Celebrity chef takes over MasterChef set in shock move
Gordon Ramsay is set to take over MasterChef Australia: Back to Win.
In a shock move, Channel 10 hired the famed celebrity chef to host the first week of its cooking show reboot.
The surprise deal means new judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong, and Jock Zonfrillo get crumbs, with far less airtime than predecessors Matt Preston, George Calombaris, and Gary Mehigan.
Ramsay, who hosts the US version of MasterChef, dominates the premiere of Back to Win - seen exclusively by the Herald Sun.
Ten decided to shore up the new season by getting 24 past contestants including Poh Ling Yeow, Hayden Quinn, Dani Venn and Callum Hann to return.
Adding Ramsay to the mix was designed to ease the burden on the new judges and freak out competitors.
"When Gordon became available, schedules were adjusted to ensure production could have him for all of the first week," Ten executive producer Rick Maier said.
"This is an elite group of contestants so it was clear we needed to let them know early on that the standard of challenges would be high.
"The contestants may have thought they were mentally prepared to return to the kitchen but they had no idea they were going straight back in the deep end.
"The look on their faces when they see Gordon looming at the top of the kitchen is unforgettable."
Experts say week two - with no Ramsay - will be crunch time for MasterChef: Back to Win. That is when Allen, Leong, and Zonfrillo need to step up.
"The new judges have to be as good as Preston, Calombaris, and Mehigan - they cannot in any way be clunky or awkward," media analyst Steve Allen said.
In another shock, it is revealed in the first episode that there will only be one Immunity Pin handed out this season.
MasterChef Australia: Back to Win premieres Monday April 13 on Channel 10.
Originally published as Celebrity chef takes over MasterChef set in shock move