MasterChef NZ 2022: Judges revealed as Nadia Lim, Vaughan Mabee and Michael P Dearth

  • 01/05/2022

After a seven-year hiatus, one of the world's best loved cooking shows is back in Aotearoa and Warner Bros Discovery can today reveal the judges - MasterChef NZ 2022 will be judged by previous winner and entrepreneur Nadia Lim, world renowned three-hatted NZ chef Vaughan Mabee and multi award winning restaurateur Michael P Dearth.

Lim entered as an unknown contestant on the show in 2011, going on to beat the competition and be crowned the winner. Today she is one of Aotearoa's most recognised and successful cooks.

The bestselling cookbook author is also an entrepreneur and popular TV personality, but her latest focus is on ethical and sustainable farming at her and her husband's 1200 acre farm in Central Otago.

Lim said it is an honour to be back on the show as judge

"I'm looking for someone who's got fire, inner spark, someone who knows their purpose.  Experience is one thing but attitude is everything," she said.

Michael P Dearth, Nadia Lim and Vaughan Mabee, the judges of MasterChef New Zealand 2022
(L-R) Michael P Dearth, Nadia Lim and Vaughan Mabee. Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

The first New Zealander nominated for the prestigious global awards Top 100 Chefs of the World, Mabee has been executive chef at the renowned Amisfeld in Queenstown since 2014.

His award winning food has twice earned him Chef of The Year award and this year Amisfield was named New Zealand's Restaurant of The Year

Mabee said he knows what he is looking for in MasterChef: "You want to find someone who really enjoys what they're doing, it's not a task, it's like they love creating something, they have a huge amount of drive and passion and they love doing it."

Dearth is the owner of multi award winning Auckland's Baduzzi and The Grove. In February, both restaurants received two hats each in the Good Food Awards.  

Having moved to New Zealand with his wife in 2004 from San Francisco he had a dream to open their own restaurants and has since built a reputation as one of New Zealand's top restaurateurs. 

"Some of the contestants will fail and some will have set backs, but it's the ones that can learn from our feedback that will set them apart," said Dearth.

With a record breaking number of applicants, 27 cooking hopefuls have been chosen to compete for a place in the MasterChef headquarters in picturesque Queenstown - 16 of which will make it into the Masterchef NZ kitchen at the stunning Vingard winery.

MasterChef NZ is produced by Screentime NZ for Warner Bros Discovery. The contestants competing for the chance to be New Zealand's Masterchef winner for 2022 will be revealed in the coming weeks with the show premiering on Three and ThreeNow soon.