You can take the contestant out of the cooking show, but you can’t take the cooking show out of the contestant.
Justine Schofield, veteran of the first ever series of MasterChef, took some time off from writing cookbooks and running her own cooking show to return to MasterChef as a guest judge this week.
“I’m used to being a contestant, but it’s nice to be on the other side,” she says. “Now I know how George, Gary and Matt do it – they eat all day and they truly have a great job.”
Justine will set a Reinvention Challenge for the aspiring chefs, where contestants must put their spin on a classic dish - Duck à l'Orange.
“I could just see the fear in their eyes, I almost had tears for them it was so overwhelming,” she says. “The contestants are brilliant, they are beautiful, lovely people and they are super talented this year.”
Justine is no stranger to cooking shows. Her show Everyday Gourmet with Justine Schofield is currently in its fifth season on TEN, with a sixth just around the corner. She hosts the cooking show and focuses on achievable, simple home cooked recipes.
“We sat down and decided our aim for the show was for people to actually do the recipes when they get home from work,” she says. “It’s so fulfilling when someone makes your dish and they tag you on Facebook or Instagram, it’s just so lovely to see.”
Between takes she’s also whipping up a cookbook. Untitled for now, she wants the book to house multicultural recipes that are fast, fresh and easy.
“The whole concept is to answer the question – ‘what am I going to have tonight, what’s not going to take too long?’” she says. “For now it’ll be an array of different foods from different cultures that have influenced my food, like my Italian and Greek neighbours growing up and my Mum’s French influence.”
She says MasterChef helped propel her culinary career forward and gave her the confidence to front her own television show.
“Going onto a reality show like MasterChef forces you to really come out of your shell. What I really loved was that my cooking skills and confidence went from pretty good to really good in a small amount of time.”
Check out Justine’s show Everyday Gourmet here.
See what the other members of the MasterChef family are up to!