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MasterChef tells Pete and Manu how to fix My Kitchen Rules
They may be professional rivals but the judges on MasterChef
Australia have some friendly advice for their TV counterparts — Pete Evans and Manu Feildel — about just why the ratings may have simmered for this year’s My Kitchen Rules.
As MKR heads towards its grand finale this Sunday night (8pm, Seven) and MasterChef kicks off its new season on Monday (7.30pm, Ten), the latter is keen for their former foes to learn from the production mistakes they’ve made.
“For one year it was bonkers,” Matt Preston tells Switched On. “There was no audition tour. We weren’t involved in picking the contestants. There was no top 50.” The result? “We came in with a group of contestants picked by other people.”
That is exactly what happens every year on My Kitchen Rules, with Evans and Feildel having no say on who competes — and the MasterChef judges reckon that is a big mistake.
“We’re friends with Pete and Manu and the truth is, would I go and do that show — no,” Calombaris says.
“We don’t let contestants bicker among each other on
MasterChef Australia. There is none of that. We know that if they are supportive of each other the food will be good.”
Viewers who have seen the on-air promotions for season nine of MasterChef know the standard of cooking reflects the quality control of contestants.
“We have got 24 potential winners. What I love about this year’s contestants is that they are so serious. There is no mucking around. Whenever they aren’t cooking in challenges they have their heads in cook books studying.”
Preston adds: “Last year it took the contestants three or four weeks to get going but this year’s batch came in and they were putting up great stuff from day one.”
This year’s roll call includes contestants as young as 18, a generation raised on a diet of
MasterChef and watching YouTube cooking tutorials.
Mehigan explains: “We’ve realised people under 25 think differently about food. The past 10 years has seen an enormous change in the food scene. You get flavours from them where you think ‘that is unusual’ ... then taste it and go ‘that’s all right’.”
Preston, 53, Mehigan, who turned 50 in February, and even Calombaris, at 38, all felt their age at times but that generation gap really hit home during one challenge (which served as the equivalent moment to when a young singer on The Voice doesn’t know who the Beatles are).
“We set this challenge based around parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme — the title of a Simon and Garfunkel hit,” Mehigan says.
“We revealed the parsley and sage and asked what was next and one of the young contestants said basil. Another said coriander. When George said, ‘No, thyme’, they all went ‘Why?’ We knew then that we were talking to a different generation of foodies.”
WATCH MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA, TEN, MONDAY, 7.30PM