The thirteenth season of MasterChef Australia is finally upon us and while we could not be more excited to dive into this season of deliciousness, no one is more excited than the three powerhouse judges returning for their second season — Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen.
Fo Allen, who won his season of the show in 2012, MasterChef was a life-changing experience.
“It changed my life unbelievably and a lot of the guys on my series as well,” he told The Latch during an interview. “It really doesn’t matter if you come first or 24th, it changes your life.”
When Allen arrived on set, he was a 23-year-old electrician and the second youngest in his series.
“You just immediately grow up. You can’t be an immature 23-year-old hanging around these people that are all there for a reason. They’re all giving it their best show because they’ve left a law degree or their job in medicine. It was a real awakening to where I had to be as a person to really succeed in what I wanted to do.”
Eight months after Allen’s win, the now 32-year-old saw the “popularity” and jobs “die-off”.
“I was in my room and I was like, ‘Is this where I kind of go back to being an electrician?’ Or do I really think about what I actually loved about being on MasterChef and just give it a red hot crack. That’s when I went and knocked on the door of The Three Blue Ducks. I did two weeks work experience with them and that was it.”
In 2016, Allen officially became part of the group, becoming a co-owner of Three Blue Ducks, Rosebery in Sydney. As for the contestants on this year’s season, they too come from all sorts of professional backgrounds, and Allen is amazed at their dedication.
“The stories of these guys and their attitude and their willingness to give up their amazing careers and then take the plunge and really, give everything that they have in each and every challenge, it’s amazing to see.
“I feel really privileged to be able to mentor these guys being in their shoes once. It’s really nice to be able to give back and mentor the new crop of amateurs.”
Even though the series is only just hitting our screens, MasterChef has been filming for a few months and for Allen, the “amazing stories” are still to come.
“There’s a lot of amazing stories on there,” Allen teased. “But to me, the life-changing stories are still to come. The competition started for where we are right now and this is where you really see the best of the contestants who are left and that’s what I’m really excited for.”
MasterChef Australia premieres Monday, April 19 at 7.30 pm on 10 and continues Wednesday and Thursday nights.