Sleeping Arrangements & Filming Secrets — Your Most-Asked Masterchef Questions Answered

MasterChef Australia is always a fan favourite, but like any reality TV show, there are parts of the cooking program that we don't get to see, leaving us all wondering what happens beyond the pressure tests and mystery box challenges.
Here are the answers to some of the burning questions we've all had about MasterChef.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
The cast of Masterchef Australia 2023

Where do the MasterChef contestants stay during filming?

Hailing from across the country, MasterChef contestants travel to Melbourne for filming, where they are put up in serviced apartment accommodation. A reliable source close to production tells Refinery29 Australia that usually two contestants share an apartment, but each has their own bedroom within the unit.
Steph Woon, who starred on the 2022 season, previously opened up about the close friendships cast mates forged with one another, especially with those they shared apartments with.
"Obviously I've got a roommate, so I'm really close to Ali," she told us."We're actually a really close-knit bunch and it's from day one that we've had this bond."
MasterChef's serviced apartment accommodation began in 2020 when the pandemic hit Australia. Prior to this, contestants lived in a six-bedroom, four-bathroom, three-level mansion in Canterbury, in Melbourne's east.

What do the MasterChef contestants do when they're not filming?

You'll often hear the judgesMelissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen – tell the contestants to 'study' before an upcoming challenge. That's exactly what they do when they leave the studio at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds and return to their apartments. They study culinary techniques, including how to use different ingredients and even formulate their own new recipes.
Given that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, the cast often cooks for each other and gather socially in one another's apartments.
"I think we were on the other side of COVID where the rules have really loosened quite a lot," says last year's runner-up Sarah Todd, explaining going onto the show in 2022 was the "perfect thing to do".
"A lot of people aren't really back into full-time work and around people, so for us to have that opportunity to be around people all the time, it was like living life to the fullest," she says. "Obviously you have to be safe and take all the right precautions but we just felt like one big family and it was amazing."

How long does an average MasterChef episode take to film? 

While the episodes we watch span up to an hour-and-a-half max, it actually takes a full day to film a single episode.

Do the MasterChef judges taste every dish? 

Yes, the judges taste every dish. Due to time constraints in terms of episode length, we sometimes don't see the judges tasting every contestant's dish, but rest assured, they take their job of eating other people's food very seriously.

Is there actually time after the clock stops for the contestants to tidy up their plates or re-plate before presenting to the judges? 

Unfortunately, once the clock stops there is no additional time provided. However, some dishes need to be completed in front of the judges if they contain sauce, broth or salad dressings, and those are finished at the tasting table.

Are MasterChef dishes still warm by the time the judges try them? 

This really depends on the challenge and what the contestants have decided to cook. Our source says that in the instance of last year's toasted jaffle episode, all toasties were eaten by the judges almost immediately (no one wants cold cheese). However, at other times dishes have cooled down as there has been a short break between the cooking and tasting.

Can contestants read recipes while cooking?

Unless it's a pressure test where a recipe is provided, contestants are not allowed to read any written notes. Former contestant Poh Ling Yeow recently shared some pages from a notebook she kept while filming the 2020 all-stars season called MasterChef Australia: Back To Win.
"A page from a notebook of ingredient lists I’d committed to memory for MasterChef Back to Win. This is what we did with every spare minute," she wrote alongside the two recipes scrawled across the pages.

Do MasterChef contestants get dressed by the wardrobe team?

Unfortunately on-set styling is a luxury reserved for the judges, with all contestants wearing their own clothing and doing their own hair and make-up.
This year's season of MasterChef is different to last year's season MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites, which featured 12 returning contestants from previous seasons and 12 amateur home cooks.
The contestants are Adi NevgiAlice Han, Amy Tanner, Andrea Puglisi, Antonio Cruz Vaamonde, Brent Draper, Cath Collins, Declan Cleary, Grace Jupp, Jessica Perri, Larissa SewellMalissa Fedele, Phil Conway, Ralph Kahango, Rhiannon Anderson, Robbie CooperRue Mupedzi and Theo Loizou.
In addition to MasterChef judges Melissa Leong, Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo (who recently passed away), this year there's a star-studded lineup of guest judges including Jamie Oliver, Curtis Stone, Maggie Beer, Rick Stein and Peter Gilmore.
MasterChef Australia airs Sunday to Wednesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play.
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