So season six is in the can for the UK audience after Brent lifted the trophy last Friday night. It was a welcome return for the show after a rather disappointing season five, where the producers casted based on personality over food and that led to a bunch of being average chefs getting on to the show.
So for fun (and for maybe the two people I know who watch MCA) – here is my list of my top ten favourite contestants, this isn’t to say the ten best contestants, but my personal ten favourites chefs based both on personality and cooking ability.
10) Andy Allen – Winner of season four. He was an average contestant, who could easily have gone early doors in week five when he and Sam were in the bottom two but the judges decided to send home neither in the elimination challenge in Tasmania. Was part of the Ben/Andy Bromance and his cooking about three to four weeks from the end really kicked on and in the final two weeks he won near enough every challenge. Nice guy and I was happy to see him win.
9) Hayden Quinn – Sixth in season three. Hayden was without a doubt one of the most popular contestants of all time on the show. The lifeguard from NSW was one of the first six through to the top 24 and he won the first challenge and backed that up with an immunity pin victory. Eminently likeable with a natural flair for cooking, he was always going to do well and fell just before finals week. Unsurprisingly was brought back for MCA All-Stars.
8) Brent Owens – Winner of season six. Brent, a bit like Andy was a journey contestant whose progression was clear to see as the competition went on. It looked unlikely he’d win at any point but as we whittled it down it was clear he had a chance. Arguably only Emelia was a better cook than him in this season but Brent was pretty sensational at Service Challenges and rarely got flustered. Another flat out likeable guy. Seems to be a pattern emerging but…
7) Claire Winton Burn – Third place in season two. Cold. If you were to describe her in one word, that would have been it. However she could really cook and seemed to take criticism well and learned from it. We have seen several ‘cold’ candidates in the show, Julia from S4, Emelia from S6, but I learned to root for all three as the show went on but Claire I liked from a long way out. I thought she was a fantastic cook who dished up some wonderful dishes.
6) Beau Cook – Eighth place in season four. When I was sorting out my list he wasn’t in it and then I sat here (or actually lay there, I was mentally doing this in bed last night) and I realised that there had not been a more fun contestant in the six years of the show. His dry wit was fantastic to see, although the way both he and Ben tried to throw themselves on the fire for Emma did bug me.
5) Peter Vickery – Ninth in season three. In the first episode of top 50, the judges gave dishes of the day to Kate, Michael, Alana and Peter. Even in the first episode, they may have found the four best cooks in the competition. Sadly for Peter his lack of self-confidence held him back at times and in his final elimination he was up against Kate tasked with making an apple pie. He had no chance although he did run her close. Great guy who I rooted for hard and when he was him v Kate I was so torn as they were my two favourites from that season.
4) Kylie Millar – Sixth in season four. Who couldn’t love Kylie? She was just flat out loveable and in the task when they were asked to cook with love and passion and it came out that she’d yet to be in a relationship, so hadn’t felt these emotions my heart broke just that little bit, I mean what on earth were the young men of NSW doing? Her pudding in the Masterchef magazine challenge was one of the most pornographic cakes that I have ever seen. She was just fantastic.
3) Marion Grasby – Ninth in season two. The biggest shock in MCA history. Marion quite simply was the best amateur chef ever to walk into the MCA kitchen. Not only was she a fantastic cook but also a great person, fun, always smiling. Like Hayden she was brought back for All-Stars like the top two in this list were. She also formed quite the double act with one other contestant who is still to appear on this list.
2) Kate Bracks – Winner of season three. I called Kate to win from the first episode. It may have had something to do with the fact she was attractive and ginger but also she served up a flatbread kofta that the judges raved about. In the first challenge in the top 24 she made a coffee cake that the judges were stunned by and she was terrific all the way through. Liked Kate a lot and she is still the only person I’ve tipped to win from top 24 who has done so.
1) Jonathan Daddia – Eighth place in season two. Quite simply…The Eliminator. The producers seemed to play up to Jonno as the bad boy of the bunch but he was very much hit or miss, he was great or he was terrible but most of all he was entertaining to watch. Eight times he survived elimination and it showed that when he was on, he could flat out cook. He and Marion were a fine double act, certainly in All Stars and there is on doubt whatsoever that Marion saying, ‘Jonno’ is etched on my memory.
I know no-one from S1 or S5 made this list, the reason is that Chris and Justine were in the mix but I wasn’t a huge fan of season one. Season five was just shocking and only Lynton and Rishi deserved really to even be thought about. Others who were in my thoughts for this list included from S2 Callum, from S3, Kumar, Ellie, Arena, Alana, from S4, Ben, Alice, Tregan and from S6, Emelia, Sarah and Kira.
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