Joining ‘MasterChef Australia’ Is a “Dream Come True” for Jean-Christophe Novelli

MasterChef Australia's Jean-Christophe Novelli

When it comes to making meals, no chef can cook like Jean-Christophe Novelli. Jean-Christophe is a master of French cuisine, winning multiple 5/5 AA Rosettes and four Michelin stars. He also runs the Novelli Academy Cookery School, a culinary institution with a prestigious reputation. But for Jean-Christophe, one of the greatest joys of his career to date has been judging the 2024 season of MasterChef Australia.

“For me, to come in as a chef, to be a part of this show’s judging panel, it was amazing,” Jean-Christophe told The Latch over the phone. “I feel like I’m in a magical wonderland. It’s a dream come true.” 

“I’ve been around quite a bit. I’ve had the privilege of being involved in many opportunities around the planet. But being on MasterChef is like being at the finals of the Olympics.”

Jean-Christophe has a shopping list of reasons as to why MasterChef Australia 2024 will be a season worth watching. Let’s bite into his answers. 

Jean-Christophe Novelli’s MasterChef Australia Co-Hosts

After the tragic death of Jock Zonfrillo last year, Melissa Leong also announced that she was stepping away from MasterChef Australia to focus on the second season of MasterChef: Dessert Masters, leaving Andy Allen as the sole returning judge for MasterChef Australia 2024. Stepping into the limelight to fill out the judging panel this year are Jean-Christophe Novelli, Poh Ling Yeow, and Sofia Levin.


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According to Jean-Christophe, it took awhile for him to build a rapport with Andy, Poh, and Sofia. But after a few episodes, they became an excellent team.

“At first, it was quite awkward. I was super jetlagged and not very well,” Jean-Christophe said. “But even so, I immediately realised how fantastic they were.

Jean-Christophe has nothing but kind words to say about his fellow judges. He loves that Andy won Season 4 and Poh came second on Season 1. 

“Andy is obviously experienced, having previously won the show,” Jean-Christophe said. “To become such an important part of this series as a judge, he now has this reputation. His voice is a part of a legacy.”

“Then we have Poh, who is unbelievable. She’s so intricate. She’s so precise and colourful.”

Likewise, Jean-Christophe was impressed with Sofia, a food reviewer who’s best known for writing for The Age, SBS Food, and The Guardian.

“Sofia is a very experienced judge and seasoned traveller. I keep saying that she could be the head of Michelin in Australia. She knows everything about wine. She knows everything,  she’s an expert in all these different types of cuisine.”

Jean-Christophe Novelli’s MasterChef Australia Contestants

From the very beginning, Jean-Christophe Novelli was judging the 2024 MasterChef Australia contestants as if they were professionals. 

“You forget they’re not chefs,” Jean-Christophe said. “They are amateur cooks. I keep forgetting that. I was judging them like professional chefs. The contestants are just so good. And the atmosphere, the ambience, the emotion, the speed? It’s just on the next level.”

According to Jean-Christophe, all the contestants were on a level playing field. This made judging the season particularly tough.

“We saw the people changing,” Jean-Christophe said. “They were all changing their attitudes, growing in confidence. We discovered that some people grew quicker than others and some took a longer time. But at the end of the day, everyone, and I mean every single one of them, they all achieved something in MasterChef Australia.”

For Jean-Christophe, finding MasterChef Australia’s 2024 winner is a monumental task. Not only will the winner of this season win $250,000, a mystery prize is also up for grabs. MasterChef Australia is calling this mystery prize the “opportunity of a lifetime.”

“We have to find a winner,” Jean-Christophe said. “It’s very important. It’s a big prize to win.”

“These people also have given up a lot to be on the show. They cannot work. They were chosen from a selection of 50,000 applicants. Our decisions were vital and very, very important.”

MasterChef Australia 2024 will premiere at 7.30pm on Monday, April 22, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand. Miss this episode? Catch up on 10 Play.

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