MasterChef Judge Offends Australia (And Me) By Calling This Ingredient ‘Most Boring On The Planet’

Jean-Christophe Novelli and curry okra cooked by Sav on MasterChef Australia

MasterChef Australia judge Jean-Christophe Novelli has shook me (and a bunch of other viewers) to my CORE. According to the French chef, okra is “the most boring ingredient on the planet”. 

I love okra! If you’ve never had it before, it’s a green fruit shaped like a tube. It has little seed pods inside and is usually cooked in savoury dishes, either whole or chopped up. It’s hard to describe the taste because it’s so unique, but it has been described as having a grassy flavour, similar-ish to eggplants or green beans.

It acts as a natural thickener if you’re using it in a stew, soup or curry, or you can grill, roast or fry the fruit to get a crispy and crunchy texture. If I see it on the menu when I’m dining out, chances are I’m gonna order it.

What does the Frenchman prefer? A green bean? Please. 


This is art. (Image: Getty)

Anyway, this all came about because the MasterChef Australia contestants were tasked with a special Hong Kong-themed Lucky Dip immunity challenge. Each cook was given two random ingredients, and Savindri ‘Sav’ Perera ended up with a combo of shrimp paste and okra. 

“There’s a lot I can do with this because I’m lucky enough to know how to work with this ingredient quite well,” she said, well-chuffed with her ingredients.

Contestants were given 75 minutes to complete their cook, and Sav plated up something that looked truly delicious: a Malaysian-inspired yellow curry with crispy skin barramundi and charred okra on funky rice.

Okra curry on MasterChef Australia

This looks so DELISH. (Image: 10)

She shared a snap of her creation on Instagram after the show aired, saying: “This dish was inspired by one of my favourite restaurants in Adelaide that used to serve an amazing kingfish yellow curry with baby okra.”

“Okra really is one of my favourite things to eat and shrimp paste or anything that’s akin to a belacan is something I enjoy immensely.”

When the MasterChef Australia judges tasted the dish, Jean-Christophe admitted he wasn’t a fan of okra… but her dish may have made him a convert. 

“Okra is, for me, the most boring ingredient on the planet,” he declared. (He’s wrong). 

“But you know what? I enjoyed it and you’ve convinced me. It’s lovely, it’s cooked, it’s the right tenderness and that char? Ping! That’s superb,” he added. (He’s right. Okra supremacy!) 

MasterChef Australia’s Jean-Christophe’s okra comment sparks debate

Of course, people couldn’t help but poke fun at Jean-Christophe’s (wrong) opinion. 

“JC I still love you even if you called okra boring,” one person wrote on Instagram. 

“I’m going to have to reassess my feelings towards JC after that comment about okra,” another said on X (formerly Twitter). 

“Okra, the most boring ingredient in the world!?! I beg to differ,” a third added. 

“Omg! I love Bhindi (okra)! Your dish today looked soooo yummy Sav, I would happily eat that bowl of goodness! And funky rice! Ohhh yeahhh!” added eliminated contestant Sumeet Saigal

Savindri Sav Perera on MasterChef Australia

Our okra queen! (Image: 10)

Some admitted that they’ve had an issue with okra in the past, but perhaps it comes down to whoever’s in the kitchen.

“Good work getting okra [to be] delicious!!! I tried so many ways and [it] never worked for me,” one person commented on Instagram. 

“I am not a fan of okra at all but I could tell how delicious that dish looked. Well done, Sav! You’ve got this! We are cheering you on,” another added. 

I hope the MasterChef Australia judges will now think twice before calling another elite ingredient “boring”. The internet WILL come for you!

MasterChef Australia airs Sunday through to Wednesday at 7:30 pm AEST.

Feature image: Channel 10