The six-week BBC2 TV series will see 40, soon to be revealed, professional chefs from across Britain competing in a number of culinary challenges, fighting to win the title awarded last year to Australian chef Ash Mair.
Le Gavroche senior sous chef Monica Galetti will once again be joining her boss Michel Roux Jr and regular Masterchef host Gregg Wallace as a judge.
"Every year this competition gets better, it gets harder, my expectations get higher and so do Michel’s – and this year is better than ever," Galetti said.
40 Michelin stars
Facing a series of increasingly daunting tasks, the competing chefs will slowly be whittled down until one is crowned the winner of Professional Masterchef 2012:
- The four heat stages, which are each aired over four days, will see contestants first face the ingredients test where they will be given just seven ingredients and 60 minutes to make a show-stopping dish.
- Next the ten chefs are split into two groups of five to face the skills test - contestants must use the correct methods to prepare ingredients in 15 minutes or less - one professional from each group will be sent home.
- Michel Roux Jr will then set the classic recipe test where the remaining chefs must recreate two classic dishes to Michelin-star level before cooking their own choice of classic dish - three from each group will head into the quarter-final.
- Two out of the six chefs in the quarter-final will be sent back to their workplaces after another invention test, after which the remaining four will have 75 minutes to create a two-course menu for Charles Campion, Jay Rayner, Tracey Mcleod and William Sitwell.
Two chefs from each week of heats will then progress to the semi-finals in week five of the series:
- Semi Final week kicks off with eight chefs cooking one dish before two are eliminated.
- The three remaining shows will see the contestants battle in pairs at a Michelin-star restaurant during a busy lunch service before recreating their dish for the restaurant's head chef.
- The best chefs will then progress to the final week if they impress the judges with two perfect dishes.
- A week of challenges in the final will see chefs preparing a three-course menu for thirty of the world's leading Michelin-star chefs, holding 40 stars between them, at Pearl restaurant in London.
- One final cook-off in the Masterchef kitchen will then decide the 2012 champion.
Bilbao Berria London
Speaking as the details of the latest series were announced, Michel Roux Jr said the show would help unearth some hidden talent in the restaurant industry: "As the series continues, our chefs become an increasingly harder act to follow, but that’s what makes Masterchef: The Professionals so gripping and compelling."
In an exclusive interview for BigHospitality in December last year, after being crowned the Masterchef: The Professionals 2011 winner, Ash Mair revealed he would ideally like to use his success to open a Basque, mid-range restaurant.
"I think a relaxed feel is better for a restaurant, not too ‘posh’," he said. "I would go for a mid-price point. I like things to be accessible. There’s too much great food that’s not accessible these days."
Mair is now thought to be in the final stages of preparing for the opening of a London outpost for the Spanish restaurant group Bilbao Berria in a split-level site in central London.
Masterchef: The Professionals 2012 kicks off on BBC2 at 8:30pm on Monday 5 November.