It’s almost time for the winner of MasterChef Australia 2021 to be revealed, but first, the remaining contestants must compete in a nail-biting challenge — plating up the first-ever meal service at Melbourne restaurant Society.
Located at 80 Collins St, the eatery hails from restaurateur Chris Lucas — who brought the delightful Chin Chin to both Sydney and Melbourne. Lucas enlisted hospitality superstars Martin Benn and Vicki Wild to head up Society for him, hoping to change the Australian contemporary dining scene.
After enduring the trials of Melbourne’s interminable COVID-induced lockdown, the restaurant will hopefully be open extremely soon and will no doubt be booked solid once viewers get a glimpse of the luxurious space on MasterChef.
Society spans multiple levels across 1600 square metres and will offer patrons a number of dining options, including a more relaxed space called Lillian Terrace and a place to pop in for a drink and bar snack too.
If the name Martin Benn sounds familiar, it’s probably because, along with Wild, he ran and co-owned Sydney’s Sepia for a decade — making it one of the most awarded restaurants the city has ever seen. And, of course, Benn is also the mastermind behind the sumptuous Chocolate Forest Floor dessert which was featured as a MasterChef challenge in a previous season.
The incredibly intricate and artistic desert comprises soft chocolate, hazelnut and chestnut, orange and thyme cream, sour cherry sorbet, cherry brandy jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs, and crystallized fennel fronds and takes a whole lot of patience.
Then, in 2020, Benn issued the MasterChef contestants the task of making his toffee apple creation, which he perfected during the lockdown, consisting of 130-steps and 59 ingredients. The revered chef has since evolved the toffee apple dish which you can see on his Instagram.
MasterChef Australia’s season 13 contestants will each be tasked with creating and serving a dish for a tasting menu at the restaurant, to be consumed by its first-ever customers.
While Benn and Wild’s Sepia offered a degustation menu, Society will offer diners an a la carte selection, with Benn telling The Sydney Morning Herald that the latter will be “a progression of his Japanese-influenced cuisine” from the former.
Lucas also told the publication that while mains at Society will cost between $40 and $50, and $30-$40 at Lillian Terrace, there will also be plenty of options to choose from in between and that diners will be able to choose anything from either menu so they can tailor their dining experience to suit their budget.
Having seen the decadent interior design of Society, and knowing how innovative and intriguing Benn is as a chef, we cannot wait for this luxe dining destination to open (and for the lockdown to be lifted) so that we can experience it all for ourselves.
In the meantime, there is always MasterChef!
Watch the MasterChef Australia 2021 finale on Network Ten and 10Play on July 13, 2021, at 7.30pm.