The new series of the BBC One show saw a number of changes made, including the addition of auditions to replace the usual heats. However, Joan Buntin - who won the competition in 1990 - told The Mirror that the programme is now chasing ratings.
"The BBC know that X Factor and Britain's Got Talent are ITV shows that work and they need to copy the format if they’re going to survive," she said. "MasterChef is all about the drama. In my day it was more about cooking, now it’s more about the show and personalities - it has to be if John Torode and Gregg Wallace want to keep their jobs."
She continued: "I find parts of it really annoying - the bit where competitors leap around like lunatics and look like they have just come out of a night shelter. It is no longer about them being judged by their cooking.
"That contestants have to give up their jobs to be on the show and are after a top career in cooking adds to the pressure and boosts ratings. That increased intensity makes for better television, just like on The X Factor.
"The chefs are vying for big prizes. I never was after a career in cooking. I could never jump the hoops that’ve been set on the show today," she added.
Earlier this week, the BBC defended the changes in an official response to complaints from viewers who have expressed unhappiness.
MasterChef continues tonight at 9pm on BBC One.