MasterChef Aus Season 12 – Contestants

Me? Doing MasterChef Aus stuff? It’s more likely than you think.

I always love me some saucy news, and what’s more saucy than the cooking on MasterChef? Today we’ve been given information on the new contestants for this season of MasterChef Aus. (Thank you to @JohnsonLeung on Twitter for spilling the sauce)

With the news of the MasterChef Australia judges changing (Adios George, Gary and Matt, and hello Melissa Leong, Andy Allen, and Jock Zonfrillo), a door has been opened to Network Ten and Masterchef to address issues that fans have had with the show.

One of the big things that popped up with me was the clear bias the judges held towards certain contestants, including letting back in sub-par cooking. While I won’t get into that again (you can read my MasterChef s11 rant, as well as my rant about Sandeep), I’ll brush on some of the ways this can be changed and reformatted with the addition of new judges.

As the bias was a big point for me and many other fans, the easiest way to get around this would be removing the familiarity of the judges to contestants. George, Gary and Matt were always so buddy-buddy with the contestants, being able to spot out their food in blind eating, and whether conscious or not, knowing the contestants can give a bias for who should be eliminated.

Anyway, I’m sure that will be resolved…

Today, we found out who the top 24 are for MasterChef season 12, which I for one am pumped for.

In a Survivor-esque move, the 24 are all previous contestants – Back To Win.

Here are the contestants:

  1. Amina Elshafei – season 4. Since season 4, Amina published a cookbook, travelled, and hosted/promoted food events in Australia, before returning to being a paediatric nurse.
  2. Ben Milbourne – season 4. Ben came fifth in season 4 and went on to have a media career with TV shows ‘Ben’s Menu’ and ‘Andy and Ben Eat Australia’ with Andy Allen, fellow s4 contestant, and one of the new judges. Wait, surely not, because that would be super unethical and automatically unfair to the rest of the contestants, right? Nope, the friends and co-workers are now working together again, this time as contestant and judge. Hmm…
  3. Ben Ungermann – season 9. Coming second place in his season, Ben went on to launch an ice-cream parlour, which has gone international.
  4. Brendan Pang season 10. Like other contestants, Brendan has opened his own pop-up dumpling kitchen and has written a cookbook.
  5. Callum Hann – season 2. After his MasterChef stint, Callum opened a cooking school, a health studio, something called Sprout Training, and Dietary Hawk.
  6. Chris Badenoch – season 1. Chris married a co-contestant and they opened a restaurant, and he started his own beer brand.
  7. Courtney Roulston season 2. Courtney works as a caterer for the Sydney Swans and has written two books, both about salads.
  8. Dani Venn – season 3. Since season three, Dani has hosted her own TV show, and co-hosted a breakfast radio show. I don’t really understand what the other things she’s doing are, something about “transforming the takeaway industry” and being the director of a company and founder of another. IDK.
  9. Emelia Jackson – season 6. After MasterChef, Emelia opened her own cake business. Speaking of which, I’m going to get some cake for dinner.
  10. Harry Foster – season 8. This third place contestant is keen as a bean for seafood and is pursuing his passion for filmmaking. Also he moved to Tasmania for a bit and co-opened a gin distillery.
  11.  Hayden Quinn – season 3. Hayden hosted ‘Hayden Quinn South Africa’, ‘Surfing the Menu Next Generation’ and ‘Taste of Australia’. He has two cookbooks.
  12.  Jess Liemantara – season 10. Jess is the youngest contestant this season. She’s self-published a cookbook, and is working as a pastry chef.
  13.  Khanh Ong – season 10. Although not making the Grand Finale of his season, Khanh has co-hosted several episodes of a TV show and has a cookbook due to be released in July.
  14.  Laura Sharrad nee Cassai– season 6. Another runner up, worked as “a pastry chef alongside new judge Jock Zonfrillo”. Ok, what is with contestants having professional links to the judges?! I’m not here for this. Anyway, Laura opened her new restaurant last year.
  15.  Lynton Tapp – season 5. Lynton has hosted two TV shows and has a cookbook.
  16.  Poh Ling Yeow – season 1. Ok. OK. This is ridiculous. Poh is our queen. I would sacrifice my first-born for Poh. She has mentored some of the contestants, and here she is? Outrageous. OutrAGEOUS! I’m not even going to list what she’s done since because she is an icon.
  17.  Reece Hignell – season 10. He is a cake baker.
  18.  Reynold Poernomo – season 7. I remember Reynold and I loved him. An award winner, Reynold has his own dessert bar which has expanded. He’s been a guest judge on MasterChef Indonesia.
  19.  Rose Adam – season 7. I also remember her, albeit vaguely. Rose opened a café after her season.
  20.  Sarah Clare – season 10. After MasterChef, Sarah worked at Fat Pig Farm in the kitchen.She now runs her own restaurant with a South American influence.
  21.  Sarah Tiong – season 9. Sarah is a part-time lawyer who also develops recipes and runs MasterClasses. She’s also working on her own cookbook.
  22.  Simon Toohey –season 11. Third place last year, he has opened a restaurant. Am not a fan of him, from memory he wasn’t very nice. There was something, I can’t remember what, it’s been almost a whole year since MasterChef, but I remember I didn’t like him…
  23.  Tessa Boersma – season 11. It hasn’t been long since her season, like at all, but second place Tessa worked in a restaurant with a former guest judge, and is working on recipes.
  24.  Tracy Collins – season 6. Tracy opened her own restaurant after her season and it has won awards. She was getting super into it all but decided to take a step back to be with her family.

And that’s who’s who in the zoo. (You can read their full bios and look at their faces here)

We haven’t gotten a start date at this stage, as far as I’m aware, but filming is underway, from what I can gather.

From the personal connections a few of the contestants have with the judges, I can’t see any of the issues fans have with the series being resolved in this season.

It would also be unreasonable as well to then have the prize be the regular sort of situation, especially as many of the contestants have gained traction within their cooking careers.

As it stands at the moment, I see this season going a lot like a group of friends having fun and cooking, where the competition isn’t too high and neither are the stakes. It’ll sound dramatic, but I predict minimal tears and friendly competition.

Regardless, I’ll be back soon with either more MasterChef news, or the first recap, whichever comes first.


If you’ve got an info for me, let me know through any of my social media, by commenting, or by yelling really loudly from the top of the nearest hill.

4 thoughts on “MasterChef Aus Season 12 – Contestants

  1. Lala

    I’m very glad you’re doing it again! I can’t wait to read your blogs again.
    Great start, looking forward to more!

    Like

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