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Masterchef Australia – Audra A Professional Cook? She Has A Catering Business.

To think we were all giving Cupcake Julia the evil side eye about her Saturday Market business, well now it has been revealed Audra has  a catering business going in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

The Daily Telelgraph has revealed that Audra Morrice, who is one of the front runners in the competition, not only owns her own catering company but the Masterchef producers knew about it!

The company called Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen has been running for two years. This might explain why she keeps her cool in challenges and is comfortable cooking in bulk.

The article says:

But her [Audra’s] MasterChef profile lists her as a NSW account manager, and production company Shine Australia has not disclosed to viewers that she also ran her own successful catering company – Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen – in Sydney’s eastern suburbs until being selected for the show.

The business, which she set up two years ago, delivers to Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick.

One of her weekly menus, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, features beef rendang, roast pork spare ribs and dark chocolate tea bread.

A weekly email also asks customers: “If you know anyone who would like to be on our mailing list, please drop me a quick line”.

Morrice has said she plans to “one day have a concept store that sells Audra’s Gourmet Delights and offers cooking courses”.

The rules stipulate “all MasterChef contestants must be amateur cooks” and that they “cannot have earned money or payment of any kind from preparing food and/or cooking fresh food in a professional kitchen environment such as a restaurant, cafe or takeaway”.

While MasterChef’s executive producer Margie Bashfield refused to comment on Morrice’s inclusion in the show, a Shine Australia spokesman admitted they were aware of her cooking background – and had decided it didn’t give her an unfair advantage.

While The Sunday Telegraph is aware of several eastern suburbs professionals not related to Morrice who regularly paid for her food, the spokesman tried to maintain the catering service was only extended to her friends and family.

He did not answer why the catering company had not been disclosed to viewers.

“Audra was upfront with producers regarding Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen. Her full-time employment was as a senior account manager with AAPT and this was a home-based hobby reserved for family and friends,” he said.

“The menus were included in her MasterChef application and were deemed a demonstration of her enthusiasm for home cooking.

The producers felt that this did not create an unfair advantage over other contestants as she was not working in a professional kitchen.”

The whole issue of who is an amateur this year on Masterchef is getting murkier than the Olympics was until they gave up the farce of it being a competition for amateur sports people. Even though she is one of my favourites, I don’t think she or Julia should have been allowed to compete as they are not strictly amateur cooks, as they have derived income from their cooking.

There does need to be an even playing field, and the other question is did they other contestants know about Audra’s cooking CV or was it kept hidden from them as well?

What do you think? Should Audra be allowed to be a contestant in Masterchef Australia this year? And if she wins will it no be tarnished?

Masterchef Australia episode tonight will have the three past winners Julie Goodwin, Adam Liaw and Kate Bracks at 7.30pm on TEN

76 comments

1 Andy Pandy { 06.17.12 at 9:39 pm }

Poor Wade, finally got to see him cook and it was a failure! Andrew came through for once and Emma cried again!

2 littlepetal { 06.17.12 at 9:48 pm }

What do you expect when you have Emma, Wade and Fillipo in the elimination challenge. Could you imagine them cooking George’s deconstructed Greek Salad? Emma will pass out

3 brain dead dave { 06.17.12 at 10:07 pm }

Fillipo – He copped a small , fat Greek shredding from George.

Gary thinks – ” I’d better wash down that pork crackling with a tennis ball sized tasting portion of Audra’s noodles before Jowl$y moves in..”

4 PollyB { 06.17.12 at 10:11 pm }

Julie Goodwin makes a good partner for Jowl$y – the portion size she sucked into her gob.

5 littlepetal { 06.17.12 at 10:19 pm }

I find the judges always give Fillipo a hard time. He should find some tears and say he misses his wife and kids.

6 Andy Pandy { 06.17.12 at 10:25 pm }

You are right littlepetal, they do seem to pick on him and had a go at Wade as well asking him what was going on with him? The favourites are treated very differently. Noticed others like Amina and Alice not shown so we always know they are in the middle, neither bad nor good.

7 brain dead dave { 06.17.12 at 10:27 pm }

Julie and Jowl$y love their sugar and lard, Polly B.

Jowl$y pouring the cream over Debra’s cake, barely managing to maintain his composure before leading the feeding frenzy was a highlight, too.

Nice shirt George- if you’re a lumberjack.

The judges would brow beat Wade more- but it’s just too big a job.

8 littlepetal { 06.17.12 at 10:53 pm }

The amount of custard or cream that Matt P poured onto Deb’s cake was disgusting. And the way they ate the cake was like they haven’t eaten for days (for them will be for an hr) and were just about to die from starvation

9 wannabecook { 06.17.12 at 11:07 pm }

I thought Julie and Sam are a match made in heaven – both of them sweat profusely when cooking.

10 Jess { 06.17.12 at 11:49 pm }

@littlepetal
Have we seen Filippo’s wife on the show? I know he has two children, but I don’t think their mother has made an appearance or reference…

On the Audra issue…hmm, I say it would depend on the size of project. Just from personal experience with friends, similar to what littlepetal mentioned, I’m guessing that the scale of her catering business wasn’t as wide as it’s being portrayed.
“Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen” doesn’t appear in the Australian Business Register or have an ABN, for one:
http://www.abr.business.gov.au/SearchByName.aspx?SearchText=Audra's+Gourmet+Kitchen

So, to me, it sounds like someone enjoyed cooking, decided she was good enough at it to serve others, and did it as a (conveniently non-tax paying) hobby of sorts. There’s an Italian lady at my church who does the same thing on the side (I really should try to get her on MasterChef next season…). Similarly, I wouldn’t say a teenager who goes busking with a guitar every other weekend is a professional musician, even if he does advertise his performances in his school newsletter.
But, again, it does come down to the scale of things. I’d need more information about the extent of Audra’s business to make a proper decision. And I guess the producers had that information and cleared it.

11 Masterchef Australia – The Past Winner’s Present The Mystery Box | reality ravings { 06.18.12 at 7:40 am }

[…] With Audra winning this won’t stop the controversy surrounding the news that she was running a catering company in Sydney and whether that gives her an advantage over the other contestants. See previous blog post here. […]

12 Joseph Skyrim { 06.18.12 at 8:15 am }

If Audra runs her thing from home I would think that is fine. Especially if solo and if its not her main form of income (ie she has a day job). I have a cousin who sold pastries for years from her house but still had a day job. Only recently did she actually open up her own shop and made it her full time thingy.

13 Moo { 06.19.12 at 10:19 am }

Hooray. Maybe next we can have Heston Blumenthal, Neil Perry, etc., appearing as contestants on the show. It’s only fair!

14 True Blue { 07.14.12 at 10:16 pm }

re: Georgie. {06.17.12 at 9:56 am}
Wow. Your remarks here are not only sexist and racist but your accusing Audra of being a criminal and running an illegal business as well? Just a tip: If you don’t have something to back up your claims you’ll end up sounding like a jealous sod instead (a.k.a Food Poisoner). I hereby declare your comments unfit for consumption on grounds of unfounded ignorance. Now go wash those dishes!

15 littlepetal { 07.14.12 at 10:48 pm }

True Blue-Take a chill pill

16 True Blue { 07.14.12 at 11:21 pm }

@ littlepetal
I dont do drugs.
P.S. The site is called “realityravings”.
Go figure.

17 Girlywop57 { 11.25.12 at 3:53 am }

Am watching Masterchef Australia in the UK currently. Just seen semi final with Andy, Audra, Mindy and Julia. Am totally hooked it is now so tense to watch! My main comment is that Julia has progressed to the final with a few dishes that seem a bit suspect to me. The Heston challenge was to produce a dish. She put 3 macaroons on a plate. That is not a dish. The family challenge, she produced lemon drizzle cake. Maybe her husband’s favourite but at this stage of Masterchef in the UK, one would expect something rather more gourmet and spectacular on the plate. Finally , I was very disappointed to see her plating up a great part of her dessert at the judges table in the semi final. This smacks to me of cheating. She was indulged by the judges, who I think are great, but let her get away with murder on this occasion. She should not have been allowed to complete her dish at the table, unfair on the rest.
In the end Mindy murdered her dish by undercooking the fish. Hey ho can’t wait for tomorrow and the final!! My money is on Andy, he is awesome and on a roll! Not being horrible about Julia but am a bit bewildered by her ability to get so far with cake! Wish her all the best with her cupcakes. hope Andy and Ben get to work together . Lastly, do Ben and Kylie find love??? They are very popular over here in the UK !!!

18 Georgie { 11.25.12 at 10:52 am }

#64 – Hey True Blue, is it me or you? Apologies for not responding at the time – I must have missed your rebuke. It’s a little late I know, but I’ll now exercise my right of reply.

Wow is right – but how you interpret what I said is not my responsibility, it’s your choice. Your choices are coloured by your own prejudices and ignorance, so don’t attribute them to me. I have to give you this though; your imagination is a lot more fertile than mine.

#66 – “I don’t do drugs.” No and you don’t do humour either by the sound of it!

19 JStar { 11.25.12 at 11:51 am }

@Girlywop57 – Enjoy the finale. Don’t check back here for the results until it is aired! There was some controversy here in Oz when a magazine spoiled the final five a week before the results were shown. I didn’t get the magazine article but there were some discussions about it on this site. I seem to recall that Ben said he hoped to reconnect with his girlfriend that broke up with him on the show. I think those who the read the article may be able to shed more light with this. I think Julia being indulged with “plating up” in front of the judges was addressed by the judges later when they bagged both her and Audra for trying to hide the fact that they ran out of time. Audra would have been eliminated if Mindy did not undercook the fish. Anyway, how do you rate the Australian version compared to the UK format?

@Georgie – Better late than never. 😉

20 girlywop57 { 11.26.12 at 4:23 am }

Waiting with real excitement and anticipation. 2012 final being aired tonight here in UK. Can’t wait! Up there with Downton Abbey!!!!
JStar, thank you for your reply, I didn’t expect anyone to read my post. I do like your format, especially the week in Tasmania and Italy of course. Our comp doesn’t last so long and we don’t have a week out of the mchef studio, generally a few days. Love both formats. Series 4 is my first Australian one to watch. I got sucked in and just wanted to know who was next eliminated! It became an obsession for me and a colleague at work. We will be texting our thoughts to each other during the programme tonight. How’s that for dedication!
Last thought before popping the champers and settling down in front of the box, I love the immunity challenges, we don’t have them here. Our series is too short by comparison. A great idea though, didn’t it make for an exciting prog when Alice, Mindy and Kylie played their together!
I am determined to visit Oz more than ever now, having seem the beautiful scenery and food. Best wishes.

21 A.P { 11.26.12 at 9:01 am }

Girlywop57, I’m so glad you like our Masterchef, it seems so long ago to us now as we eagerly anticipate next years episodes.
I was one of the people here who was really annoyed at ” Woman’s Day ” publishing pictures of the final five a week early and spoiling it for me.
Enjoy the final and don’t read any spoilers here before you watch it.
Did you like the bit with Deb having to cook the suckling pig? That caused a lot of discussion here.

22 JStar { 11.26.12 at 10:01 am }

@Girlywop57 – It is always exciting to read the thoughts of our overseas contributors on Australia’s reality-tv formats. There is a sizeable number of people contributing here who much prefer the original UK format. Series 4 is definitely an approvement on Series 3 which most people on this blog tend to rate the worse. If you really have some spare time, the official MasterChef Australia website has all the episodes from the previous series for your viewing pleasure. May be worth a look to see who is who particularly if the UK is also going to screen MasterChef All-Stars. Enjoy the finale!

@A.P – Yes, I remember you also got some lame apology from Woman’s Day right? Did suck the fun out of that penultimate week as we all knew who was going.

23 A.P { 11.26.12 at 11:15 am }

Jstar, yeah they did send me an email apologising but it shouldn’t have happened and it spoilt it big time for me. The least they could have done was to send me a six months subscription to their magazine Ha ha as if!
Survivor tomorrow night, can’t wait to see who goes next!

24 JJ { 11.29.12 at 9:49 pm }

Began watching Masterchef here in the UK but I like the Australian format way better (hate the US attempt, which is where I’m originally from btw!). And I think season 4 was easily the best – great cast, great challenges, awesome road trips – what was not to like?! I think the whinges about Audra and Julia are trivial. Shine (and I don’t know anything about them or Australian fairness rules) are in business to provide good entertainment and that’s what it was. It pained me to find out that most reality shows have some amount of “producing” that goes into them. To that extent I think MC Aus does a great job. I also have to say Gary, George and Mr. Peacock Feathers (Matt) make it all the more enjoyable, although in my opinion they did show a little favouritism here and there. That said, Season 4 may have spoiled me for all others (Kylie was my favourite) and I haven’t kept up with the allstars show as much.

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