Returning to the kitchen are some true MasterChef Australia legends, like season one winner Julie Goodwin, John Carasig — the king of the white chocolate volute — and model turned global celebrity chef Sarah Todd.
With so many big names set to return to the kitchen, we couldn’t help but wonder, how much do the contestants actually get paid to appear on the show?
As it turns out, the answer is: not much.
We did some digging, and according to reports, Network Ten pays contestants a little more than the legal minimum wage to appear on the competition reality series. This means that if contestants are leaving their careers (and family, and friends, and home) to pursue their dreams, it’s possible they’re also taking a pay cut to do so.
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that in 2013, the competing chefs received an allowance of $630 per week.
In 2011, contestants were reported to only receive $500 a week, according to news.com.au.
It’s unclear if the salary for contestants has risen at all in the nine years since 2013, or if returning competitors are paid more to sign back on to compete in another season.
In the past, former MasterChef Australia contestant Billy Law said that while he didn’t really feel the effects of the pay cut while filming the show, reality hit once he was out of the competition.
“That’s when… it’s then the time to start looking for jobs and to start making money again,” he said.
One of the main benefits of competing in a high profile show like MasterChef Australia is, of course, the exposure, which helps contestants’ secure high paying work opportunities in the industry after their time on the series.
Aside from the $250,000 prize money the winner receives, many contestants go on to build successful careers in the food industry, publishing cookbooks, hosting television shows and Good Food and Wine events, and even open their own cooking schools and restaurants.
MasterChef Australia premieres at 7.30pm on April 18, 2022, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.
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