It’s a Channel 10 ratings winner that has nothing to do with immunity pins and elimination challenges.
Popular cooking show MasterChef Australia has clocked up more than 173,000 free meals for those in need over the past 12 months through its partnership with not-for-profit food rescue organisation SecondBite.
It’s an audience reach judge Jock Zonfrillo is “very proud” to be a part of, especially after recently visiting the SecondBite warehouse in Melbourne for the first time.
“It’s crazy when you look at the amount of food that comes into the warehouse and how little is wrong with it,” Zonfrillo said.
“There is quality fruit and vegetables getting sent out to various centres to make meals. The volunteers sift through the pallet deliveries that come in from MasterChef or Coles … then from there it goes out to the centres.
“It’s a great system and there’s a real high energy out there. Everyone is there voluntarily, doing something that’s good for the community and for people they don’t know who are in much less fortunate situation than they are.”
One of the most asked MasterChef questions on Google ‘what happens to all the leftover food from the show?’ and Zonfrillo said it may surprise people to learn that despite frequently replenished fresh food supplies on the show, waste is minimal.
“We do what’s called the crew pantry where the crew nominate a charity to give to and put a donation into the jar then they take whatever they want from the crew pantry,” he said.
“What’s left after that goes to SecondBite. Then there’s the waste. We’ve got a very fine composting machine which turns food waste into compostable material that goes into the MasterChef garden.”
SecondBite co-founder and director Simone Carson said MasterChef had been donating surplus food from its kitchens since 2013.
“We rescue food and redistribute it free of charge to over 1300 charities over Australia … and MasterChef is a very significant relationship for us,” She said.
“The quality of their food is always phenomenal and they lend to the very important work we’re doing in ending waste and ending hunger.”
One in five Australians are affected by food insecurity, meaning they don’t have access to healthy and nutritious food, according to a 2020 SecondBite impact report, and things are expected to worsen over winter.
“Following droughts, bushfires, floods and a pandemic, nine out of 10 agencies we work with have reported moderate to major impacts on their food relief programs,” Ms Carson said.
“Winter is a particularly hard time for many Australians who have to make the decision between heating or eating. Food is expensive and you can never underestimate to value of sharing a meal in the company of other people.”
SecondBite’s Winter Appeal to raise funds for one million meals to feed Australians in need runs until the end of July. With $1 providing enough food for five meals, every donated dollar counts.
To help, visit www.secondbite.org
Watch MasterChef tonight, 7.30pm on Ten.
Originally published as What happens to all the leftover food on MasterChef