Contestants visited the National Gallery of Victoria’s Temple of Boom, a replica of the Parthenon, to partake in the Greek Service Challenge, with a twist.
“We want to see Greek food, but we want to see it reimagined,” one of the judges said.
This year’s MasterChef competition has had Greek flavour from the get go however, with contestant Theo Loizou.
“I’ve got the whole Greek and Cypriot community on my shoulders,” are the words Loizou proclaims, as he looks to be named the winning MasterChef.
The MasterChef kitchen may be worlds away from the worksite he knew as a sparky, but Theo Loizou couldn’t be happier to now be working with different tools of trade.
With a passion for baking bread, in 2019, after 12 years in his trade, Theo packed up his life and moved to France to follow his dream. Despite not speaking French, he landed work in a Parisienne boulangerie. Planning to stay for six months, after meeting his now partner, Theo stayed for three years, taking time to hone his baking skills before the pair relocated back to Melbourne.
Both Theo’s parents came to Australia with nothing – his mum from Greece and dad from Cyprus – they worked hard to give Theo and his sister a great life. With a deep affinity for the food and culture of his ancestry, as a young boy Theo recalls his dad bringing home his yiayia’s freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven – the best thing ever. Theo learnt from both his parents and grandparents in the kitchen over the years, before beginning to experiment himself.
Counting Anthony Bourdain, Ben Shewry, Rick Stein and Massimo Bottura among his culinary idols, Theo is a confident cook who trusts his intuition, who would rather cook by feel than follow a recipe to the letter. For Theo, it’s a case of the less direction, the better the dish.
Labelling his relationship with food as intense, Theo loves to push his limits in the kitchen. He will be showing off his bread skills and leaning into his Greek heritage wherever possible. Theo knows that hard work counts for a lot and plans to keep his head down and work hard towards his goals, showing the judges his willingness to learn.
Not one to take himself too seriously, Theo loves to joke around and outside of the kitchen, enjoys travelling and keeping fit by hitting the gym and boxing.
With his dream to work in food beyond the competition already fully formed, Theo plans to open an artisanal bakery specialising in sustainable bread, with flour and grain sourced from local farmers, using only the best possible ingredients. He’s here to make it happen.