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Series / MasterChef Australia

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The Australian version of the competitive reality cooking show, MasterChef, aired in Network Ten from Sunday through Thursday since 2009.

Following the format of a standard Reality Show, MasterChef Australia features the exploits of 24 individuals as they compete in a series of cooking challenges to win the title of "Masterchef", as well as a prize money of $250,000 and a feature column in the monthly cooking magazine "Delicious".

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The series is hosted and judged by Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston.


This show contains examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: As the seventh season of the show approached, several media leaks about the would-be contestants started to stir up a lot of hype regarding several of the contenders "to look out for". Among these were Supicha, a stay-at-home mum from Thailand, and Scott, a butcher. Neither of these two even made it past the Top 24.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Matt from season 8 is frequently called "Matty" by his friends.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: While the 3 hosts are generally upfront about what they thought of a dish, one notorious example occurs in season 2: Matt Preston, having tasted a weird dish, states "That is disgusting!" He lets the plate fall to the floor and shatter. ...before adding "Disgustingly good" and claiming he destroyed the plate so that no one else could taste it.
  • The Bus Came Back:
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    • Most seasons feature the "Second Chance Challenge", where previously eliminated contestants are given the opportunity to cook their way back into the competition by producing an exemplary dish.
    • After being forced to withdraw from season 6 due to her injuries, Cecilia cooked her way back into the Mastechef kitchen in season 8. She almost did this twice: during the Second Chance Challenge after her elimination, her dish was considered one of the best; however, she ultimately lost to Theresa, if only by a very narrow margin.
  • Call-Back: Episode 36 of Season 8 brought back the Relay Challenge. During the pre-cooking pep talk, the judges laboured on the importance of communication and warned the contestant about the "White chocolate veloute hell" should they fail to maintain a proper team work — this was, of course, referring to an infamous incident that happened in the previous season, where one contestant (John) decided to completely change his team's dish in the middle of the cook and produced a disastrous dish that sent his team into elimination.
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  • The Cameo: In the Season 8 Grand Final, during the winner announcement, Reynold (the fan favourite from season 7) and Anna Polyviou show up as unexpected guests.
  • Catchphrase: George's cheer during challenges: "Boom boom, shake the room!" This becomes a Borrowed Catchphrase, when guest chef and Season 7 alumnus Reynold Poernomo uses this phrase before the Pressure Tests he was assigned to oversee in season 8.
  • Cooking Duel: Mostly used in immunity challenges, where the contestant must battle against a professional chef to obtain the pin. The judges would blind-taste their dishes and give a score out of 10. The dish with a higher score is declared the winner.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Sometimes, in the Immunity Challenges, the professional chefs completely outclass the contestant. In the Sweet Week in Season 9, two of the professionals won 27 vs. 16 and 30 vs. 17 against the the contestants.
  • Double Unlock:
    • To win an immunity pin, the contestants must face 2 challenges. In the first round, the top 3 performers from the previous invention test are usually tasked to cook a simple dish in 1 hour. The winner advance to round 2, where they'd have a cooking duel against a professional chef. They'd only get the pin if they defeat the guest chef.
    • The post-team challenge elimination also generally has at least 2 rounds. The losing team must first partake in a variety of challenge (e.g. guessing the names of ingredients). Those who fail in the first round must then cook for their place in the competition, with the worst performer being eliminated.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Marco Pierre White is very harsh, especially when it comes to Service Challenges. He'd yell at the contestants, ordering them to pick up their pace and work faster. Somewhat justified, as they're dealing with real customers, and it'd be bad service to make the people wait or give them bad food.
  • Easily Forgiven: During a team relay challenge in season 7, John almost single-handedly destroyed his group's dish by attempting to change the dish into something else entirely, but ended up overcomplicating the elements, and leaving the last two cooks from his team completely lost on what they're actually making (and giving Georgia essentially five minutes to make a totally new dish while battling a panic attack). This puts the whole team in danger of elimination. But the others, while dejected at their poor results, did not seem to be angry at him at all, and even came to his defense when the viewers started to send him hate messages on Facebook.
  • Endangered Soufflé: In one of the elimination rounds in season 7, Jacqui tried to impress the judges by creating a soufflé out of her mystery box ingredients. While the soufflé looked good while it was in the oven, it quickly collapsed when she brought it to the judges.
  • Elimination Catchphrase: "For one of you, the dream is about to end."
  • Friendly Rivalry: Each cook must typically fight for their own place in the competition, but most of them are usually very amiable and friendly towards each other. One contestant, James, said in an interview that being a part of the show was like having a big family of 24. This is shown by how the people frequently exchange advice and ideas, and don't appear to mind sharing ingredients even while partaking in a challenge.
  • Improbable Age: Season 8 features guest chef Flynn McGarry to supervise one of the Pressure Test? The kicker? Kid is only 17, and wouldn't have met the age requirement to become a contestant... but he's good enough to qualify as a "top chef" and brought in a really complicated dish that many professionals would struggle to recreate.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • The "Eliminator" Rose from Season 7, for having landed in at least 8 elimination rounds, surviving each and every one (often with very strong results) before finally getting the boot in the last one.
    • From the same series, Reynold is known as the "Dessert King" due to his incredible skill in making sweets, and is even advertised as such in the commercials.
    • Marco Pierre White is frequently referred to as "The Godfather of modern cooking" by the judges.
  • Irony: Any time a cook gets sent home on dishes that involve their specialty. For example:
    • Ashleigh, one of the desserts specialists in Season 7, failed to deliver on a passion fruit dessert despite being the most enthusiastic to try creating the recipe at first.
    • He didn't actually get eliminated, but Reynold has this happen to him in the 7-course-meal team challenge. During the draw to decide the course that each contestant had to cook, he lucked out and got dessert. Even better, the ingredient he was assigned with was his favourite/specialty, chocolate. However, the pressure of having to cook for 40 people by himself seem to get over his head that he almost burnt his chocolate, his crimeoux ended up too runny, and he was sent into elimination on a dish that should have been a winner.
    • In the quarter final of Season 8, Elise gets sent home over a dessert dish, which is her specialty. Even worse, her two opponents, Harry and Matt, were actually savoury-specialist who were forced to do a dessert due to Elise's choice of ingredient. The judges' decision was certainly a surprise to everyone.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Season 4 has Ben and Emma, who formed an older brother-little sister dynamic over their time together in the Masterchef kitchen. Ben likes to playfully tease the younger girl, but he's very protective of her, to the point that he was willing to withdraw from the competition to keep her place there when the two was forced to cook off against one another in an elimination.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the more well-known US version, Masterchef Australia has much less bitchiness going on the show, as the contestants are usually good friends with each other, and the judges are very supportive and constructive in their criticism.
  • Midnight Snack: The first round of the Immunity Challenge that took place during season 8's Nigella Week has the three hopeful contestants cook up a midnight snack for Nigella, which is something she is apparently well-known for.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination:
    • In Season 1, one of the chefs quit after making the top 50, due to the stress of the competition.
    • In Season 2, Sarah quit after making the top 24, due to feeling that her heart was no longer in the competition.
    • And just to make it a pattern, season 3's Paul withdrew due to "work commitments" having his spot taken in the top 24 by another contestant.
    • After making it to the top 14 in season 3, Adam resigned his position after ending up in a pressure test, saying he felt he lacked the commitment the others in the pressure test felt towards cooking.
    • After making it to the top 9, Mat was eliminated from season 3 after it was revealed he'd been breaking the rules by bringing a smartphone into the Master Chef kitchen.
    • In Season 5, Andrew had to leave the show due to chronic knee injuries that would likely be exacerbated by the competition.
    • In Season 6 of the Australian version, Cecilia was initially put through to the Top 24, but was removed from the competition on medical grounds, due to the fact that she was recovering from a serious brain injury that she had received only 3 months prior.
    • Once again happened in Season 7, where Mario was immediately eliminated just after getting through the Top 24 when it was discovered that he had an experience as a professional chef (an immediate disqualifier for the show).
  • Perspective Reversal: The last MasterClass in Season 8 has 3 of the judges (George, Gary and Shannon) switch places with the contestants and participate in a Mystery Box challenge. Meanwhile, the contestants get the change to have revenge on them by looming over the work benches, questioning and criticising their work.
  • Product Placement: Coles supplies all the fresh ingredients for Master Chef Australia. And pick up some Western Star butter...only at Coles!
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All:
    • First season winner Julie Goodwin released a book, and wrote a few columns in Women's Weekly (an Australian magazine) but that's about the extent of her post-competition achievements, while runner-up Poh Ling Yeow has her own ongoing cooking TV show called Poh's Kitchen. Fourth place finisher in the same series Justine has a weekday TV show called "Everyday Gourmet".
    • Season 7's fourth place Reynold Poernomo is one of the biggest internet sensations from the show, and is the only one from the series who owns his own restaurant (which is basically the dream of every Masterchef contestant). It's probably helped by the fact that his brother, Arnold Poernomo, is a famous chef in Indonesia who also has his own restaurant and is a recurring judge of Masterchef Indonesia.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Season 8 saw a pair of brother and sister auditioning together, both impressing the judges, and both winning the apron. However, while the advertisements tend to play up the brother vs. sister dynamic, the two are very close and supportive towards each other. In fact, aside from one throwaway line during the auditions, Jimmy (rather playfully) told the judges that he's the better chef compared to his sister, the two showed no hint of rivalry at all.
  • Something Only They Would Say: A variant in season 2; the contestants, while blind tasting dishes made for them by the previously eliminated contestants, correctly identified that Jimmy had made one dish because his style of Indian curries was so unique and notable.
  • Special Guest: The series regularly features celebrity chefs to either serve as a guest mentor during challenges, to oversee the Pressure Tests, or to face-off against the contestants during the Immunity challenge. "Regular" guests who show up almost every year include Marco Pierre White, Maggie Beer, Curtis Stone and Heston Blumenthal.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: When season 6 auditionee Grant came to the judges' "lair", George immediately began telling Gary how much the guy looks like Ben Milbourne from season 4. He's, of course, Ben's younger brother.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Brent from Season 6 managed to get into all but two eliminations but always managed to overcome them, eventually managing to win the competition.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Season 8's Teresa Visintin was not seen as a particularly strong cook, being rather scatterbrained, frequently taking way too much time to think up of a dish, and her performance before her first elimination was mediocre at best. After winning the second chance to cook in the Masterchef kitchen again, she's plated up very strong dishes that had the judges raving about it, and her food had been named "dish of the day" a couple of times. Matt Preston says that she's transformed into a different (and much better) chef since her return.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: It's become a common norm that episode previews have a habit of spoiling what happens in the next episode down to who gets eliminated if it happens to be elimination challenge/pressure test. Those who already know this always refrain from watching them and remind new viewers to do the same.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Season 7 — after constantly placing the bottom 3, Rose finally had the chance to shine in Episode 21, where her dish was considered as the Top 5 of the batch, only to be sent back to the elimination block for the third time in a row (and fourth time in total) when she failed to deliver in the Invention test that follows.
  • Younger Than They Look: It's hard to believe that Nicolette from Season 8 is only 19, considering how she looks the same age, if not older, than all the other female contestants aside from Theresa.
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