'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win': The Former Contestants We'd Love To See Back In The Kitchen
The super exciting announcement of the new 'MasterChef' judges came with an extra cherry on top we weren't expecting.
Judges Melissa Leong, Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo won't be tasting dishes from a fresh crop of contestants -- they'll be sampling the very best from former 'MasterChef' cooks who have been honing their skills for years now.
Over the last 11 seasons, there have been over 250 contestants taking part in Pressure Tests and Mystery Box Challenges and, while we don't yet know who will be returning, we've started putting together a dream cast of our faves.
Taking you back to 2009 right up til 2019 -- and excluding the winners for obvious reasons -- here's our pick for the 'Back To Win' cast.
Justine Schofield, Season 1
Would it be cheating to cast Justine, who came fourth in the first 'MasterChef' series back in 2009? Sure, she's been practising her cooking skills on camera for a good decade now, but this is 'Back To Win' where the best of the best compete again and show us what they've got.
We want to see Justine tackle the dish that got her eliminated (and moved winner Julie Goodwin ahead in the comp) -- the sweet and sour duck stir fry.
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Her Lamb Roulade with Spinach and Mint Puree.
Marion Grasby, Season 2
Marion was a firm fan favourite, and in 2010 it seemed unthinkable that she wouldn't be making it to the number one spot. The saddest part was, she was eliminated by her satay sauce, a moment of injustice we're still thinking about.
Now based in Thailand, Marion has a hugely successful YouTube cooking channel as well as a range of sauces and Thai-inspired meal kits sold in supermarkets nationally.
We say, bring Marion back to remind everyone she's the Queen of Satay Sauce and so we can learn more about her secrets to making pillowy bao, crunchy fried chicken and spicy dumplings.
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Her Mango and Lychee with Fish Sauce Syrup, Coconut Granita and Chilli Sugar.
Kumar Pereira, Season 3
We are more than ready to bring the 'We Love Kumar' fan club back into action. The Sri Lankan-born cook and illustrator came 11th in the comp the year that Kate Bracks won and hasn't stopped pursuing his passion for food since then. Kumar holds regular cooking demonstrations, hosts culinary tours to Sri Lanka and makes the crispiest looking hoppers.
We think he's more than ready to take on the class of 2020.
Amina Elshafei, Season 4
Instagram tells us that Amina had a baby earlier this year so she might not be into the idea of heading into filming for a few months but gosh we'd love to see her behind the 'MasterChef' bench again.
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Tea Smoked Duck Breast with Chinese inspired Salad.
Lynton Tapp, Season 5
As we mentioned earlier, 'Back To Win' is all about gathering the most talented former contestants to see how they've evolved since their 'MasterChef' days when they could barely work the old sous-vide machine.
Now the host of 'My Market Kitchen', could it be Season 5 runner-up Lynton Tapp to lift that 'MasterChef' plate above his head and feel the gentle sprinkle of that red and yellow confetti on his face?
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Kangaroo with Spiced Tomato Sauce
Laura Cassai, Season 6
Laura was only 18 when she made it to the 'MasterChef' grand finale with Brent Owens, missing out on the number one spot by just three points because of Peter Gilmore's diabolical Chocolate Ethereal dessert.
She's been putting her Italian culinary skills to great use at Nido Pasta Bar in South Australia, partnering with head chef and husband Max Sharrad -- who has appeared as a guest on 'MasterChef' himself.
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Scampi with Anchovy Butter, Roasted Garlic Cream and Pickled Cabbage
Jessie Spiby, Season 7
Jessie came seventh in the 2015 series with a successful season of impressing Maggie Beer with her use of fruit, and winning an immunity pin and a Power Apron -- should they bring that back?
Billie McKay ultimately came first, but Jessie has continued her food journey in a meaningful way with her business My Grandma Ben, an eatery that provides workshops focused on reducing food waste. The project even encourages foodies to trade and preserve their homegrown fruit and veg,
After Massimo Bottura made a huge impact talking about food waste on the last season of 'MasterChef', we think Jessie could really help us viewers at home and dazzle the judges.
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Murray Cod with Peas, Bacon and Lemon Sauce
Karmen Lu, Season 8
Have you been on Karmen's Instagram lately? It's a wonderland of sweet treats and we think she could be back to ascend her throne and become the 2020 dessert queen of 'MasterChef'. Karmen went on from placing 11th in Elena Duggan's season to become the co-owner and creator of Measure Bar in Perth. We're ready for a Karmen comeback!
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Chocolate Decadence with Miso
Arum Nixon, Season 9
Arum hasn't stopped cooking up a storm since his 'MasterChef' days and currently does catering, collaborations and plenty of recipe writing. We're ready to see what he can bring to the table (ha!) in 2020.
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Cep Ice Cream with Sunrise Limes and Potato Chips
Khanh Ong, Season 10
Obviously! Do we even need to explain why we want more Khanh on our TV screen? The DJ placed fourth in the 2018 season behind Ben Borsht and Sashi Cheliah and has gone on to become a co-host of 'My Market Kitchen'.
Also, his Instagram bio reads: "I like carbs and complaining at the gym" and we just need more of that energy in our lives.
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Canh Chua Ca (Sweet and Sour Broth with fresh Barramundi).
Derek Lau, Season 11
It's barely been six months since we last drooled over Derek's dumplings and that feels like a really long time. Dez has been working hard with his bestie, and 'MasterChef' winner Larissa Takchi on a recent pop-up in NSW, plus he's been hard at work in his home town of Perth as well.
You know it makes sense that Derek deserves to improve on his eighth-place from Season 11.
'MasterChef' Recipe Time Capsule: Pork and Prawn Wontons with Szechuan Sauce