Contest 2002

Nancy Vaziri's Best Advice for Future Contestants
The Producers are currently accepting applications for the MasterChef USA 2002.
The deadline for all applications is
January 31, 2002.

Non-televised Regional Contests to select who will be on the television series will be held in cities across America during the Spring/Summer of 2002. The television episodes will be shot in Spring/Summer 2002, and will be broadcast Fall 2002.

To apply to be a contestant, download the RTF documents, call the 800 number, or write to us to request a copy of the rules and application.

View Online Rules -->
View MasterChef FAQ -->
Year 2000 winner Nancy Vaziri -->

Download Application Form (33k RTF file)
Download Rules (47k RTF file)
Download Application Form and Rules (11k Zip file)



Write to:
MasterChef USA, Applications
P.O. Box 84848
Seattle, WA 98124

MasterChef USA™

The Qualifying Round

  1. Will I be contacted even if I'm not selected to take part in the contest?

    Due to the overwhelming amount of applicants, the Production Company will only be contacting those who've been selected to take part in the qualifying round. If you do not hear from us within one month after the application deadline then you can assume you did not make the cut this year, but please re-apply for next year.

  2. Do I need to bring all my pots and pans and other kitchen equipment to the contest?

    No, the Production Company will be providing all the kitchen equipment and utensils. You can, however, bring along no more than 5 items from your kitchen provided the Production Company approves them.

  3. Do I bring my own plates and place setting?

    No, the Production Company will be providing all plates, glasses and flatware. Place mats and other place setting materials will not be used nor taken into consideration by the judges.

  4. Can I use my recipe or recipe notes during the contest?


  5. Will the Production Company pay for my mileage, airfare or hotel if I'm travelling from a long distance?

    No, each contestant is responsible for paying their own way and presenting him or herself at the specified time and location of the contest. If the Production Company chooses you to take part in the qualifying round, we will send out information packets on hotel/motel accommodations closest to the contest site.

  6. Who will be judging the contest?

    There will be 3 judges. We try to get local restaurant chefs, food writers or a celebrity chef.

  7. Can I bring a friend or family member?

    Yes, they can help you unload your stuff and be there for morale support, but they cannot under any circumstances stay with you in your kitchen area while you are cooking during the contest.

The Regional, Semi-final and
Grand Finale - Televised Contests

  1. Do I bring my kitchen equipment and plates?

    No, the Production Company will be providing all the kitchen equipment and utensils. You can, however, bring along no more than 5 items from your kitchen provided the Production Company approves them.

  2. Can I use my recipe or recipe notes during the contest?


  3. Who will be judging the contest?

    There will be 3 judges - a celebrity host, celebrity chef and / or local food writers or chefs.

  4. Do I cook the same menu as I used in the qualifying round?

    No, for every round that you advance to, a new menu will be required.

  5. Will the Production Company pay for my airfare and / or hotel accommodation?

    Yes, the Production Company will organize travel and / or accommodations for the contestants at its sole discretion and expense.

  6. Can I bring a friend or family member with me for the taping of the show?

    Yes you may. At the time of organizing your travel and accommodations, the Production Company can include one friend or family member on the same itinerary to assure you will be on the same flight. The Production Company will not, however, be responsible for their travel and accommodation expenses.

Host Gary Rhodes and MasterChef 2000 winner Nancy Vaziri on the MasterCheft studio set
Profile of a MasterChef

Nancy Vaziri,
Winner MasterChef 2000

Winning Menu

First Course
Mushroom Pate in Filo Pastry Baskets atop a Field of Greens

Main Course
Morgh Pollo, a seasoned pilaf of roasted chicken and basmati rice accented with barberries, almonds and pistachios

Fruit Tart Cheesecake


The winner of the first MasterChef U.S.A. competition was Nancy Vaziri.

Nancy is a Medical Practice Office Manager from Homewood, Illinois. Her friends describe her as "The Gatherer" for bringing food and people together. Nancy believes that good food and good drink lead to good relations between people. She always strives to facilitate better friendship and understanding through mealtimes.

Nancy says her greatest cooking influence is simply "my family and friends that I have cooked for over the years - their anticipation of the meal I'm preparing makes me want to give it all." Nancy has also been inspired by Julia Child, for "her essence as a human being; the respect she has earned in her professional, and her absolute dedication to the love and devotion of all aspects of cooking."

Over her year as MasterChef of the U.S.A., Nancy's name and win were featured in her local Chicago Tribune and two other local newspapers. She has been asked to become the new Food Editor for a soon to be published magazine, and asked to do cooking classes with the organization, "Cook with the Best Chefs" in Chicago.

"I got phone calls from all across the U.S.A. from friends, family and college friends of my kids," recalls Nancy, "who saw me on T.V. but were surprised because they live out of state and had not idea I was in the contest!" "Folks in the grocery store would come up to me, very happy to meet me and then check out my groceries in my basket, asking me the details of what I was cooking for dinner that day! Hundreds of people have invited themselves over to my house to enjoy dinner (that, of course, I have to cook!). Everyone wants my opinions about restaurants chefs and recipes."

In addition, Nancy has joined the international Association of Culinary Professionals and is in the process of writing her own new cookbook, which she hopes to be published.

We asked Nancy for her advice to future MasterChef contestants:

Nancy Vaziri's Advice:

  1. Enter the contest because you LOVE to cook. Do not enter if you simply want to become the next "Emeril" and get famous.
  2. Have faith in your personal cooking repertoire. For example, if you make the best beef stew and everyone enjoys eating it, enter that recipe in your menu. Don't feel you have to cook the latest food trends.
  3. Keep it simple. Read the rules and be practical.
  4. Have fun. The contest is competitive, however, if a contestant focuses on their own best effort and not what the other contestants are doing, a contestant will have fun and be relaxed.
  5. Keep an open mind and learn. A contestant will enjoy learning and tasting the other contestants' cooking styles, family recipes and secrets. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet the best amateur cooks in the U.S.A.

And finally, Nancy says a MasterChef Award has had a very big personal effect for her. "Best of all, becoming the MasterChef U.S.A. of the U.S.A. means I can do no wrong in the kitchen; every meal is a masterpiece (at least that's what my family and friends think, which is A-O.K. with me!).

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