TV

MasterChef 2018: Meet the contestants everyone will be talking about

These are the ones to watch!

By Kietley Isrin

MasterChef Australia's 2018 season kicks off this evening at 7:30pm on Network Ten.

As you prepare to drool over the delicious food and tense drama, allow us to introduce you to six of the hottest new contestants. These men and women are definitely the ones to watch in the kitchen over the coming weeks!

Ben Borsht, 31

They say your life can change in the blink of an eye. And for MasterChef Australia hopeful Ben Borsht, a shock diagnosis last year turned his world upside down.

"I had to leave my job as a finishing foreman after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis," Queenslander Ben tells TV WEEK.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease. Nationally, it affects about one in 250 people aged between five and 49.

Ben hasn't returned to work in the building industry since he learnt of his condition. Instead, the 31-year-old has decided to try his luck on the hit reality cooking show.

Ben's out to change his life - again!
Ben's out to change his life - again!

"Actually, my best friend and wife [Caitlyn] signed me up," Ben reveals. "After becoming sick last year, I felt I had nothing to lose."

With his friends describing him as the "king of seafood", Ben says he believes he has what it takes to take home the MasterChef crown.

"I want to win," he says. "And to prove that no matter what happens in life, you can do anything you set your mind to.

"My family have been really supportive and are excited to see how I go on the show."

Denise Valdez, 37

It's a decision most new mothers struggle to make: to work or to be a stay-at-home mum. That's the situation Victoria's Denise Valdez found herself in five years ago when she welcomed her daughter into the world.

"I put my career [in the oil and gas industry] on hold," Denise, 37, says. "I gave up the security of a good job.

"But I was satisfied with what I had achieved, so dedicating my time to my daughter was a priority."

And now Isabel is at school, Denise is ready to put herself first again.

Denise hopes to make her daughter proud.
Denise hopes to make her daughter proud.

"It's time to focus on myself and start a new career in food," she says ahead of her MasterChef Australia debut.

"I want to bring Mexican food out of Mexico and kick-start my food business."

Does Denise have what it takes to succeed?

Aldo Ortado, 31

Food isn't Aldo's only love.

He'll be competing for an apron in the MasterChef kitchen with a three-ingredient dish. But Aldo Ortado has one other important thing on his plate too – planning his upcoming wedding.

The 31-year-old from New South Wales is engaged to his partner and biggest supporter, Mark. And the lovebirds can't wait to finally tie the knot.

"We got engaged in Bali in 2015," Aldo reveals. "That man [Mark] is my present, my future and is always there for me."

While the restaurant manager admits it would be a "dream come true" to be on the reality cooking show, the thought of being away from his fiancé is hard to bear.

"I'll miss having him in my life," Aldo says. "I will struggle and be lonely."

Will Aldo (left) take the *MasterChef* crown before saying I do to his fiancé Mark (right)?
Will Aldo (left) take the MasterChef crown before saying I do to his fiancé Mark (right)?

Genene Dwyer, 49

"The whole experience will be a challenge," says the recruitment coordinator from Victoria. "However, it's a challenge I'm prepared to take on."

Genene is ready to achieve her dream.
Genene is ready to achieve her dream.

Metter Chin, 54

The NSW contestant is looking to bring new life to traditional cuisine during his time on MasterChef Australia.

"I hope to revive the Hakka cuisine [from China] and bring it to the Australian palate," he says.

Metter is set to shake things up with his unique skills.
Metter is set to shake things up with his unique skills.

Tim Talam, 28

The butcher shop assistant is set to make waves in the competition, as he looks to prove himself worthy of the title.

"I want to prove I'm capable of enduring and defeating really difficult challenges," he tells TV WEEK.

Is Tim ready to take out the MasterChef 2018 crown?
Is Tim ready to take out the MasterChef 2018 crown?

MasterChef Australia airs Monday to Thursday, and Sunday, 7:30pm on Network Ten.

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