Top Chef Masters

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Top Chef Masters TV Poster Image
Famous chefs compete for charity in milder spin-off.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

A few chefs have big egos, but in the end they're competing for the chance to contribute to charity, which is a worthy goal. Not much diversity among the competitors.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The chefs like to boast about their talents, but ultimately they are working hard to raise money for charity.


Some chefs lose their cool under pressure and argue with or yell at sous chefs.


Some very mild sexual innuendo, including a reference to a shower scene after one chef steams pasta in a bathroom.


Words like "hell" and "damn" are audible, while words like "s--t" and "f--k" are "bleeped".


Brands like Glad, Lexis, and other sponsors are prominently featured in each episode. Each chef owns a restaurant; their eateries are often talked about, and restaurant names are featured on their uniforms.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine and hard liquor are sometimes used as ingredients in dishes. Wine is usually served with dinner. One chef wants to have a shot of tequila to calm his nerves down. Wine and champagne are often waiting for the chefs after they stand before the judge’s table.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Top Chef spin-off is significantly milder than its parent series -- perhaps because the competitors are already famous and are vying to contribute to their charity of choice rather than a lucrative personal prize. That said, the chefs do occasionally lose their cool, and there's some strong language (the iffiest words are bleeped) and plenty of brand/product placement. Also, alcohol is frequently used as an ingredient, served with dinner, and enjoyed by relaxing or celebrating chefs.

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What's the story?

In TOP CHEF MASTERS, 24 five-star chefs leave their successful restaurants behind to compete in the ultimate culinary showdown. In the first six episodes, groups of four chefs compete for a spot in the championship round -- and a cash donation to the charity of their choice. Their dishes must impress a picky panel of judges, including New York restaurant critic Gael Green, culinary expert James Oseland, London food critic Jay Rayner, and a wide variety of guests. In the finals, the six winners must outshine each other by preparing the best cuisine of their lives. The last chef in the kitchen wins $100,000 for their chosen charity and the coveted title of Top Chef Master.

Is it any good?

The show's overall tone is different from that of its parent series because the chefs' primary motivation is their desire to help their favorite charity -- rather winning money for themselves. The fact that they're already famous in the culinary community also means that they don't have to be obnoxious or show off to convince anyone of their talents. And the judges are a little bit nicer, too.

It's definitely a milder approach, and it allows viewers to watch how these talented chefs can turn cooking even the simplest dish into an art form. Some viewers may miss the dramatic tension of contestants bickering with one another or arguing over ingredients. But those who enjoy cooking -- or who can appreciate what really puts a chef on top -- will definitely find something here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of cooking shows and televised cooking competitions. Are these shows supposed to teach you how to cook, or are they simply meant to be entertaining? Families can also discuss what it takes to be a "star" chef. What kind of training does a chef have to go through in order to be called a chef rather than a cook? How do chefs get rated? Who rates them?

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