ENTERTAINMENT
14/05/2020 5:18 PM AEST | Updated 3 hours ago

MasterChef Australia: Air Date For Social Distancing Episodes

The Channel 10 cooking show has been filming during the coronavirus pandemic.

This article has been updated as of May 17 with the correct air date. 

As ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ has been filming during the coronavirus pandemic, the second half of its production has been conducted with social distancing practices in place.

Channel 10 has now confirmed when viewers will see the contestants and judges following these rules, which include standing 1.5 metres apart and wearing gloves. 

The wait isn’t long – Monday May 25.

Channel 10
'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win' judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo

“On Monday night’s episode of MasterChef Australia: Back To Win, you won’t find too many cooks in the kitchen... unless they are 1.5 meters apart,” read a statement from the TV network.

“Social distancing regulations begin to affect production, but as the saying (that we just made up) goes, the chefs must cook on.”

Its production company, Endemol Shine, has said the show is adopting “social distancing measures”, providing “additional hand sanitising stations” and ensuring “no cutlery or plates will be shared”.

Current MasterChef Contestant: ‘Hygiene Has Gone Up By 10 Times’

Current contestant Reynold Poernomo previously said appropriate health and safety measures have been adapted while filming. 

“Production has been very, very different. Ever since the stage one, two and three government restrictions, we’ve been following every single rule,” he told HuffPost Australia. “We’ve been socially distanced, even in the competition. It’s a bit weird, so we haven’t really had any outside challenges. 

“We’ve been keeping 1.5 metre distance, and before we cook we have to wash our hands. Definitely hygiene has gone up by 10 times.”

A spokesperson from production company Endemol Shine Australia said social distancing, hand sanitising stations, gloves for groups challenges and additional sinks were being provided. 

Endemol Shine Australia’s statement: 

“MasterChef Australia has always employed the highest standards of food safety and hygiene, and we now have an even keener focus on that. All recommendations outlined by Federal and State government health authorities are being followed.

Under the current circumstances, we are introducing new measures for the foreseeable future. These include, but are not limited to social distancing measures across every facet of the production and additional hand sanitising stations positioned around the set and offices.

On the set, changes will be made to the spacing of contestant cooking benches and gloves provided for team challenges where equipment may be shared, as well as when handling food in the pantry. Additional sinks have been added as dedicated hand washing stations, so as to separate from any food preparation. 

Judges will step up to taste individually portioned meals and no cutlery or plates will be shared.” 

TV Industry Rules During Covid-19

According to the Media Entertainment Art Alliance (MEAA) – the trade union representing media, entertainment, sports and arts industries – “The situation for TV and film productions is the same as for any other business” amid the Covid-19 climate.  

“If it is not possible to work from home but measures can be put in place to ensure the safety of workers, they are allowed to continue operating,” a MEAA spokesperson told HuffPost Australia. 

They said that in most cases the union is aware of, this hasn’t been possible because of the number of people involved in filming in close proximity to one another. 

“If a production continues, they will have to have in place measures to protect the health and safety of all employees such as physical distancing, so they are not in breach of state or territory workplace safety laws which put the onus on an employer to provide a safe workplace,” they said. 

The union said it hasn’t been contacted by any ‘MasterChef’ crew or cast members during production. 

On ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ this year, Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo have replaced former judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston.

There are 24 previous contestants including Poh Ling Yeow, Hayden QuinnReynold Poernomo and Callum Hann who have returned to the series for another shot at victory.