Reality TV

Is MasterChef Australia real or fake? The answer will surprise you

There might be a reason why these dishes look too good to be true...
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It’s that time of year again where our screens are laden with delicious delicacies and decadent desserts made by a fresh batch of talented foodies in an impressive race against the clock … or is it?

As MasterChef’s 2024 series airs, it would be safe to say the popular TV show is somewhat of a stalwart to food enthusiasts the country over.

While at times it seems almost impossible for some of the contestants to whip up something decent in the time that’s given to them, they (mostly) never fail to wow us with their impressive spreads.

But is there a glaringly obvious reason as to how they’re managing to do it?

To settle things once and for all, we investigated.

Are the cooking scenes on MasterChef real or staged?

The plain and straight answer here is … sort of.

While some challenges on the show only last 60 minutes each, it has been confirmed that the average filming day lasts a lot longer, presumably to make time for filming specific shots and scenes during and between challenges.

In fact, executive producer Margaret Bashfield previously revealed to Now To Love that some days can drag on for 12 hours once filming has wrapped for each contestant!

Additionally, a past contestant Alice Zaslavsky said there was “no compromise” on the time each cook is given for each challenge – which actually makes things even more stressful when you add cameras to the mix.

Speaking to Domain, Alice explained: “They still need to get all of the shots from different cameras, so we would finish cooking and then have to step away from the bench, put all of our utensils down, stop touching the dish and then the next two to three minutes, just pretend to fuss around our plates.”

That being said, she confirmed the clock would stop while they were unable to touch utensils, but we can see how the whole process might end up a little, well, clunky.

It’s not just the hours themselves that are long. Filming scenes can also take a long time to complete.

Former Fans and Favourites contestant Ali Stoner told TV WEEK after her elimination that she was surprised how long it took to film the morning “walk ups.”

“They would take a really long time. I think we did, on average, seven walk ups per day, which feels like quite a lot. Doesn’t it?”

Former contestant Alice said the stopping and starting to film during challenges could be tough.

(Image: Instagram / @aliceinframes)

Do the judges on MasterChef favour some contestants?

Former judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and current judge Andy Allen have said there’s no favouritism when it comes to the competition, but did you ever think the original ones missed the mark? Turns out there’s a reason behind that.

Alice divulged to Domain that some judges were partial to playing favourites, but it didn’t necessarily skew the overall outcome.

She explained that George Calombaris was usually interested in anyone who wanted to become a chef themselves, given that was his own experience.

Meanwhile, Matt Preston took to contestants who loved writing or talking about food. She added that Gary Mehigan was just a “stickler” for those who took a classic approach to the cuisines.

“You can definitely say the judges have their favourites. But what the general public don’t often see is that those favourites may change throughout the show,” she said.

“You learn what the judges like and don’t like, but the biggest pitfall is cooking for the judges instead of yourself.”

WATCH: Winner of MasterChef 2018 Sashi’s journey. Story continues after video…

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Are the final plates on MasterChef tidied up before being presented to judges?

Taste is one thing, but presentation is a whole thing in itself for contestants, who often leave ‘plating up’ till the very last minute in their rush to get each dish prepared and cooked.

And if you’re anything like us, you’ll notice there is a peculiar knack for said plates to look very tidy, despite seeing contestants still fussing over their final dishes as the clock reaches zero.

Well, it seems there is a little bit of extra help at play here. Back when the show first started airing in Australia, producers and judges actually admitted to allowing contestants to ‘re-plate’ their dishes before presenting them to the judges.

A discrepancy was spotted during an episode back in 2010, when one contestant’s mousse appeared spoon-shaped upon its rushed completion. When it was presented to judges however, it was smooth and evenly shaped … curious!

Executive producer Margaret Bashfield again cleared this up, admitting to the Daily Telegraph: “Due to the duration of the filming process, on rare occasions both the contestant and the celebrity chef in MasterChef‘s Celebrity Chef Challenge are offered the opportunity to re-plate dishes between the completion of the challenge and the tasting.”

And that being said, former judge Gary said the alteration doesn’t affect the shows outcome.

“It was done under supervision,” he said.

Turns out there can be some allowances when it comes to plating up!

(Image: Network Ten)

How are the confessionals filmed during the competition?

For those who have never set foot on a reality television show set, which is most of us, it’s always a wonder how producers elicit such raw emotions during their confessionals – which begs the question, when are they filmed?

Ali has demystified the process by admitting they take place the next day, but every reaction is authentic because their emotions are heightened throughout their time in the MasterChef bubble.

“You go in, and you kind of have to relive it [the challenge] in the present time. It’s quite fresh in your mind because you’ve literally just been there and done it,” she spills. “Our entire life revolved around being on MasterChef, so it’s difficult to forget as you were quite invested at this point.

“It was just sometimes tricky to get into the swing a bit; bit tricky to talk in the present tense.”

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