MasterChef NZ 2022: First nine contestants revealed

  • 08/05/2022

Warner Bros Discovery is delighted to reveal 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 is set to premiere soon on Three and ThreeNow.

The first nine contestants have been revealed as follows: 

MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Alice Taylor.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Alice Taylor
A 22-year old student from Otago, Alice believes in having your cake and eating it too. Her confidence lies in her ability to whip up an indulgent dessert - from working at House of Chocolate to decorating cakes and platting up exquisite dessert pieces - she has done it all.

MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Kavi-Singh Willis.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Kavi-Singh Willis
A 46-year old insurance underwriter from Auckland, Kavi describes herself as fun, empathetic and loving, but her cooking is quite the contrast - her speciality being 'calm, fiery and confrontational' curries. Kavi credits her resilience and motivation to having immigrated to New Zealand from South Africa fresh out of university with just two suitcases and one small quality pot. 

MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Michele Beninga.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Michele Beninga
A 42-year old visual effects artist from Wellington, Michele was raised in Italy but has called Aotearoa home for the past five years. He has eaten his way all around the world but loves to come back to his Italian roots and believes his Italian palette will differentiate him in the competition. It's no surprise that his signature dish is an Italian gnocchi verdi with grana padano fondue and crispy Speck. 

MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Naomi Grace.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Naomi Grace
A 29-year old videographer from Hamilton, Naomi (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Te Arawa) is an avid storyteller who uses either film or food as her medium. She is a strong advocate for personal healing and indigenous storytelling and has found peace and comfort in cooking to overcome trauma. She hopes to stand out in the competition by fusing traditional Māori kai and Asian cuisine into modern day dishes. 

MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Dylan Fernandes.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Dylan Fernandes
A 21-year old sales executive from Auckland, Dylan is a born and bred Aucklander who calls cooking his 'sport'. He has watched every season of Masterchef and always imagined himself on the show. He's looking to upskill in the world of seafood, but what he lacks here he makes up for with his renowned stuffed chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto.

MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Farzana Rahimi.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Farzana Rahimi
As a 20-year old student from Auckland, even though Farzana is the youngest in the competition, her kitchen skills should not be underestimated. She has been cooking large and exquisite meals for her family since age 10 And feels confident her mix of Afhgani and Kiwi culture will help her stand out. Farzana hopes she can bring Afgani food and culture into the mainstream.

MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Eve Thomas.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Eve Thomas
A 23-year old sales agricultural science student from Christchurch and the oldest of five children, Eve says food is always how she remembers her family coming together to celebrate and show their love. There were no recipes in their big household and she credits her Mum with teaching her how to cook, using just what was on hand. Luckily for all of Eve’s flatmates, she is the resident cook and makes all the meals in the house.


MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Lance Meynell.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Lance Meynell
A 39-year old sales rep from Wellington and long-time foodie, Lance believes his strengths lie in using modern techniques. But as soon as the pressure heats up he has been known to create a bit of a mess in the kitchen. He's had to grow, learn and evolve post a hard divorce and is grateful for the strength it's given him. He knows his tenacity will help him in the competition.

MasterChef NZ 2022 contestant: Amberley Kennish.
Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Amberley Kennish
A 23-year old public servant from Wellington, Amberley comes to the competition with confidence and determination a double that she hopes will play to her advantage. Amberley has grown up around food and hospitality and says it is well and truly in her bones. She believes cooking is more than skill, it's about the art, and she is ready to show the judges and New Zealand what she has.


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.

Further contestants competing for the chance to be New Zealand's MasterChef winner for 2022 will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The show premieres on Three and ThreeNow soon.

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