Well here we go again, folks. It’s MasterChef Australia time once again. The series that for so many years was The Bad Show, that suddenly took a sharp left turn last year to become The Good Show. Truly, it is utterly remarkable what jettisoning a bored Englishman, an ageing giant, and a wage thief will do.

We are now two episodes in, and our Top 24 has been locked away for the 2021 season. Unlike last year’s Back To Win, this year we’re looking at an entirely fresh and new cast, many of whom have used the lockdowns of 2020 to up their cooking game and chase an abrupt career pivot.

Who will emerge victorious, etching their name onto the hallowed Ceremonial Silver Prop Plate forevermore? And who will fall in flames along the way?

We’ve got a long season ahead of us, but it’s time to check the early form guide. Presenting, for your reading pleasure, the first MasterChef Power Ranking for Season 13.

Let’s, and I cannot stress this enough, go.

Last, by a country mile) This Fucking Guy

I don’t even care that he didn’t make it to the top 24. I have to talk about this fucken guy, who marched into Audition Round One so absolutely sure he was going to breeze into an apron that he just… decided to faff about with a half-idea dessert? And then he gave Melissa Leong – MELISSA BY-GOD LEONG – lip about it? Who is this fool. This isn’t MKR you drama-seeking flop. Get the fuck outta my beautiful show. You “don’t really fail at anything”? Guess again, dickhead. Bin. Bin bin bin.

24) Scott Bagnell

At this early point in proceedings it’s not nice or fair to rank anyone last. They’ve only just begun their journey through the MasterChef kitchen. Everyone’s put their best foot forward, and it’s got them an apron. Putting them in an arbitrary ranking isn’t right at this point, and it certainly isn’t just. However I am duty bound by the article format that I committed myself to for no particular reason. And if someone’s gotta be last, it might as well be the guy who exudes the most Youth Pastor energy. So therefore, Scott.

23) Dan Dumbrell

The man openly bragged about making Haggis Bao Buns, and even though me blood runs St Andrews blue and white, I cannae abide it. Fucken no THANKS.

22) Eric Mao

Eric is 21-years-old and previously auditioned for Junior MasterChef Australia ten years ago. I’ve been writing about this show for almost that amount of time. He was eleven then. I’m old as shit now, apparently. I don’t like this.

21) Pete Campbell

My man over here looking like… well, a tattoo artist. Which is what he was doing before MasterChef. I mean it’s a true stereotype here, isn’t it. Any joke I make doesn’t come close to fitting what he actually does better. He looks like he makes his own knives? Owns multiple pairs of those grot toe shoes? Drinks a spirulina shake at precisely 3:42am each morning as he rises to greet the fucken sun? Nope. Tattoo artist fits better. God damn it.

20) Wynona Davies

Far be it for me to be passing harsh criticism on the food being cooked in an audition episode, but “pork and cauliflower” and “lemon tart” doesn’t exactly scream “places higher than 15th” does it.

19) Amir Manoly

It’s an unfortunate by-product of introducing a cast of twenty-four people, but every year there are a handful of cooking hopefuls who I simply do not recall being in either audition episode. I could watch them both back right now and still would not be able to point them out even when they are literally on screen. I’m sure at some point they’ll get a spotlight and my dumbass colander brain will retain everyone’s name and face. But until then? Amir might as well be one of those photos that machine learning has thrown together. One of a ripe bunch of Who Are Ya’s this year.

18) Justin Narayan

Like honestly, I do not know this man. Sorry, to this man.

17) Linda Dalrymple

Whomsteth???

16) Depinder Chhibber

Nope. Sorry. Drawing a blank here.

15) YoYo Yang

YoYo! Great name. Phenomenal name. Best name in MasterChef history in a walk. Cannot, for the life of me, remember her. At all. To me, these are photos of people who have not been on TV. I’m sorry, I truly am. My brain is a pit of mush. Best of luck to YoYo and her beloved dog (??).

14) Trent Vu

My dude over here is absolutely dripping with Series Narrator energy. Thrumming with Talking Head vibes. Absolutely bursting with Gonna Awkwardly Say What’s Happening Out Loud While Looking On From The Gantry flavour. Can’t remember what he cooked though, so… here he is.

13) Sabina Newton

Ordinarily Sabina would be well ensconced in the Does She Even Go Here crowd for 2021. However, in a genius move I can only assume was aimed at me specifically, MasterChef editors were at pains to stress that she is from Tasmania, and thus I am now duty-bound to defend her with my life. Tassie forever, mainland never.

12) Maja Veit

In a twist, there are TWO Tasmanians in this year’s series, and Maja is the second of that truly blessed contingent – though she spends half her time in WA which I’ll allow this time. Interestingly enough, Maja appears to be the first MasterChef contestant (that I can remember) coming in with a German palate. Which is real interesting when you consider that, up until now, the series has been almost exclusively confined to South-East Asian, French Fine Dining, and Misc Australian Bullshit as far as cuisine regions go. So bringing that into proceedings is certainly gonna make for a unique offering as far as MasterChef goes. ‘Course there’s only so much you can do with stinky cabbage and boiled saus. So who knows.

11) Elise Pulbrook

The absolute temerity to be admitted as a lawyer on a Monday and then rock up to a MasterChef audition filming on a Friday. That is one of the all-time great each-way bets. That’s not even leaving your job, that’s a sickie. That’s calling up the boss at 7:00am and telling them you have the sniffles, then fronting up to Showgrounds for the 7:15am TV shoot call time. Honestly, you’ve gotta respect it. I mean, it’s patently nuts. But you’ve gotta respect it nonetheless.

10) Conor Curran

Let me be very clear about this: I love Conor. I would follow him to hell and back. He is a beautiful Greek angel cast down from Olympus itself to spread joy and wonderment to me, specifically, through my TV. However he’s not gonna have 30 minutes every cook to wander about the kitchen in a manic pixie fugue state. Poh could, but Poh – as we all know – is a shimmering ethereal cloud capable of being in five places at once. Conor appears to have corporeal form for now. So… I dunno, maybe get the lead out my dude.

9) Katrina Dunnett

There is but one key to understanding MasterChef: If things are going bad, put turmeric on everything. You could serve up literally anything on planet earth – a big plate of rocks; an entire copy of Infinite Jest that you’ve run through the shredder; an IOU PROTEIN note that you’ve scrawled down on a soggy bar napkin – but if you douse it in enough Big Curry flavour, it’s going to taste shithot. Judging by the whole snapper that she basically torpedo punted into the oven without even so much as sideways glancing at it, Katrina has figured that secret out.

8) Jess Hodge

Anyone willing to give ancho chillies their long-overdue and well-deserved moment in the MasterChef sun is absolutely a-o-bloody-k by me. There are too many limp, sloppy tacos in MasterChef‘s annals, and not nearly enough moles and elotes and whathaveyou. More please.

7) Tom Levick

I am genuinely curious as to what on earth is so bad about the legal profession that it drives people to become obsessive kitchen freaks. Like, on a fundamental level I understand that there’s a lot of knowledge that needs to be kept in the head at all times to operate as a lawyer, and that long hours are a drain on mental energy, and that it’s just nice to stand over a stove and idly stir a slow caramel for 45 minutes. But what on earth, beyond all that, makes lawyering so bad that it makes people commit dessert ratios to microscopic memory. I’ve got a lot on in this job at the best of times, but I don’t become Marco Pierre White in my spare time. I just drink too much and watch Grinspoon’s 1998 Homebake set on YouTube like a normal-ass person. Anyway, Tom here is real good at desserts and he seems nice.

6) Therese Lum

Every season from now until whenever the show ends, we must have a Reynold. Someone who has magically learned how to be a sugar wizard off YouTube and can do obscene things with desserts. One person, above all others, who can make dessert things look like non-dessert things. It’s a boiled egg on toast, but it’s ice cream and a biscuit. It’s two old men sitting on a bench, but it’s a mousse and some edible soil. It’s a scale model of the MCG, but it’s pudding. Enter: Therese. The Reynold of 2021.

5) Aaron Sanders

I don’t even like duck and I would eat the backside out of that plate of glory that Aaron casually slapped together in the second chance cook like it was nothing.

Seriously, come on.

Givvus.

4) Brent Draper

God, we absolutely love us a big burly tradie who loves his family something sick and spends his spare time making delicate dishes. We love that something fierce, don’t we folks? We cannot get enough of it. He’s probably gonna get teary about his adorable fam at some point and it’s gonna make us all cry too. And we bloody love it. We love that shit. A thick slab of a bloke who looks like he’s been outside since 2010 using tweezers to place delicate petals on a plate? An absolute brick shithouse with more callous than hand carefully monitoring a softly rising soufflé? A rock hard, gravel-chewing thundercunt gently resting a touille atop a panna cotta so light that even thinking about it makes it wobble? Love it. Love. It.

3) Tommy Pham

I mean it’s been two episodes and I’ve already had a complete emotional meltdown over bloody CONGEE for god sake. Delicious gluggy rice cooked in chicken stock? MOVED. TO TEARS. The week isn’t over, for crying out loud. By the time we actually eliminate someone I am going to be a sloshy puddle of piss sobbing on my living room floor. I cannot take it.

2) Minoli De Silva

Oh jesus wept, the congee knocked me for six but a cancer survivor serving a six-dish Sri Lankan feast and maintaining a radiant smile through the whole damn thing? What is this show doing to me. Why is it so wholesome. What did any of us do to deserve it.

1) Kishwar Chowdhury

God, this show, man. This bloody show. What the hell. What the dang heck. You’re telling me that even after all [gestures vaguely] that, they still managed to find a long-suffering Mum who in three words gives us the most raw and heartwrenching emotional moment in recent MasterChef history?

I mean.

I mean…

ANDY: Where have you been hiding?

KISHWAR [through tears]: Just at home.

Dig me a hole in the herb garden and bury me under the basil. I cannot cope with this. MasterChef Australia is back, and I honestly did not know how badly I needed it.

It’s good to see you again, old friend. Once more ’round the sun we go.

MasterChef Australia will air on Channel 10 at 7:30pm most nights of the week from now until the heat death of the universe.

Image: Channel 10