Current and former stars of MasterChef gathered with Network Ten executives, talent and media to launch the 2013 series at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, where the new kitchen is located, last night. Judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and a slimline George Calombaris goofed around with the girls vs. boys signs that represented the show’s new weekly themed format — yesterday Gary told us how the battle of the sexes theme, which has been featured prominently in the MasterChef promos (and drawn some criticism), sets up future themes, like Italian week, Middle Eastern week and the like. Some of those themes also had dedicated food stations around the kitchen, like a stall filled with cartoon-like desserts to represent Kids week.
Last year’s winner Andy Allen mingled with 2011 series favourite Hayden Quinn, while Chrissie Swan made the event a mother-daughter affair by bringing her two-month-old baby, Peggy, along for the child-friendly night. The new group of contestants were also on hand for the launch — you can get to know them when MasterChef returns to TV on Sunday night.