MasterChef Australia is starting a new era and the refresh may be just the ticket the show needed.
10 has taken a strategic path in this “Back to Win” chapter, by smartly inviting back favourite faces, ready to settle unfinished business.
I may not know Jock Zonfrillo and Melissa Leong, but I sure know Poh, Callum, Hayden and Reynold like it was only yesterday (newsflash it was 11 years for some!).
And I sure as hell know Gordon Ramsay who faces the hopeful 24 when they first step into the kitchen. Whoa. If Ramsay is giving this his stamp of approval it must be good, right? He cleverly introduces our 3 new judges, which also includes former winner Andy Allen.
There’s even a brief history lesson on how the MasterChef global juggernaut has evolved over two decades, including how the Australian series reset the format -yes Gary, George & Matt are featured. At least I don’t have to keep yelling at my TV anymore that “Boom Boom Shake The Room” is supposed to rhyme, George Calombaris!
Dapper chef Zonfrillo comes with his Scottish accent, writer Melissa Leong who has Singaporean background adds some long overdue female personality and Allen represents but one of the show’s success stories.
Amongst the contestants are those I love to watch and more than a few I barely remember (all made it to the Top 10 in their respective year but missed the title). Once again the show is brimming in diversity and a magnanimous spirit. Quick, somebody remind them this is a competition…
Episode 1 doesn’t just ask them to serve up a dish that best represents them. It wants their best finale-worthy dish. On offer is the season’s only Immunity pin. Say what?
With that this kitchen is smokin’ -literally- with dramatic music, the trademark running & yelling, Poh fan-girlin’ over Ramsay, Jess worried she is too young, and several of the contestants proving chummy with judges they know personally outside the competition. Hello, bias….?
Suffice to say their dishes are downright delectable. Episode 1 has never been so exemplary. Even Gordon Ramsay seems nice (language is at a minimum, and usually used in jest).
According to the press kit, a typical MasterChef week will consist of Elimination (Sunday), Service Challenge (Monday), Pressure Test (Tuesday), Mystery Box (Wednesday), Immunity Challenge (Thursday). Masterclasses also return. COVID-19 impacts will also hit mid-season and create unexpected drama.
Sure the judges may not match the erudite theatrics of Matt Preston, but of the new trio Allen is the early standout, pointing to the emotion food can trigger, but I would expect all to find their groove in no time.
Step away from your benches. MasterChef is back.
MasterChef Australia returns 7:30pm Monday on 10.