A handful of MasterChef favourites from across the show’s many seasons will be joined by a group of culinary hopefuls as they all come together to show the judges they have what it takes to be crowned Australia’s next MasterChef.
Jock Zonfrillo, Andy Allen and Melissa Leong return to the kitchen once again to put our chefs through some of the toughest challenges, pressure tests and masterclasses to see who has what it takes.
They’ll be joined by some of the best guest chefs from across the country, and overseas, to push our chefs to their limits.
Here are the 24 contestants for MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites!
Aldo Ortado, NSW
Our first returning contestant, Aldo became a fan fave during Season 10, where he was able to showcase his passion for Italian cuisine, and the recipes handed down from his Nonna. Since appearing on MasterChef, Aldo has appeared on TV cooking segments and has also opened up pop-up restaurants in Sydney.
Follow Aldo on Instagram @aldoortado
Alvin Quah, NSW
It has been over a decade since Alvin’s first season of MasterChef, making a name for himself in Season 2 Alvin won the judges — and Australia — over with his gorgeous personality and funky glasses. Having moved to Australia from his home of Malaysia back in 1994, Alvin has hoped to continue to put Malay cuisine on the map in Australia, and since appearing on the series he has appeared at Good Food and Wine shows and also hosted his own TV series Malaysia Kitchen in 2016.
Follow Alvin on Instagram @alvinquah_
Billie McKay, NSW
The first of our MasterChef champions returning to the kitchen, Billie won MasterChef in Season 7, and went on to work in Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck. After returning home to Australia, Billie returned to her dairy-farm roots and pursued her love of cheesemaking. This isn’t Billie’s first time back in the kitchen, having also returned for Season 11 as a mentor to the contestants, but this time she’ll be behind the bench competing for her second crown.
Follow Billie on Instagram @billie_mckay15
Christina Batista, NSW
With a lifelong passion for food that stems from her Portuguese heritage and the cuisine she grew up celebrating, Christina entered the MasterChef kitchen for the first time in Season 5. Making it to finals week, Christina went on to do work experience at Quay before starting up her own market stall and catering business. Coming back to MasterChef with a dream to host her own cooking show that highlights her love of Portuguese cooking, Christina will be leaving it all on the table for the judges!
Follow Christina on Instagram @christina_batista
John Carasig, VIC
John’s legacy in the MasterChef kitchen is still felt to this day whenever the team relay challenge pops up. The architect of one of the most infamous dishes in MasterChef Australia history, the white chocolate velouté. John may have changed the game in Season 7, but now he’s returning to showcase what he’s been working on in the past few years. Well known for his precision desserts, cooking extensively with Italian techniques, and passionate about bringing Filipino cuisine and adapting it to Aussie produce, John hopes to blow the judges away.
Follow John on Instagram @johncarasig
Julie Goodwin, NSW
The first-ever winner of MasterChef Australia, Julie Goodwin is synonymous with the MasterChef kitchen. Now, 13 years after her original season, Julie is back to hopefully win her second title in the MasterChef world. Since her first win, Julie went on to publish multiple best-selling cookbooks, contributed to food magazines and appeared on TV and radio as well as opening her cooking school Julie’s Place.
Follow Julie on Instagram @_juliegoodwin
Michael Weldon, VIC
After coming in second place in Season 3, you could say Michael has some unfinished business with the MasterChef kitchen. And while he didn’t quite take out the top spot in his original season, since leaving the kitchen, Michael has thrived in the industry. Working as a chef across a series of locations, Michael became an ambassador and Senior Development Chef for Coles. He had a recurring role on The Cooks Pantry and currently co-hosts Farm to Fork. Can Michael use his years in the industry to take out the title that he narrowly missed the first time around?
Follow Michael on Instagram @michael_weldon
Mindy Woods, NSW
A proud Bundjalung woman of the Widjabul Wia bul clan, Mindy originally made it all the way to the final four in Season 4. Hoping this time to make it all the way to the final, Mindy will be bringing all the culinary knowledge she has accrued in the years since. Having worked as the Head of Culinary Development for the Lotus Group before becoming CEO, Mindy later opened her own venue in Byron Bay, and even represented Australia as a guest chef at the World Expo in Dubai. Passionate about connecting Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with Aboriginal culture, art and stories through food, Mindy also hopes to raise awareness and encourage people to use the native ingredients grown in our back yard.
Follow Mindy on Instagram @msmindywoods
Minoli De Silva, NT
Having just competed in Season 13 last year, Minoli knows exactly what she’s in store for, returning to the kitchen once again. After second-guessing herself early in the competition, Minoli was eliminated but she didn’t have to hang up her apron for long. Winning her way back in a second-chance cook, Minoli returned and showed the judges the passion she has for the Sri Lankan cuisine that inspires her. Now, having run her own pop-up restaurants and cooking classes and with restaurant experience, Minoli is ready to prove that third time really is the charm.
Follow Minoli on Instagram @minoli.desilva
Sarah Todd, VIC
Making it to the top 10 of Season 6, Sarah Todd went on to open her first restaurant in 2014 in Goa, India, which also inspired her first six-part TV series, My Restaurant In India. A few years later Sarah opened her second restaurant in Mumbai, which also led to her second TV series, My Second Restaurant in India. She has published several cookbooks, and has co-hosted Farm to Fork on Network 10. Having also spent time at Le Condon Bleu, Sarah returns to the MasterChef kitchen with a world’s worth of knowledge and skills to make it all the way to the end this time around.
Follow Sarah on Instagram @sarahtodd
Sashi Cheliah, SA
Fan-fave Sashi may have already won the title of MasterChef when he was crowned the champion of Season 10, but he’s back for another chance at the top prize. After his MasterChef win, Sashi opened a pop-up restaurant, and later his first venue. This isn’t Sashi’s first time back to the MasterChef kitchen, his most recent return was as a spectator when his son Ryan competed in Junior MasterChef Australia in 2020.
Follow Sashi on Instagram @sashicheliah
Tommy Pham, NSW
The Season 13 fan-favourite is back once again having made quite the name for himself with his passion for Vietnamese flavours and cuisine. Tommy famously created his Bahn Mi danish during a Lune Croisssanterie challenge which he replicated back home Sydney to wild success. Since leaving the series, Tommy has refined his skills while creating content for his growing online audience. Now he’s back to make it all the way to the grand finale.
Follow Tommy on Instagram @tommyphameats
Ali Stoner, VIC
With an attention to detail and a flair for perfection, artist and mum of two Ali is ready to show the judges what she can create in the kitchen. With a hefty collection of cookbooks at home, each week Ali challenges herself with a seasonal box of veggies to make her family meals, so her creative juices will be ready for whatever is waiting for her under each and every mystery box.
Follow Ali on Instagram @rovinghaggis
Chris Tran, VIC
For Chris, food has always been part of his upbringing. With a trained chef for a dad who specialised in European dishes, Chris’ mum was at home preparing traditional Vietnamese dishes for him and his three siblings. With a love for Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, Chris is inspired by chefs like Dan Hong, Jerry Mai and Khanh Nguyen.
Follow Chris on Instagram @culinography.ct
Daniel Lamble, NT
It should come as no surprise that for firefighter Daniel, there’s something appealing about cooking over an open flame, using smoke and coals. Having learned the basics from his dad, Daniel credits YouTube and TV cooking shows for opening up his world to new and advanced techniques, allowing him to regularly prepare lunch and dinner for his fellow firefighters. Describing his style of cooking as ‘rustic’, Daniel hopes to one day have his own food truck where he’ll travel to small towns across Australia operating pop-up restaurants.
Follow Daniel on Instagram @_instalamb
Dulan Hapuarachchi, VIC
Dad of two Dulan knows that, when it comes to food, it’s all about family. Having grown up in Sri Lanka, Dulan and his family moved to Australia when he was 11, but the weekends of family feasts and traditional Sri Lankan foods and flavours are still a core memory. Now, Dulan hopes to one day open a Sri Lankan-inspired café-style restaurant with his wife, as well as opening a cooking and hospitality school for the less fortunate in Sri Lanka.
Follow Dulan on Instagram @thisisdulan
Harry Tomlinson, VIC
Describing her cooking as “homely but with refined flavours” Harry knows that food can be one of life’s greatest comforts. Crediting Fergus Henderson, Samin Nosrat, Rick Stein and Annie Smithers as some of her food idols, Harry loves working with a range of fresh and seasonal ingredients, and hopes to one day fulfil her dream of becoming a food writer, after winning the title of MasterChef, of course.
Follow Harry on Instagram @big.yummers
Jenn Lee, QLD
Though Dentist Jenn moved from Taiwan to Brisbane when she was six, her family would often return home for the holidays where Jenn would learn from her grandmothers, and fondly remembers helping prepare ingredients for Zongzi, making Taiwanese-style sponge cakes or learning how to fold dumplings with her parents on the weekends. Equally skilled at savoury and sweet cooking, Jenn’s love of learning and range of skills will make her one to watch as she heads into the MasterChef kitchen.
Follow Jenn on Instagram @plsfeed_jenn
Keyma Vasquez Montero, VIC
Hoping to represent the Latin and Spanish community, Keyma has a passion for rustic and street food, and loves reinvent familiar flavours and childhood classics to showcase how they have just as much reason to be on a fine-dining menu. Hoping to one day own her own restaurant, the mum of two would also love to write her own cookbook which celebrates the dishes of her childhood in Venezuela.
Follow Keyma on Instagram @keymav
Matt Landmark, VIC
It may be one of the most divisive herbs, but for Matt the first time he tried fresh coriander it marked a turning point in what had otherwise been a pretty conservative palate. Now, the high school commerce teacher spends his time pouring over cookbooks, working on new techniques and looking for ways to improve in the kitchen. Can Matt’s love of new flavours take him all the way to the top spot?
Follow Matt on Instagram @mattstication
Max Krapivsky, VIC
Eagle-eyed fans will remember Max from Season 13 where he competed in the second chance cook at the Judges’ Auditions, just narrowly missing out on a spot in the top 24 for 2021. Finally earning himself an apron, Max knows he has a lot to prove, and is ready to go all the way to the Grand Finale. Max hopes to one day opening a dine-in bottle-o, featuring Aussie wines and beers and a small rotating chalkboard menu.
Follow Max on Instagram @mkrap
Melanie Persson, WA
When she was diagnosed with coeliac disease, Melanie faced a learning curve of living without gluten, but now she’s out to prove that being gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean food can’t pack a punch. Though she’s largely self-taught, Melanie cites the likes of Massimo Bottura, Adam Liaw, Matt Adlard, Marion Grasby and Rick Stein as some of her biggest culinary inspirations.
Follow Melanie on Instagram @theveryhungrycoeliac
Montana Hughes, QLD
This year’s youngest contestant may have only been 12 when Julie Goodwin won the very first season of MasterChef Australia, but Montana is ready to prove she has what it takes to go all the way. Boasting a massive online following for her recipes and food content across TikTok, Instagram and her website, Montana will be serving the judges a lot more than content as she enters the kitchen.
Follow Montana on Instagram @monmackfood
Steph Woon, VIC
With a lifelong love for all things Japanese, Steph dreams of one day opening a patisserie that specialises in Japanese and southeast Asian inspired cakes and pastries. The oldest of three daughters, Steph’s parents immigrated from Malaysia, and she says food has always brought them together. Hoping to replicate Poh’s successes in the kitchen, Steph has her eyes firmly on the prize to become the next MasterChef Australia.
Follow Steph on Instagram @stephwoon
MasterChef Australia Fans & Favourites premieres on Monday, 18 April at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 Play On Demand.