Film & TV

MasterChef Casting in Miami: Insider Tips From the Casting Director

MasterChef, the Fox cooking competition that has "real people" competing just wrapped up season five, with judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot choosing Courtney Lapressi, an aerial dancer from Philadelphia, as the victor. Now, it's on to season six.

MasterChef is seeking contestants for a new season with a multi-city open casting call that includes a stop in Miami.

See also: Behind the Scenes: MasterChef Casting Call, Miami

The Miami casting call takes place Saturday, October 4, at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Contestants should fill out an online application in advance at You'll also have to bring a prepared dish to be served to the food judges. Once called, you'll be given three minutes to plate your dish, but there will be no kitchen facilities to cook or even warm up your dish. You must also bring everything you need, including plates and utensils.

Sure, those are the basics. But what do the casting people really look for in a contestant?

Erika Landin Rich, supervising casting producer for MasterChef, says that her crew is really looking for home cooks. "We're looking for the best amateur chef in the country. We're interested in people who always wanted to be in the food industry but whose life took them in a different direction. The truck driver, the teacher. People who always had that really strong passion for food."

Expect to be at the casting for about three to four hours. Casting producers will ask questions to get to know you and your personality and food judges with an extensive culinary background will ask you about the concept of your dish.

The most important thing to remember, Landin Rich says, is to be smart about what you prepare. "Be smart about what you bring. You don't want to bring something that doesn't travel well. With that being said, you might not want to bring something that could congeal. You probably wouldn't want to bring a fondue."

Also, don't bring really sharp knives. Or fire. "We usually do the open calls at a hotel and per all the rules you can't bring flames or plug anything in. I've still seen people get creative. If you want to do something in the parking lot, do what you need to do to make things as great as possible. I've seen people bring grills. As long as they're doing it out by their cars, I'm fine with that."

Her best advice? "Bring 'you' on a plate. If you're a dessert person, bring a dessert. If you're a grillmaster, go with that. This is the time to show the judges what you are as a home cook."

The seasoned producer says she's seen it all. "We get people who try to be clever and bring a bowl of Cheerios." But, at the end of the day, the people who succeed are the people who really want it. "We look for passion. That's the most important thing to us. These are home chefs and we know that, but for these people, this is their life. Bring the passion."

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