Ambition main ingredient for next Masterchef
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.