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Masterchef: The Professionals – Interview With Michael

It was no surprise that Michael Demagistris was disappointed at being eliminated just before the finale on Masterchef: The Professionals. He was also upset that he was eliminated for not leading the team rather than a bad dish. He did console himself that Marco told him that out of the eighteen chefs in the competition if he had to pick one he had to work beside Michael would be the one he would choose. Unfortunately for Michael it was disappointed this comment was not shown in last night’s episode.

We talked reality TV, tensions between the chefs, last night’s episode and who he thinks will win the title.

Reality Ravings (RR): Why did you decide to go on Masterchef: The Professionals?

Michael Demagistris (MD): I got my name put forward and then I was contacted by  one of the producers asking me if I would like to do it. I was a little bit hesistant at the start but decided to give it a go and give it 110 per cent.

RR: Was going on a reality show what you expected? What were the surprises for you?

MD: There was a lot of waiting around which gave you a lot more time to think about things which was sometimes not the best. It means you could be freaking out wondering what was going to happen that day. Apart from that obviously once the challenges started and you know what was involved and some of the time constraints it was all go. It was a TV program and you just had to give it your all. I was ready to do that. I was lucky to get where I was in the show, I was happy to come number four, but disappointed at the same time because I believe I was good enough to be in the top three, and that is just the way the show goes.

RR: Speaking of last night, there has been a fair bit of chat on the blog about whether it should have been Rhett to go home. What are your thoughts on that?

MD: I don’t think anyone should have gone home. I think Rhett and I put out some pretty good food, we worked together really really well. We had worked together in a lot of prior challenges, we both decided who was going to do what. Rhett said from the get go that he did not mind taking charge today and that was fine at the end of the day you can only have one person taking charge. For me it was more about being there making sure the food was going to be 100% and to make sure we made the final. We pushed it as hard as we could to make that quail dish I had to bone out all those quails. I thought I was going to be safe. I knew the flavours on that dish and I knew what I was after. I tried my best and if I had to wait an hour and a half for the other team for a meal I would not have been to happy, but it is just the way it goes unfortunately obviously i was chosen to go home. I was disappointed as it was not like I had made a bad dish it was because I did not lead the team. I don’t agree with it but it is something I have to live with I guess.

RR: Why didn’t you go out with a bang like Anthony did?

MD: I’m quite a humble guy if that was the decision made. I know I put 110% into that last challenge. It is good to see the support from people saying why did Michael go. You have to remember there is a lot edited out and they are only going to show what they want. I loved doing the program and I loved being involved. It is really hard as I thought it was a cooking competition but it wasn’t the case in the end. I am not going to be bitter about it and to go out like Anthony did it is not my style. I want to people to like me and want to come to my restaurant one day when I get it set up and enjoy the food that I am doing.  Hopefully now I can go on and do what I want to do and show people that maybe I should have been in the top three.

RR: Speaking of the editing, we kept on hearing snippets of background tension between some of the chefs but we never really shown it. For example Rhett and Luke, and also there did not seem to be a lot of love between Sarah and Rhett from some of the comments she was making last night. So was Rhett not like by a lot of people or did he rub people the wrong way. Were there tensions between some of the contestants and if so who?

MD: There was definitely tension between Luke and Rhett. Rhett would try and stir Luke up a bit and have a bit of a laugh and Luke  seemed to take the bait quite a bit sometimes. Towards the end I got along with Rhett quite well and we did a lot of challenges together. Maybe what it was about was psyching out the other contestants. I think the true sign of a great chef is someone who will keeps their mouth closed and just get the job done. Sarah started making a few comments but on TV she was shown as the golden child, obviously Marco liked her quite a bit and fair enough Sarah’s a good chef. It is the way the show goes. I got along with everybody. I was good friends with everyone.  People who watch the shows and make their own decisions on who they think are the good chefs.

RR: We nicknamed you the energiser bunny where did you get your energy from? When you started service you just seemed to go at turbo. How do you sustain that?

MD: I’ve done a lot of sport as a kid so I have always been really high on energy. A lot of people say to me you can be fast you have to get the job done. I think there were a couple of comments, like in the fine dining challenge and Marco would say “it’s good to go fast but they have to be perfect”. People don’t understand that time constraint is so tight and sometimes you have to cut a little corner to get to where you had to get to. I am all about perfection but I was never going to slow down. I work with a small team in a kitchen and we have to be quick otherwise the food is not going to get up. I think they showed that on tv I never stopped I kept going especially in the last challenge. I was just exhausted after that last challenge for me I knew I had to put everything I had into that challenge. Obviously I thought I had done it. I think nowadays speed is a factor if you are not quick you are not going to get the job done. In the last mystery box I had an hour to put all the components and elements I wanted to make. I look at the dish now and I don’t know how I got it up.

RR: You want to open your own restaurant, what type and where abouts?

MD: I would love to own my own restaurant. With all these opportunities hopefully they will come forward. What I have wanted to do for a long time is run on the Mornington Peninsula using the local and seasonal produce. I would like to have chickens running around and some beehives and a lot of green houses where you can grow your own fruit and vegetables. Maximising flavour and also using science as well. Putting a bit to theatre in it. I want to create a dining experience like that [Noma]. I would like people to come from all over the world.

RR: Who do you want to win on Sunday? Who do you think should win?

MD: It is going to be a tough one to be honest, Obviously I will be saying Rhett as I worked with him. It is hard to pick. I have said Rhett, I have said Sarah and I have said Rhys as he is a bit of a dark horse coming through. I can’t pick it. It is anyones game.

RR: Would you go on another reality show and if so what would it be regardless of talent? 

MD: I always watch Dancing With The Stars, I am a terrible dancer, I would love the opportunity to do that. Though my wife shut me down as there is so many beautiful women on that show.

RR: I agree with your wife as you are rehearsing eight hours a day groin to groin with a sprite, hot young woman.

MD: I would need my wife’s permission… there is a lot of good reality TV like Celebrity Apprentice and others if given the opportunity I would be happy to do another show. I have always loved being in the spotlight. If there were any opportunities I would jump on them and say yes.

RR: Since leaving Masterchef have you created a better work/life balance or is it just back to normal?

MD:  To be honest it has even gotten worse now with a few opportunities I am tyring to do a lot of foraging along the Peninsula. Hopefully once I get my restaurant up I will make sure my days off are for my family. It has been a little bit crazy with what has been happening she has been so supportive. Without her I don’t think I would be where I am today.



1 Daze { 03.13.13 at 5:37 pm }

Good luck Michael with your vision. Really hoped you’d be in the top 3 too.
RR, interesting that Reality TV hasn’t turned him off and yes, would love to see Michael on DWTS.

2 Littlepetal { 03.13.13 at 5:38 pm }

I think MPW have a soft spot for the girls.

After the incident at NOMA, Michael might think twice. More than 60 guests got food poisoning from their oyster supplies.

3 Kimberley { 03.13.13 at 5:41 pm }

Great interview Emma (there’s so much more here than you’d get on an “official” website)! Looks like I’ll definitely need to move to the Mornington Peninsula! Kx

4 Littlepetal { 03.13.13 at 5:51 pm }

Try again. Post got gobbled up again.

MPW seems to have a soft spot for some of the girls.

Hope people will give his restaurant a go when he starts one. He can cook some nice food.

5 Chris W { 03.13.13 at 6:57 pm }

Really good interview, RR.

Although I thought Rhett was more deserving of being sent home, I couldn’t see any way that the team loss was undeserved: despite the delay in service, the Rhett and Michael’s food was nowhere near the standard of Sarah and Rhys’s.

6 Cookie { 03.13.13 at 7:00 pm }

Aww, he seems lovely. I’d rather him in the top 3 than Rhett though. Purely based on personality and nothing to do with food haha. Snide jerks push my buttons.

7 Carole { 03.13.13 at 7:17 pm }

What a nice guy he is. A shame he is not in the top 3. Maybe we’ll see him on Celebrity Apprentice next time that would be great.

8 Dr T { 03.13.13 at 7:34 pm }

Congratulations Michael – was a pleasure to watch you cook.

I think the chef vs chef challenge (Energiser vs Wags) was insane – I think Michael and Cameron were two of the few chefs in the competition who could have pulled that off. Won’t forget that in a while

9 Ana { 03.13.13 at 7:58 pm }

I don’t get why they didn’t wait to have kids until after his restaurant dream was a reality.

10 Littlepetal { 03.13.13 at 8:02 pm }

Its not that easy to run a restaurant. Sometimes the dream may not come through. Family is more important.

11 Barney { 03.13.13 at 8:15 pm }

Littlepetal, when I hit ‘enter’ (or my mouse button) to send a post a little too enthusiastically, it wipes out my post. Maybe this is what is eating your posts??

I thought it was right that Rhys and Sarah’s team won, but wrong that Michael was the chef chosen to go home.

12 Littlepetal { 03.13.13 at 8:18 pm }

My posts do get eaten up sometimes.

13 Daisy { 03.13.13 at 8:36 pm }

Good on you Michael. You were a real gentleman from start to end and a great chef. I’m glad that you stuck up for Rhett. I can imagine that he would have been tongue in cheek sometimes when he’d make a smug remark and then smirk. It makes sense that some contestants would try to psych each other out and raz each other.

I think he enjoyed playing a smug, smartarse.

14 Ana { 03.13.13 at 11:38 pm }

In an earlier episode he was talking to MPW about how having a restaurant would mean leaving while kids were still asleep and getting home once they were already in bed again.

That was the same ep where he told that dumb story about how his daughter would ask him to play/read books with her but he couldn’t because he was too busy reading cookbooks. *eyeroll*

I just don’t see the point in having them if you’re going to pursue a career that means never seeing them. Some don’t have a choice, but he does. More to being a parent/building a family than just popping them out.

15 Anonymous { 03.14.13 at 12:08 am }

Good luck michael with your future endeavours. Enjoyed watching you on mcp. You were one of the more interesting characters.

16 Joseph Skyrim { 03.14.13 at 8:43 am }

Even if he didn’t reach top 3 he was already a winner in my book after that service challenge with just Cameron and himself. Definitely will go to your restaurant when you open it up buddy! :)

Also, good interview RR! ^_^

17 EmTee { 03.14.13 at 2:25 pm }

It does seem somewhat unfair that Michael was eliminated a) because he allowed Rhett to lead (his reasoning for doing so was valid) and b) given that he produced one of the best dishes of the series according to the judges.

Rhett’s sashimi was too thick, the swordfish undercooked for possibly most consumers and the sauce too sweet according to MPW. Rhett’s attitude when some of the swordfish came back was less than admirable as well.

No doubt panacotta has been overdone in the dessert department and Michael’s was not the ‘best in show’, but overall in that team challenge his effort, input and attitude came across to me at least superior to that of Rhett. I can totally understand Michael’s dismay at being the one chosen to go.

I wonder if in some post show interview either Matt or MPW will elaborate on what other detail (e.g. perhaps something we may not have seen on screen) led them to make the decision they did.

Were the producers hoping for more fireworks amongst the two?

Michael ran rings around Rhett in the creativity department and was a more consistent performer overall. While he was not lacking in self confidence, Michael was not as smarmy or as disrepectful as Rhett.

I’d be happy to eat in any establishment where Micahel is producing the food but avoid Rhett’s on principle based on what I’ve seen of him in the show.

18 JK { 03.14.13 at 2:32 pm }

Great interview RR, he sounds like such a great, well rounded guy! Good for him! :)

19 Danielle { 03.14.13 at 4:26 pm }

Good interview. Look forward to the rest. Michael seems to complain that the show wasn’t a cooking competition but I think the reinvention and mystery box challenges were cooking challenges and the team and service challenges were chef skills competitions.
I don’t understand how there would be less opportunities because he was on the show. Do people shun him because he was on a reality show. He was portrayed really well and comes off as an amazing chef.

20 sittingbison { 03.14.13 at 4:44 pm }

my observations on Michaels ‘alimnayshum’ are that he passively allowed poor decisions, bad dish choices and substandard cooking to be delivered by Rhatt. He didn’t pipe up and say “hey Rhatt, the Tuna sashimi is too large and thick, hey Rhatt the swordfish is raw, hey Rhatt the sauce is disgusting, and hey Rhatt I have already made panacotta 3 times shouldnt we try something different?”, but meekly let a train wreck crash onto unsuspecting customers.

Sure Rhatt was the self declared “head chef”, but that doesn’t mean Michael should blithely let “head” Rhatt send him to his destruction. Skirt chasing MPW distinctly told him superior chefs are leaders not followers, and he displayed zero leadership. The point is this is leadership without undermining the “leader”.

Michael STILL doesn’t understand this.

21 EmTee { 03.14.13 at 8:05 pm }

Sittingbison: Fair point about the leadership aspect.

I wonder where that leaves Rhys though. He’s definitely been more of a ‘follower’ in team challenges. It’ll be interesting to see how well he leads his team in the finale service challenge.

22 Daisy { 03.14.13 at 8:12 pm }

I think Sarah will have his nuts for pate if he tries to boss her around on Sunday.

23 JJ { 03.14.13 at 10:37 pm }

Interesting what Michael says about the editing done on Sarah to present her as the ‘golden child’. You’d have to suspect they’ve done quite a bit to Rhett, unfortunately for him it’s been the complete opposite. I think we can all agree he has slim to none chance of winning the show now, shame I thought he made great TV & a few weeks ago I picked him to win it. I guess the producers decided they needed a bad guy and Rhett was the only one not censoring his opinions on camera.

24 JJ { 03.14.13 at 10:39 pm }

Interesting what Michael says about the editing done on Sarah to present her as the ‘golden child’. You’d have to suspect they’ve done quite a bit to Rhett, unfortunately for him it’s been the complete opposite. I think we can all agree he has slim to none chance of winning the show now, shame I thought he made great TV & a few weeks ago I picked him to win it. I guess the producers decided they needed a bad guy and Rhett was the only one not censoring his opinions on camera…

25 EmTee { 03.14.13 at 11:15 pm }

Hopefully Sarah’s ‘golden child’ image is not a jinx as it has been for others in previous versions of MC. Ongoing favourites rarely seem to take out the title and like Andy, Rhys is the kind of likeable larrakin and erstwhile underdog audiences love to see take out a ‘surprise’ win.

26 JJ { 03.15.13 at 12:07 pm }

Hahaha!, I just read the last paragraph of your previous comment EmTee about not wanting to eat in Rhett’s restaurant based ‘on what I’ve seen of him in the show’. Such lofty principles! Such conviction in your assertions! I’d be quite happy to eat at any of the top three’s ‘establishments’ and my opinion would be based on what was put in front of me, not what I’d seen on what is quite obviously (I’m basing my opinion on the article above) a contrived reality television show. I thought Rhett’s Sashimi looked fabulous, sure the chopsticks were ridiculous, but what would you do with that beautiful piece of Tuna? Braise it? I know Michael deboned that quail & put it in the deep fry but the recipe was also Rhett’s! The bottom line to me is that neither Michael nor Rhett should have gone home. It was a service challenge & they created a menu with which they could feed the patrons in an acceptable amount of time and to an acceptable standard of quality. If time was not an issue (which apparently it wasn’t, they made the time issue seem trivial) I’m sure they would have have come up with a more intricate menu. And to ‘sittingbison’ Rhett is not a ‘self declared’ head chef, that is something you have to earn. I agree Michael should feel very disappointed but I’m sure he doesn’t blame Rhett, in fact I’m pretty sure he actually says as much in the article above? Perhaps you should take the time to read it.

27 sittingbison { 03.15.13 at 3:46 pm }

JJ #26, “self declared” head chef refers to Rhatt deciding he was the head chef for the service challenge, which Michael made a comment about on the actual show. Perhaps you should take the time to watch it.

The problem for Michael is he is clueless as to his demise. He should be blaming himself for allowing Rhatts stupid decisions and below par cooking to put him up for elimination. His comments in the interview (which is apparently some time after his elimination) show he still doesnt understand some basic principles.

Rhatts gigantic slab of raw Tuna was the most ridiculous “sashimi” I have ever seen. Japanese chefs the world over would have been horrified. The swordfish was raw in the middle, and the red sauce looked grotesque and apparently tasted disgusting. Even Jowl$y only had a single forkful.

So time to get off the high horse.

28 couchcritic { 03.15.13 at 4:06 pm }

I think the only thing that needs to be said here is that Michael has stated above after all is said and done and lets not forget that Michael lived and breathed each day with all the contestants – he would still like to see Rhett win! We can all have our opinions about the contestants food and what they come across like, but we werent there Michael was! P.S – your play on Rhetts name is way to personal for someone you dont know…

29 brain dead dave { 03.15.13 at 4:21 pm }

I’ll take the rap for “Rhatt” , couchcretin.

Sorry if that’s “too” personal.

30 Littlepetal { 03.15.13 at 4:25 pm }

Brisbane chef not sure why he’s the MasterChef “villain”

Rhett doesn’t know what villlian is. He is a gem and darling compare to S & A.

31 Georgie { 03.15.13 at 4:37 pm }

ROFL this is too funny!

32 Izobel2 { 03.15.13 at 5:04 pm }

Hey Littlepetal – off topic – thanks for the post the other day and for the recipe link for that dessert from Poh. I appreciated your efforts, I just haven’t had time to respond! Cheers.

33 Littlepetal { 03.15.13 at 5:35 pm }

Izobel2-You are most welcome. We are here to share, good or bad.

34 Daisy { 03.15.13 at 6:02 pm }

I loved the Rhatt and his name. If I was him I’d want to keep it. In the south US that would be his name anyway.
Go Rhatt.
8 votes and climbing.

35 essenzzaa { 03.16.13 at 8:08 am }

Thx bloggers, luv the commentaries from the couch, luv the Nicknames, may they stick forever!( on the net, they will :'( )
Emma, Thx for interview with Michael, most fair-minded folk will chafe at this hypocritical aspect of the show/ competition. If I wanted to watch clowns ruin food, I’d be watching MKR.
Michael, a valiant effort! Thx for letting us into your mindspace. I eagerly await your venture on the MP! Make sure you get a spot on Coxy’s 😉