FOX TV’s MasterChef is looking for San Diego’s best amateur home cooks for casting in the show’s sixth season of the summer series that often discovers the underutilized cooking skills of janitors, teachers, truck drivers and stay-at-home moms.
On Sept. 13, casting producers are holding open call auditions at The Westin San Diego, where contestant hopefuls are given the opportunity to serve one pre-prepared dish to culinary judges. Current and former chefs cannot be contestants on the show and those auditioning will not have use of any cooking equipment or heating elements during open call.
“The show is about people who have always had a passion for food, but for whatever reason their life went into another direction,” said Erika Landin, supervising casting producer. “It’s for people who are passionate about cooking but never got to fully explore it.”
MasterChef has about six million viewers in over 30 countries. The competition is hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and fellow judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. Last season’s winner received $250,000, a cookbook deal and the prestigious MasterChef title.
“People get intimidated by the name of our show,” Landin said. “It’s really more about those who want to become the MasterChef and are willing to go on this journey and be mentored by the judges.”
Even though auditions are held in large cities across the country, the casting calls are relatively small. Two years ago, the show had a successful casting call in San Diego that landed four contestants in the top 18, including the runner-up, Natasha Crnjac from La Jolla.
“We figured there was a lot of talent in San Diego,” Landin said. “During casting we look for all types of contestants, but the most important thing is they have that passion for food and cooking.”
MasterChef airs on Monday nights and the number of contestants selected to compete each season is typically about 20. According to Landin, contestants have a good shot at winning if they’re able to learn quickly throughout the show and use feedback provided by the judges.
The Westin is located Downtown at 400 W. Broadway. Open call will be held on Sept. 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information and pre-registration details, visit MasterChefCasting.com.
—Kai Oliver-Kurtin is a local freelance reporter who also works full-time doing social media marketing for the U.S. Navy. Contact her at email@example.com.