A MasterChef party is a dinner party game on steroids.
Inspired by the popular T.V. show MasterChef, this party is for creative foodies and social butterflies looking for something unique to do with friends. It’s a full-day commitment between the cooking, the eating, the drinking, and the hanging out between meals, but somehow, you won’t want the day to end.
Earlier this year, my friend organized one of these MasterChef parties. I had heard about these infamous events and was excited to receive an invite. This post is how our party went down from start to finish. Use it as a guide to plan your own MasterChef party and modify it as needed to suit you and your group’s tastes, budget, and schedule.
MasterChef Party Outline
What is a MasterChef party?
MasterChef is one of the most popular cooking shows around. On MasterChef, amateur and home cooks compete in a series of timed cooking events and competitions in hopes of bringing home the MasterChef title. A MasterChef party takes components of this show and wraps it up into one jam-packed day.
In advance, each team of two, selects two meals they want to enter into the competition. They get to pick between brunch, lunch, dinner and desert. Teams cook one small dish (2-3 bites) and one drink for all the participants, for each meal they select. Each team is timed and judged on presentation, taste, creativity, and organization.
In addition to preparing a dish and a drink, teams must create a playlist for the hour, that goes along with their meal. Themes and costumes/dress-up are highly encouraged.
For a MasterChef party, one team prepares and presents one dish and one drink to the rest of the group every hour on the hour. Each team gets precisely 30 minutes to be in the kitchen and to get their finished dishes in front of the rest of the group. They then get an additional 30 minutes to explain and present their dishes to the group and clean up.
Six Steps to Planning a MasterChef Party
Step 1: Pick a date and send out an invitation.
(4 weeks in advance)
Ideally, you’ll pick a date that’s at least one month in advance. Send an invitation to 6-8 people to participate (by email, phone, text, in-person) and ask them to R.S.V.P. within a week. They must find their own teammate. Include the rules and explain roughly how the day will unfold. The more information you give, the more likely people will commit. Feel free to share this post with them.
Step 2: Confirm your guest list.
(Three weeks in advance).
Confirm whether anyone in the group has any allergies or dietary preferences and let everyone know who’s attending. Just like a dinner party, people like knowing who’s going to be there. You can share peoples’ details by creating a WhatsApp group or by including people in a mass email.
Step 3: Create a schedule for the day.
(One week in advance).
A week before your MasterChef party, get each team to confirm the two meals they will enter the competition. Give them a few days to do this. Then, send out a schedule for the day so teams know when they are cooking their food and what order.
Step 4: Party and house preparation.
(The day before).
The day before the big day, make sure your apartment, house, townhouse, cabin, or wherever you’re hosting is clean. Put away shoes, make space for people to hang their jackets, and ensure your place is tidy. Make space in your fridge and freezer, clear off counters, and set up a couple of tables where teams can leave their food and belongings when they arrive. Charge your speakers and make sure your glassware, tableware, and appliances are clean and ready to be used.
Confirm your address, directions, buzzer #s, etc., and guests’ starting time. Remind people to be on time even if it sounds a bit annoying. Print off the scorecards (two per person or make them double-sided) and send out the master schedule to everyone in the group.
Step 5: Final Details.
(The day of).
An hour or two beforehand, set your dinner table with placemats and napkins (if you’re using them). Stack plates, cutlery, and place any glassware on an island or counter. When people show up, show teams where they can leave their belongings and food prep and get them setup with the wifi and connected to your speaker (so they can easily play their playlist).
Once everyone has arrived, feel free to start the event by going through the rules, giving people a tour of your kitchen, and explaining how the day will unfold. Then, get the first team ready to go and set the timer for 30 minutes.
Step 6. Your MasterChef party has officially begun!
As the host, you should keep track of time for the first team. After that, the previous team are responsible for keeping track of the next team’s timing. Take lots of photos, rest if you need to, and enjoy yourself.
MasterChef Party Details & Rules
➜ Each team is a team of two.
Both team members need to be present and be involved in the planning and presentation of each of the two dishes and drinks.
➜ Everyone needs to be available for the entire day of MasterChef in order to participate.
It doesn’t work if people show up late or leave early so make sure people are aware of the commitment in advance.
➜ Each team must decide (in advance) which two meal categories they will prepare.
The teams can choose from brunch, lunch, dinner or dessert.
➜ Each team must make one dish and one drink for each meal.
You’re budgeting for two small dishes and two drinks for the entire group. Feel free to make more for yourself if you feel so inclined.
➜ Teams can prepare as much or as little in advance.
They must bring everything they need to cook (oil, spices, ice for drinks, etc) in addition to their ingredients. If they choose to bring their own plates, table setting, etc., they may.
➜ Teams can spend as much money or as little money as they want.
Or, if you’re the organizer, you can set a budget.
➜ Teams must leave the kitchen and table ready for the next team.
Counters need to be wiped down, all pots and pans must be cleaned, and the plates and glasses that were used also have to be hand-washed and dried before the next team’s turn. Failure to do this will result in penalties.
➜ Teams can bring anything they require for cooking or for presentation.
This includes their own glassware, cookware, and anything required for their presentation, including table cloths, costumes, printed recipe cards, etc.
➜ Teams must take notes and rank each team.
After each meal is presented, each person must write notes on their scoresheet and at the end, rank each team’s meal from favorite to least favorite.
Scoring & Ranking
Giving a numerical score can be highly biased and isn’t actually the best and most fair way to score people.
Instead, I prefer and recommend ranking. It removes any chance there’s a swing vote and more accurately rates peoples’ performances.
For your MasterChef party, I recommend creating a basic scoresheet in Canva like this one, with the following four categories: presentation, taste, creativity, timeliness, and cleanliness.
After each team presents, leave the table and write down notes for each category starring any dishes or teams that stand out (or miss the mark) so when it comes time to do the final rank, you remember what you liked (and disliked) about each team.
How much did your mouth water when you sat down to eat this meal? Was it easy or difficult to eat? Were the plates clean? Did the team dress up in a fun costume or have a theme?
Did the team make something unusual or different? Did the team think hard about the story behind the dish and presentation? Was it presented creatively?
Did the team make sauces from scratch? Would you order this at a restaurant? Did tasting this dish and sipping this drink make you go, wow?
Did the team manage to complete everything within the allotted time? Was the kitchen clean and ready to go for the next group? Did the team remember all of their ingredients or forget any components of their dish or drink?
Tip: Use this Canva template and print them off for your MasterChef party.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a MasterChef party take? It will take the entire day. We started ours at 10:30 am, and it ended at 8:30 pm, and we had six teams. You can make it shorter by reducing each team’s time cooking and presenting or the number of dishes you require each team to cook.
How far in advance should you plan a MasterChef party? I recommend setting a date one month in advance.
Should you set a budget? It’s up to you. But for fairness, it’s recommended.
Why do you need such strict rules? A MasterChef party needs structure, and without strict rules, the event could become extremely disorganized and delayed.
How long does each team get to be in the kitchen for? Each team gets 30 minutes to prepare and plate their dish. And another 30 minutes to present their dish and clean-up.
How many teams should you have? A minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6. So between 8 and 12 people total.
How should I manage competitors with allergies and dietary preferences? When you send out your invites, ask people to tell you if they have any allergies, so other teams know in advance. Avoid inviting super picky eaters, as this takes away from the creativity of the entire group.
What do I do if people bail before the event? Unfortunately, there are always people who cancel last minute for whatever reason. If you think someone might bail, make sure you invite one extra team. To help people commit, you can send weekly reminders leading up to the event and a couple of reminders closer to the date to build excitement.
What does the host need to provide? The host should provide a clean kitchen complete with basic cooking utensils and cookware (pots, pans, etc.). Oil, salt and pepper should also be provided by the host. The host should send out a list of extra appliances they might have available for teams to use (ie. blender, Vitamix, food processor, AirFryer etc). There should also be space for guests to hang out, games to play, and a place to do extra prep (i.e. in the garage).
What should the teams bring to a MasterChef party? Teams should bring all ingredients for their dishes, any costumes, decor, or special items for their dishes including ice if required for their drinks.
Are you MasterChef ready?
If you’re feeling inspired to organize a MasterChefparty of your own, feel free to change up the rules, categories, and scoring methods. Use this post as a guideline and don’t forget to tag Feed My Friends on social media if you end up organizing one (which I sure you hope you do).
A special thanks to my friend Tash who introduced me to this amazing idea. And to Nicole for taking the majority of these photos from our MasterChef party.
If you have any questions about how to plan your MasterChef party, don’t hesitate to reach out by email or leave a comment below.