Behind the Scenes: MasterChef Casting Call, Miami

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Jacob Katel
Gordon Ramsay is an asshole -- that's why he's fun to watch. So let's all watch him make amateur cooks feel like shit about themselves and their crappy food.

MasterChef is new to FOX, but the program is already a UK and Australia phenomenon that has broken television viewing records in the latter country. MasterChef originated in 1990 with the BBC. The show will run abroad at least through 2011.

And now, the program is coming to America and will be hosted by Gordon Ramsay. The program features all amateur chefs -- no professionals allowed and no formal training either -- cooking their way to fame and fortune, and battling for kitchen supremacy in a weekly cookoff.

3 Ball Productions (The Biggest Loser, Breaking Bonaduce, Beauty and the Geek) and Reveille Productions (Date My Mom, Ugly Betty, The Office) are producing MasterChef. Yesterday, they came to Miami looking for victims, um, future stars.

Here's our behind-the-scenes look.

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The Judges and Casting folks
Judges Robbie Bell (left), Michael Jacobs, and Frank Randazzo with casting director Goloka Bolte and Cassie.

Applicants were instructed to cook and bring one dish with them. The judges tried the food, rated it on a score card, and conducted short interviews.

Robbie Bell sells real estate and cohosts a radio show called Join Us at the Table.

Michael Jacobs is a principal in Strategic Hospitality Group, a "restaurant in a box."

Chef Frank Randazzo owns Talula restaurant in Miami Beach with his wife, Andrea Curto Randazzo, and operates Creative Tastes Catering.

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The score card.
Robbie Bell said, "It's been interesting. I've had ceviche to the third power, shrimp to the third power. Cold collard greens are not cute. The best dish I've had so far was a pork loin with andouille sausage with a spicy mango chutney."

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Judging setup.
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Interviewing prospective contestants.
Michael Jacobs said, "This is their chance, so they're showing their chops. I love to see the passion of the people who come in. There was a woman who was forced to learn how to make crab rangoon because her delivery orders were so slow. It wasn't great, but she said, 'Dammit, if I can't get what I want, I'll make it myself," and I thought that was great. The best dish I've had so far was a smoked brisket and a smoked pork loin that this guy served on a mirror."

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Somebody's dish with applicants in background.
Frank Randazzo said, "I came in hungry -- so far, no palate fatigue. I'm impressed with the level of food a lot of people came in with. I thought it would be awful, but there have been a lot of really great cooks and flavors. The worst thing I tried so far was a bowl of mussels. The best was a dish of carnitas -- y'know, the little pork tacos."

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An in house TV production crew was on hand documenting the scene as well.
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