The upcoming ninth season of Fox's "MasterChef" will start off with three contestants from right here in the Triangle — plus a format change that will make the cooking competition show a little more like "The Voice."
The local home cooks we can look for when the show premieres next week are Juni Cuevas of Raleigh, Hope McFarland of Clayton and Jody Rhodes of Four Oaks. Cuevas is listed on the Fox press site as a disability analyst, McFarland is a health care administrator and Rhodes is a hunting guide.
The idea behind "MasterChef" is that talented home cooks — no professionals allowed — compete for a chance to show they have what it takes to go pro. There are always three judges on the show, and except for headliner and executive producer Gordon Ramsay, those have changed over the years. This year's judges will be Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich (he was an original judge who left and has returned) and chef Aaron Sanchez. The judges guide the cooks through various competitions and decide together which cooks are eliminated for each episode.
This season, each judge will pick 8 cooks for their respective teams and they'll mentor and guide the cooks through the competition, which also adds an element of competition between the judges.
Only one cook can win the grand prize, which is $250,000.
The show held auditions in the Triangle this past fall.
"MasterChef" will premiere at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, on Fox.