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TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
MasterChef TV Poster Image
Ramsay brings usual edge to amateur cooking competition.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The competition seeks to celebrate and help talented and passionate amateur cooks ... but it does so amid lots of yelling and frequently harsh criticism.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The judges want the contestants to learn, but their approach is often extremely harsh when offering comments and/or suggestions.


Ramsey often yells, screams, and insults the cooks during competitions and judging sessions. One contestant humorously says “slap your mama” when the food is good. Angry contestants are shown slamming fists into prep tables.


Some strong sexual innuendo, including flirting between a contestant and the judges and strong references to food being and/or tasting “sexy." Words like “balls” are often used.


Words like “hell” are audible. The words “s--t” and "f--k" are used frequently (Ramsay is a notorious curser) but are fully bleeped.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine is often consumed during meals and tastings. Alcohol (wine, beer, hard liquor) is frequently used in recipes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this cooking competition series hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay -- in which novice chefs vie for a cash prize and a chance to publish a cookbook -- doesn't stray too far from Ramsay's other shows when it comes to hot tempers and strong language. He and the other judges swear frequently (“s--t” and "f--k” are bleeped) and deliver and harsh criticism when critiquing the contestants’ food. There's also some strong sexual innuendo (suggestive flirting, references to food being “sexy”).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous August 17, 2012
Parent of a 7 year old Written byratp January 2, 2016
Kid, 9 years old July 28, 2010

Okay for my family, but not for all families.

Please be aware that Gordon Ramsey does not swear in this as much as he does in his previous works. Over all, I found the show okay for family viewing (with mil... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 8, 2011

i rate this title IFFY for ages 12+

What to watch out for * Messages: The competition seeks to celebrate and help talented and passionate amateur cooks ... but it does so amid lot... Continue reading

What's the story?

MASTERCHEF is a culinary competition designed to find and reward the best home cook in America. Hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, the series brings together 100 passionate amateur cooks from across the country. After presenting their dishes to a panel of judges -- including Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich, and four-star chef Graham Elliot -- 30 make the cut to compete in future rounds. After each challenge -- which includes preparation contests, taste tests, and catering events -- another cook is eliminated. The last one cooking wins $250,000 and a chance to publish their own cookbook.

Is it any good?

The series, which is already popular in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, and Hungary, features lots of the high-intensity food preparation excitement that's part of the fun in shows like Top Chef and Ultimate Cake Off. But unlike those shows, MasterChef features people who are doctors, software designers, and stay-at-home parents first and chefs second. While it’s inspiring to watch, many of these cooks lack the finesse usually showcased in food preparation shows. They're also unprepared for the kind of harsh criticism that the judges, especially Ramsay, have to offer, which leads to a lot of crying and other unprofessional reactions.

People who like cooking competitions will be drawn to the show, and foodies will be enjoy the chance to see how novice cooks can learn some tricks of the trade. But the salty language and Ramsey’s unique motivation style aren't particularly constructive. The series serves up some good entertainment, but it's a dish best left for older kids. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ramsay's personality. How have his temper and tendency to swear contributed to his fame? What do you think he's like in real life?

  • Would the show be as entertaining if the judges were nicer to the contestants? Why or why not?

  • What inspires people to cook creatively, even if it isn’t their profession? If you were to compete on this show, what dish would you prepare?

TV details

For kids who love food and cooking

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