So last night I participated in one of the team challenges for next season. It was great fun!
This is more a review and won't spoil much, but if you don't want to know anything about next season then don't read.
They were filming in China Town in Melbourne as part of the CNY celebrations. I got back there at about 5pm as the teams were cooking, and waited around until service at 7pm. Kylie Kwong was a guest judge and Gary came and spoke to the crowd at times throughout the cook, very friendly. He soon disappeared and George arrived and took over, then closer to service time Matt arrived as well. The crowd had built quite a bit by this stage. There was no clear line of where the food would be served, so they did a countdown and dropped the barriers and everyone pretty much ran in. It was a little bit chaotic but they got the food out pretty quickly so not a long wait. I first lined up for the "Yellow team" who had Pork belly with plum sauce and a noodle salad as their dishes. One was priced $5 and one $7. The pork belly was delicious but I didn't enjoy the noodle salad, the dressing was disgusting (but I am a fussy eater). Then I went over to the red team who had fried wontons, beef noodles and a coconut pudding desert. I tried just the desert from them and it was amazing... it had many different elements on it and makes me think there is another really strong desert cook like Reynold next season to think up something like that.
By the time I had eaten the crowd had built a bit as there was a dragon going up the china town street and went past drawing a larger crowd as well. The judges bolted out to try and film some scenes of them with the crowds and the dragons. The atmosphere was amazing! We then all formed a circle around the judges as they tasted and judged the dishes. I was standing dead centre at the front directly behind the judges with cameras facing on me, so I know that I will 100% be on TV for that bit.
Overall heaps fun. I counted there were at least 7 or 8 on one team and I couldn't tell on the other so still a pretty early stage in the comp. The cast seems very young this season although there were a couple of older guys, and like last season it looked like there were more females than males.