Meet MasterChef Australia 2023’s Antonio Cruz Vaamonde — A Pastry Lover Who’s Proud Of His Venezuelan Roots

Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia 2023 contestant Antonio Cruz Vaamonde
For Antonio Cruz Vaamonde, being in the MasterChef Australia kitchen means more than just cooking some impressive dishes. The 34-year-old will also be honouring his late grandmother — whom he called Mamucha — who passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was Mamucha who had long encouraged Vaamonde to audition for the popular cooking show after he moved to Australia from Venezuela in 2015. Vaamonde learnt his cooking skills from Mamucha and his mother, and is looking forward to showcasing his South American culinary heritage on TV.
He also has some other favourite recipes up his sleeve, as he prepares to lean into his knack for making desserts and pastries. His dream is to one day own a patisserie, where he can create and sell scrumptious sweet treats alongside his mum.
As for who his food superstars are outside of his own family, Vaamonde is a big fan of Gordon Ramsay and Andy Hearnden.
He's one of 18 new faces on the show's 15th season, 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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