Why MasterChef’s Return Is More Important Than Ever Right Now
There was already a generous helping of anticipation surrounding the return of MasterChef this year, but recent global events will no doubt have viewers hungrier than ever for the series to begin.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen households around the world self-isolating as best they can in an attempt to flatten the curve and slow the inevitable spread of the virus.
Cook, writer and MasterChef Australia winner Adam Liaw observed on Twitter that, at the moment, Australia is a “totally captive audience, craving wholesome nostalgia, with every aspect of their lives revolving around cooking and eating” -- in other words, a community crying out to hear those opening bars of Katy Perry’s “Hot N’ Cold”.
It’s a sentiment echoed by last year’s MasterChef winner, Larissa Takchi, who told 10 daily that the show is going to be an important source of culinary information -- and comfort -- during an uncertain time.
It’ll Have A Focus On Minimising Food Waste -- Not Hoarding
"I feel like every day is a mystery box challenge for people, you have to work with the ingredients that you have -- there’s no way around it," Larissa said of the change we've seen on supermarkets shelves recently.
"I have had a huge response from people wanting to know what they can do with certain ingredients or things that they would normally throw away," she added.
After receiving requests for a banana bread recipe, Larissa decided to show her fans how the entire fruit can be used and shared her caramel banana skin version of the classic treat on Instagram.
"I'm actually showing them how to reduce your food waste, especially at times like this -- people are crawling to use as much food as possible without wasting," she added.
MasterChef has a history of shining a light on food waste, last season enlisting the world's best chef -- Massimo Bottura -- as a guest judge for a challenge that asked contestants to use commonly wasted ingredients including milk, stale bread, lettuce and bananas.
This season, the Back To Win cast is chocked full of cooks -- including Simon Toohey -- whose kitchen philosophy revolves around sustainability and avoiding food waste.
It’s Going To Provide Us With Inspiration For Quarantine Recipes That Aren’t Soup Or Pasta
As long-life products including spaghetti, rice, and tinned beans fly off supermarket shelves, MasterChef is going to remind us of all the inventive ways we can be using other ingredients.
"I feel like every day is a mystery box challenge for people, you have to work with the ingredients that you have -- there’s no way around it," Larissa told 10 daily.
People are going to be inspired by what the contestants are making and learn how to cook more creatively
"Not just doing one thing with one ingredient, you can cook things so many different ways and get different flavour profiles and textures," she added.
It’ll Feel Like A Cosy, Warm Hug At A Time Of Social Distancing
Larissa grew up watching MasterChef and knows exactly what the show brings to the table when a breather from bad news is needed -- a delicious, but meaningful, distraction.
"I think the main thing for me, being a viewer before being a contestant, it’s a comfort, it’s what brings people together," she said. "It distracts you from what’s happening out in the world and that’s why people love watching it -- it is entertaining as well as authentically about food.
She added that whether living alone, with friends or family, MasterChef has a way of bringing people together.
It’s 24 Of Our Favourite TV Friends From The Last Decade Back Together
While we're excited to get to know three new judges -- Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and former MasterChef winner Andy Allen a little better-- we're also going to be welcoming in some very familiar faces from the last eleven years.
Just as Adam Liaw noted, a heaped helping of nostalgia is just what we need right now and it's a rare treat that we're going to see cooks who have evolved into pros back behind the MasterChef benches.
Larissa said that although she's a fan of the whole cast, she knows which two contestants she'll be cheering for on Back To Win.
"I’d like to see either Tessa or Simon win, they’re representing our season, I feel like a fangirl, a cheerleader for our season," she said.