‘MasterChef’ exclusive: Graham Elliot on season 4 casting

Doesn’t it feel like only yesterday that “MasterChef” season 3 ended with Christine Ha’s win? In some ways, it does, but Fox and the show’s producers are already looking for the best home cooks in America for what will hopefully be an exciting fourth season airing next summer.

If you look down at the bottom of this article, you can find out some more information when it comes to the cities that the cooking competition will be taking off to next. For now, though, we are focusing our attention more on some words from judge Graham Elliot, who shared a few thoughts with us recently about the success of the show, what it takes to be successful on it, and some of the biggest disasters that have come out of the show’s famous kitchen over the years.

Cartermatt.com – With everything that you had last season on the show, whether it be the high ratings or a great winner, how do you top that for season 4?

Season 3 was huge as far as the numbers go, and I think what it is is just like in our restaurants, the three of us, Joe [Bastianich], Gordon [Ramsay], and myself, along with the producers, we don’t want to rest on our laurels. We’re cooking menus and serving guests every day, and we’re constantly thinking about ways to make it better. And we’re taking the same approach to the show.

What sort of ways did you have to up the challenge for the contestants last season?

I think that it’s a testament to how great the cast was. The first season, you have a grandma making an apple pie; for the third season, you have people roasting pig hearts and then roasting them into raviolis in thirty minutes. The level of cookery was exponentially higher. We would [think of a challenge], but then we would have to change it all because it was too easy. Then there were the ideas like ‘let’s bring someone back’ or ‘let’s change the teams’ that helped to [mix up] the predictability, where they think that they have immunity when you don’t or things like that.

Now that we are moving into season 4, are there any sort of dishes, ideas, techniques, or personalities that you are hoping to see from the contestants?

It’s interesting because we always ride the fine line of ‘be true to your history or ethnicity’ while at the same time saying ‘don’t get too comfortable’ and think outside of the box. This is why it’s important that each cook [trying out for the show] is very well-rounded. I thought for most of this past season that Becky was probably going to win, because she was a super-strong cook, but then she got the frog legs and she was done. That happened in season 2 with Ben … It’s not a cumulative thing, it’s all based on how good your last dish was.

What do you think is the worst dish you have ever had during a ‘MasterChef’ audition?

Funeral potatoes. It was somebody from Iowa, and what happened was that if someone from the neighborhood died, you go to the wake and they would bake these potatoes that were like 5% potato and 95% butter and cheese. It was just a giant pool of grease, and you could probably run your car on it.

The image to the left may be small, but if you click on it you can expand it to see all of the upcoming dates still on the casting schedule; in addition to that, there is also some information as to how to get your application process underway. If there is one thing that we can you  from our own reality TV experience, it is to be yourself, but at the same time make sure to also be outgoing, and never under any circumstances answer and opinion-based question with “I don’t know.” Producers want someone who will speak their mind if something goes wrong.

Thanks for Graham for chatting with us, and you can also head over to this link to look at our interview with the reigning champ Christine.

Photo: Fox

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