Exclusive: Viaplay makes double order on ‘MasterChef: Young Talent’ as culinary format expands

MasterChef Australia

Viaplay Group has commissioned two separate local versions of MasterChef: Young Talent, a new iteration of Banijay’s popular culinary competition format, for Denmark and Norway.

The new shows will both be produced by Banijay-owned prodcos, with Metronome making the Danish version, known locally as MasterChef, De Unge Talenter and Nordisk Banijay (formerly Nordisk Film TV Norway) behind the Norwegian edition, MasterChef, Unge Talenter.

The commissions follow Viaplay’s further order for a local version of Celebrity MasterChef for the Netherlands, which will be produced by Banijay’s SimpelZodiak.

MasterChef: Young Talent showcases promising chefs aged 13–18, who will have their culinary skills honed throughout the competition in a celebration of talent and regional gastronomic excellence. Each week under the eye of expert judges, the contestants will be faced with several tasks, and must produce exceptional food. The series culminates in one chef being crowned the MasterChef: Young Talent winner.

Banijay format consultant Dave de Bie told TBI that MasterChef: Young Talent will allow broadcasters to tap into the hard to reach 13-18-year-old demographic, which the franchise has not done to this point, despite its existing Junior MasterChef iteration.

“For broadcasters and sponsors it’s not always easy to reach this specific demographic, but I am confident with this show we actually can – besides the family co-viewing that has been achieved by MasterChef globally,” said de Bie. “There is some immense talent in this age group, and we are delighted to give the future generation of chefs this platform, to learn from some of the best in the industry, grow their craft and bring their exciting ideas to life.”

Dave de Bie

Flexibility and scalability

Created by Franc Roddam, MasterChef formats are produced in over 60 territories, with the competition celebrating its 500th series globally in 2021, and 49 productions airing in 33 territories last year. Other spin-offs include Celebrity MasterChef, MasterChef: The Professionals, Junior MasterChef, MasterChef All Stars, MasterChef Senior and the recently announced Young MasterChef (working title) for BBC Three in the UK.

Telling TBI what sets this new entry in the franchise apart from previous versions, de Bie explained: “As with all iterations of the format, MasterChef: Young Talent will be a celebration of people who love to cook and aspire to change their lives.

“We of course have the key format elements including the iconic MasterChef kitchen, well-respected judges and challenges like the Mystery Box, but this new demographic of contestants brings a wonderful and ambitious energy to the challenges, with a zest for learning and developing their craft.”

He continued: “The judges can show a different side to their personality – a softer, more nurturing tone. As well as having fun, the judges become the contestants’ mentors or coaches. You could see MasterChef: Young Talent as an apprenticeship, with more team challenges to highlight and test leadership, communication, and cooperation.”

De Bie added that what made the MasterChef format so ripe for its various iterations is its flexibility. “MasterChef and its spin-offs are hot IP. Last year alone we delivered 49 series in 33 markets.

“It is a flexible and scalable format – some of our adaptations have eight episodes per season, and others 100. Our local productions have the autonomy to adapt the show to meet the needs of our clients, and we are still seeing new markets being added each year, alongside successful reboots.

“But we never stand still! Every two years, we host an event for our MasterChef producers from all around the world, to exchange creative ideas and share best practice. The teams working on the show are some of the best in the business, and we are open to taking risks. Together we are constantly striving to innovate and diversify the format.”

Kenneth Kristensen, SVP of non-scripted content at Viaplay Group, meanwhile commented: “MasterChef is an incredibly popular format for both young and old, and we are very proud to have the format on Viaplay. We were convinced that there are also many talented young people who can impress and surprise in the kitchen, and this assumption has been more than true.

“We are looking forward to showing our viewers MasterChef: Young Talent on Viaplay as the young talented chefs have excelled beyond all expectations. It’s always exciting to develop current formats, and here’s a super great example of a completely obvious spin-off.”

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