Senior. Additionally, its market-reach is ever-expanding, with new territories including a four-version commission in India being added to the map spanning Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada.

More than 100 ex-contestants are now professional chefs. Notable alumni include UK series one winner, Thomasina Meirs, who went on to co-found the Wahaca restaurant group, award-winning legally blind chef Christine Ha, who won season 3 in the US and recently opened The Blind Goat restaurant in Houston, Texas, and Michelin Star-awarded chefs, Marko Gajski (MasterChef Croatia), Elizabeth Haigh (MasterChef UK) and Carlos Maldonado (Spain). The show has also played host to a number of well-known faces from the Dalai Lama, Michelle Obama, and The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, to some of the world’s best chefs including Massimo Bottura, Heston Blumenthal, Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein and Nigella Lawson.

Elsewhere, MasterChef productions around the world are leading the way for sustainability with over 75% donating leftover food to charity. In season 12 of MasterChef Australia, a total of 95% food waste was saved and over 39,000 pieces of paper. The most recent version in Germany built its set entirely from recycled and/or environmentally friendly materials, saving at least 3.7 tonnes of plastic.

Finally, with more than 90 licensees around the world, the MasterChef brand also extends into a huge range of successful commercial activities. Millions of consumer products have sold globally, the extensive publishing range has proved lucrative, and audiences around the world can engage with MasterChef through live experiences from restaurants to cruises and tours.

Jon Creamer

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