What does the winner of MasterChef get? There's a huge difference between the UK and US series

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Winning MasterChef is one of the most prestigious awards an amateur cook can get.

Over the years, previous winners of the iconic show have gone on to enjoy stellar careers in the food industry. Many have become acclaimed cooks in their own right, while some have even launched restaurant empires.

But, before all the post-competition acclaim, what does the winner of MasterChef actually get? Here's everything you need to know about winning TV's toughest cooking contest.

Thomas Frake MasterChef Thomas Frake was the winner of the most recent series of MasterChef (Credit: BBC)

What does the winner of MasterChef get?

The prize for winning the show is a combination of the experience you gain by taking part and what winning can mean for your career after the show airs.

Like many other popular televised British cooking competitions, including Bake Off, there is no financial reward for winning MasterChef.

READ MORE: Thomas Frake hasn't had the best experience since winning MasterChef 2020

On the face of it, this might seem like a slightly disappointing outcome. However, it's obvious from the words of previous champions that appearing on the show is often worth way more than any cash prize.

Every series, past champions return to judge the new contestants, each of them invariably revealing how the competition has completely transformed their lives. Clearly, some things are worth more than money.

However, if you remain unconvinced by the lack of funds, there is an alternative. In the American version of the show, for instance, champions can look forward to a grand prize of $250,000, plus a coveted MasterChef trophy.

Who says cooking doesn't pay?

MasterChef 2020 finalists 2020 MasterChef finalists with judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode (Credit: BBC)

Do the MasterChef contestants get paid?

Although the potential rewards at the end of the process can be extremely lucrative, actually taking part isn't a guaranteed money maker.

In fact, contestants in the UK version of the show don't receive any money for participating and will even have to shell out for ingredients in order to practice them at home.

READ MORE: Here's where every MasterChef winner is now

However, when it comes to the show itself, the production company subsidise the ingredients in the extensive larder. This can make cooking in the UK version quite an expensive exercise.

Again, there are substantial differences in international versions of the show. In Australia, for instance, contestants can expect to earn around $630 per week, according to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald.

However, it isn't all good news if you decide to compete abroad. An American contestant, for example, told Salon that she had been forced to pay a "management fee" to a company owned by Gordon Ramsay.

If you're entering MasterChef for the financial package, you should probably look elsewhere.

Thomasina Miers MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers won the first season of MasterChef (Credit: BBC)

Who is the most successful MasterChef winner?

There are definite question marks over the financial wisdom of entering MasterChef. Despite this, however, there's no doubt that the competition can also lead to incredible success.

Over the years, several previous MasterChef winners have gone on to enjoy stellar careers in the food industry. For instance, Simon Wood, who won back in 2015, has gone on to open several successful restaurants in Manchester.

READ MORE: Inside Gregg Wallace and John Torode's complicated relationship

However, to find the most successful contestant of all time, you probably have to go right back to series one.

After winning the show in 2005, Thomasina Miers went on to launch Wahaca – one of the UK's most popular Mexican restaurants. Miers has also written half a dozen cookbooks and made several TV appearences.

If you ever needed convincing that appearing on MasterChef can pay dividends, Miers' career to date will set you straight.