Great cook-off mix includes Far North Queensland talent
SO much for the food capital of Australia MasterChef may have moved to Melbourne but it's taking half of Sydney with it.
Twelve of the 18 chefs competing in MasterChef: The Professionals are from NSW.
Four will come from Queensland kitchens, including two chefs who hail from the Far North.
Masterchef: The Professionals host Marco Pierre White has been impressed with private chef Anthony Bantoft, who began his career in Cairns as a 15-year-old apprentice.
"Anthony has a big heart, he has a big personality and his flavours are big," White said.
Of Torres Strait Islander Kiah Blanco he said: "Kiah might not have the most experience and he might not have the greatest technical ability, but his want for knowledge and his want to succeed is enormous."
They will go head-to-head against Victoria's two contestants, Kylie McAllester and Michael Demagistris.
None of the competitors are South Australian natives, but Byron Bay's Luke Southwood has strong ties to the Barossa after working with Maggie Beer at her Pheasant Farm restaurant.
West Australian Rhys Badcock, 29, has previously worked at Dunk Island, off Mission Beach.
Unlike the original series, which sees amateur cooks competing in the TV kitchen, MasterChef: Professionals pits trained chefs against each other in a battle for culinary supremacy.
Demagistris, 31, is a former head chef of the famous Jacques Reymond and currently in charge of the Sorrento Golf Club kitchen.
"Jacques Reymond taught me the finer side of cooking. He ignited the fire in my belly," he said, before adding that competing on a reality show had to be easier than cooking for 150 hungry golfers.
The father-of-two said he applied for the TV show to lift his profile and work with internationally-acclaimed chef, Marco Pierre White.
"Wow, what an honour to meet him. I'm very excited to be working with him," Demagistris said.
s McAllester, 27, is studying nutrition but has worked as an apprentice to George Biron and at One Fitzroy Street. McAllester and her fiance, Ben Bound, have also run their own restaurant in Queensland.
"It's a killer opportunity," she said.
"I have a unique style of cooking focusing on food as medicine and encouraging individual reconnections with food and positive eating."
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Talent: Masterchef The Professionals Queensland contestants Kiah Blanco, Rhett Willis, Matthew Mckenzie, Anthony Bantoft.