“It’s great, obviously the new judges had big shoes to fill but I think they absolutely nailed it,” Hayden told HuffPost Australia.
“Obviously I sort of felt we’re more peers than judges and contestants.”
Channel 10. ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen
Having worked with Melissa in the past at ‘Delicious’ magazine and collaborated with Andy as well, Hayden said the familiarity of the new panel helped, though all three judges got along with the whole cast.
“It was more complementary, a more everyone working together sort of setup,” he said about the dynamic between judges and contestants.
“So it wasn’t like us and them. It’s like everyone working together to come up with a good outcome and epic TV show.”
Sam Tabone via Getty Images. Previous ‘MasterChef’ judges George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan
Hayden’s comments come after fellow contestant Chris Badenoch said the show eventually became more about Gary, George and Matt and less about the food when they were judges.
“I think the show desperately needed new judges. I thought the show became about the old guys and less about the contestants and less about the food as years went on,” Chris told HuffPost Australia.
“They almost became caricatures of themselves.”
After being eliminated from the cooking show on Sunday night, Hayden said it was the real “twist” to end ‘Twists Week’ when judge Jock Zonfrillo informed the stars that Ben Ungermann had left the competition due to a personal matter.
“Yeah bit of a twist, hey? It was a real shock for us because we had no idea, obviously,” he told HuffPost Australia.
“We turned up and Ben wasn’t there and there was a bit of confusion, and then we heard exactly what you heard on TV last night and that’s pretty much it, that he’s not coming in.
“I don’t really know much more than that, to be honest.”
‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ continues at 7:30pm on Channel 10.