After two hard fought day of competition Masterchef has found it’s top 24.
A civil engineer, a flight attendant, a medical scientist and an advertising creative are among the Top 24 who have claimed the coveted MasterChef Australia aprons for season seven.
introducing the MasterChef Australia Class of 2015:
Amy Luttrell, 29, Tasmania, Hairdresser
Amy’s favourite part of hairdressing was designing new styles for her clients, but she still needed an outlet for her creativity, so she turned to food. Now the time has come to put her scissors to one side and pursue her MasterChef Australia dream. From the kitchen to the garden, Amy is equally passionate about the provenance of food and can often be found in her vegetable patch at home or gardening with her husband, Simon.
Andrea Farinha, 18, New South Wales, Student
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Andrea moved to Sydney at the age of five. Her South African and Italian family heritage has made for a rich mix of influences on her cooking style, with inspiration at every turn. Not your average 18-year-old, Andrea Farinha took on the role of family head chef at just 11 years of age when her mother became ill after the birth of her younger sister.
Anna Webster, 28, Victoria, Student
After completing several university degrees and trying out three different full-time jobs, Anna couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that she had missed her true calling: a career in food. For Anna, cooking isn’t just a hobby, it is an obsession. The eldest of four kids, her family lived in the UK and the US when Anna was a child. A product of her upbringing, she caught the travel bug, travelling as an adult to Europe, South America, Canada, Japan, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Ashleigh Bareham, 23, Queensland, Childcare Worker
If there’s one thing you need to know about Ashleigh, it is that she makes a killer chocolate brownie. Graduating with a degree in social work in 2013, Ashleigh has been working in childcare while pursuing her passion for food with weekend market stalls on the Sunshine Coast, selling her sweet ￼treats. But Ashleigh’s dreams are bigger than just brownies. She would love to open a dessert bar with her mum, Trudi, and younger sister Georgia.
Ava Stangherlin, 23, New South Wales, Visual Merchandiser
Hailing from a boisterous Italian family and the middle of three siblings, Ava credits her Nonna as one of her biggest influences in the kitchen. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Performance, Ava worked as an actor and director in theatre before falling into a role as a retail visual merchandiser.
Billie McKay, 23, New South Wales, Restaurant Manager
Growing up on a dairy farm in the peaceful, lush surrounds of New South Wales’ mid-north coast, Billie knows about hard graft. As one of five siblings, everybody was expected to pitch in with farming chores. Billie would often cook dinner for the family. She counts her superwoman mum, Alison, as her main kitchen idol. Not only did Alison raise five young kids, work on the farm and serve beautiful family meals, she also taught her children to cook.
Fiona Grindlay, 31, Queensland, Marketing Manager
Relocating from Scotland to Australia seven years ago (and becoming an Australian citizen in August 2014), Fiona lived in Melbourne before moving to Brisbane. She says one of her biggest challenges was leaving behind her beloved mum, dad, brother and 91-year-old gran, Evelyn, who was a big influence on her cooking. Getting a taste for the great outdoors while exploring the Scottish highlands as a child, Fiona still lives an active lifestyle, with snowboarding, kite-surfing and horse riding among her many hobbies.
Georgia Barnes, 27, Queensland, Health Product Rep
Having completed a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine), food is about both work and play for Georgia. By day she is a nutritionist selling health products and training staff, and by night, she is a committed home cook. Georgia loves hosting dinner parties and although she says she can be clumsy in the kitchen, she relies on her time management and speed. A creative soul who also loves painting and sketching, Georgia wears her heart on her sleeve in the kitchen.
Jacqui Ackland, 40, Victoria, Medical Scientist
Medical scientist Jacqui Ackland is saying goodbye to her lab coat and hello to her MasterChef Australia apron.Jacqui’s love for cooking comes from many childhood afternoons perched on the kitchen bench watching her mum and grandma cook. With three daughters, Ashleigh (10), Cameron (8), and Mackenzie (5), Jacqui relishes being a mum. But with her youngest at school this year, she can now take the time to test her cooking limits.
James Bell, 23, Queensland, Financial Analyst
Growing up on a farm near Toowoomba in rural Queensland has made James a passionate advocate for local produce and sustainability. Inspired by his mum’s cooking, James got stuck into the kitchen at the age of 12, but it was during his teens that he became more serious about it. After school, James completed a Bachelor of Business, majoring in economics and finance, at Queensland ￼University of Technology and went on to work as a financial analyst in banking.
Jamie Ward, 30, Victoria, Construction Project Manager
Born in England to an English dad and Sri Lankan mum, Jamie’s family spent time in Canada before moving to Australia when he was four years old. The family settled in Hobart where Jamie, his elder brother and younger sister grew up. Moving to Melbourne to attend university, Jamie studied a Bachelor of Property and Construction and a Bachelor of Planning and Design before going on to work as a construction project manager.
Jarrod Trigg, 29, Victoria, Civil Engineer
Jarrod is a socially conscious and dedicated foodie who uses cooking as his creative time-out from his career as a civil engineer. Jarrod hails from Beaufort in country Victoria, where he returns each week during winter to play footy. He considers himself a late bloomer in the kitchen, only developing a passion for cooking at 22 when he moved to Melbourne and began to experience different cuisines.
Jessica Arnott, 29, Western Australia, Food Sales Assistant
An award-winning bartender in Australia and overseas, Jessica Arnott reached a point in her career where she craved less nocturnal working hours. For this mixologist the answer was simple: she turned to food. Moving from Sydney to Perth to be with her civil engineer boyfriend, Jessica now works in a gourmet food store, finding her “happy place” in the cheese room.
John Carasig, 36, Victoria, Flight Attendant
Having moved to Melbourne from the Philippines when he was 10 years old, John is the eldest brother to two sisters. With busy, working parents, John needed to look after his sisters and started helping to prepare family meals from the age of six. After studying architecture and then industrial design, John has worked as a homewares designer and, most recently, as a Qantas flight attendant before realising that his real passion lies in food.
Kha Nguyen, 25, Victoria, Retail Sales Assistant
Born and bred in Melbourne, Kha Nguyen’s Vietnamese heritage is close to his heart. Mum, dad and elder brother Khoa were refugees of the Vietnam War, fleeing to Australia to make a better life. The Nguyen family’s aspirations for Kha have always been high. Following in the footsteps of his pharmacist brother, Kha studied pharmacy, but his heart wasn’t in it and he dropped out in his final year and switched to a food science and nutrition degree.
Kristina Short, 28, Tasmania, Customer Service Manager
Born in Topoľčany, Slovakia, Kristina immigrated to Australia with her mum, dad and younger sister at the end of the Cold War, aged four, settling in Tasmania. Kristina’s passion for food began as a young girl, when she loved experimenting in the kitchen, encouraged and inspired by her dad. Married in 2014 to Malcolm, the pair travelled across Europe on their honeymoon, including Paris, Normandy, Barcelona, Tuscany, Prague and Istanbul, as well as her home land of Slovakia.
￼Marcus Cher, 31, Victoria, Freelance Industrial Designer
Marcus is an amateur cook with an unusual flair. Creativity has always come easily for this award- winning industrial designer and now he has turned his passion for detail to the kitchen. Having learnt the basics from his Italian mum and Nonna, Marcus has cooked regularly since he was eight years old and loves trying bold new things.
Mario Montecullo, 38, New South Wales, Bar Owner
Growing up in Italy in a small town outside Naples, Mario recalls being surrounded by his mother and aunties in the kitchen, helping to make sausages, tomato sauce and bread for the family. Having moved to Australia 10 years ago, Mario says his proudest achievement is owning and running his own bar in the Sydney suburb of Enmore. In the future, Mario would love to progress to having a restaurant/wine bar.
Matthew Hopcraft, 43, Victoria, Dentist
Matthew’s love of food and cooking was fostered by his parents from a young age. When he was around 11 years old he won first prize at a country show with a sponge cake. The prize was mixing bowls and measuring cups. Husband to Erika and devoted dad to Emily (14) and Lachlan (12), Matthew graduated as a dentist in 1994. He also has a PhD and a Master’s degree in community dentistry and has worked for the past 20 years as a dentist.
Melita Tough, 41, Victoria, Stay At Home Mum
Life has taken mother of two, Melita, and her family around the country for husband Alan’s work as a pilot, but they are now settled in picturesque country Victoria. There Melita doesn’t just talk about paddock to plate, she lives it. Living on a 20-acre hobby farm, the family has cattle, pigs, chickens and bees, plus fruit and vegetables.
Rose Adam, 37, South Australia, Workplace Trainer
The third of four kids born and raised in Adelaide, Rose’s father passed away when she was six years old, leaving her mother to work and raise four children under 12. Embracing their Lebanese heritage, the close-knit family bought and ran a deli, working together for many years. There were some tough times, but Rose says her mum never let it show as Rose learned to cook with her mum and aunties.
Reynold Poernomo, 20, New South Wales, Student
Born in Surabaya, Indonesia, to restaurateur parents, Reynold grew up in a world surrounded by passionate and talented cooks. Moving to Australia at the age of six, Reynold watched on as his parents worked in hospitality and his two elder brothers entered the industry. His family were firm that they didn’t want their youngest son to pursue a career in food. Studying nutrition at the University of Western Sydney, Reynold wants to prove to his family that he has what it takes to be a chef.
￼Sara Oteri, 26, Western Australia, Advertising Creative
From a close-knit Italian clan, Sara’s immediate family of mum Emilie, dad Maurice and sister Alessia grows to around 20 at Christmas time when they are packed around the dining table. After studying communications at university, Sara made the move to Melbourne four years ago to attend AWARD School, an advertising industry course. Sara worked in an advertising agency as a creative. Although she enjoyed success, she soon discovered it wasn’t where her passion lay.
Stephen Rooney, 31, New South Wales, Recruitment Specialist
Born in Scotland and raised in the UK from the age of six, Stephen now calls Redfern in Sydney his home. After a stint travelling in South America and working in New Zealand, Stephen and his long- term girlfriend Georgina settled in Australia in 2008. Stephen wondered whether he might be too old for a career change, but he has now left a secure job behind, craving creativity and a new challenge in food.
Tonight fans are treated to a double episode as the top 24 try to impress last year’s winner Brent Owens at 7:30 PM on Ten.