Get ready to indulge your taste buds, fellow foodies, because the 15th season of MasterChef Australia is just around the corner! That's right, 18 talented chefs are currently donning their aprons and clicking their tongs in preparation for a season we're told will be jam-packed full of Secrets & Surprises.
Premiering on Monday, May 1 at 7:30pm on 10 and 10 Play, MasterChef 2023 promises to be an epic showdown as a fresh batch of hopefuls take on the ultimate culinary test.
Led by the esteemed judging panel of Melissa Leong, Andy Allen, and Jock Zonfrillo, along with special guest appearances from culinary industry heavyweights, including the legendary Jamie Oliver on day one, MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises is set to leave us thirsty for more.
With only 18 coveted aprons up for grabs, the competition will be fierce as these aspiring chefs vie for the prestigious title of MasterChef 2023 and the $250,000 cash prize.
Let's meet the aspiring home cooks being dished up on this season of MasterChef Australia.
Adi Nevgi, VIC
Having travelled to 55 countries, Adi is inspired by flavours from around the globe but also has a deep love for her ancestral Indian cuisine.
While she's largely self-taught through cooking shows, cookbooks and the magic of the internet, Adi sees cooking as the perfect marriage of academic and creative pursuits, and she's already started writing her own cookbook, a how-to guide on all the basics.
Alice Han, NSW
Earning her bachelor's degree in history and economics from Harvard University, Alice went on to earn a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies from Stanford.
Alice's work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, and she also speaks four languages fluently (English, Mandarin, French and German). While she was away at uni, Alice would cook her mum's recipes to feel closer to home and is still inspired by her mum in the kitchen today. Having excelled and achieved so much in just 29 years, Alice is ready to pursue her dream of working as a cook, writer and entrepreneur in the culinary industry.
Amy Tanner, VIC
Watching MasterChef with her mum, she's been inspired by the journeys of some of our favourite home cooks and even attempted to recreate some of their recipes. Now, with her very own apron, Amy's ready to make her own mark on the MasterChef kitchen.
Eager to show some of the flavours inspired by her recent travels to Turkey and Vietnam, as well as featuring the humble anchovy wherever she can! In fact, the tiny but mighty fish has inspired Amy's food dream of a tin fish wine bar and sustainably-made tinned fish products.
Andrea Puglisi, WA
Born and raised in Turin in northern Italy, Andrea has spent the last decade in Melbourne and Perth, but his cooking is never too far from his Italian roots, cooking pasta sauces from scratch since he was 11. When he was young, his family took over a café where he worked and eventually helped to run it.
Now, stepping into the MasterChef kitchen, he's hoping to show off his skills in Mediterranean and pescatarian, alongside Italian classics and bold flavours. While he's hoping to push himself out of his comfort zone and see what he's capable of, Andrea's ultimate goal is to one day own a tapas wine and cocktail bar somewhere tropical and not too far from a surf break.
Antonio Cruz Vaamonde, NSW
Venezuelan-born Antonio moved to Australia in 2015, encouraged by his greatest supporter, his grandma, to not just make the move but to one day apply for MasterChef. While the pair spoke often about Antonio chasing his dream, his grandmother, aka Mamachua, passed away during the pandemic so his time in the kitchen will be in honour of her and their strong bond.
When it comes to strengths in the kitchen, Antonio's got it covered with desserts, pastries and sweets, Italian flavours, Asian cuisine and barbeque techniques, as well as his South American roots. Hoping to one day open a patisserie alongside his mum, Antonio's food dream would see him sharing his creations in a place where people could gather with their loved ones.
Brent Draper, QLD
Returning to the MasterChef kitchen, Brent Draper is a familiar face to fans of the series who were fully in his corner when the former boilermaker left the competition in Season 13, prioritising his mental health. Since his time in the kitchen, Brent and his family bought and renovated a bus, travelling around Australia, meeting people, cooking and creating incredible memories.
Having worked as a National Coles Ambassador for the past two years, Brent has also been passionate about sharing his mental health journey. And now he's ready to tackle the MasterChef challenge once again, hoping that his prior experience may give him the upper hand on the competition!
Cath Collins, VIC
Inspired by Julie Goodwin's return to the MasterChef kitchen for Fans & Faves, Cath finally took the leap and applied for the show after dreaming about it for years. With a mighty collection of over 100 cookbooks, Cath loves all types of food and doesn't see herself as a sweet or savoury specialist, but rather as someone who can adapt to whatever is put in front of her.
During lockdown, Cath and her family travelled the world in the comfort of their dining room, cooking Thai, Italian, Czech, Mexican and Portuguese-themed dinners, with a creative dessert to match. Like many of her food idols, Cath hopes to launch a café that not only serves high tea but also offers cooking classes for anyone from young kids to adults.
Declan Cleary, NSW
Declan may be a chippy, but if you ask him, he'll describe himself as an eccentric cook inspired by many cuisines including those he encountered on his travels to places like Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico and Papua New Guinea. As for his preferences in the kitchen, the 24-year-old likes to say, "Declan's my name, and fish is my game."
While technically tricky desserts may throw a spanner in his works, Declan is used to trouble-shooting, and he's not likely to let the pressures of the MasterChef kitchen get in his head. The same age Andy Allen was when he won his season back in 2012, Declan hopes history is about to repeat itself, as he sets his sights on opening his own seafood restaurant in the future.
Grace Jupp, VIC
Growing up, Grace spent many hours in the kitchen with her mum and her Baba. She's inspired by her family’s Croatian heritage and their dedication and love of feeding people. Now a wife, a step-mum, a business owner, a uni graduate and a cooking enthusiast, Grace is hoping to add MasterChef to her list of achievements.
Grace and her husband, a former chef, currently own and operate an olive oil company, and in 2022 the pair went on a foodie honeymoon where they visited some of Victoria’s iconic restaurants. Grace’s husband has introduced her to a new world of food, flavours and techniques, and now she’s ready to expand her own knowledge in the MasterChef kitchen.
Jessica Perri, VIC
Since she was three, Jessica was in the kitchen with her two Nonnas learning to cook “alla buona” — “effortlessly, with minimal fuss”. After her Nonna passed away, Jessica realised the gift and responsibility of continuing her family legacy through food.
Now a pasta fanatic, Jessica hopes to show her two children that you can take risks, pursue your passions and be brave, and there’s nothing braver than taking on the challenge of the MasterChef kitchen.
Larissa Sewell, SA
Describing her cooking style as “generous, abundant and flavourful”, Larissa’s culinary roots have also been shaped by her Ukrainian and Russian heritage. Having fled their homeland during the Russian Revolution, three of her grandparents resettled in the Xinjiang region of China, so she was raised with a unique blend of cultures and cuisines. Larissa also spent time in the USA and South Korea, which further broadened her diverse cooking style.
Hoping to one day open her own small cooking school, Larissa also has her sights set on writing about food, culture and continue to pursue her love of travel. For now, she and her family are living an urban farm lifestyle in Adelaide, complete with heritage chickens, and her extended family living close by.
Malissa Fedele, SA
As part of an Italian family, it’s no surprise that Italian cuisine is a clear favourite for clinical nutritionist Malissa. Her parents owned a fruit and veg store where she and her siblings worked, her Nonnas and mum encouraged her to get into the kitchen and Malissa now loves the therapeutic almost meditative process of making pasta and sauces from scratch.
Food is also a major part of Malissa’s work, her clinical practice focuses on women’s health needs, offering consultations to help create healthy lifestyles and better dietary choices to support women’s emotional and physical health and well-being. Looking to the future, she hopes to one day write her own cookbooks and star in a cooking series that shows simple, affordable and healthy recipes that provide nourishment from the inside out.
Phil Conway, VIC
Moving to Melbourne over a decade ago from his home of Galway, Ireland, Phil credits his mum and nan as strong female role models. Working as a Fitness Studio Manager and Instructor, during lockdown, Phil was unable to train clients, so he turned his attention to cooking, reigniting his passion for being in the kitchen.
In 2022, Phil spent a month in the Veneto wine region in Italy, learning traditional recipes and making pasta and sauces from scratch. He’s also spent time with winemakers across the world, from Burgundy and Bordeaux to Napa and Sonoma. In the future, Phil dreams of opening his own wine bar where he can continue to explore his love for good food and great wines.
Ralph Kahango, WA
Growing up in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Ralph moved to Australia when he was 17, where he went on to get his Masters of Accounting. Coming from a family of eight, Ralph’s inspiration is his mum who he recalls working hard to utilise ingredients to their full potential. Cooking from a young age alongside his siblings, Ralph credits his older sister and brother for his grasp on flavour, and his younger sister for not only supporting his passion for food but pushing him to apply for MasterChef.
While he loves Italian food, Ralph is also looking forward to sharing Zimbabwean cuisine, culture and traditions with the judges, as well as the rest of Australia. With food now his key focus, Ralph hopes to one day host a cooking show where he can share with an audience the true joys of cooking.
Rhiannon Anderson, QLD
When Rhiannon was 11 her mum became a chef, teaching her everything she knows in the kitchen and even pushing Rhiannon to apply for MasterChef. Sadly, in 2021, Rhiannon’s mum lost her battle with ovarian cancer, so earning her apron is even more special for the mum of five.
A lover of fresh produce and Asian flavours merged with the tropics, Rhiannon’s passion for bold, punchy flavours will be her secret weapon. Her food dream is to write a cookbook full of three-course dinner party menus dedicated to her mum, as well as one day own her own restaurant in her home of Townsville, bringing global cuisine and those signature bold flavours to FNQ.
Robbie Cooper, NT
Proud Iwaidja man Robbie already has a legacy in the NTFL, notching up almost 300 games for the Darwin Buffaloes and Nightcliff Tigers. He’s worked in the construction and trucking industries and has spent 20 years working in the juvenile justice and adult corrections system as a guard and program coordinator.
But food has always been close to Robbie’s heart and with his cooking style of “Aboriginal Asian fusion”, Robbie is equally adept at cooking on country as he is dishing up modern Australian cuisine. In the future, Robbie hopes to host food experiences on country, inviting people to camp, catch, cook, connect and learn about the oldest continuing living culture on earth.
Rue Mupedzi, WA
In 2014, Rue had her first fine-dining experience in Sydney, which set her on a course that has led her to the MasterChef kitchen. Beginning her journey into food, Rue is constantly inspired by eating at restaurants and attempting to recreate her favourite dishes back at home. In 2021 she took a break from her career to launch her own macaroon business, after finessing her recipe for 10 months.
Rue and her family moved from Zimbabwe to Australia when she was 15, and is inspired by the grit and determination her parents showed in moving their whole lives across the world for the sake of their children. Clearly a skilled dessert chef, Rue’s equally comfortable cooking savoury and looks forward to expanding and refining her skills in both.
Theo Loizou, VIC
A sparky by trade, Theo had a passion for baking bread which, in 2021, saw him pack up his life and move to France despite not speaking the language. He worked in a Parisienne boulangerie and a six-month trip turned into a three-year stay that included honing his baking skills and meeting his partner.
Theo loves to push his limits so he’ll be right at home in the MasterChef kitchen. And after this experience, his dream is to open an artisanal bakery specialising in sustainable bread, with flour and grain sourced from local farmers.
MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises premieres Monday, May 1 at 7.30 on 10 and 10 Play.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.
Or if you have a story idea, email us at email@example.com.