How much do MasterChef contestants earn per episode?

The answer will absolutely shock you.
The top 24 of MasterChef Australia last season.

Get the ingredients ready, fire up the stove and prepare to be salivating at your screen because MasterChef is officially back. Which, as we’re sure you clicking on this article has you and us wondering: just how much do these new chefs earn to become reality TV culinary stars?

WATCH: A look inside MasterChef Australia 2021

With MasterChef making a return to our TV screens later today, and a whole new group of loveable chefs jumping into the pressure cooker, many avid and casual fans have been wondering: just how much do MasterChef contestants earn per episode? Well, the answer might surprise you. 

The top 24 of MasterChef Australia last season. (Credit: Ten.)

How much are MasterChef contestants paid?

Back in 2013, aka during the fifth season of the show, an old copy of the MasterChef contract – obtained by Fairfax Media and reported by Sydney Morning Herald – revealed that MasterChef contestants were earning “$630 a week while they were filming episodes in Melbourne.”

For reference, that number is just *slightly* more than the minimum weekly wage for an entry level chef of $583 per week, and if it were an annual salary, it would be an estimated $35,000 per year. According to the Fair Work Act Australia, the national minimum wage is currently $740.80 for a 38 hour week, which estimates to $41,500 before tax.

Apparently, the situation was even more dire in 2011, with News.com.au reporting that contestants were paid a mere $500 a week, which is less than half of the average wage of $1,291 at the time.

WATCH: Poh Ling Yeow is eliminated from MasterChef

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How much were past MasterChef contestants paid to come back?

Fortunately, last season’s season of MasterChef, which saw contestants from past seasons make a return, foresaw a much better result. According to Yahoo Sports, New Idea magazine reported that season one runner-up and Aussie fave Poh Ling Yeow, 48, and season three’s Hayden Quinn, 34, were earning $40,000 overall for their time on the show.

MasterChef Australia returns tonight on Monday, the 19th of April, on Channel Ten at 7:30. For everything sweet and spicy about the show and its contestants, make sure to tune into WHO

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