Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

MasterChef goes pro:

Will the knives be out in more ways than one when MasterChef turns professional next year?
Date: November 30 2012
Editor Rating:

MasterChef has always had the reputation as the caring reality contest.

While Biggest Losers were being yelled at by the Commando and Idol hopefuls were having their weight and attire questioned, the contestants on MasterChef could always rely on a kind word from Gary or George; a compliment delivered in Matt Preston's dulcet tones.

But in 2013 it will be no more Mr Nice MasterChef.

"Nice dishes will get you eliminated," warns MasterChef executive producer Margaret Bashfield.

"Don't play it safe. If you just put up nice dishes everyday you're not going to stay there."

The bar has been lifted and the heat turned up on the degree of difficulty for the popular reality cooking show.

In 2013, the MasterChef franchise will run its professional competition.

Eighteen qualified chefs, from sous chefs to business owners with 20 years experience, will line up for the latest incarnation of the MasterChef juggernaut.

The show began shooting in Melbourne about three weeks ago, but Channel Ten is keeping its cards close.

Michelin star restaurateur Marco Pierre White has been brought on-board to co-host with MasterChef perennial judge Matt Preston.

But the publicists aren't revealing any other details.

All Bashfield says it that the contestants represent a broad range.

Some are just starting their careers, others are head chefs and some have or have had their own businesses, Ms Bashfield says.

Their years of experience mean the latest crop of contestants bring to the show a level of artistry and technical skill not previously seen.

"Their knife skills and those sorts of things are so well developed.

"There's one guy who is so fast with a knife and so fast in the kitchen, when we're filming you discover that time is passing and you don't realise it because he is so quick."

The professionals all do a better job at managing their time, Ms Bashfield said.

Instead of pottering around at the start of the challenge before whipping themselves into a panicked frenzy in the last few minutes, the professionals know how to use their allocated time.

Also, so far there have been fewer catastrophies.

"In the amateur series you may have someone who tries something and they don't understand the technique or the science behind what they're doing," Ms Bashfield said.

"These guys know how to do it. But we are pushing them constantly."

She said it was exciting to create challenges that would stretch the skills of the pros.

And the production team found the years of experience some of the contestants had wasn't necessarily an advantage.

"The more experienced person might be able to use the things they've learnt over their 20 years, but maybe they're not as fast or maybe they're not as modern," Ms Bashfield said.

"So the lack of experience is out-weighed by the hands-on experience."

MasterChef: The Professionals will hit Australian screens in 2013.

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