Hear that? That’s the sound of your stomach rumbling in anticipation of the next several weeks of foodie heaven thanks to the beloved cooking series MasterChef Australia.
The reality cooking competition returned on Monday, April 19 at 7.30 pm, bringing with it a new selection of culinary masters with inspiring stories and even more inspired recipes.
In the promo released by Network 10 ahead of the season premiere, judge Melissa Leong said, “The amount of heart and soul and drive is exceptional this year.” Adds fellow judge Andy Allen, “They all have a unique story.”
Having now seen the first episode, we can emphatically agree with both of those statements.
Watch the trailer here, then continue reading below.
Of course, MasterChef is so popular because audiences fall in love with the contestants, not just their cooking, so here’s what we know so far about the home chefs who are hoping to take home the $250,000 prize and launch their dream career — and some who we can’t wait to find out more about.
Kishwar Chowdhury, 38, Business Developer, VIC
Kishwar says she comes from a “big family of cooks” and loves to use their recipes in her own kitchen.
“The Bengali cuisine that I carry with me has been passed down from generation to generation. I’ve always taken a little creative licence with it,” she says.
This mum-of-two has already blown the judges away with her ability — and made us quite misty-eyed in the process.
Brent Draper, 31, Boilermaker
Brent may have grown up eating meat and three veg but his love of food extends far beyond pub grub.
This self-taught chef also boasts a great sense of humour, quipping “My cooking style, it’s a bit like my face: Not refined at all.”
Brent, who is a boilermaker by trade, has a heart of gold and is driven by his love for his wife and son.
Minoli DeSilva, 34, Defence Manager, NT
Minoli is a chef with a very unique difference — she lost her sense of taste when she was 31 years old.
As she explains in the trailer, “It slowly started to come back and it’s given me a whole new insight into the flavour and an understanding of the food that I never had before.”
Having survived breast cancer, Minoli wants to grab this opportunity by the horns and give it her all and is off to a great start having wowed Melissa, Andy and Jock with her incredible Sri Lankan feast.
Therese Lum, 31, Business Analyst, NSW
Therese explains that she is “part Taiwanese, part Burmese, part Chinese” and is extremely proud of her cultural heritage.
Much like MasterChef all-star Emelia Jackson, Therese is a desert aficionado who loves to cook French pastry.
Hoping to leave her life of “big data”, Therese has been honing her craft for only a year but is already some of the greatest MasterChef talents we’ve ever seen.
Depinder Chhibber, 29, Pharmacist, NSW
Jess Hodge, 36, Landscape Architect, NSW
Jess is a landscape architect, urban designer and mum to twin boys. She is hoping to win the $250,000 to set her family up for life.
Jess immediately impressed the judges with her Mexican inspired grilled octopus dish and we can’t wait to see what she makes next.
Justin Narayan, 27, Youth Worker, WA
Scott Bagnell, 39, Interior Designer, QLD
For his first cook Scott, who is a designer by trade, made a delectable “Chocolate Choux au Craquelin with black truffle zabaglione cream, blueberries, native mint and roast chocolate soil.”
The dish was inspired by his love of Tasmanian black truffles and made the judges (and us) love him.
Amir Manoly, 30, Project Manager, VIC
Sabina Newton, 21, Student, NSW
Trent Vu, 23, Sales Manager, NSW
Trent, who has an Instagram account dedicated to his creations, made a “Coral Reef” dessert for his first MasterChef cook which consisted of lime cheesecake, coconut crumb, yoghurt sorbet, finger lime, beetroot coral tuile, milk skin shards and Davidson plum.
Tommy Pham, 31, Primary School Teacher, NSW
YoYo Yang, 19, Medical Student, SA
Dan Dumbrell, 31, Research Project Officer, NSW
Eric Mao, 21, Medical Student, NSW
Maja Veit, 33, Self-Employed, TAS
Tom Levick, 23, Law Student, NSW
Pete Campbell, 36, Tattoo Artist, NSW
Linda Dalrymple, 39, Full-Time Mum, NSW
Conor Curran, 29, Restaurant Manager, VIC
Wynona Davies, 33, Marketing, NSW
Katrina Dunnet, 25, Marketing Coordinator, SA