Fate of MasterChef Australia’s 2024 judging panel is confirmed after they joined the cooking show in huge shake-up

Darrsh Clarke, 31 – Management Consultant, WA

Darrsh’s love of food and his culinary journey has been inspired by his late father, who was a chef in an Indian restaurant. 

Darrsh has represented Western Australia on the basketball and volleyball courts, which he hopes will give him an edge in the MasterChef kitchen as he plans to pursue his dreams of opening a fusion bar and restaurant.

Gillian Dinh, 31 – Lettering Artist, NSW 

Gill’s cookery has been influenced by her mother Doreen and her beloved late Nonna Lina, as well as her late father Tommy, who taught her to trust her palate.

Inspired by great chefs including Luke Nguyen, Josh Niland and Dan Hong, Gill hopes to bring big flavours to MasterChef.

James Holmes, 38 – Primary School Teacher, WA

Having grown up in England, James love of cookery has long been inspired by his travels around the globe.

He is a father to kids Benji, aged seven, and Goldie, three, and is determined to show his kids how to embrace a new challenge.


Josh Clarke, 27 – Coffee Roaster, QLD

Josh, who grew up in New York, credits his Irish mother Caroline and Jamaican father Jason for inspiring his love of cookery.

After backpacking around the globe, Josh has sampled food from all over the globe, and also met his now-wife Laura in Byron Bay on his travels. 

Taking inspiration from Roy Choi, Andy Hearnden and Matty Matheson, Josh hopes to impress with his Spanish-influenced food.

Juan De La Cruz Torales Villarreal, 39 – Board Game Designer, NSW 

Born in Argentina, Juan hopes to impress the judges with his Latin American flavours.

Looking up to Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann, Juan will bring his signature energy to the show. 

Lachlan Whittle, 34 – Landscape Gardener, VIC

A doting father, Lachlan hopes to leave his mark on the competition for his daughter Lily, two.

Lachlan sadly lost his mother Jan to cancer late last year and recently discovered that he has the genetic, degenerative brain condition Huntington’s Disease and is determined to live life to the fullest.

Lourdes Leschen, 22 – Marketing Coordinator, VIC

With her mother Laly and Yiayia Ana Maria hailing from Catalonia, Lourdes has heavy Spanish influences in her cooking.

She always explores new cookbooks and hopes her broad palate will be an asset on the show.

Nat Thaipun, 28 – Barista, Vic

Nat, an Australian-born Thai woman, grew up around food as her mother Nutsiree ran a Thai restaurant in Melbourne.

She has worked as a barista in Switzerland, Japan and New Zealand over the past seven years, and is now ready for a new challenge.

Snezana Calic, 40 – Financial Services, VIC

Snezana was born in Croatia and moved to Serbia as a child and is influenced by Mediterranean and Serbian flavours.

Hoping to change her career path with the show, Snezana dreams of running her own rural, home-style café. 

Stephen Dennis, 62 – Tour Guide, QLD

Stephen has dreamt of joining MasterChef for 16 years and is the oldest contender of the 2024 series.

A self-taught cook, Stephen’s favourite cuisines are Japanese and French and he hopes to impress in the MasterChef kitchen. 

Sumeet Saigal, 46 – NSW

Growing up in Bangalore, India, Sumeet has fond memories of watching her parents host dinner parties for their friends.

Her biggest influence was her paternal grandfather Darji, and she hopes to show how versatile Indian food can be on MasterChef. 

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