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30/12/2020 12:34 PM AEDT | Updated 03/03/2021 12:42 PM AEDT

The Most Heartwarming Moments From MasterChef Australia 2020

From the instant noodles challenge to Reece's reaction to Katy Perry, there was plenty of fun food and nostalgia to get us through COVID-19.

Thanks to its heartfelt moments and delicious food, ‘MasterChef Australia’ was arguably the hero of local television during the coronavirus lockdown. 

This year, viewers were introduced to three new judges, Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen, while fan favourites from previous seasons also returned to the franchise for the all-stars ‘Back To Win’ special. 

Young, budding cooks also got a chance to shine on the screen, with ‘Junior MasterChef Australia’ returning to TV after a nine-year hiatus. 

Here, we take a look at some of the best moments from ‘MasterChef Australia’ in 2020. 

Meeting The New Judges

After 11 years on the show, previous judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston were replaced by Jock, Melissa and Andy.

Many fans welcomed the fresh faces to the series, as did some of the contestants.

“I think the show desperately needed new judges,” contestant Chris Badenoch told HuffPost Australia in May.

“I thought the show became about the old guys and less about the contestants and less about the food as years went on... I think getting new judges was the shot in the arms the show needs.” 

Sam Tabone via Getty Images
MasterChef judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo during the Network 10 Melbourne Upfronts 2020 on October 11, 2019.

Reece’s Reaction To Katy Perry 

Like many of us, Reece Hignell is a big Katy Perry fan and couldn’t hide his excitement when the US singer appeared as a guest judge on the show. 

The Newcastle-based cook giggled away when a then-pregnant Katy arrived on set. 

In an interview with news.com.au, Reece said the ‘Firework’ singer stayed on the floor the entire time during filming. 

“She spent the whole time walking around trolling us, but it was the most endearing thing,” he told the publication.

“She was like, ‘Oh, is this cake going to cook in time?’ I was like, ‘Katy, it’s got half an hour to cook,’ and she said, ‘Hmm, cakes take longer than half an hour.’ I was like, ‘Leave me alone!’”

Contestants Sharing Their Touching Childhood Stories

Everyone will remember the challenge that involved each contestant receiving a surprise photo from their childhood, some including family members in the shots. They were then asked to create a special dish that reminded them of their loved ones.  

The stories were varied, but each tugged at the heartstrings. Khanh Ong spoke about his family living in a refugee camp, Reynold Poernomo described his childhood hardly seeing his parents as they worked hard to support the family, and Poh Ling Yeow recalled fond memories with her father.

Read more about them here

Emelia Tasting Amina’s Dish 

The season’s eventual winner, Emelia Jackson, tasted co-star Amina Elshafei’s bulgogi beef for her during a challenge since the meat wasn’t halal. 

Comedian Magda Szubanski was quick to praise Emelia’s kind gesture, tweeting, “You know what I love most about @masterchefau? How kind and supportive they are with one another. It is just SO heartwarming #Amina #emilia #tracy”. 

Instant Noodles Episode 

Yes, you read that correctly. There was an entire challenge dedicated to the cheekily convenient snack we’ve all rushed to the pantry for. 

Contestants were asked to “pimp up” some instant noodles, and while people from all walks of life are big fans of the two-minute treats, Asian Australians were particularly stoked. 

Ben Introduces His ‘Bao Buns’ 

Ben Bolton, 10, won the nation’s heart on ‘Junior MasterChef Australia’ thanks to his enthusiasm, positivity and well, his bao buns! 

While one of his first dishes he ever cooked as a “5- or 6-year-old” was a “plate of sausage rolls made into a circle with pineapples and sesame seeds”, he said his palate has since evolved and he’s experimented with different cuisines.

Steamed bao buns with pork and pickled vegetables are now his favourite to cook.

“The first time I ate them was in Albury and I’ve been developing my recipe ever since I ate them,” he told the Bendigo Advertiser. “My recipe definitely has changed a lot.”

Georgia Wins ‘Junior MasterChef’ 

Last month Georgia, 11, took out the winner’s title and $25,000 prize money, with Filo and Carter finishing as runners-up and receiving $5,000 each.

After winning, Georgia said was not too sure what she’ll do with the $25,000 prize money, but she will definitely use it for something fun and food-related. 

“I’ll have access to it when I’m 18 so I have seven years to think about it,” she said. “I’m thinking travel and starting a food stall.”

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