MasterChef appears to have its first controversy for 2012 with news today that Audra Morrice has her own catering company, Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that her profile lists her as a NSW account manager, but that she has participated as a contestant at the discretion of the producers.
Rules for the 2012 season include the following:
9. All MasterChef contestants must be amateurs, if you have previous professional or semi-professional kitchen experience that the producers of MasterChef deem could create an unfair advantage (at their entire discretion), you will not be eligible. As a non-exhaustive guide for professional or semi-professional activity that would preclude participation as a contestant on MasterChef, including but not limited to the following examples: -
a) If you have ever worked full-time in a kitchen, as a cook, chef or in food preparation;
b) If you have earned money or payment of any kind from preparing food and/or cooking fresh food in a professional kitchen environment i.e. restaurant, café, take-away etc. in a full time, part time, casual or contract role for a total of more than six weeks in the last 15 years;
c) If you have taught cooking classes or have done cooking demonstrations or food preparation in any capacity whether it is on a casual, part time, full time or contract basis in the last 15 years;
You will not be eligible.
But, if you have worked in (i) food service (as distinct from food preparation) in restaurants or (ii) food service coupled with very basic food preparation such as making sandwiches or working in so called ‘fast food’ restaurants , this will generally not be considered professional or semi-professional food preparation experience that would exclude you from participation.
10. Your main source of income cannot come from preparing and cooking fresh food in a professional environment (e.g. restaurant, hotels, canteens etc).
A Shine Australia spokesperson told the newspaper, “Audra was upfront with producers regarding Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen. Her full-time employment was as a senior account manager with AAPT and this was a home-based hobby reserved for family and friends.”
Audra’s Gourmet Kitchen has promoted itself as “From my kitchen to your table” catering “seasonal, fresh and wholesome meals delivered directly to your doorstep” including with gift vouchers available for purchase.