Am­bi­tion main in­gre­di­ent for next Masterchef

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

AS­PIR­ING to be the next Jamie Oliver will not be enough to earn an apron on the next se­ries of MasterChef Aus­tralia. But hav­ing a plan to bet­ter the suc­cess­ful Bri­tish celebrity chef might though. It’s just days af­ter this year’s win­ner was crowned, but judges Matt Pre­ston, Gary Me­hi­gan and Ge­orge Calom­baris are al­ready in the process of search­ing for con­tes­tants for the 2014 se­ries. Pre­ston says the next crop of am­a­teur cooks must not only be more adept in the kitchen than the class of 2013 but also have a long-term goal of be­ing in the food in­dus­try. And that doesn’t mean hav­ing a TV show or sell­ing cook­books. ‘‘I want us to to get back to find­ing great peo­ple with strong dreams,’’ says Pre­ston. ‘‘If they say they want to have a TV show like Jamie Oliver and you ask them how they will be dif­fer­ent from Jamie’s and they give you a blank stare, that’s enough to show them the door. We want peo­ple who are pas­sion­ate about food and have great ideas.’’ There were con­cerns about the fu­ture of MasterChef af­ter Sun­day’s 2013 grand fi­nal at­tracted less than half the num­ber of view­ers than the pre­vi­ous year. About 1.057 mil­lion view­ers tuned in to see Emma Dean take the 2013 MasterChef ti­tle. It could be a case of MasterChef over­load though, with this se­ries fol­low­ing so close be­hind MasterChef: The Pro­fes­sion­als. Ten has canned any more spin-offs of MasterChef in the hope of re­plen­ish­ing the ap­petite of its view­ers in 2014. MasterChef 2010 win­ner Adam Liaw says Ten has made the right call in dump­ing other for­mats of the show. ‘‘Ab­sence makes the heart grow fonder and hav­ing a few months off now will give MasterChef fans a chance to miss the show a lit­tle bit.’’ Pre­ston says the judges are look­ing for peo­ple for next year’s se­ries who fit the same mould as first sea­son con­tes­tant An­dre Ursini. Ursini, who was sev­enth in 2009, now owns and runs An­dre’s Cucina & Po­lenta Bar in Ade­laide, which in July was ranked in the Top 50 restau­rants in Aus­tralia. ‘‘We want the Top 50 to be able to cook and have le­git­i­mate dreams about what they want to do with food,’’ says Pre­ston.

– DAR­REN CARTWRIGHT

MasterChef Aus­tralia: Com­ing in 2014, Ten, Ten SC.

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