What Happens To The Leftover Food On MasterChef Australia?

With several cooking challenges a week over the span of a few months, it's safe to say a lot of food is whipped up in the MasterChef Australia kitchen. However, with not all of it actually being consumed, you can't help but wonder where all the leftover ingredients and uneaten food end up.
To get to the bottom of it all, Refinery29 Australia chatted with Season 16 contestant Sumeet Saigal, who divulged all the details about how the MasterChef kitchen avoids food waste.
"They've got charities that the food actually goes to, so there's no waste. They try to keep waste to the minimum possible," Saigal tells Refinery29 Australia.
Channel 10 partners with SecondBite, a food rescue organisation dedicated to redistributing surplus food to those in need. This long-standing collaboration ensures that leftover ingredients from the show's pantry are used to support over 1,300 charities nationwide. Anything that's not suitable for redistribution is composted on site.
“Since the beginning of our partnership with MasterChef Australia, they’ve contributed the equivalent of 1.3 million meals to those in need," SecondBite previously said in a statement on Instagram.
But SecondBite is not the only place where the leftover food ends up. Saigal shares that when it comes to practice cooks, there would be clever ways they'd make sure all meals go to a good home. "Even things like practising a lot after hours — if there were leftovers in the kitchen, we'd be able to get the raw produce," she says. "So they'd have things they'd be able to give us to practice with — say someone needs to just cut a fillet off a fish. It's not wasted, it's shared around with the crew."
And when it comes down to the actual live cooks that we see on the show, Saigal reveals how they're approached to prevent waste — including leftover meals going towards feeding the crew! "It's actually literally one portion or so that we're actually cooking, so there's no real wastage because that pretty much gets tasted or the crew gets to taste it," she says.
Saigal also shares that she was "really impressed" at the efforts to prevent food wastage on set. "They do try and use up all the produce, whether it's raw or fresh vegetables and fruit, or whether it's cooked food that the crew gets to share around."
Back in 2020, then-judge Melissa Leong revealed that a sustainability officer worked full-time on the show and that any food that wasn't donated to charity was put through a "closed-loop organic system".
"What happens is that it gets ground down and cooked into compost, and that goes back into the gardens at Masterchef because that’s a huge part of the show, the fact that we grow fruits and vegetables and herbs that the contestants can use," she told The Design Files.
"Everything has a place and even just things like packaging, the choices that are made are highly considered and very much mindful about minimising waste."
Season 16 of MasterChef Australia is a bit of a shake-up from the regular format, with a new set of judges at the helm including Poh Ling Yeow, Sofia Levin, Christophe Novelli and Andy Allen. You can check out the list of contestants here and see who went home here.
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