The Real Reason Contestants Only Prepare One Of Each Dish On MasterChef

Cooking competition shows have to be incredibly careful to spell out each and every rule. One slip-up can potentially provide a little, or not so little, amount of backlash down the line, especially a show as popular as "MasterChef." With various iterations around the world, the show ranks number one on Tell-Tale TV's list of cooking competitions they'd want to be a part of. 

According to Delish, some of "MasterChef's" more unusual rules include undergoing a psychological evaluation, meeting with a private investigator, and not wasting food or reheating it. But perhaps one of the most confusing rules is that cooks can only make one dish. This is a really interesting tidbit, considering the show features three judges. One would think that chefs would be required to bring more than one dish to the table, right? So why is it that "MasterChef" makes contestants limit their plating to one single dish?

Leaving it all on one plate

As "MasterChef" judge Christina Tosi explained to Lucky Peach, the reason for the one-dish rule comes down to time restrictions. "The challenges and timelines are just too tight, and there's romance in the one dish that either takes you to the top or may very well be your fall from grace," she said. "Preparing two dishes just complicates things and takes away from the focus of the competition."  

Tosi also noted that the judges are stopping by each station and tasting along the way. This helps the chefs when their dishes get cold while waiting to be photographed. Such is the case on Food Network's "Chopped." Host Ted Allen revealed to Yahoo! TV that by the time the final plate gets to the judges, it's already cold, so the judges may observe the food instead of tasting it at that point. However, to combat eating cold food, Allen, like Tosi, shared that the judges routinely go to stations and taste things while they're hot. So for "MasterChef" and other cooking competition shows, your culinary skills go far beyond just presenting a fresh plate of delicious food. It's about preparing a dish full of flavor that will taste good even when it gets cold.