How much money the MasterChef contestants are really paid

For the contestants who go on MasterChef and manage to survive the harsh eyes and unforgiving palates of the judges, there's no doubt a great reward waiting for them. The winning chef gets a hefty purse of $250,000, not to mention, the accolades and name recognition that can catapult their future endeavors toward success (via International Business Times). 

How about the other contestants, though? Sure, they got some TV time and can go home and tell their friends and family about the time Gordon Ramsay yelled at them until they were nearly on the brink of tears, but what about money? The contestants put their lives on hold, but that doesn't mean their responsibilities freeze and bills don't have to be paid. 

The contestants on MasterChef do get some money, but it's probably nowhere near what you think and in some aspects, contestants actually pay the show. 

Contestants were paid... just not a lot

MasterChef season three contestant, Jessie Glenn said that after passing several online casting rounds, she had to pay for her own airfare to Los Angeles to meet with producers in person (via Salon). While that might be enough to turn off some potential contestants, it doesn't even compare to the ridiculous stipulation regarding the show's "management fee."

"They asked me to agree to pay a 15 percent 'management fee' to a company called One Potato Two Potato (OPTP) owned by... Gordon Ramsay," Glenn said in an editorial. "This fee would then apply to any income or even gifts I received in any context potentially related to the showI asked if OPTP would do any other career management. No, they said." Yuck.

That may all sound like a kick in the teeth, but for contestants who do agree to those conditions, MasterChef does pay them while on the show. Just not a lot. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, in addition to accommodations and food, 2013 contestants got around $630 each week. That's not a lot more than the $583 a week an entry-level cook would make. In 2011, contestants were getting just $500 a week (via News.com.au). 

The weekly allowance may not be a lot, but it's not enough to deter hopeful chefs from making a run at the title of being dubbed... MasterChef!