Masterchef

EXCLUSIVE: How the MasterChef judges fairly rate the food despite it going COLD during filming

''They have an idea of what the intention was.''

By Faye Couros
Masterchef is a magical show filled with breathtaking food moments and emotional stories.
However, our curiosity over the years has become more concerned with the mechanics behind running such a huge production that is based on food.
We all know food isn't a product that keeps for long because meals can only stay hot, ice cream can only remain frozen, and meat is only fresh for a small window of time.
The judges make sure they know exactly what the contestant was trying to create. Instagram
And although Masterchef looks like everything is happening fast, we know over the years of learning about reality TV that the process of filming takes ages, and there are many breaks in between.
To answer our questions about how the judges can fairly rate the food despite it going cold during filming, Now To Love asked last nights eliminated contestant Jess Hodge, 36, how everything goes down.
Jess reveals that we are right in our hunch that the judges are filmed eating cold food, but the process is kept fair through this smart trick utilised by Michelle Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen.
"They do most of the time [eat the food cold], but after everyone's finished cooking and time is called, the judges come around to the benches and try everything.
"So they know what they're expecting, and they know what the dishes taste like, so if something does change too much while they are waiting to eat it, at least they have an idea of what the intention was," reveals Jess.
For example, Jess made ice cream last night to compliment her apple streusel cake, but what you saw on her plate isn't necessarily what the judges ate.
Jess was eliminated last night. Instagram
"Sometimes things are completely plated after the fact, and that is to ensure it looks and tastes good for the judges as well, that ice cream was finished on time but put on the plate just before it got to the tasting," says Jess.
Another skill the contestants develop to make sure their dishes are the best quality possible for the judges is to consider what foods will last best under MasterChef conditions.
"When we are practising back at the apartments we do have in the back of our minds, what is this going to taste like in three hours?
"I think it is important, if you were going to make a soufflé, for example, then you would take it out of the oven, and it would look amazing, and it deflates immediately, so you don't want to be serving a dish like that.
"I think it is just like any experience or any circumstance you need to be putting up a dish that is appropriate for that time," says Jess.
Jess also explains how clever producers can elicit a raw emotional response during point of view (POV) shots, which are filmed after the cooking content.
Jess' elimination dish. Instagram
The truth is some of the emotional vulnerability is created through the strenuous filming process, but the producers are also very good at their job.
"The story producers, I think, are magicians, and they really have a way of recounting every second of the cook. They can tell you what you were doing at a certain minute in time and somehow extract the same feelings you were having and that moment.
"I am not sure how they do it, but maybe because we are under so much pressure and are very exhausted, it is not that hard to get someone to cry and just to react.
"It is interesting; I had no idea how that works before I got there, but the reactions are genuine even though the interview is happening later," explains Jess.