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Masterchef Australia – Contestants Announced For Season Five

Masterchef Australia must be starting soon as they have announced the cast and it appears there is no top fifty this year they are just getting straight into it with a top 22.

Are the judges feeling the pressure as Matt Preston has also come out criticising the high rating My Kitchen Rules. He told the Herald Sun:

“character and drama are essential and not the sole preserve of any show…the question is to what extent that is confected. I would argue you get more emotionally involved with someone like (MasterChef winner) Julie Goodwin when everything goes wrong than when (producers) make it about ‘oh these are the bad guys.”’

Let’s hope those words don’t come back to bite him as we know that Masterchef is not always about the cooking.

The cast is diverse which is a positive thing and the Herald Sun states the show’s cast is reflects that it is being sold into and is very popular in Asia and the sub-continent.

The contestants are:

Andrew Prior: 40, VIC, Ex-Insurance Underwriter
Following a nine-month stay in Paris last year, Andrew was inspired to give up his career as an insurance underwriter and follow his food dream, applying for MasterChef Australia as a kick start to changing his life. Andrew lives with his partner of nine years, Peter, and their two golden retrievers.

Christina Batista: 31, NSW, Stay-At-Home Mum
Christina is a mum who lives with her partner, Kate, and their two children. Her kids are her world and if she’s not spending time with her children she is watching cooking shows or cooking. Christina’s dream is to open up a funky cafe that plays on her love of the 1950s fashion and style.

Clarissa Dodawec: 44, VIC, Opera Singer
CIarissa is an opera singer who is now at a crossroads in her life, having had to give up her career due to a condition in her jaw which means she can no longer sing professionally. One of five children, Clarissa grew up in South Australia, spending her formative years in Clare near the Barossa Valley, where her love of food began to grow and was nurtured.

Daniel Churchill: 23, NSW, Fitness Coach
Personal trainer, nutritionist, cookbook author and all-round boy’s boy, Daniel has achieved a lot for his years. With a Masters in exercise science, he is one of only a few post graduate qualified personal
trainers. Daniel works with the Manly Sea Eagles in the NRL and a number of other professional rugby players as both a strength and conditioning coach and a nutrition consultant.

Daniel Kelty (Kelty): 35, NSW, Stay-At-Home Dad
Daniel is a first generation Australian, born into an Irish family who moved to Australia in the 1970s. He recently gave up his high-flying corporate career in the wine business and all the trappings that came with it, including a car and six-figure salary. He has been relishing his new role as a stay-at-home dad of two, while his wife Donna has continued her career as an inner-city nurse and mid-wife.

Dan Tuddenham: 20, NSW, Student
Dan grew up with his parents and two sisters in the small country town of Burrawang in the Southern Highlands, NSW. For as long as he can remember, he was always around the ankles of his mum and grandma whenever they were cooking, and they are both huge inspirations in his life and have taught him most of what he knows today. Dan is currently studying a Bachelor of Education in Primary Teaching.

Emma Dean: 32, VIC, Ex-Transport Planner
Growing up on a hobby farm in Epsom, Victoria, Emma spent her childhood surrounded by chickens, sheep, cows, horses and produce. Emma has a Masters in Environment and Planning from RMIT, and has worked in transport planning for the State Government for over eight years. But after some recent soul searching, she decided to take a voluntary redundancy and make her food dreams a reality.

Faiza Rehman: 24, VIC, Student
Faiza is a confident young Muslim woman who has strong skills in traditional sub-continent cooking but loves to bake beautiful cakes. Faiza lives at home with her mother, father, brother and sister. They are a very close knit family and Faiza idolises her parents but says her dad is her ultimate hero, who moved his family from Pakistan to Australia when she was nine for better opportunities.

Julie Allen (Jules): 38, NSW, Social Worker
Single mum Jules is a free spirit, full of life and a real “earth mother”. She has four kids: two sons, Jay and Ishy (both 15) and daughters Elisha (19) and India (16). Her family is a blend of her own, adopted and foster children. Over the past 10 years Jules has had 29 foster children. Jules has spent her life helping others. Following the birth of her son, Jules relocated from Melbourne to Lennox Head, where she started working in child protection and later moved onto working with teenagers in crisis.

Liliana Battle: 42, WA, Stay-At-Home Mum
Liliana is a proud Italian mother, friendly and chatty, but also strong willed and competitive. She’s all about food and family, and comes from a strong Italian Calabrese extended family where food was always at the centre of life. Liliana lives in Port Headland WA with her two boys and husband of 21 years, Jason. A champion ballroom dancer for 13 years, she retired from dancing at 16 and later took up competitive bodybuilding.

Lucy Wallrock: 31, NSW, Marketing Director
Growing up in a tiny fishing village on the south coast of England, Lucy had an idyllic childhood with her parents, sailing, crabbing and cooking with her mum. Her two siblings are 10 years older than her and she relished being an “only child” when they were at boarding school. It’s Lucy’s mum, a chef, who brought her up with a huge love of food and a great passion for cooking.

Lynton Tapp: 25, NT, Stockman
A Top End stockman, Lynton grew up on a remote cattle station in the Northern Territory, 230km from the nearest town. His primary schooling was with the Katherine School of the Air and he later attended Toowoomba Boys Grammar as a boarder. Lynton’s mum has heavily influenced his love of cooking, whether it was cooking for the whole station of up to 27 people or a big beautiful feast at Christmas for the family.

Michael Todd: 41, SA, Cinema Proprietor
Michael is a cinema proprietor and father of three. Married for 16 years to wife Kerry, they have three children: nine-year-old twin sons and six-year-old daughter. At the age of 19, Michael packed his car and drove from NSW to SA. He met his wife at work over 21 years ago and they still work together to this day.

Neha Sen: 31, QLD, IT Consultant
Neha grew up in India with her parents and younger siste. Her parents were medical doctors who served the Indian Army and as a result the family moved around every couple of years. Neha attended nine different schools. Neha loves Latin dancing, which she does four or five times a week, and is known to bust a move when she nails a recipe. She has also continued her love of travel, focusing on the gastronomic delights more than the sights.

Nicky Agahari: 28, NSW, Pharmaceutical Manager
Born in Jakarta and emigrating to Australia as a five year old, Nicky is as passionate about eating as he is about cooking. His earliest memories centre around food: eating steamed rice noodles with peanut sauce every day after school in Jakarta, and trips to Sydney’s Chinatown with his grandma every Sunday to get the weekly groceries.

Noelene Marchwiki: 58, VIC, Optical Dispenser
Noelene lives in Gippsland, Victoria, with her third husband. With five grown-up kids and two grandchildren, she sees her future life in food as a natural extension of parenting. She is a great character, a chatterbox with a wicked sense of humour who radiates warmth. She’s worked in the same job selling prescription glasses for 11 years and now wants to indulge her passion for country-style food and fresh produce from her garden.

Pip Sumbak: 23, NSW, Office Assistant
Bright and energetic, Pip works in the office at the one-hatted 3 Blue Ducks restaurant in Bronte, but sees her real place in the kitchen. Pip had to turn down an apprenticeship there on doctor’s orders: after breaking her back in a skiing accident in Switzerland last year. Recovery has been particularly challenging for someone so active as she comes to terms with how her lifestyle has become limited.

Rishi Desai: 35, NSW, Public Servant
Public servant Rishi lives in Queanbeyan NSW with his wife Mitra and six-year-old son. Emigrating only five years ago, he has been cooking since he was five years old and has inherited his love for cooking from his mother. Growing up in the small city of Kolhapur, India, where his family still live today, Rishi had a traditional joint Indian family where grandparents and his fathers’ and uncles’ families all lived in a massive family home.

Samira El Khafir: 28, VIC, Stay-At-Home Mum
A qualified hairdresser and former telecommunications worker, Samira is now a stay-at-home mother to her two daughters and lives with husband Mahmoud in Melbourne. She is close to her family and extended family, and her cooking reflects the clash of her Arabic and Aussie background. With a big personality, Samira cites her top three loves as her girls, shoes and bags. She is also a sports lover, particularly AFL and her team, Collingwood.

Totem Douangmala: 23, SA, Student
Born in a refugee camp on the border of Laos and Thailand, Totem’s parents migrated to Australia when he was only six months old with Totem and his two older brothers. After finishing school, Totem undertook an International Relations degree, hoping to understand his parents’ decision to move to Australia. After two years, he deferred his studies and travelled to Laos and Thailand, where he was inspired by the local cuisine.

Vern Fitzgerald: 32, NSW, Bar Manager
Vern was born at home on a farm in Glenorie NSW, complete with goats and an organic garden. He has an older sister, Jade, and together with their parents, they had an idyllic childhood. Growing up in such an environment, his love of food was nurtured from a young age and his first influence was his mother, who was a great cook and always presented fresh, vibrant food.

Xavier Doran: 24, NSW, Carpenter
Xavier is a carpenter from Sydney, NSW who describes himself as “a pretty chilled guy”. He chose a carpentry apprenticeship over a chef’s apprenticeship as a teenager as he thought that spending so much time in the kitchen might kill his love for food and cooking. He has regretted that decision ever since.



1 Anna { 05.01.13 at 9:10 am }

Moonstruck, thank you! No one has mentioned cooking with love & eating with your eyes.

The judges will pretend to understand Asian & Indian cuisines but my guess is that praise would have been given when not due, just like with Bratz

2 Techhater { 05.01.13 at 10:06 am }

In reality I guess it would be hard to have a specialist judge for each cuisine that is cooked. The real challenge would be whether contestants can cook anything other than their preferred cuisine. As in past seasons of MKR and MC contestants are pushed out of their comfort zones. And for me that is the way to test a cook. Ashlee & Sophia never were and that’s plain laziness by the person who sets the challenges.

3 Anna { 05.01.13 at 10:50 am }

Techhater , not only A&S, none of them were pushed outside their comfort zone.

Bondi Trainers constantly talked ‘healthy’ food and stuck salad in every dish
Smiley & Cousin almost always went for pasta dishes since they did them well
Pop & son aimed for desserts since son did them well…
A&M aimed for Italian dishes which they didn’t do well
and the list goes on

It was a lazy MKR season… hope MC doesn’t follow suit. By the end of week one of MC we should be able to figure out who the favorite female and which one of them might win… it’s a female year

4 Techhater { 05.01.13 at 10:57 am }

Anna you’re absolutely right. None of them were pushed. It was a very lazy and lousy season.

5 daisy { 05.01.13 at 10:58 am }

Anna, agreed. I think we’re all hoping for some creative and clever cooking.

6 Anna { 05.01.13 at 11:02 am }

MCP might have been the best reality tv show this year…not holding out much hope for MC, as George annoys the hell out of me

BTW the list is getting longer… 19 items on it already and the show hasn’t even started yet :-)

7 nanaliz { 05.01.13 at 11:08 am }

Techniques is another one Anna. Don’t think it is there.

8 Maz { 05.01.13 at 11:22 am }

Anna-any reference to risotto being the death dish on MC

9 Anna { 05.01.13 at 11:35 am }

Thank you nanaliz and Maz, 2 more added to the list… E

10 Culinary Boner { 05.01.13 at 12:05 pm }

Surely the title “death dish” goes to anything season 2’s (2010) Microwave Kate stumped up.

11 Anna { 05.01.13 at 12:10 pm }

Michelle from TBL is now writing cookbooks.. this recipe looks horrible (being polite)

low calorie ricotta tastes vile, no sugar at all? bleah

12 Anna { 05.01.13 at 12:11 pm }

CB, puddle pie should be the death dish… then again no one dared to recreate it since Season 1 😉

13 Techhater { 05.01.13 at 12:24 pm }

Anna I think Michelle’s recipe should be the death dish. Low- cal riccota. bleghh:-S

14 Ruby { 05.01.13 at 1:21 pm }

Emma, do you know when, or if, Ch.9 have chosen a timeslot for Great Australian Bake-Off? Haven’t seen a promo in ages.

15 Morgan { 05.01.13 at 8:02 pm }

I think they really should get a judge that knows Asian cuisine, seeing every year there’s always a good handful of contestants that specialise in Asian-style cooking. I think Adam (S2 winner) would be great.

16 Anna { 05.01.13 at 8:52 pm }

Morgan, if I was a gambler I would bet that Matt will pretend to be an expert

17 Reality Raver { 05.03.13 at 9:30 pm }

Ruby – Funny you should ask I asked them that today and it is “coming soon”. BTW I have gotten hooked on the British version as been watching it for “research” to contrast and compare the Aussie version. Though I think our judges are going to be better.

18 Littlepetal { 05.03.13 at 9:45 pm }

I am also looking forward to the Australian Bake Off. C9 is now stretching the Voice since the it is rating highly, which means it will be a while before the show will air

19 Reality Raver { 05.03.13 at 9:59 pm }

Ruby – Funny you should ask I asked them that today and it is “coming soon”. BTW I have gotten hooked on the British version as been watching it for “research” to contrast and compare the Aussie version. Though I think our judges are going to be better.

Anna – Vic’s was like the Willie Wonka’s of butchers.

20 Anna { 05.04.13 at 7:41 am }

Emma, it is ! :-)

The moronic MC ad is showing a bit more frequently now as well as a new one . My guess is that they might be waiting for loser to end & start building up next season contestants :-)

21 Morgan { 05.04.13 at 8:32 am }

I might be a good idea for them to wait until The Voice finishes airing before airing MC, because it went up against it last year and it did not fare well in the ratings. MKR’s ratings also took a hit when The Voice started this year.

22 Littlepetal { 05.04.13 at 10:24 am }

Anna- One more for your list. Please no more deconstructed dish

23 Anna { 05.04.13 at 1:38 pm }

Littlepetal, nothing wrong with deconstructed…. I like seeing different elements on the plate. Had deconstructed Tiramisu a few years ago. Chef wanted to tell me about it, but his lovely wife beat him to it LOL

Was nice to try each component separately

24 Littlepetal { 05.04.13 at 2:33 pm }

But they have overdo with the deconstructed dish

25 Daisy { 05.04.13 at 2:52 pm }

I think it’s our Asian heritage Littlepetal. I someone gives me and English dish I have to moosh things together. I like to construct the deconstruct. I like my peas in the mash etc. LOL

26 Anna { 05.04.13 at 8:09 pm }

Littlepetal, it’s not overdone if done correctly…. I think it follows less is more principle :-)

27 Anna { 05.04.13 at 8:33 pm }
28 Anonymous { 05.04.13 at 8:51 pm }

Totally agree with the writer. We can’t judge why a woman doesn’t have children. We do not know what she has been through. She may have some miscarriages or she just couldn’t have children or reasons we don’t know.

I do get some looks when I told people that I do not have children. It just happened that way. I am not going to justify myself as to why I don’t have kids.

29 Littlepetal { 05.04.13 at 8:52 pm }

Totally agree with the writer. We can’t judge why a woman doesn’t have children. We do not know what she has been through. She may have some miscarriages or she just couldn’t have children or reasons we don’t know.

I do get some looks when I told people that I do not have children. It just happened that way. I am not going to justify myself as to why I don’t have kids.

30 Anna { 05.04.13 at 10:15 pm }

Commercial networks have to stop encouring reality TV programs… Total overload!!

Movies advertised & cancelled just to be replaced with cheap like the voice …

31 Daisy { 05.04.13 at 10:26 pm }

Yes Anna, I skim-watch the Voice and even I was surprised to see most of Sat night on WIN (9) devoted to Voice reruns. It’s pretty slack.

32 Miss Bubbles { 05.06.13 at 12:29 am }

20- No more ‘ Are you going home tonight’ or ‘ Do u deserve to win tonight’ during eliminations.

Exactly my thoughts re deconstructed dish… I feel they are gonna serve deconstructed apples one day.

I guess the villain will be ‘ Tough Cookie’. She reminds me of Mindy from last season.
Also the cast has two muslims and two homosexuals.

33 Anna { 05.06.13 at 1:09 pm }

Miss Bubbles, thank you! That will be No 21 LOL The list is growing fast and the season hasn’t started yet