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MasterChef New Zealand


MasterChef NZ judges revealed

Simon Gault

Ray McVinnie

Ross Burden

Ray McVinnie, Ross Burden and Simon Gault will be the judges for the local series of MasterChef, coming soon to TV ONE.

Cuisine food editor and columnist Ray McVinnie has always had a passion for food. A professional chef for many years at some of Auckland's best restaurants, McVinnie has judged local and international food awards, as well as written numerous cooking books. He is also a lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology, and is an experienced food stylist, consultant and guest chef for various restaurants and cook schools.

When asked what he would be looking for in a contestant, McVinnie says, "An ideal contestant on MasterChef New Zealand would be someone with a great love of food and eating, a well-rounded person who can appreciate and understand flavour, with a good grounding in cooking technique, who is modest and willing to learn, but with an unshakeable pride in him/herself. Someone who is meticulous in their attention to detail, and has a great deal of stamina."

No stranger to television screens, Ross Burden's successful career began after he reached the final of MasterChef UK in 1993. He was soon picked by Joan Collins to appear in a healthy eating video - an offer that the young Kiwi could not turn down - and since then has appeared in numerous cooking and travel shows, including the British and Kiwi version of Ready, Steady, Cook. Having previously owned his own catering company, Burden has cooked for the rich and famous, nobility and royalty.

The Hawke's Bay born chef loves teaching and demonstrating the art of cooking, and regularly appears at internationally renowned cookery schools such as Villa Valentina and Nairn's Cook School. Travel features largely in Burden's life - both professionally and for leisure. Frequent and extensive trips throughout Asia have re-enforced his love of the continent and its people, while repeated visits to South Africa and the like, has underscored a deep knowledge of wine and its pairing with food. Burden says he'll be looking for someone who can show their knowledge of food and flavour: "Purity of flavour, precision of cooking, and a sense of fun will all help to make them my choice for MasterChef of New Zealand."

Internationally respected master chef Simon Gault has a remarkable talent for bringing together tastes and techniques from around the world. His global experience allows him to savour in his mind the blending of Oriental with European, and produce some of the best and most innovative dishes presented in New Zealand. His many awards and international recognition attest to his superb skills. Gault says he will also be looking for someone who is passionate about, and loves food: 'Someone who will surpass all of our expectations - by more than just a teaspoon full."

The trio say they are looking for passion, talent and a willingness to learn.

"This is not just about fun. This is hopefully going to take somebody, mold them and take them into a new career," says Burden.

Simon Gault says "it's not going to be easy. Ego's important to get to the top of the game. They're going to have to dust off the flour and come back fighting."

MasterChef gives budding chefs the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop their cooking skills, be mentored by the best, and ultimately make a change in their lives.