MasterChef returns for its eighth series, with more fantastically talented amateur cooks who want to test their kitchen skills and take a shot at lifting the coveted MasterChef Champion title.
Thousands of applications were scoured, and a short-list of the country's most talented amateur cooks were invited to cook for John Torode and Gregg Wallace. Each created a spectacular dish, which John and Gregg tasted in the isolation of the MasterChef dining room without watching the cooks themselves, their processes, techniques or skills. From these blind tastings, the judges selected the best 24 contestants.
Over the course of this week's programmes, the 24 chosen best cooks are split into three groups of eight as they battle for just 12 MasterChef aprons and the chance to go through to the main competition.
In this episode, the first eight of the chosen 24 battle against each other. Firstly, they must hold their nerve in the dreaded Invention Test where, with only one hour and 15 minutes, the hopefuls must impress the judges with an exceptional dish. For two contestants, it will be the end of the road. The remaining six must then face the pressure of a professional kitchen, working a packed lunchtime service in two London restaurants, The Living Room and Gilgamesh. After just an hour of learning the ropes, they are set loose to prepare dishes for paying customers.
Finally they return to the MasterChef kitchen, where all their hopes rest on just one dish. The contestants must draw on all their skills and influences as they prepare their own food to the highest standard in their last chance to impress John and Gregg.
Who will have what it takes to secure a MasterChef apron, and earn one of the 12 places in this year's competition?
Only the best will win a place, taking their first step towards being crowned MasterChef Champion 2012.