On any other show, as it got down to the pointy end of things, one might expect that the stress would start getting to the contestants and that the claws would come out. On MasterChef Australia: Fans and Favourites, however, the love between the contestants far exceeds any stress of the competition.
Speaking to The Latch over the phone, Ortado said that he thinks the reason that MasterChef Australia is such a positive environment is “because [they’re] all talking the same language”.
“We’re sharing the same passionate love for food,” Ortado explained.
Having all got their start as passionate home cooks, Ortado said that “the food [they] cook is family-related” on the show, which can strike a nerve while they’re away from their families filming.
“When we’re talking about family, everyone gets teary, everybody cries,” he said, adding that this, in turn, pushes the contestants “to connect on a whole different level”.
After Season 1 winner Julie Goodwin played her Immunity Pin last night, Favourites Aldo Ortado and Season 7 winner Billie McKay went head-to-head. Despite both competitors getting good feedback from the judges, someone had to go home, and in the end, they decided that McKay’s dish had a little more wow factor than Ortado’s, so he was sent home.
Still, Ortado has no ill-will towards his competitors, who he counts as “family”. Now, he’s rooting for his former competitors for the win.
“I [would] love to see [Julie] win, as well,” he said. “There is Julie, there is Mindy, there is Sarah, it will be such a happy time for me and I’m happy for the winner. Things worked out.”
Returning to MasterChef Australia after his stint on Season 10, Ortado said that he “didn’t prepare at all” for the competition this time around.
“I must be honest!” he exclaimed. “The first time that I went in, I brought so much equipment and stuff, and I didn’t do what I was supposed to do, which is cook Italian food.”
When he returned to the kitchen, Ortado felt confident, both in his skills and in the dishes he wanted to present.
“This time around, I said ‘you know what, I know how to cook, I know what to cook, I know what I wanna showcase, and let me see how this is gonna push me in this competition’,” he explained, adding: “I think I did well!”
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There’s also only so much preparation anyone can do for a competition series like MasterChef Australia, Ortado explained.
“Sometimes as much as you wanna prepare yourself, a challenge will throw you ingredients that you’ve never seen before in your life!” he said, adding that there’s also “always room for error” and that sometimes, things just come down to good old luck.
Having wrapped up his second round on MasterChef Australia, Ortado is turning his attention to the future.
“At the moment, I’m writing my cookbook,” Ortado revealed, adding that he hopes to have it on shelves by Christmas time.
On top of that, he’s hoping to write “a food guide tour to the south of Italy”.
Ortado explained that beyond the main cities that tourists know and love, like Tuscany, Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice, “there is so much more to the country — which is the south — that nobody knows or has been shown”. He hopes to change that.
“It’s the part of the country that I really want to celebrate at this stage of my life,” Ortado explained. “Every region in the country, it’s different, it’s got different foods.”
The book, he hopes, will be “about food culture, about the simplicity of food, about the beaches, about the beautiful historic sites that we’ve got”.
“There is so much,” he explained. “There is so much food there, wine as well.”
MasterChef Australia airs Sunday – Thursdays at 7.30pm, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.
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