TEN's blog

Top 24
Hairdresser

State: NSW

Age: 48

Flamboyant and self-assured, Andrew is a successful hairdresser with his own business.

The son of a truck driver and one of seven children, Andrew was raised in the countryside but says he has a “city heart”. As a teenager, he often starred in high school musicals.

Recently married for the second time, Andrew met his current wife when she served him in a café two years ago. They live with her children – and Andrew has two – children from his first marriage.

Andrew is inspired by the “creation” and invention elements of cooking and enjoys the challenge of having limited ingredients. His earliest food memory is making short crust pastry for apple pies with his Mum and he was making roasts for his family before he left home. Continue reading »

Top 24
Legal Secretary

State: QLD

Age: 25

Julia is a legal secretary in a law firm and also a music teacher, teaching the piano to children. But she also has a market stall selling her cupcakes, spices and biscuits.

“I take off every second Friday to bake. I rent a kitchen in the local sporting hockey club and then I sell on the Saturday.”

Julia has been baking since she was eight years old. The first ‘dish’ she made was chocolate profiteroles.

Julia grew up in the country town of Gladstone and has been married for a year. She met her husband Justin at the pub she used to work at – he was her boss. Continue reading »

Top 24
Nurse

State: NSW

Age: 27

Amina is blessed with culinary expertise that originates from two different parts of the world – the Middle East and Asia – thanks to her Egyptian dad and South Korean mum.

Close to both her parents, but a self-confessed “Daddy’s girl”, Amina lives with her younger sister Eman, with whom she would one day love to own a funky but traditional Middle Eastern mezze restaurant.

“Eman would run the business and I would cook!”

Amina was born in Saudi Arabia and moved to Australia in the late 1980s. As a child, family life was centred on food and weekend trips to the produce markets. Her mum cooked through the week and father at the weekends – both bringing old family recipes and techniques to the table. Amina remembers the pickling her mum used to do and the fridge being full of jars and fresh vegetables. Continue reading »

Top 24
Commercial Labourer

State: WA

Age: 28

Wade is a commercial labourer who would love to start again in the food industry. He passed up a secure job in the mines to pursue his MasterChef dream.

Wade has always been interested in learning more about what he is eating and is driven by seeing whether he can cook better than his Mum. He has been cooking since he was 12 and his first dish was a bruschetta.

“I started cooking in secret because I didn’t want any more chores to do!”

He hopes that MasterChef will help to refine his ambition – to have his own café with an emphasis on great seasonal produce. He also wants to be pushed out of his comfort zone and to give himself the best chance to change his life. Continue reading »

Top 24

Private Banker

State: WA

Age: 34

Private banker Sam grew up on a merino and cattle farm in rural NSW – he is one of three boys.

Sam’s Grandfather was a butcher who taught him a lot about cuts of meat. One of his first memories of cooking is preparing roast lamb with his Mum – who is his cooking inspiration.

Sam wants to pursue something he is passionate about as a career – and hopes to work in the food industry.

One of his ideas is to return to farming and open a restaurant on the property that sells what the farm produces. “I want to love getting up to go to work.”

Sam’s strengths are meat and seafood – it was his Salmon dish in the Back Yourself With Matt Moran challenge that secured him his spot in the Top 24. He also loves to cook on the barbecue. Continue reading »

Top 24
Customer Service Officer

State: NT

Age: 28

Jules has a close-knit family and grew up all over Australia. They moved every couple of years because her Dad was in the army. Jules currently works at a bank as a customer service officer, but her dream is to open her own food and wine bar.

“Canapes with wine to match”

Jules’ family led to her interest in food and cooking as it always played a major role in their lives growing up – her entire family had a passion for it. She started cooking when she was very young and has always loved it.

“One of my earliest memories was making apple pie with Granny. She makes the best apple pie. I have her recipe but I don’t make it as good as her!” Continue reading »

Top 24
Casino Marketer

State: NSW

Age: 34

‘Big Kev’ is a positive, laid back Canadian who loves playing rugby, cooking for friends, throwing parties and reading cook books.

“I have collected over 80 of them.”

Kevin decided to leave Canada when he came to a realisation that there was more to life than just working and felt compelled to travel the world.

Kevin is in a relationship with fellow Canadian Erik, they met whilst backpacking around Australia. Kevin plays for Australia’s most successful gay rugby union team – The Sydney Convicts. Continue reading »

Top 24

Art Gallery Director

State: NSW

Age: 38

Kath describes herself as “earthy and gregarious”. She grew up in Tasmania and her parents were always interested in food and gardening – which inspired her love for sustainable cooking.

“It’s important to try everything and therefore eat ethically.”

Kath met her husband Alastair 12 years ago whilst studying at University in the UK. He left his life behind and moved to Australia to be with her. Aside from marrying Alastair, Kath’s other proudest moment was becoming the Director of Hawkesbury Regional Gallery and creating a vegetable garden there. Continue reading »

Top 24
Senior Account Manager

State: VIC

Age: 50

Debra lives with her dog, Izzy who is her pride and joy. She grew up in Victoria in East Gippsland and has two brothers and one sister with whom she is close.

Debra’s ‘Pap’ (grandfather) and dad were both bakers so she grew up with memories of freshly baked lamingtons and scones being prepared in their wood fire oven. Now whenever Debra is feeling down she bakes a cake.

“As a little girl I would spend a lot of my time in Nan and Pap’s kitchen just watching them both cook in an old, wood, fired stove. The first dish I ever prepared was a ginger fluff cake with fresh duck eggs when I was nine years old.” Continue reading »

Top 24
PhD Student

State: WA

Age: 38

Lydia has an Italian heritage and is heavily influenced by her mother. She is the youngest of three and has an older brother and sister but they don’t share the same passion for food as Lydia does.

Growing up, Lydia’s mother was – and still is – a serious cook, “she knows everything about food and is always a wealth of knowledge.”

As a child, Lydia would be in the kitchen with her Mum – kneading pasta and bread, shaping biscuits and often helping with the evening meal. The first dish she remembers making was a pasta ragu. Dinnertime was un-interrupted family time in their home.

“My life was centred around the kitchen table – homework, eating, chatting – I had a great upbringing, always plenty of food in the house. My friends used to think we were having birthday dinners, when it was just a normal night of the week!” Continue reading »