It’s down to the wire. The MasterChef New Zealand contestants have cooked, chopped, filleted and occasionally cried their way through the series – and while many of this year’s contestants say the show has changed them, they aren’t alone.
“MasterChef has a huge effect on people all over New Zealand – it’s really far-reaching, which for me is what it’s for,” says Simon, who was on stage at the Wellington Food Show earlier this month.
“Hundreds of people came to watch and I had an omelette competition with a girl who couldn’t be older than eight – and she totally beat me!
How awesome is that?
“That’s what I love about this show – it’s making people enjoy getting in the kitchen. Seeing other people love cooking makes me happy.”
While the early episodes saw the failures you’d expect from a reality cooking show, the standard of the dishes has been extraordinary.
“Right from the get-go, I’ve looked at the show from a contestant’s point of view. And although everyone who gets to work with the judges has had a huge opportunity, they go through so much more than you could ever see on the actual show,” says Brenton.
“Cooking fine dining, like the final three had to do last week, is incredibly hard – the amount of components that go into making a dish is mind-blowing. Every one of them did great, because that kind of pressure wouldn’t have been much fun.”
For Brenton, though, there has always been one standout.
“No matter what’s been thrown at him, Aaron has always kept his cool – which will have been very annoying for the other two,” he says.
“When he was being praised for doing so well last week, Kelly and Paula’s faces said it all – they never expected any different.”
MasterChef New Zealand screens TV One, Sundays, 7.30pm.