MasterChef's Khanh Ong reveals surprising reason he still watches the show

EXCLUSIVE: The two-time contestant says there's a big reason why he keeps tuning in.

MasterChef's Khanh Ong.
Khanh Ong has revealed why he’ll never stop watching MasterChef Australia. Photos: Instagram/khanhong

He co-owns a restaurant, hosts a cooking show and is currently writing his second cookbook, but Khanh Ong reveals he will always make time in his busy schedule to watch MasterChef Australia. The beloved chef and TV personality, who competed in seasons 10 and 12 of the cooking competition, tells Yahoo Lifestyle he still tunes into the show so he can keep up to date with the latest trends in the food world.

“I think that MasterChef is continually growing and changing and the way that contestants cook changes from season to season,” he shares. “And it's really interesting because I learn from the show as well. MasterChef is usually how food trends start to take place in Australia.”


Khanh explains that the show’s twelfth season in 2020 is the perfect example of how MasterChef has had an impact on what Australians cook at home. The season saw several contestants making pasta - a movement led by runner-up Laura Sharrad - which he says has resulted in pasta having a “massive resurgence in online content” over the past few years.

“Pasta used to be seen as something that is quick and easy, but now it's come back and it’s a major art form that people kind of ignored for a little bit - they didn't fully ignore it, but it was kind of on the back burner,” he shares.

“And now it’s had this really big moment over the last two or three years where everything’s as simple as like the vodka pasta or the oven-baked feta with tomato. There are all these things that have been going viral and I don't think that's ever by coincidence. It's always food trends that come back into the world, but now people are more celebratory of the way that different shapes are being made and the actual technique behind it rather than just grabbing a pack of pasta in the shop and cooking it.”

MasterChef’s Khanh Ong.
Khanh says the show has a huge influence on the food trends across Australia. Photo: Channel 10

As well as Laura, Khanh competed on season 12 aka ‘Back to Win’ alongside Poh Ling Yeow - who recently became one of the show's new judges alongside food critic and journalist Sofia Levin, Michelin Star chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, and returning judge Andy Allen.

The I’m A Celebrity fan-favourite shares that he “absolutely” loves the new judges and what they’ve each brought to the series, especially Poh who he calls his “aunty”.

“We have this ongoing joke when people say that they recognise me I’m like, ‘Yeah, I'm Poh Ling Yeow’, and she knows that that’s what I constantly say if anyone ever says they recognise me and she cracks up every single time we're together and I tell her a story about it,” he laughs.

“Sofia and I have actually known each other for a few years and when I found out that she was going to be on the show, honestly, I could not be happier for her. She has one of the most inquisitive food minds and she loves to learn, she loves to educate not only herself but her audience, she's so knowledgeable in different cuisines, she's always happy to try new things and she speaks so well. I honestly could not love the new judges more.”


In addition to his many culinary and TV ventures, Khanh is set to make an appearance at the annual Good Food & Wine Show in Sydney on Friday 21 July. The social media sensation says he’s “so excited” to bring one of his famous recipes off-screen for Sydneysiders and he can’t wait to meet his followers in person.

“I find that cooking in front of a crowd and interacting with people is what I love the most,” he remarks. “I like to meet new people and I like to answer questions and do all of that because you don't really get that kind of interaction when you're speaking with someone online or they're watching you on television. That face-to-face is what I really crave, so I'm really excited to be back at the Good Food & Wine Show.”

Learn more about Sydney’s Good Food & Wine Show here.

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