The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - News -

AN au­di­ence with our next King is on the menu this sea­son, as well as food roy­alty such as Gor­don Ram­say, but MasterChef has been break­ing the mould – and al­ways full of sur­prises – for the 10 years it’s been on air.

Matt Pre­ston be­lieves both culi­nary stars and con­tes­tants sign up to ap­pear on the pro­gram for the same rea­son.

“They like the fact con­tes­tants aren’t there to be tar­gets for barbs,” he says.

“They’re there to be re­spected and to be cel­e­brated and pushed for­ward, which is the great joy of the show.” IT was in that at­mos­phere that pro­duc­ers were able to lure the Dalai Lama (above) on the pro­gram, back in sea­son three. While he was re­luc­tant to pass judg­ment dur­ing the tast­ing, he charmed his way through the re­mark­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

For the sea­son’s even­tual win­ner Kate Bracks, a de­vout Chris­tian, it chal­lenged her in un­ex­pected ways.

“She was quite re­li­gious and had felt un­com­fort­able ini­tially about meet­ing him. But when she did, she was truly touched by how spir­i­tual he was. And you had to keep re­mind­ing your­self, he was on a cook­ing show,” Mehigan says. CON­TES­TANTS and the crew alike, have found them­selves pre­par­ing to cook in some of the most spec­tac­u­lar and iconic places around the world.

From the banks of the Si­enne in France to rice fields in China and Ja­pan, the se­ries has been a pass­port to in­ter­na­tional cui­sine and culi­nary ad­ven­ture. Pre­ston counts the time they chal­lenged fi­nal­ists to cook at the United Na­tions in New York as a high­light.

“We [catered] a re­cep­tion at the UN and launched that chal­lenge on the floor of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly … the first ever show in the world to film there. It was un­be­liev­able and truly amaz­ing.” JAMIE Oliver, Marco Pierre White, He­ston Blu­men­thal and Nigella Law­son built their pro­files here by ap­pear­ing on Aus­tralia’s most pres­ti­gious cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Ge­orge Calom­baris (above with Law­son) ad­mits even he’s turned fan boy in the com­pany of some of the in­dus­try lu­mi­nar­ies the show has be­friended. Dur­ing a break in film­ing this sea­son, Calom­baris in­vited Law­son to his home for lunch and was shocked when she turned up at his front door. “If you had said to me 20 years ago, ‘One day you’ll be feed­ing Nigella Law­son osso bucco at your house on a Sun­day arvo’, I’d say to you, ‘Have a spell.’

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