Reality TV

Everything you need to know about MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises

Cast, judges, confirmed theme, filming location + MORE!
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MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises was due to premiere on May 1, 2023. However, due to judge Jock Zonfrillo’s sudden passing the show has been pushed back.

What is the premiere date?

A brand new season was set to premiere this week. However, the show was pushed back upon the news of Jock Zonfrillo’s tragic death.

The main Instagram account for MasterChef Australia shared a tribute, which concluded with: “In 2019, Jock was named as a judge on MasterChef Australia in which he took great pride in challenging and coaching the contestants and of course inspiring a nation of home cooks.”

“Jock’s charisma, wicked sense of humour, generosity, passion and love for food and his family cannot be measured. He will be greatly missed.”

“MasterChef Australia will not air this week.”

For more information on the postponed premiere date, click here.

Who are the judges?

Fan-favourite food critic Melissa Leong and 2012 winner Andy Allen will be returning to judging the dishes once again, following the 2020 dismissal of longtime judges George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan.

Chef Jock Zonfrillo was also set to join the judges list, however the star sadly passed away. The announcement of his passing was shared to Instagram on May 1, 2023, the statement read: “With completely shattered hearts and without knowing how we can possibly move through life without him, we are devastated to share that Jock passed away yesterday.”

“So many words can describe him, so many stories can be told, but at this time we’re too overwhelmed to put them into words. For those who crossed his path, became his mate, or were lucky enough to be his family, keep this proud Scot in your hearts when you have your next whisky.”

“We implore you to please let us grieve privately as we find a way to navigate through this, and find space on the other side to celebrate our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son and friend.”

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Who has been cast?

Only time will tell what’s cooking in the MasterChef casting room, but if the theme of the show Secrets and Surprises is anything to go by, we think there could be some familiar faces that pop up in the kitchen amongst the 18 contestants.

Channel 10 are slowly revealing the names of contestants in the lead up to the premiere.

You can view our rolling list here.

Melissa Leong and Andy Allen will return!

(IMAGE: Channel 10)

Will there be a spin off MasterChef show airing in 2023?

Whilst previous iterations of MasterChef have featured home cooks who are talented across the board, MasterChef: Dessert Masters will focus on pastry chefs competing in the kitchen for a chance to be named Australia’s first ever “Dessert Master.”

The cast and judging panel are yet to be confirmed but we may see macaron king Adriano Zumbo, pastry chef Kirsten Tibballs and former MasterChef winner Emelia Jackson step up as judges.

The winner will walk away with a $100,000 prize.

MasterChef: Dessert Masters will focus on pastry chefs competing in the kitchen for a chance to be named Australia’s first ever ‘Dessert Master’.

(IMAGE: Channel 10)

Where will the new season be filmed?

Just like previous seasons, the 2023 season of MasterChef will be filmed at Centenary Hall, Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.

Built in 1934, the hall has been kitted out to the max and now houses a fully functioning commercial kitchen, ”boucherie”, herb garden, locker room, wine reception area, 120 seat restaurant and pantry.

The venue has also been the site of a number of other television products as well, including Channel Nine’s Lego Masters and the improvisational comedy show Thank God You’re Here, which used to air on Channel Seven.

What is the prize?

The winner of MasterChef Australia has traditionally taken home a quarter of a million dollars to help them realise their foodie dream.

Previous winners have opened up restaurants and cafes, published cookbooks, launched their own foodie products and the list goes on!

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