Questions over catering experience on MasterChef

MasterChef appears to have its first controversy for 2012 with news today that Audra Morrice has her own catering company, Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that her profile lists her as a NSW account manager, but that she has participated as a contestant at the discretion of the producers.

Rules for the 2012 season include the following:

9. All MasterChef contestants must be amateurs, if you have previous professional or semi-professional kitchen experience that the producers of MasterChef deem could create an unfair advantage (at their entire discretion), you will not be eligible. As a non-exhaustive guide for professional or semi-professional activity that would preclude participation as a contestant on MasterChef, including but not limited to the following examples: –

a) If you have ever worked full-time in a kitchen, as a cook, chef or in food preparation;

b) If you have earned money or payment of any kind from preparing food and/or cooking fresh food in a professional kitchen environment i.e. restaurant, café, take-away etc. in a full time, part time, casual or contract role for a total of more than six weeks in the last 15 years;

c) If you have taught cooking classes or have done cooking demonstrations or food preparation in any capacity whether it is on a casual, part time, full time or contract basis in the last 15 years;

You will not be eligible.

But, if you have worked in (i) food service (as distinct from food preparation) in restaurants or (ii) food service coupled with very basic food preparation such as making sandwiches or working in so called ‘fast food’ restaurants , this will generally not be considered professional or semi-professional food preparation experience that would exclude you from participation.

10. Your main source of income cannot come from preparing and cooking fresh food in a professional environment (e.g. restaurant, hotels, canteens etc).

A Shine Australia spokesperson told the newspaper, “Audra was upfront with producers regarding Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen. Her full-time employment was as a senior account manager with AAPT and this was a home-based hobby reserved for family and friends.”

Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen has promoted itself as “From my kitchen to your table” catering “seasonal, fresh and wholesome meals delivered directly to your doorstep” including with gift vouchers available for purchase.


  1. Butterfly Carnage

    One would think that she has extensive in talents in food prep multi tasking, assembly and kitchen operational/logistics experinece that the other contestants wouldn’t have. It is at best semi-professional. How many times has she won heats and in particular her role Mindy’s attempts at immunity? Hmmm.

  2. If Fillipo puts his personality and passion into the pressure test, it will shine. If Emma and Wade put personality and passion into the pressure … hang on, that’s right, they have no personality! I bet there will be waterworks tonight! And eyebrows! Send them both home now or keep the camera on Filippo and away from the floodgates and the granny cap!

  3. Give the woman a break! It clearly wasn’t her full-time employment. I think they should consider adding a few amendments to the rules. One to consider should be about maturity level : meaning that whiny, cry babies who wear tea cosies on their heads shouldn’t be allowed! How did Emma get a place on a high rating show! She has got to go! And how about considering the audience! Apart from Filippo, none of the men have any sign of personality! Did they get a personality bypass before entering the competition!

  4. doesnt sound like shes broken any rules, which is good because if she wins, she might be one of the rare ones to actually do something amazing with the platform.

  5. Very unfair advantage over the other cooks. Catering experience gives her a profound advantage over other contestants in terms of time management skills, repertoire of recipes, knowledge of ingredients, etc. She should not be in the competition as it contravenes the rules. Julia having a weekend cupcake stand is nothing like having experience as a caterer.

  6. ColonelKickhead

    I imagine the producers are going to be defending her inclusion in the show quite strongly. You can expect to see her going very, very far in the show.

  7. I don’t see it as a problem.
    It’s not her full time job and it isn’t a professional kitchen it sounds like more a hobby than anything else.

  8. As long as the producers were aware of it, I don’t have a problem. Obviously they feel that it’s not a big enough operation to give her an unfair advantage, the same as Julia’s market stall. It would be a Very different story if she didn’t tell them, however.

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