What makes MasterChef Australia so special to you?
Well frankly, MasterChef Australia is the greatest food show on Earth. It’s the Top Gear of cooking shows. It’s as simple as that. And to be invited onto the show is without question one of the greatest privileges within our industry.
Has appearing on MasterChef prompted you to reflect on your own journey as a chef?
No, because it’s not about me, it’s about the contestants and their journey. What’s nice is being given the opportunity to share your knowledge with younger people. A lot of those contestants are trying to enter our industry and so to assist them on that first level, entering the professional world, is a great privilege.
Without giving too much away, can you give a quick preview of Marco Week this year?
What I’d like to say is that this year’s contestants are the strongest ever. And as usual, we do the Mystery Box, Invention Test, Service Challenge, Pressure Test. It’s better than it’s ever been. MasterChef Australia is getting better every single year; it gets more and more interesting every year.
Without revealing the ingredients, can you give us a sneak peek at the Marco Mystery Box?
It contains, without question, the most versatile of meats. There is no excuse to produce a weak dish.
In terms of food trends, does something like meat and three veg ever go out of fashion?
If you think about it, food never really goes out of fashion. It just changes. But the foundation is still classical. It’s like in Australia they like meat and three veg and that’s it. So, do meat and three veg with a twist.
Do you have any tips for contestants when you see them start to struggle?
If you’re struggling you’ve really got to take a step back and recompose yourself. You have to teach yourself to absorb pressure. The challenges are quite tough and you have to be able to absorb the pressure. If you don’t, you’ll crumble.
What’s got you excited about the current foodie scene in Australia?
The food in Melbourne in particular is sensational. I’ve been to restaurants like Tipo 00, I’ve been to Anada on Gertrude Street, and Flower Drum. I went to Guy Grossi’s new wine bar Ombra which is beautiful.
If you choose to eat only sweet or savoury food for the rest of your life, which would you choose and why?
Savoury, because I don’t really have a sweet tooth to be quite honest.
What’s your favourite cooking smell?
Oh lots! When you’re roasting a chicken it smells delicious. When you’re cooking bacon for breakfast it’s sensational. When you’re making fresh coffee or baking bread. The list is endless. I can’t possibly say which is my favourite scent. When you walk through the streets of Paris early in the morning and smell the baguettes or croissants. It’s all the great senses let’s be honest. That’s why the beauty of eating is the smell of food.
What about MasterChef Australia still has audiences tuning in season after season?
It’s exciting. It gets better and better every year. The thing is, when MasterChef comes to the end, viewers can’t wait for it to come around again. They miss it.
Tell us a secret that Marco fans don’t know...
I’m an introvert by nature.