EXCLUSIVE: The MasterChef judges reveal who they think will win the competition

And they reveal the contestants they were surprised not to see in the final four!

By Sebastian van der Zwan
The delicious banquet that has been the 12th season of MasterChef Australia is almost over.
Who will rise to the top and who will flop like a failed soufflé?
Judges Andy Allen, Jock Zonfrillo and Melissa Leong give TV WEEK their juicy verdicts on final-four contestants Reynold Poernomo, Laura Sharrad, Callum Hann and Emelia Jackson.
The show's new judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo have won over MasterChef's loyal fans this season. Image: Channel 10
Who looks the favourite to take home the MasterChef trophy?
Andy: At this point of the competition, the standard is so high. Each of the final four has produced dishes worthy of winning and shown the form it takes to lift the trophy.
Jock: I truly believe any of the top four is capable of taking out the win. Doing that will ultimately come down to the choices they make during each cook. We've tasted some of the best food the MasterChef kitchen has ever seen and I can't wait to see what the top four cook up for us.
Melissa: Come on, now – I back everyone in the competition! Each of them brings their own unique bag of tricks – the magic of MasterChef is you never really know how it will play out.
Andy, Melissa and Jock have been praised by fans for their fresh approach to the show. Image: Getty
Who's the dark horse?
Andy: In Back To Win, there is no dark horse – each contestant is the best of the best from over the past 11 seasons. You're crazy to rule out any of them.
Jock: The judges were the dark horse this year. No-one knew if we were going to break the MasterChef kitchen!
Melissa: At this point in the game, it's all about mental fortitude and strategic moves. Who has that in spades? You should know this if you're a fan!
Emelia and Laura are both hot favourite pipped to win the competition. Image: Channel 10
Who has provided the most magical food moment?
Andy: Reynold's sweet dishes have blown my mind. His whipped chocolate ganache with a coffee ice-cream and lemon jam near the beginning of the competition was nearly faultless in terms of composition, but more importantly, flavour.
Honourable mention also needs to go to Emelia for her Paris-Brest petit four. There was absolutely nowhere to hide with that dish, as it was just one mouthful, but it was the perfect mouthful of food.
Melissa: There have been so many magical moments so far – Reynold's rabbit-hole fairytale dish, Emelia's Paris-Brest petit four, Laura's yogurt and bay leaf dessert, and Callum's chocolate soufflés.
Each was perfect in its own way and doesn't stand alone in what these talented humans can do.
WATCH BELOW: Reynold wows the judges with his incredible Down the Rabbit-Hole dessert. Story continues after video.
Is there anyone you're surprised not to see in the final four?
Jock: Simon [Toohey], as he just makes vegetables beautiful. He had a really bad cook that sent him home, but without that, I felt the odds of him being in the top four were very good.
Melissa: The thing about this show is that it's anyone's game. Each of our 24 competitors deserved to be there, and I truly believed they all had the potential to take it all the way.
I loved Tessa Boersma's deft touch when it comes to seafood – that squid dish in the live show! – and Dani Venn's wholehearted and generous approach to her dishes, as well as Brendan Pang's gentle way with extraordinary, punch-in-the-face flavours.
I could go on, but I'm just going to say that it takes a lot of guts to come back to win – and, right now, we're focused on who actually will!

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