‘MasterChef Generations’ Puts Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, & Gen Z in a Culinary Cook-Off

'MasterChef Generations'
Fox Media LLC

MasterChef is back to once again heat up the kitchen, but this time, Gordon Ramsay is asking that age-old question: What generation has the best cooks? That’s right—for Season 14, appropriately titled MasterChef Generations this go-around—one of the biggest cooking competitions in the world has become, quite literally, the battle of the ages. While home cook contestants young and old have certainly engaged in culinary war on MasterChef throughout the years (even fledgling cooks on MasterChef Jr.), this is the first season that puts emphasis on age groups and pits four generations against each other: baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z.

For those who aren’t aware, MasterChef is a competition reality show where your average home cooks are put through a multitude of cooking challenges in hopes to tantalize the taste buds of the three sometimes not-so-easy-to please judges: culinary giant Gordon Ramsay, renowned restaurateur Joe Bastianich, and Food Network star Aarón Sánchez. The big prize at the end of the tunnel? The coveted MasterChef trophy and a quarter of a million dollars. To lay out the team dynamics of this year’s theme, MasterChef Generations’ first episode opens up in a retro living room that homes in on a ‘50s-era boob tube featuring Ramsay on black-and-white cooking show. It’s here that he and his two cohosts make some interesting observations about the generations these contestants stem from.

'MasterChef Generations'

“There’s nothing more timeless than cooking. Everyone’s done it: your parents, your grandparents—even your kids,” says a slick-haired, monochromatic Ramsay as he chops meat. “But, one thing’s for sure: How people cook across generations is very different. Which begs the age-old question: Which generation has the best cooks? Is it the Baby Boomers, who have history on their side and have become known for cooking traditional cuisine and old-world family recipes?”  He later praises them as “The kings and queens of flavor who are incredibly wise.”

Next up, Bastianich introduces Gen X in VHS-style fashion. “Or, is it the resourceful Gen X?” asks the renowned restaurateur, who also happens to be a Gen Xer. He continues to describe them as, “The latchkey kids who grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s who were raised on mall food courts and music videos.” Ramsay later on also weighs in on Gen X, calling them “resourceful and incredibly independent.”

Sanchez then introduces millennials, and no, the acclaimed chef and Food Network star is not one himself (he too is Gen X), but he had some kind things to say about his generational neighbors. When questioning who the last cook standing will be this season, he ponders, “Is it the passionate, media-savvy millennials? These guys grew up on the worldwide web blogging their inner thoughts and creating hot food trends. No avocado toast is complete without Salsa Macha.” Also chiming in on millennials is Bastianich, who points out that they grew up during the peak of food television and how “they may have even learned techniques from MasterChef.

And last, but certainly not least when it comes to Ramsay’s social media followers, are Gen Z, an age group he describes as “ambitious,” “boundary-pushing” and “adventurous” and “who do everything on their phone.” He also quips, “[they are] most of my followers on Tik-Tok,” suggesting that this generation could very well have an upper hand by growing up and learning to cook during an era when aspiring chefs are bustling and sharing recipes on TikTok and YouTube.

So, do you agree with the generational assessments made by Ramsay, Bastianich, and Sanchez? What generation can take the most heat in the kitchen? Which generation is most likely to crack under the pressure cooker? When we eventually reach the grand finale, only one cook will ultimately impress all three judges with their flavor, technique, presentation and score the big trophy. If you’re thinking of placing any bets this season, here’s some food for thought: if you look up all the past 13 winners of MasterChef, it’s very clear that a majority of the winners have been millennials. So far, no boomer has ever taken home the grand prize and Season 12’s Dara Yu appears to be the first and only Gen Z winner (she was also a runner-up on MasterChef Jr.) Of course, you can always just put your money on Gen X. Let’s not forget that Gordon Ramsay is also from that generation, and many already see him as one of the greatest chefs, so perhaps he’ll bless his fellow Gen Xers with a bit of good luck.

Haven’t checked out MasterChef Generations yet? We’re still in the midst of auditions, so it’s not too late to jump in and root for your generation. This week, it’s the baby boomers who get their shot at earning a coveted MasterChef apron to compete this season. MasterChef Generations episode 2 airs Wednesday, June 5 at 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT on Fox.

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November 2023

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