“Throwing together 12 contestants that have been here before and have gone out into the world and achieved their own sense of self within the world of food – then throw in 12 superfans who have grown up watching the show and are really very sophisticated in what they can achieve. That’s an interesting dynamic,” Melissa told WHO.
“I think for the returning contestants, they are invigorated by that rush of new blood. And for the brand new superfans, they are really working with people who have been their heroes and who they aspire to be,” she added.
“You see a lot of incredible food, you see a lot of personal, individual styles being struck very early, and that’s something that doesn’t happen for a long time with people who are trying to find their identity in the kitchen. It’s really a testament to the quality of [the contestants].”
With the competition as fierce as this, the pressure is officially on for the seasoned winners and the fresh contestants alike to come out on top.
Already there seem to be a few names that have risen to the top as the bookies’ favourites’ to win, or make it pretty far in the competition at the very least.
Sportsbet has season 7 winner Billie McKay as the one who’s tipped to be the last remaining favourite in the competition, with her odds of winning at $1.30.
Fellow favourites Julie Goodwin and Tommy Pham are sitting in second and third, with their odds of making it towards the end at $4.75 and $10.00 respectively.
As for the fresh-faced fans, Keyma Vasquez Montero is sitting on odds of $1.40 at being the last one standing in the competition.
She’s followed by Daniel Lamble, who is sitting at $3.60 on Sportsbet, and coffee specialist Harry Tomlinson who has odds of $5.00 at making it all the way.
The bookies also seem to think it’s the favourites who will take the win this season, with their odds at $1.17 and $1.20 on Sportsbet and Tab, respectively.