It’s wholesome and heartwarming, but does Masterchef Australia pay its contestants properly?

Each year, a host of talent walks through the kitchen doors so it would make sense that contenders are compensated for all of the blood, sweat and tears (all, literally) that they pour into the challenges.

Well, as it turns out the show is more a labour of love than a lucrative venture, because the weekly pay for a Masterchef Australia contestant is only a little more than minimum wage.

masterchef australia
The MasterChef Australia cast are paid little more than minimum wage. Source: Network Ten.

In 2011 – two years after the show launched in Aus – the participants were paid $500. As per, this was less than half of the average wage at the time ($1,291).

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that by 2013 producers had upped the MasterChef contestants’ pay, shelling out a weekly sum of $630.

However, while contestants may not receive large week-to-week compensation, they do receive a handsome payout if they are crowned the MasterChef champion.

Notably, 2019 winner Larissa Takchi was awarded a whopping $250,000 (!!!) after taking out the dub.

Obviously, the show also has the potential to act as a launchpad for contestants to establish lucrative careers in the food industry. Many go on to release cookbooks, set up restaurants, or even appear on other reality TV shows (or become TikTok famous, à la Khanh Ong).

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Is MasterChef Australia Real?

MasterChef Australia contestants are paid pretty poorly for their time on the show and you might be left to question; is it a chef’s salary they are receiving, or an actors?

As MasterChef Australia: Foodies vs Favourites gets underway, we’re reminded just how talented the cooks are when they whip up dishes out of thin air.

Or do they?

is masterchef real
One MasterChef insider reveals just how authentic the hit cooking show is. Source: Network Ten.

A production source from the hit cooking show told So Dramatic! With Megan Pustetto that every meal is “actually approved a few days before” they’re made in the challenges!  Sorry, what?! 

“[They] are cooked by Channel 10 chefs first so they can make sure the meal will ‘suit and taste’ for the episode,” the source said in episode 89 of the pod.

masterchef au judges
The MasterChef contestants’ meals are actually cooked days before the judges taste them! Source: Network Ten.

They also added that the chef-made meals are also what we see in photographs featured in the episodes.

Our entire lives are a lie! Just when we thought we could get away without being manipulated by this wholesome show, the producers have us fooled.

Want even more goss? Listen to episode 176 of the So Dramatic! podcast with Megan Pustetto below!

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