BYRON Bay chefs Luke Southwood and Rhys Badcock will be stirring the pot in the new series of MasterChef: The Professionals, which 'cooks off' tomorrow night.
Both men returned home to the North Coast this week after months of filming, but they're not revealing any secrets about the show.
The series, hosted by food critic Matt Preston, pits qualified chefs against each other.
They'll be mentored by acclaimed chef, Marco Pierre White.
Luke said it was an honour to work with him.
"I'm tired and excited, because this has been quite a journey," he said.
"It was such an incredible experience and I really gave it everything; I took the bull by the horns.
"Being on MasterChef is a once in a lifetime experience.
"We were definitely removed from our comfort zones.
"I'm excited for people to watch the show - we've put our hearts and souls into it."
Luke, 43, was head chef at Dish restaurant in Byron Bay and worked as catering manager at Sanctuary Byron Bay.
But in 2010 he was involved in a horrific car accident and hasn't been able to work since.
"I've been recovering," he said.
"I wanted to go on MasterChef to prove to myself that I could still cook."
Luke trained in Spain, where he lived for six years, and although his cooking style is very Spanish influenced, he also likes to make the most of local ingredients from Northern Rivers.
"The produce that we have available in the Byron area is second to none," he said.
Fellow Byron resident, Rhys Badcock, 29, divides his time between the North Coast and his job as head chef on the Kimberley Quest, a luxury cruise boat.
He did his apprenticeship at Driftwood Estate and has worked at Cape Lodge, Dunk Island and Bespoke in Brisbane.
"MasterChef was so challenging, but so rewarding," he said.
"It was mentally straining.
"But it was something I never imagined doing, so I thought I had nothing to lose by giving it a go.
"I was stoked; I had a ball."
Cheer 'em on
MasterChef: The Professionals starts on Sunday at 7.30pm on Channel Ten and runs Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.
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