How Shows Like MasterChef And Cake Wars Deal With Their Leftover Food

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Fans love reality cooking shows and competitions like MasterChef, Cake Wars, Iron Chef, and the sweet desserts they get to see on Cupcake Wars and The Great British Bake Off. But many, especially those conscious about famine and food waste, can’t help but wonder what happens to the leftovers.



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Everyone who watches these shows sees the food get sampled and taste tested by the judges, but rarely do they see the judges clean their plates. Usually, judges have one or two bites and then move on to another dish. So the question has to be asked, what happens to all that leftover food?

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8 MasterChef UK Feeds The Crew

While there is some negative speculation about what happens to the food on Gordon Ramsey’s U.S. version of Masterchef (see below) producers from the UK version have confirmed that no food goes to waste. Uneaten portions of dishes go on to feed the show’s crew members and producers, and perishables that can be saved are quickly frozen. Some ingredients are also reused across multiple challenges. Dry goods are also stored and saved, which in turn helps the show save money as dry goods have a longer shelf life. Perishables that cannot be saved are donated to shelters and food banks. Also, producers claim that leftover raw ingredients are sometimes given to younger members of the crew in an effort to help them save money, something that many young adults can relate to.


7 Master Chef Australia Donates To Food Banks

Master Chef Australia follows similar procedures as Master Chef UK. Leftovers that are donatable are never squandered and the show has a working relationship with Secondbite and Foodbank, organizations that are working to end hunger in Australia. Otherwise, prepared foods go on to feed a hungry crew.

6 Great British Bake Off’s Crew Get Free Sweets

The goods made on The Great British Bake Off are almost always scrumptious looking, and the crew seems to agree. Producers have even compared the eager crew members to vultures because when taping and judging is finished they are quick to pounce on free treats. One can only hope they indulge in moderation.

5 Unused Ingredients Are Usually Saved For Following Episodes

Most shows, whether it is Iron Chef, Top Chef, Masterchef, or any one of the many baking competition shows, are economical and save any ingredient that can be saved for use in future competitions. This makes perfect sense, as it would be highly uneconomical to toss out batches of preservable food at the end of every episode, which would quickly raise the budget of any show.


4 Most Prepared Food Cannot Be Donated

One thing that does complicate matters for cooking shows is that most countries have strict regulations about what can and cannot be donated to food banks. For example, it is usually illegal to donate prepared foods, like the completed meals that contestants put before the judges. However, non-perishable foods or foods that can quickly be stored can be donated. It might sound confusing to some, if the meals are okay to eat why can’t they be donated? Well, the answer is simple: safety. Prepared meals have to be cooked in regulated kitchens, like those in a restaurant. The donation of prepared meals would be challenging to regulate and could allow tainted food to spread.

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3 Producers Get To Keep Ingredients And Dishes On Top Chef

While young crew members on Master Chef get some help with their groceries because they are allowed to take some ingredients home, the producers of Top Chef like to keep things for themselves. At the end of tapings and seasons, unused ingredients will usually go home with the show’s producers. Like most of the other shows already mentioned, uneaten parts of the meals also go to feed the show’s crew.

2 Cupcake Wars Gives To Charity

While many countries do have strict regulations about prepared food getting donated to shelters and food banks, there are some exceptions. Also, many of the kitchens on these shows do count as regulated (health inspected) kitchens. So when shows like Cupcake Wars go out of their way to donate their tasty morsels to charity, there is very little stopping them. But, as one might have guessed by now, most end up getting distributed among what is probably a very eager, very hungry, crew.

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1 Some Allege The Food Is Not Even Real

While all of this might sound practical and noble, there is a possibly darker side to all of this. In a Fox News article, allegations from Reddit users, some of whom were contestants on these shows, arose. Some claim that the food on these shows just gets thrown out after a few bites, and some went as far as to say that the food we see on camera is not even real. While it is true that sometimes food will be dressed up to look tastier, even to the point they use inedible materials, there is little evidence to prove this. Most showrunners of cooking competition shows, like those working for Master Chef UK, assure the public that no food ever goes to waste.