Serai Is THE Restaurant of the Moment, But How Will the Chefs Fare on ‘MasterChef’?

masterchef australia ross magnaye

We’re nearing the end of the pro versus home cooks week on MasterChef Australia: Secrets and Surprises, and it’s been an epic adventure, to say the least.

We started off with a pressure test from NOMAD’s head chef, Jacqui Challinor, which ended with a mouth-watering rosella and olive oil parfait. Then Nu Nu’s Nick Holloway returned to the Masterchef kitchen, this time donning his apron for a three-course challenge.

Last night, Louis Tikaram from Brisbane’s Stanley Restaurant brought Queensland’s seafood bounty with him in another Pro Cook Vs Home Cook showdown.

Tonight, the team behind arguably the hottest restaurant in the country right now, Serai, is set to face the remaining three cooks.

Who Is Chef Ross Magnaye?

Growing up in the Philippines, food was a part of life for Ross Magnaye. Whether it was a wedding or birthday, he spent his formative years feasting. When he moved to Melbourne, he made it his mission to seek out the city’s diverse cuisine and learn as much as he could.

Magnaye added country by country to his CV, from Italian to Spanish and modern Australian, including through working under pastry chef Darren Purchese at Burch and Purchese in South Yarra.

Once he made his way through Melbourne, Magnaye set his sights on the world’s top kitchens, including Michelin-starred DOM in Sao Paulo and award-winning restaurant Aziamendi in Phuket. He soaked up as many skills and knowledge as possible before returning to Melbourne as head chef of Rice Paper Sister. Here, he refined his cooking skills and realised he wanted something of his own.

In early 2022, Magnaye and Shane Stafford, the co-founder of the now-closed Rice Paper Sister, opened Serai, which was crowned, Restaurant Of The Year 2022.

masterchef australia ross magnaye
Photo: Serai

Is Serai Melbourne Worth It?

There’s a reason Serai nabbed Restaurant Of The Year by TimeOut Melbourne: it’s worth the hype. Occupying a former ice cream shop, Serai is a laneway venue with a small capacity of only 50 seats, making it a hidden gem of sorts. Expect a minimalist fitout, to allow the Filipino food to shine.

Speaking of food, the menu is split into an Asian-inspired raw bar and reimagined Filipino dishes, kissed by a wood-fired grill. The menu changes regularly, but diners can expect to snack on cured kingfish and Abrolhos scallops bathed in crab-fat sauce. The mains feature everything from Mooloolaba prawns to locally foraged pine mushrooms and Port Lincoln calamari, cooked on the wood-fired grill.

The drinks list is full of fun cocktails, such as Ube Wan Kenube and a white negroni with Pandan. There’s also a range of beers and a long list of natural wines to try.

MasterChef Australia: Secrets and Surprises airs at 7.30pm, Sunday — Thursdays, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.

Want more MasterChef AustraliaRead all our content here, and check out the stories below:

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.