A foodie ratings battle will heat up tonight between TVNZ 2 and Three, with the Australian version of MasterChef coming in hot in the same timeslot as Three's rebooted Nadia Lim-led MasterChef NZ.
MasterChef Australia is one of TVNZ 2's highest rating shows of the year, so all eyes will be on the viewership results of both shows.
MCA Kiwi contestant Matt Landmark, welcomes the network and transtasman rivalry, saying any way to get the public behind the struggling hospitality sector will be hugely beneficial. He's already a fan favourite across the Ditch and some MCNZ contestants are following his journey on social media.
MCA has a spin on the usual series with Fans & Faves, which sets 12 of the best winners and contestants of MCA against 12 firm fans of the show, of which Landmark is definitely one, in heated kitchen cook-offs.
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Landmark played the Kiwi kai card to wow the Aussie judges, channelling his Kiwi roots by experimenting with deep-fried food variations for an "immunity pin" challenge. (An immunity pin played at the right moment can impress the judges and save a contestant from elimination). Landmark experienced a dose of culinary translation confusion in the kitchen around what the Aussies call a "jaffle", which is their name for a sealed toasted sandwich.
Landmark says he is immensely proud to represent New Zealand on a premier food show like MasterChef Australia.
"It was incredibly intimidating at the beginning and became incredibly fun to work against some great MasterChef Australia legends," he says. "I've done my best to make the people of Aotearoa proud."
He's already eyeing the Kiwi version, asking Spy: "Does being on MasterChef Australia exclude me from auditioning for the next MCNZ?"
The 28-year-old fell in love with cooking when he moved to Melbourne from Wellington with partner Tamara three years ago. Experiencing the food scene in Victoria inspired the wannabe chef into taking cooking seriously.
No matter how the cards fall for him on MCA, Landmark wants to eventually open his little slice of hospitality heaven in either Victoria, Wellington, or Queenstown.
"Wellington has a food scene I fell in love with, a city that started me on my food journey. I also absolutely love the food scene in Queenstown as well. I think locals and tourists have an appetite for a finer food scene, similar to Melbourne."