But one of the show’s contestants says Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo joining the Channel 10 production is a “sign of the times” and “a long time coming” after 10 years of ‘MasterChef Australia’.
Speaking to HuffPost Australia, Courtney Roulston applauded the casting of Melissa in particular, before explaining contestants had become all too familiar with the previous judges’ preferences.
“I think even the fact that MasterChef has a female judge in Melissa now is a sign of the times,” said Courtney, as she highlighted the importance of gender equality in the food industry.
“People are creating more opportunities for women and they’re being more accepted in roles, and people are wanting to see women lead kitchens and take on those leadership roles.”
“It has been a long time coming,” she reflected on a female judge in the mix, adding, there’s “definitely still a long way to go but you’ve got to start somewhere, so what better way than the most popular cooking show in the world to put this out there”.
Each of the contestants on the show this year have previously cooked for Gary, George and Matt, however it’s “a whole new ball game” cooking for the new panel whom they know nothing about.
“Viewers were familiar with the old judges, contestants were too,” she explained.
“We knew if you go get some pork belly with crunchy crackling they were going to be happy. If you gave Gary an English desert, you knew he was going to lick his spoon. I think we’d become familiar with [the fact that] they love curries and things.”
“And yeah, I didn’t know anything about Jock or his food before going on here. It was a whole new ball game for us,” she said.
“But I think change is a good thing. I think it’s a refreshing feel to the show the new judges are giving.”
In regards to some viewers criticism of Andy, Melissa and Jock, Courtney said, “People just don’t like change but... people will get to know them in time.”
This season of the show is called ‘MasterChef: Back To Win’, with 24 previous contestants including Poh Ling Yeow, Hayden Quinn, Reynold Poernomo and Callum Hann returning to the series for another shot at victory.
‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ continues at 7:30pm on Channel 10.