Both programs have created editions for young people with child chefs and have created global empires with versions that have appeared in countless countries. Top Chef uses top-notch professional chefs, while MasterChef chooses amateur chefs with little or no exposure to the professional culinary world. Also known as a head chef or master chef, an executive chef is the head chef in general. This position is the pinnacle of any chef's career.
An executive chef doesn't spend all of his time cooking, but instead manages all the kitchen operations. There is usually only one executive chef in each restaurant. For the first five seasons, the series starred celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay (the co-creator of the series and of Hell's Kitchen), Graham Elliot and restaurateur Joe Bastianich. From the sixth to the eighth season, pastry chef Christina Tosi temporarily replaced Bastianich.
In the seventh season, Elliot retired as a judge, and instead of a third judge, there were a series of guest judges, one of whom was Aaron Sanchez. Since the eighth season, Sanchez joined as a regular judge. In the ninth season, Bastianich returned as a regular judge, replacing Tosi. A Certified Master Chef, often referred to as a “CMC”, is a level of certification offered by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
The CMC designation is the highest level of certification a chef can achieve. Said to be the most rigorous exam a chef can undergo, the CMC exam evaluates mental, emotional and physical resilience and immerses chefs in an extremely stressful environment while demonstrating the highest level of professionalism and skill.