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Form Guide To The Top 24 Contestants – Masterchef Australia

On the suggestion of regular commenter CG that a post be put up where we could “punt” on who we think will win Masterchef Australia Season 2 at this stage of the competition. Who at the equivalent time of the show last year would have thought Julie Goodwin will win it?

The blog post will be open to comments until next Friday for people to say who they think will win. So obviously if your first pick is eliminated by then, please have another guess.

There will be prizes for those who manage to pick the winner. Unfortunately the prize won’t be a lap dance from the Masterchef judge of choice, but it will either reality TV or food related. Ok ok I have no idea what it will be but I have three months to come up with something, and it will depend on how many people actually pick the winner.

Here is my form guide to assist or misguide you and also give a bit more general information on them. Anyone who reads this regularly will know that sometimes I get it horribly wrong.

Adam Liaw – the 31 year old lawyer who lives in Japan, will be a contender if he can cook outside his signature cooking style of Asian. Unfortunately we could not get a real handle on how good a cook he is in the childhood meal challenge, as he forgot the rice, but the other flavours in the dish looked great. He was a bit of a child prodigy, entering university at 16, so will have the smarts to play the reality TV game, and excel in the team challenges, when skills other then cooking come in handy.

Expect to see him in final’s week. BTW if you think he is cute, bad luck he lives with his girlfriend in Japan.

You can get to know a bit more about him through his blog (Adam Liaw) or follow him on twitter at @adamliaw.

Aaron Harvie – a 37 year old band manager who likes to wear beanies has a cool vibe about him, but will this mean he can keep his head when it heats up in the kitchen. He postponed his wedding  to former Young Talent Time star Natalie Miller to come on the show so he is focused. Won’t be an early casualty but I think he will falter at some stage.

He would like to open a pasta place which sells high end pasta sauces. You can follow him on twitter @aaronharvie.

Adele Fragnitio – 49 year old hairdresser  is one of the higher profile contestant’s who always looks pensive. But put her in the kitchen and she can cook. She was the lynchpin for the Italian restaurant challenge, and was assertive and organised in the kitchen. If she can overcome her nerves she will be a force to be reckon with. However I suspect an asian food challenge may be her undoing.

Alvin Quah – The 35 year old Scientific Manager is one of my favourites. He was a big fan of Poh’s and even named one of his pot plants after her. He has a high likeability factor, but as I have queried before will the producers allow a gay asian guy win? The other thing against him is that he did not star in his role as team captain last night,  he did not show enough control or give enough direction. I thought he was certainty for finals week, but have now changed my mind.

Carrie Johnston – the 34 year old human resources manager was made redundant just before she came on the show. She is originally from America, and would like to become a dessert chef. She claims she is a perfectionist, which will be interesting in the team challenges, but she did turn out good pizzas last night. We have not seen much of her cooking but she looks like she is very focused. One to watch.

Callum Hann – the 20 year old is the youngest in the competition, he is starting to think he would like to be a chef. He may be young but I like his attitude. He was rejected by My Kitchen Rules so instead of hanging with Manu is he with Gary and George. He would have been teamed up with his long-term girlfriend Chloe. Masterchef Australia is a much better forum for him to showcase his skills, and he looks like a good technician. He won’t win but he will get a good apprenticeship from it, if he wants it.

Claire Winton-Burns – the 31 year old lawyer is already one of the most talked about contestants, due to her being extremely enigmatic. Her cooking skills are definitely some of the best in the competition, but she is starting to look a little nervy with a lot of tears in the last few episodes. She has said she is shy, but wants to change her career to involve food, a cafe attached to a winery. She is certain to be in the mix in the final week.

Courtney Roulston – a 29 year old bar manager from Sydney would like to get into catering. She is definitely stunning and some commenters think she looks a bit like Debbie Harry (which is a positive thing). I don’t think she will be in the mix, however will gain a lot of fans.

And boys sorry to break the bad news but she is currently seeing a woman. It will be interesting to see if Gary and George give her the favouratism they give the other good looking girls.

Daniel Auslebrook – applied for Masterchef after being made redundant. I wonder if applying for a reality TV show means you meet the Newstart requirements – it is kind of like looking for work. Anyway I have not seen anything of this guys food, so who knows what he can do. Since we saw nothing of him in the top 50 week, I am guessing he will be an early casualty.

Devon Headland – the 30 year old builder’s head is currently on the chopping block as he is up for elimination with Johnathan. I expect he will be early collateral damage, which is a pity as not only is he good looking but nice as well. He would like to open a restaurant. He has an understanding girlfriend, they postponed their wedding in February for the show.

Dominic Corrigan – the 46 year old started cooking when he was made redundant from an investment bank, he is currently a CEO of a Charity. He has had his ups and down with a stint in rehab for alcohol addiction. I really liked his style in last night’s challenge, however being picked near last for the teams would indicate he is not the strongest cook in the house. Won’t go the distance.

Fiona Inglis – the 24 year old teacher will get a lot of loving from George as she is stunning, however being picked last in the teams even after Kate, would be a sign that she is not going to win the competition, but she may get a gig presenting cartoons or on V Channel.

Jake Bujayer – I know the 29 year old cement renderer is not going to win, but there is something I really like about this guy. He looked like he was keeping his cool in the kitchen for the blue team last night. He may need to learn how to cook a bit faster and multi-task, unfortunately don’t expect to see him in the final week. If you do think he is cute he has a girlfriend.

Jimmy Seervai – the engaging 31 year old has had a love of food which meant he had to lose 65 kilos. He will be fantastic with asian flavours, and I thought he was going to be a contender, however after last night I changed my mine. I did not think he was assertive enough in his role as front of house manager. I think a tricky challenge will see him gone. Again I think the Asian style cooks will find it difficult in the more traditional cooking styles.

Johnathan (no last name) – the 33 year old IT consultant is shaping up to be portrayed as the tool of the series.  Alvin appointed him as the other team captain to avoid him being on his team. Johnathan has done work experience in Gordan Ramsay’s restaurant Petrus in London. If he can get through tonight he should hang around for awhile.

Joanne Zalm – the 37 year old mother is like Sandra of this year’s Masterchef. Attractive with two kids, and her aim is to get children to eat healthier. I am taking my time warming to her. I don’t think she will win as it would be a mum winning two years in a row. I know I know I am a cynic and the best cook should win. However, her cooking has looked solid so far, so will stick around for awhile.

Kate Nugara – the 30 year old teacher has copped a fair bit of flack due to her dreadful chicken potato pie. Apparently her cooking specialty is Sri Lankan. But I am still not convinced. She does appear to have a nice personality, but if she wins I won’t have to worry about prizes as no one will pick her.

Marion Grasby – the 27 year old former ABC journalist is reality TV gold. Good looking, knows how to speak to camera, AND she can cook. Acquitted herself under pressure last night, and has not put a foot wrong. Has to make the final week, and ticks the boxes as a possible winner ie Gen Y, female, no kids, and articulate. Also good at Thai, and but technically strong in the more traditional cuisines.

Matthew Caldicott – the 21 year old accountant wants to swap careers much to his parent’s disapproval. He was the first picked by Johnathan so this could indicate some solid skills. He would like to train in France before opening a restaurant. Too young to win, but could make top five. For my younger readers he is single.

Peter Kritkides – the married 29 year old lawyer does not expect the show to give him a new career. He leans to cooking Greek, which will make it difficult to stand out with George Calombaris judging him. I don’t expect him to there at the end.

Philip Vakos – another greek guy, this 27 year old auditor now wants to become a chef. I am not convinced about his cooking skills, and really would have been eliminated if Andrea had not had a nervous breakdown and left the competition in the farm to kitchen challenge. His risotto was ordinary and will find it difficult to stand out from the pack.

Sarah Carmichael – Scratched.

Sharnee Dawson – the 21 year old law student that does not want to do law seems to be having a charmed run. She is getting a lot of camera time, plus got into the top 24 without completing an essential component of a dish. I doubt this favouritism will continue and she will be eliminated way before the top ten. She needs to realise that just because you have a law degree it does not mean you have to practice it.

Skye Craig – the 35 year old describes herself as a bit of a hippie and a yuppie. She is into organic raw food which could mean she is weak in cooking challenges. But she did get through the BBQ challenge which had the potential to trip her up. She is definitely attractive so could get a future career with her raw food cooking. But I don’t expect her to be on that plane to London.

Ok so take you pick in the comment section below, and you can only pick one contestant, it is not like the Melbourne Cup where punters pick half the field.

My selection is Marion to win.


1 Liss { 04.29.10 at 8:07 pm }

I’m torn! I’m going to put 50/50 bets on Claire and Marion.

2 Elise @ Stuff That I Bought { 04.29.10 at 8:14 pm }

Tough call, as I have a top 3 (Alvin, Adele and Claire) but I am putting my money on Alvin, as statistics show the winner of the second season of a reality show is usually the opposite gender to the winner of the first season (oooh…I watch too much reality TV AND I’m a research nerd)

3 Injera { 04.29.10 at 8:16 pm }

Oh, I’m another one for Marion…

4 FiBashfulBee { 04.29.10 at 8:21 pm }

My vote is for Adam, runner up will be Marion

5 CG { 04.29.10 at 8:34 pm }

Thanks RR for taking the time and doing this. I know its a bit of work but it will be fun to look back on our predictions in the last few weeks of the series. I’m tossing up between Aaron and Marion. I’m going to go the longer odds and pick Aaron for the win!! I just have a gut feel that MC producers will feel the need to crown a guy this year, as well as a different demographic. Marion is also a good demographic (and cooking style) contrast to Julie and media saavy to boot. But I’ll go with Aaron (unless he is booted off next Thursday, ha!).

6 Kris2040 { 04.29.10 at 8:52 pm }

I like Marion, Claire and Alvin. In that order.

Claire has been crying a bit, which surprised me, but then Julie cried at the drop of a hat last year, and she ended up robbing Poh and Justine.

7 skye { 04.29.10 at 9:01 pm }

I’m backing Marion for the win.

8 Anon { 04.29.10 at 9:02 pm }

Well ,I guess Devon can be scratched. My pick is Marion as I haven’t seen her sobbing yet.

OMG the tears are driving me up the wall!!!!

9 Wurstsemmel { 04.29.10 at 9:14 pm }

Sorry, just drying myself off from the flood of tears from tonight’s episode.

Been for Alvin from Day One.
Runner up Peter K.

10 Paul { 04.29.10 at 10:00 pm }

I’m thinking Claire, Marion or Jimmy.

They look the standouts at this early stage.

11 Sooty { 04.29.10 at 10:00 pm }

That was seriously weird. One minute Jonathon was weeping hystrionically about eggs and then his eyes were glowing with a maniacal triumph and then he was weeping like a war bride on Devon’s shirt. Devon didn’t look impressed.

Winner – male – with a name beginning with A…

But this time last season we’d not really seen Justine yet so maybe one of the filler ones will turn out to be full of finesse.

12 Georgina { 04.29.10 at 10:26 pm }

Marion’s also my pick. She’s personable and works well under pressure.

My guess for the top six: Marion, Claire, Alvin, Adam, Jimmy and Adele.

13 KC { 04.29.10 at 10:28 pm }

Marion 😀 I really hope she wins for the sake of her winning 😀

I’m hoping Aaron will be up there but I do doubt it…

14 lydal { 04.29.10 at 10:40 pm }

I think Marion is a firm candidate but though I know I will be completely wrong and he will go home at some stage before ending competition I like Callum. As he hasn’t any particular style he could do well at all of them. I expect him to go far in MC :)

And after tonight’s episode, I’m getting really bored with all the teary thing. Too much!! I just want to watch a cooking contest!

15 Jo { 04.29.10 at 10:53 pm }

I think Daniel will win!

16 bella vita { 04.29.10 at 11:24 pm }

My pick is Peter Kritikides and Aaron Harvie

17 Edwina { 04.29.10 at 11:43 pm }

Claire for the win! A few tears but we know she has the potential to stay calm under pressure – plus the girl can clearly cook.

18 saffronlie { 04.30.10 at 12:40 am }

I vote Marion. I’m as sure about her winning as I was about Justine last year… so we’ll see.

19 CG { 04.30.10 at 2:22 am }

I am still sticking with Aaron for the win…Marion as a second bet…but after watching tonight’s episode and some of the editing I think SKY could also be in with a chance. Demographics also include geography…and it would be smart to pick a Queenslander for diversity! And SKY is very photogenic…albeit she is a risk if she wins and then returns to her hardcore vegitarian / new age roots. Ha!

Devon was never gonna win. All I can think about is baloney when they announce his name. He is better off sticking to building as builders – esp in Queensland and on the Gold Coast – can make a helluva good living.

20 TDK { 04.30.10 at 9:15 am }


21 Paul { 04.30.10 at 10:49 am }

I love these conspiracy theories.

Oh Skye will win – they want a Qld’er this year.
And if a young bloke from Tassie won of course the CTers will say they are after the young girls from Tassie demographic.
Or if Alvin wins, they are after the gay demographic.

Can people please get their hand off it when talking about this rubbish.

I’ve posted this before on this site but if the producers truly rigged Mastterchef last year then Justine would have won – end of story. She covered every demographic, could cross over all media and had a long shelf life in all its forms (particularly television). Second would have been Poh and as we have seen with her cooking show, she is just a natural on television – and she gets the ratings.

A long last would be Julie. She has been barely sighted since winning (despite CTers saying at the time she won she would be on every ad and infomercial for years to come), her book was released post Xmas (despite CTers saying she won as she would sell more books pre Xmas !!!!!!) and so poorly does she come across that Ch Ten hasn’t even opted to keep her on its books instead letting her got to Nine where she pops up on morning shows every now and then.

Can we give it a rest please.

22 TDK { 04.30.10 at 11:01 am }

Ching’s kitchen : )

23 Reality Raver { 04.30.10 at 11:18 am }

Paul – but if this blog did not have conspiracy theories it would be dead…
But thanks for keeping our feet planted firmly on the ground.

Speaking of another theory…. I had heard Justine was for the win, but stuffed up a dish so badly they had to eliminate her.
Also I think for a reality TV star in the country, Julie has done very well for herself re: endorsements and post show work.

24 Paul { 04.30.10 at 11:24 am }

No problem RR.

Will say however that for a winner of the biggest reality television show in terms of audiences in the last two decades, Julie has done extremely poorly.

She is just not a natural media performer and the networks and advertisers know it.

25 CG { 04.30.10 at 12:02 pm }

Paul, if our speculation, theories and idle chat here on RR’s blog irritates you so much, why do you keep hanging around? RR’s blog is just harmless fun and entertainment for most of us. Me thinks it is you who takes these matters way too seriously!

And by the way, Poh is not a natural on television. Several critics have panned her show for the annoying giggling. My understanding is her ratings are far from stellar despite a sweet-spot just before the national news where she will automatically capture a minimum audience tuning in early for their long-established nightly ABC news ritual.

26 TDK { 04.30.10 at 12:08 pm }

CG – because Paul said “I love these conspiracy theories.”
It’s all love, lol.

27 Paul { 04.30.10 at 12:12 pm }

Poh is rating almost double what “The Cook & The Chef” used to rate in exactly the same timeslot. She has been a stunning success. Her show had 445K viewers last Wendnesday whilst TCATC averaged around 250K. PK’s first show debuted with 500K so there has been little drop off at all. Your ‘understanding’ is completely wrong.

The speculation annoys me becuase they are basically using the anonymity of the interwebs to slag off the integrity of others – without any idea whatsoever what they are talking about.

I like this website but it pisses me off no end when I hear this dribble regarding how the producers wanted so and so to win – and the fact its said with such earnestness as to its veracity makes it almost even comical.

28 Reality Raver { 04.30.10 at 12:28 pm }

Paul – thanks for the compliments (I think) about the blog. And please do keep on coming on and giving your opinions. Differing opinions are welcomed.
But do you think there is no manipulation in reality TV?

For example you don’t think on Idol and SYTYCD they don’t put the act they want to go through in the final performance spot?
And if you can put your hand on your heart and say Sharnee was put through to top 24 because of her cooking skills. Seriously she missed a component of the dish.

29 Paul { 04.30.10 at 12:41 pm }

Okay to clarify.

Of course who we get as contestants is manipulated. They are not going to put someone on who has no emotion and can’t string two sentences together. They also like contestants who ‘have a story’ that can be used as filler from time to time. We also aren’t going to get 5 asians or 6 gay men etc etc. They will try and limit and fill each demographic as much as possible.

However once we get the contestants that they want then they step out of the picture. If they’ve done their job properly any winner should appeal to one demographic or another.

SYTYCD and Idol are slightly different genres to MC as voting is decided partly by the audience – who truth be told wouldn’t know if one particular dance move was good or bad unless the judges told them. Ditto the singing. LOL

30 CG { 04.30.10 at 12:55 pm }

Paul, it has not been persons “using the anonymity of the interwebs” who have criticised Poh’s show. Mainstream television critics from a number of national newspapers and media outlets have panned the show and have specifically called out Poh for her giggling and demeanor and commented on how it was cute for about 5 minutes but is now just annoying and unprofessional. If you are so into Poh and her show’s ratings, then you should be well aware of these reviews by well-respected and widely-read critics.

31 Paul { 04.30.10 at 1:08 pm }

A simple google search proves you wrong.

Review from TV Tonight.
“Poh’s Kitchen is a breath of fresh air.”

Poor review from SMH but no mention of her giggling. In fact it is quite complimentary to her.–radio/tv-reviews/wednesday-tv-pohs-kitchen/2010/02/27/1266687177106.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

Review from the Herald Sun
“Yeow, 36, is terrific TV talent – a sort of anti-Gordon Ramsay. I doubt there has ever been a TV chef who has smiled and laughed as much.”

So that’s 3 reviews from the major online entertainment site and the two major press outlets, News Ltd and Fairfax.

Also, given that her ratings have basically maintained throughout, it seems that not many are tiring of how she is supposedly ‘annoying and unprofessional.’

This is starting to get tiresome now.

32 Aneets { 04.30.10 at 1:39 pm }

I originally thought Marion, but I think if I had to pick one I’d say Callum- he seems to be the dark horse, we don’t see much of him but what we do see impresses.

33 Anonymous { 04.30.10 at 2:32 pm }

Oh, Paul.

TVTonight? Ha! And I can’t cite “anonymous interweb” comments?

Well, lets stick the mainstream. In addition to the very negative review from SMH that you were willing to post, here is another from The Age:–pohs-kitchen-20100405-rme9.html

Scott Ellis – giving Poh a second chance – says: “Poh still spends a lot of time grinning like someone who’s just spent their life savings on new dentures and is keen to make sure everyone gets a good look and the giggling that plagued the early episodes is still distracting.”

There is more and when I have some time I’ll post the lot.

And I agree: your Poh-fan-boy rants are getting tiresome! Why don’t you print off the uber-photoshopped shot of Poh that RR posted on Twitter earlier this week and go in the corner and wank yourself?

34 CG { 04.30.10 at 2:36 pm }

Oh dear, I inadvertently posted my last comment as “Anonymous”. No, I’m not trying to hide behind the “interweb” but after I sent the post I was unable to edit the Anonymous label. CG

35 Paul { 04.30.10 at 2:48 pm }

Its nothing about being a Poh fan boy. She’s okay and I watch her show now and then but nothing more, nothing less.

I’m just pointing out how ridiculous some of the CT positions are. Poh’s ratings are fantastic compared to that of her predeccesor – which was a cooking show by the way too….There is obviously a market out there for her. You might think her show is rubbish (I don’t by the way) but the numbers don’t lie. She is a very marketable person. Anyone who argues otherwise is clueless. I’m sorry, but they are.

Ditto anyone who tries to argue that Julie is/was more media friendly than Justine or Poh……..Its ridiculously simple-minded and again is clueless…..

In fact, I still get shocked how conned people have been into thinking that the big bad TV executives rigged last years MC so that Julie would win. It actually makes no sense whatsoever from a marketing and media perspective and in light of what has happened since to all three contestants it still makes no sense.

36 Zoe { 04.30.10 at 6:28 pm }

I would like Marion to win, too, but I don’t know if she will. It’s not going to be Jimmy, orsm as he is, because he’s a-tweetin’ away.

I don’t think Jake would be much chop running a kitchen, but he can follow directions and has good technique – most likely to continue in professional kitchen at invitation of Masterchef judges.

I’m picking Callum.

37 Zoe { 04.30.10 at 9:56 pm }

Oh, God or is it Matthew? Can’t quite tell.

38 Reality Raver { 04.30.10 at 10:09 pm }

Zoe you have a week to change your mind….

Paul and CG – I will blame that little exchange on the full moon.

39 Kate { 04.30.10 at 11:21 pm }

Sharnee is useless and should not have been in 24. she’s way too happy with herself for NO reason.
Marion or Callum…

40 bee { 05.01.10 at 1:09 pm }

My vote was going to be Marion, as I really like her, she doesn’t cry and has the cooking skills and ability to be clam & think on her feet. But too many of you have gone with her.

So, I’ll go with Matt the accountant, as he works on the same floor at a Big4 with my boyfriend and has not yet returned back to work. Mind you, his lack of airtime isn’t a good sign so far. How far delayed is the filming of this show?

Though I so also have a soft spot for crazy Kate. I love me a good bit of crazy. She makes highly entertaining faces & serves up stuff like potato, chicken & mayonaise in a cooking comp!

41 TDK { 05.01.10 at 7:50 pm }

Kate’s only contribution to entertainment is making me laugh at her. :\

42 jpw { 05.02.10 at 1:09 pm }

Not sure about it, but I’ll say Adam.

43 Anthony { 05.02.10 at 2:03 pm }

If guys think about it, at this stage last year, did we really think Julie was going to win? So, I really think the top contenders now (Marion, Claire & Alvin) might not be the top contenders by the end of the show. I am hoping that Marion wins though!

44 reality raver { 05.02.10 at 2:16 pm }

Just a reminder everyone that if you have named two people I will only be counting the first one you mentioned.

You have until COB Thurs to put entries in.

Also I am presuming that there is some ethics occurring, that people who are working on the production and know who is left are not voting.

45 ericg { 05.02.10 at 11:09 pm }

So far, my pick would be Callum. There are rooms to get better.

46 Zoe { 05.03.10 at 9:04 pm }

Tipping Callum, wishing Marion.

47 Jennifer Draut { 05.04.10 at 3:40 pm }

I think Alvin is very likeable and I do hope that he will win, however, Claire and Marion both have been very good too…..hmmm we just have to wait and see

48 putney { 05.14.10 at 11:48 am }

Courtney should be still in the competition as she knows how to cook & she made the best …..Oyster dish
sharnee, Carrie, Fiona, Joanne, Jack & Mathew they should get eliminated before Courtney.
Masterchef should invite her back…..soon

you are right Kate
Sharnee is useless and should not have been in 24. she’s way too happy with herself for NO reason.

Marion will be the winner

49 Paul { 05.16.10 at 11:54 pm }

I’m coming round to Marion, I just think she is so versatile and the consummate professional. I think Aaron is the danger, an incredibly creative and innovative chef. Watch this space

50 Stephanie { 07.24.10 at 7:05 pm }

i’m putting my bets on Adam and callum being in the top two and i have to go with Adam winnng though