What do Julie Goodwin, Adam Liaw, Kate Bracks, Amy Allen, Emma Dean, Billie McKay, Diana Chan and Sashi Cheliah have in common? Well, apart from all of them being Australian citizens (naturalised or otherwise), all of them also happen to be winners of MasterChef Australia.
A show that gives people who have a passion for cooking and a love of food, MasterChef Australia has allowed all of these chefs and more the chance to make their dreams come to reality.
MasterChef Australia has now been running for 10 seasons, and is probably like no other reality show you’ve ever seen. It is available to watch and download online.
When we say it is like no other reality show we’ve ever seen, we mean it. Picture a reality show and you’ve often got contestants backbiting each other and complaining about them behind their backs. That, truth be told, is simply not there in MasterChef Australia. What comes to the fore here is a camaraderie and togetherness that gives this show a really positive, wholesome vibe that makes you want to watch it.
Hosted by Aussie chefs Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, as well as food critic Matt Preston, the show’s central theme is rather simple ... hopefuls from around Australia sign up to compete in MasterChef, by sending in audition videos to tell the judging panel who they are, and what inspires their food dream. The lucky ones who are selected are invited to cook in an elimination challenge, with only 24 of the hundreds of hopefuls who have made it being selected for the competition proper.
Those who do turn up for auditions are from diverse backgrounds, united by a love of cooking. Chloe Carroll, for example, is a nutritionist from Queensland, while Theresa Wong is an actress from New South Wales. Miles Pritchett works as a park ranger, and Jimmy Wong is a sustainability specialist. No matter their background and where they’ve come from, the 24 contestants who show up to take part in MasterChef Australia are ready to put it all on the line to achieve their dream.
The show lasts for about three months, with contestants faced with a new challenge every week. These come in the form of individual challenges, such as a recipe from a certain cuisine that they need to prepare, or the most creative of dishes they can conjure up from a purposely meagre collection of ingredients, to team challenges, where contestants are split into a number of teams and are asked to man a commercial restaurant, a food truck, or a hotel, with these tasks geared towards testing their coordination, and how well they work as a team, for guests who are sometimes as prestigious as His Highness the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles.
Teams or individuals that win go through to the next round, those that don’t face the dreaded elimination challenge, which sees at least one person go home. That’s made all the worse if one of those facing elimination has an immunity pin, a reward given by the judges for outstanding, consistent performances in the kitchen. Use it, and you are safe from elimination, but it does mean that someone else will face the possibility of going home.
Elimination comes in many forms. It could be in the form of the pressure test, where competitors really feel the heat, or by replicating one of many famed dishes brought in by the celebrity chefs who make appearances on the show. In the past, guest chefs have included Marco Pierre White, Darren Burch, Maggie Beer, Heston Blumenthal, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey among others. To many of the contestants, the men and women clad in chef’s whites in front of them are legends, but under the lights and over the flames of the MasterChef kitchen, it’s time to put all that aside, follow in their footsteps, and focus on your own dream, just like they did not so long ago.
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The Short and Skinny
Name: MasterChef Australia
Genre: Reality Competition
Produced by: Endemol Shine Australia
What it’s about: Aspiring chefs from all across Australia are being given the chance to leave their old life behind and live their ultimate food dream of becoming one of the world’s best chefs. It’s an opportunity few will want to miss out on
Number of episodes: 61
Runtime: 30-120 minutes per episode
Where to watch: Ten Network Australia, various streaming sites
IMDB Rating: 8.2/10