Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris always wanted to travel to Japan. In fact, some time ago, during his stint on Far Flung with Gary Mehigan, Mehigan even tweeted saying that he would love to go to Japan and Africa. Calombaris is also excited to visit Japan, as he has never been there before. He said, “I’ve heard so much about it. The food, the culture, the people – I haven’t been and I can’t wait to see it all for myself.” The MasterChef Australia judge has finally fulfilled his dream, and is in Japan to shoot for the special Japan week for the reality show.
For Japan week, they will explore the capital, Tokyo, and the surrounding regional areas. The MasterChef judges are enjoying themselves by indulging in the best Japanese dishes. They have called a couple of their chef friends, including Shannon Bennett, and got a list of the eateries that serve the best sushi, tempura, sashimi, ramen, and yakitori.
Why “MasterChef Australia” in Japan?
The tour is sponsored by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office in partnership with Qantas. JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director Kana Wakabayashi says that there is no better country to host MasterChef Australia than Japan. She also stated that there are more restaurants with Michelin stars in Tokyo than anywhere else in the world, and that Japan is globally recognized as a paradise for food lovers.
Tokyo has around 227 Michelin-starred restaurants, and she believes the show will inspire more people to visit Japan to explore and experience the food culture. Japan’s traditional dietary culture, Washoku, is a part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. For the first episode of Japan week, MasterChef Australia season 9 will start filming at the 1,000-year-old Sensoji Temple. MasterChef Australia 2017 contestants will face new culinary challenges on this tour.
What the “MasterChef Australia” Judges Have to Say
“For us to go anywhere there has to be an amazing food culture and Japan has it,” Matt Preston says. Traditional Japanese cuisine makes use of the freshest ingredients. The contestants get to experiment with their creativity as they will prepare Japanese dishes under the guidance of Japanese chefs.
All three judges are eager and looking forward to taste the amazing dishes that the MasterChef contestants will prepare. Mehigan said, “The contestants will definitely be out of their comfort zones.” He continued,“I’m excited because when you give them a whole different pantry of Japanese ingredients then all of a sudden you’ll get different dishes.” With people becoming more health-conscious, Preston feels this is the right time to emphasize the healthy Japanese food culture.
Calombaris loves to travel to new places. Not because he is fond of traveling, but because he likes to experience the food culture. Food helps him learn about the culture of a place and people. On his Japan trip, he would like to learn about new ingredients, and find ways to incorporate them into his cooking.
Channel TEN’s MasterChef Australia will air on the WIN Network this spring.
Ewart, P., “Celebrity Travel with George Calombaris,” Escape Travel, June 13, 2016;
“Japan National Tourism Organization takes MasterChef Australia to Japan,” ETB Travel News, March 27, 2017;
Vickery, C., “Channel 10’s MasterChef Australia is turning Japanese, filming new season in Tokyo,” News, March 25, 2017;