Everything you need to know about Masterchef Australia

Masterchef Australia is an Australian game show that focuses on competitive cooking. The television show is based on the original British show of the same name. The television show is produced by Shine Australia and is screened on Network 10.

The show has spawned a number of spin-off series since its inception, including Celebrity Masterchef Australia, Junior MasterChef Australia, MasterChef Australia All-Stars and MasterChef Australia: The Professionals.

The show has featured a number of notable chefs and food critics since it started, including regular judges the restaurateur and Chef Gary Mehigan, Chef George Calombaris and food critic Matt Preston.

What is the premise of the show?

Masterchef follows a different format than the British version of the show it’s based off. In the Australian version of the show the early rounds consist of a large number of hopeful competitors from across the country auditioning for the show by presenting a food dish to the three judges, who decide on who will proceed to the semi-finals. There are only 50 places in the semi-finals. To enter the competition, contestants must be over 18 years of age and their primary source of income should come from cooking and preparing fresh food in a professional environment. The semi-finalist contestants will then go on to compete in a number of challenges that will test their knowledge of food and food preparation skills.

In the first season of the shop, the top 50 semi-finalists competed against each other until there were 20 contestants remaining. The final 20 contestants then progressed to the main stage of Masterchef. From the second season onwards, 24 contestants progressed to the man stage. Once the contestants make it to the main stage they are then whittled down through several individual and team-based cooking challenges and weekly elimination rounds until a winner emerges. The winner receives professional training from leading chefs, get their own cookbook published and win $250,000 in cash at the end of the competition.

The show airs five nights a week starting from Sunday and airing through to Thursday. The show episodes each feature a different format depending on the week night.

Sunday nights feature a challenge such as the Mystery Box challenge, in which every competitor is given the same box of mystery ingredients and they must then create a dish from the ingredients. The judges then pick three winning dishes based on technique, visual appearance and the overall winner. Sometimes there is also an invention test, where competitors must invent a new dish that’s relevant to a single, core ingredient. The winning dishes are then selected by the judges and the winner is given the opportunity to compete in the immunity challenge. The bottom three from the challenged are then forced to compete in an elimination challenge the following night.

Episodes on a Monday night features the pressure test, the losing three from the previous night’s challenge are given a recipe for a dish that they must emulate in an allotted time. The judges then critique the dishes and eliminate the lowest perform contestant.

Tuesday night episodes feature the immunity challenge, where the winner from Sunday night competes against a guest Chef, apprentice or home cook. The cook off challenge involves the competitors choosing from two contrasting pantries of ingredients. The contestants are given a head start in starting to cook their dish, whilst their opponent begins after them. The dishes are then rated by the judges and scored out of ten. If the contestant gets a better score than the guest then they are crowned the winner and can be saved from one future elimination round.

On Wednesday nights the contestants take part in a team challenge. Every contestant is split into a team and given task and an allotted amount of time for the challenge. Previous tasks have included preparing a three course meal for a celebrity guest, running a restaurant for a night, catering events such as birthdays or wedding and more. Once the task is completed the teams are judged and given their results. The winning team can be determined by votes in their favour or who the most money amongst of determining factors. The losing team faces elimination the following night, whilst the winners are safe and received a prize, such as lunch.

On Thursday nights the contestants face another elimination. The lowest performing contestants on the losing team from the previous night’s challenge compete against each other in a head to head challenge. In some situations, every member of the losing team must compete in the elimination round. If the previous challenge was an individual one then the two lowest ranked contestants face of in a head to head taste test where they must name ingredients, the first contestant to name an incorrect ingredient is eliminated.

Hosts and judges on the show

The main hosts and judges show are Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston. The show has also had a number of notable guest judges and celebrity chef’s on the show including Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay, Matt Moran, Sarah Wilson, Curtis Stone, Kylie Kwong, Matt Sinclair, Poh Ling Yeow and Shannon Bennett.

Masterchef Season 1

Masterchef Australia season 1
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

The first season of the show was aired in 2009. More than 7000 people auditioned to take part in the show. The semi-finals was filmed at the Australian Technology Park, once it was narrowed down to the top 20, filming switched to a studio in Alexandria. The winner of the first season was Julie Goodwin.

Masterchef Season 2

Masterchef Australia season 2
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

The second season of the show aired in 2010 and was filmed at the Redfern Train Works building. The winner of the show was Adam Liaw.

Masterchef Season 3

Masterchef Australia season 3
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

The winner of season three was Kate Bracks. The show aired in 2011.

Masterchef Season 4

Masterchef Australia season 4
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Season 4 aired in 2012, Andy Allen was the winner.

Masterchef Season 5

Masterchef Australia season 5
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Masterchef season 5 aired in 2013 and was filmed at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, Emma Dean was the winner. Season 5 involved a number of format changes, to make the show more similar to My Kitchen Rules. The changed were poorly received and led to disappointing ratings for the season.

Masterchef Season 6

Masterchef Australia season 6
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Season 6 of the show aired in 2014 and was once again filmed at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds. Brent Owens was the winner.

Masterchef Season 7

Masterchef Australia season 7
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Season 7 saw stronger ratings for the show than the previous two season and saw Billie McKay win the competition.

Masterchef Season 8

Masterchef Australia season 8
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Season 8 of the show aired in 2016 and was won by Elena Duggan.

Masterchef Season 9

Masterchef Australia season 9
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Season 9 of the show aired in 2017 and was won by Diana Chan.

Masterchef Season 10

Masterchef Australia season 10
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Season 10 of the show premiered in 2018 and top place was taken out by Sashi Chellah. Sashi received the highest score in Masterchef history.

Masterchef Season 11

Masterchef Australia season 11
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Season 11 of the show aired in 2019 with former contestants returning to the show to act as mentors. It is also the final season of the show with Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston as the judges. The season was won by Larissa Takchi.

Masterchef Season 12

Masterchef Australia season 12
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

The 12th season of the show is due to air in 2020 with Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen replacing the previous judges.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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