He’s been on our screens for over a decade, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t sit down to indulge in an episode of MasterChef Australia.
While the 13th season of the competitive cooking show is about to air, it remains one of the top rated shows on free-to-air national television.
So how many Chef Has Australia absorbed and has the 12 years of watching the competition cook up mouthwatering dishes turn us all into foodies?
Chef Scottish judge and celebrity chef Jock Zonfrillo didn’t fully understand the show’s influence on Australians’ attitudes towards food until he started talking to people.
“The impact of Chef here in Australia has been so important to home cooks in particular, ”said Zonfrillo TUSEN.
From tips on how to spice up Sunday night staples to demonstrations on how to completely botch your risotto, the long-running series has encouraged us to approach cooking creatively.
Do it for the kids
With its competitive game format, Chef spawned a series of spinoffs that made gourmet cooking fun and accessible to everyone.
Between MasterChef Australia All-Stars, Celebrity MasterChef, MasterChef: The professionals and young people Junior MasterChef, the culinary empire often garners more than a million viewers per episode.
And few have been as captivated and inspired as the show’s young audiences.
If you want to see ‘the Chef effect ‘in action, look no further than the generation of children who grew up watching it.
“It’s a show that so many people identify with and watch with their families – it’s really a family show,” Zonfrillo said.
Food critic and Chef Season 4 favorite Alice Zaslavsky agreed and said the show’s lingo even crept into our everyday vernacular.
“Chef and shows like this have completely changed our attitude towards fine dining, not just our attitude, but our language, with words like hero and plate, ”Zaslavsky said TUSEN.
“The effect it has had on children is the strongest – the caliber of children’s cooking [in the 2020 season of Junior MasterChef] is yet another level on seasons one and two, because these kids have grown up Chef.
“Families watch these shows and children benefit most from the inspiration they receive.”
You would be inclined to think that parents, tired of coming home and cooking each night for the family, have struck gold if their child shows an interest in developing their cooking skills.
But it’s the mini-chefs themselves who unwittingly prepare for future success.
Studies in the United States show that children who cook are more likely to develop healthier eating habits and consume more fruits and vegetables than children who cannot cook.
The drama of it all
In addition to introducing us to the kitchen theater (the first seasons defended the blowtorch, but today it’s all about smoke machines and hibachi grills), Zonfrillo and Zaslavsky pointed out that Chef has also helped educate us on culinary diversity.
Some of the most memorable dishes in the show’s history featured contestants recalling their cultural roots and adding modern twists to ancient recipes passed down from generation to generation.
“We have so many different cultures here in Australia, and so many different types of cuisine – it’s as much about experiencing the cultures as it is about eating,” Zonfrillo said.
“A lot of people use food as a way to reconnect with a culture that could have been lost if they were second or third generation,” Zaslavsky added.
The cultural diversity displayed on the show introduces viewers to new techniques, obscure ingredients, and innovative dishes that many of us wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
“At any time MasterChef Australia uses a new ingredient, it sells in supermarkets, ”Zaslavsky said.
“You see, for example, that the price of beef cheek has gone from being a real secondary cut to that of a real boujee.”
In the years since its premiere in 2009, sales of exotic and unusual ingredients were directly linked to specific episodes throughout the season.
In 2010, Coles general manager of corporate affairs Robert Hadler said the chain noticed a 480% increase in diced pork and a 200% increase in rib roasts immediately following episodes of Chef who presented these products.
Incidentally, many former contestants and fans credit the series for expanding their palates and allowing them to explore new skills and techniques.
As the coming season approaches, Zonfrillo promises viewers will be treated to a particularly diverse cast, “both culturally and from a career perspective.”
While he remains low-key on what the contestants have to come, another season of Chef is almost guaranteed to inspire the rest of us to spice things up at home.
MasterChef Australia Season 13 kicks off Monday at 7:30 p.m. on the 10th.