Sofia Levin on MasterChef

Sofia Levin says her MasterChef judging role is about so much more than “cooking and eating”

Plus, she shares how her judging will be different from Andy, Poh and Jean-Christophe's

Food critic and journalist Sofia Levin is stepping up to the plate as a judge on MasterChef 2024. 

During an interview with 10 Play, she called the new position “probably the ultimate gig in food in Australia — if not the world”.

“It’s pretty incredible to be part of not just the judging panel but the entire competition and the history of the competition because it’s just so deeply loved,” she continued.

Sofia will judge this year’s dishes alongside newcomers Poh Ling YeowJean-Christophe Novelli and MasterChef veteran Andy Allen.

Find out more about MasterChef Australia 2024 judge Sofia Levin.

What did Sofia Levin do before MasterChef?

Sofia Levin has been a journalist and reviewer for fifteen years. She launched her website and newsletter Seasoned Traveller in 2020.

The new MasterChef judge initially studied a course unrelated to food, but decided her passion for cooking was something she wanted to follow.

“I was already a year and a half into another degree and I switched up some subjects after a trip overseas, of which the turning point was being in a night market in Marrakesh,” she explained. “Just being surrounded by all the incredible sights and smells and a culture that felt, to me, so foreign but simultaneously so welcoming.

“I just wanted to be able to do that somehow every day, or some version of that,” Sofia continued.

“I’m always driven by finding out about and eating the stuff that’s going to feel more like an experience and, for me, that’s anything that you previously haven’t had before,” she added.

What is Sofia looking for with the contestant’s dishes?

Sofia’s standpoint in the judging team won’t necessarily involve looking at the technical aspects of the dishes that the contestants create.

“To be part of something that is so inherently food-related… it’s just so big… and when I say ‘food-related’ yes, it’s about the cooking and eating, but I think it’s also about how people connect over food.”

“I try and think of it in restaurant review terms, so from something as simple as the body language when they’re approaching, to the explanation they give of what their dish is and what it looks like,” she explained.

She explained that the other three judges have more experience than her in regards to the finer details that come with making complex dishes.

“All those first impressions I take into account, not necessarily more than the others but I feel like Poh, Jon-Christophe, and Andy probably come at judging from more of a chef-y point of view because that’s their area of expertise,” Sofia said.

“I’m more diner/restaurant critic, so it’s anything from the expectation that the contestant sets, to how that matches what we eat and experience, through to just how delicious it is.”

MasterChef Australia 2024 premieres on Monday, April 22 at 7:30 pm on 10 and 10Play.

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