Meet MasterChef Australia 2023’s Robbie Cooper, Who’s Bringing ‘Aboriginal Asian Fusion’ To The Kitchen

Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises contestant Robbie Cooper
MasterChef is known for launching the successful food careers of many a home cook, but it's not the only thing the show is famous for. The reality TV show gives a platform for contestants to share diverse cuisines and cultural stories with the rest of Australia.
This year on MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises, contestant Robbie Cooper hopes to share his unique cooking style, which he calls 'Aboriginal Asian fusion'. The proud Iwaidja man's ancestry includes Asian heritage, including Malaysian, Indonesian and Filipino, along with Torres Strait Islander. Over on his Instagram account, he's previously said: "I have a passion for feeding my mob healthy and delicious food".
While the 65-year-old may be the oldest of the cast members this season, he hopes to share his wisdom with his co-stars. The Northern Territory-based youth worker not only enjoys traditional cooking on Country, but likes to create modern Australian dishes as well.
Cooper's talents extend well beyond the kitchen. He grew up in Darwin and is known as an accomplished AFL and rugby league player in the community.
In a recent interview with Refinery29 Australia that took place in April, judge Melissa Leong drew attention to the significance of a First Nations contestant's involvement on the show, saying that we'll see Cooper share "the beauty, respect and ancient wisdom of what it is to be from right here".
While last year's season MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites featured 12 returning contestants from previous seasons and 12 amateur home cooks, the 2023 season returns to the original format featuring 18 faces that are new to Aussie TV.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
The cast of MasterChef Australia: Secrets & Surprises
The contestants are Adi NevgiAlice Han, Amy Tanner, Andrea Puglisi, Antonio Cruz Vaamonde, Brent Draper, Cath Collins, Declan Cleary, Grace Jupp, Jessica PerriLarissa Sewell, Malissa Fedele, Phil Conway, Ralph Kahango, Rhiannon Anderson, Robbie Cooper, Rue Mupedzi and Theo Loizou.
In addition to MasterChef judges 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: Secrets & Surprises will premiere on Sunday, May 7 at 7:30pm on Channel 10, following a special edition of The Sunday Project which will pay tribute to Jock Zonfrillo from 6:30pm.
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