What It Takes To Cut It In The MasterChef Kitchen

08/17/2010 08:45 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What really makes a great MasterChef? Which qualities did the judges see over and over again in the contestants who weren't weeded out? Three home cooks in particular out of the final 14 from last week's show truly exemplified the following qualities which helped them to succeed:

Culinary Intuitiveness:

Like a woman who instinctively knows you've been up to no good, possessing a sense of culinary intuition is a must! Knowing how to assemble a meal and what spices, flavors, and textures go together to create a perfect and harmonious dish has to be in your makeup. You can spend years experimenting, but if you don't have an inherent sense of what works, you'll never be able to go far in creating your own style or push culinary boundaries. The best chefs in the world possess this. It's beyond having a common sense of what should go on the plate. It's a consistent proficiency with a vast array of cooking styles and techniques that cannot be taught. You'll begin to see in the coming weeks that those with a true knowledge of what people find enjoyable, and what flavors complement each other, are the ones who stay in the game. Watch closely and you might pick out one from among the 14 who is particularly gifted this way. I don't care how long you've been experimenting in your kitchen or cooking for your friends and family, no amount of experimentation can replace an innate sense of what goes well together and what people will like to eat. Certain people can just nail it every time (a Machiavellian stance).

You Need To Be Cunning:

The ability to subtly self-promote from amongst your competitors, while taking care not to give yourself away as a real threat is a true art that one contestant absolutely mastered. Subtlety is key: never let them see you coming! Deception and shrewdness is a necessary evil when so much is at stake. With a quarter million dollars, a book deal, and not to mention your lifelong dream on the line, this isn't the time to wear your heart on your sleeve -- unless of course, that's exactly how you've planned it.

The Raconteur:

Great television is really great storytelling. Whether is it your favorite primetime sitcom or the next reality TV hit, people tune into take a break from their own lives and live vicariously through others -- even if only for 30 or so minutes -- and the best people on television can do that. They can bring you into their world and give you a real sense of who they are. For these amateur home cooks, they were hit double-duty: with no professional cooking experience, and no exposure to being in front of the camera, which can be quite intimidating (even more so than me....or so I've heard). Some truly posses the ability to pull you in and have you rooting for them every step of the way with the food they served on the table, and by being comfortable enough on camera to let their true personality and heart shine through.

Tune in Wednesday and see if you can decipher who's who, andd keep watching to see if it's enough to win in the end!