It was just plain luck for MasterChef Australia to debut its latest season with the new set of judges during the coronavirus pandemic. We would have probably warmed up to the show in regular circumstances as well, but the global pandemic has caused us to stay inside 24X7, and if there’s something that provides us that daily dose of new content, it’s MasterChef Australia Back to Win.
We just got done with Week 3 of the show and much like the previous week, this time too, the eliminations were exhausting. First up, it was Ben Milbourne (Season 4) who got eliminated at the start of the week. This came as a big shock and it forces me to withdraw my earlier statements about the show being biased. Ben and Andy Allen (one of the judges) have been best friends for years, and watching Ben leave was nothing less than a shock. The next to leave the kitchen was Harry Foster (Season 8) during the self-pressure test.
We have been watching MasterChef for 11 years now, and we have come to accept certain challenges as a staple of the reality show. But this week, it was nice to see that with the show embracing a new direction, the challenges have also changed a bit. The team challenge this week was the biggest push in the new direction. It was for the first time that MasterChef AU indulged in a flashy challenge where they put their chefs on the same pedestal as rockstars. It looked energetic and added a new element to the format. Even the classic ‘time auction challenge’ saw a new twist this week.
As the show moves from week to week, there is a certain sense of comfort that’s easing into the judges as well as the contestants. While Melissa Leong wasn’t one of my favourites in the first week, I am happy to report that her casual and friendly approach has her grabbing the maximum points among the judges. Jock Zonfrillo, too, has developed this camaraderie with the contestants that’s hard to miss.
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As far as the contestants are concerned, Jess Liemantara (Season 10) is starting to shine now. Sarah Tiong (Season 9) and Reynold Poernomo (Season 7) are still leading from the front. Despite winning the immunity pin for the entire season, Dani Venn (Season 3) seems to be on shaky ground. For that matter, as much as Hayden Quinn (Season 3) is a favourite, we have seen him stumble quite a lot in the last few episodes.
MasterChef Australia Back to Win is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
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