Warner Bros Discovery is delighted to reveal the final batch of nine of the 27 cooks who will compete for the coveted MasterChef NZ 2022 title in stunning Queenstown.
They'll be judged by previous winner and entrepreneur Nadia Lim, world renowned three Cuisine hatted NZ chef Vaughan Mabee and multi-award-winning restaurateur Michael P Dearth.
MasterChef NZ will premiere on May 29 on Three and ThreeNow.
The first nine contestants have been revealed as follows:
A 43-year-old Theatre Manager from Hamilton, Jason 'Fresh Fusion' Wade comes to the competition from Hamilton where he is a general manager. Jason's love for food hasn't always been an easy ride, but since losing 50kg after his gastric bypass surgery, he has developed a healthier relationship with food and loves how it brings people together. He used to skip school to make his friends food and is very expressive in the kitchen - you can read everything on his face - good or bad!
A 41-year-old high school teacher from Auckland, Vicky was encouraged to enter the competition by her husband, who is also her high school sweetheart. The ultimate hunter gatherer, she is at her most joyous when fishing or fossicking in her backyard for kai. She has a boat for easy access to the water, and credits her Nana in Switzerland for teaching her all about natural resources and the farm-to-table movement.
A 51-year-old daycare owner from Hamilton, Ali has been living in Hamilton for the past 14 years, but is originally from Karachi, Pakistan. His speciality is authentic Pakistani fusion food and he is looking forward to bringing this style of food to the show. Ali has travelled the globe many times and is inspired by recreating dishes he has tried on his travels and the numerous restaurants he has dined at.
A 48-year-old general manager in construction from Queenstown, Winston may work in construction, but his flair for craftsmanship is truly on display in the kitchen. His competitive spirit and love for food has prepared him well for MasterChef NZ, but not without the help of his favourite cookbook, Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Cookery by Anne Willan. Winston dreams of one day getting invited to one of Heston Blumenthal's extraordinary, themed dinners.
A 46-year-old plumber from Dunedin, Rik Moss is your typical South Island Kiwi bloke. Quiet and unassuming - that is until you ask him about venison. Good with his hands, Rik is a plumber, but after 30 years in his profession he is ready to make cooking a full-time move and would love to own a restaurant that educates patrons on where the food comes from. He is a business owner, and credits starting his own business as something that has built resilience within, and will help him with criticism from the judges.
A 24-year-old product development technologist from Auckland, Annie is bubbly, confident and a MasterChef super fan! When she isn't bingeing seasons from around the globe, she is in the kitchen experimenting with big, different and exciting new flavours. She enjoys improvising and working with what she has, but admits her weakness is time management in the kitchen, however, with an impressive food science degree under her belt, she is determined to not let that slow her down.
A 27-year-old company director from Auckland with a successful gin company under his belt, Elliot is keen to come back to his first love of cooking. His passion for food really came to life during lockdown when he started posting cooking videos online. His followers loved it and he got great joy seeing others cooking his dishes at home and hopes MasterChef NZ can help him take that to the next level.
A 44-year-old teacher from Otago, Felina's love of food is no secret. She'll go hunting, foraging or diving for the right ingredients. She and her husband set up a lifestyle block in Otago two years ago and they operate a gate-to-plate philosophy wherever possible. Whether it's making feta from her sheep's milk or diving for seafood she is passionate about sustainable food practices and utilising local and seasonal produce.
A 34-year-old nurse from Auckland, Jose's love for food started as a child in the Philippines where his parents ran a restaurant. While he went on to train as a nurse to pursue a better life, he never forgot his love of food and in particular desserts... Jose is ALL about desserts and his food dream would be to open a dessert boutique. He would love to be New Zealand's Reynold Poernomo.
With a record-breaking number of applicants, 27 cooking hopefuls are chosen to compete for a place in the MasterChef HQ in picturesque Queenstown - 16 of which will make it into the Masterchef NZ kitchen at the stunning Vingard winery.
The show premieres straight after the Dancing With the Stars NZ finale on Sunday, May 29 at 8:30pm on Three and ThreeNow and continues on Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm.