You’re in, then you’re out: ‘Secrets and surprises’ in new MasterChef

The struggling Ten Network’s prayers may have been answered, with hopes of a significant boost to prime-time ratings as flagship show MasterChef Australia returns for a 15th season.

As expected, the three judges – food critic and author Melissa Leong, Melbourne-based Scottish chef Jock Zonfrillo and Three Blue Ducks co-owner and chef Andy Allen – are pumped, taking to Instagram this week to collectively say “we’re back baby”.

In an Alice In Wonderland-style teaser, a “new crop of contestants” skip their way through a Masterchef maze to an outdoor table set with sweet treats, pink and green burgers, cups of tea in porcelain and pink cocktails.

The shake-up

After 10 months away from our screens, this year’s show is called MasterChef Australia: Secrets and Surprises.

Holding a giant gold key, Leong says it’s going to be full of – yes, secrets and surprises – “as only this show can conjure”.

There’s also the promise of new unbelievable stories, a “bloody epic show” and Zonfrillo is telling us to strap ourselves in.

But for the loyal winter watchers, there’s big changes to the format.

In previous years, initial rounds of selection across Australia narrowed it down to 50 contestants who competed for one of 24 aprons.

This year, the show is shorter and getting straight into the action, ditching the preliminary selection process, throwing away the rule book and doing things differently.

Ten confirmed only 18 coveted aprons are on offer this year “for the nation’s most passionate amateur cooks”.

“There is a lot on the line,” it says.

A more ‘compact run’

In October last year, the MasterChef judges were front and centre at Ten’s 2023 Upfront showcase hosted by Paramount in Sydney, where they walked through Paramount doors, wore Paramount pins and ate a lunchbox full of Paramount goodies.

Paramount is the rebranded name of the network’s parent company and is also the home of Australia’s fastest-growing streaming platform Paramount+.

Ten said at the time MasterChef Australia was still a fan favourite after 14 seasons, and was returning “in winter for a shorter, more compact run”.

A spin-off MasterChef Australia: Dessert Masters, featuring Leong and Amaury Guichon, will debut at a yet-to-be-announced date.

“This year the aim is to keep audiences not only entertained but guessing as well,” revealing two important stablemates will join the broadcast “quarter” of viewing.

They are award-winning quiz show Have You Been Paying Attention? hosted by Tom Gleisner, and The Cheap Seats.

In July last year, NSW amateur cook Billie McKay was crowned the winner of MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites, securing her name on the coveted trophy for a second time and pocketing $250,000.

Chef and restaurateur Sarah Todd won $30,000 to help her set up a future in cooking after securing the runner-up spot, and firefighter Daniel Lamble won $20,000 for taking third place.

Marco Pierre White and Maggie Beer were among the guest judges, and previous winners including Julie Goodwin made it a family-friendly mealtime treat.

Over MasterChef’s 14-year history, an average 1.1 million viewers tuned in nationally to watch the show.

As for this year, one insider says there’s a bombshell in episode one, and we won’t be disappointed.

MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises, premieres on May 1 at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 Play

Topics: MasterChef
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.