He strides into the new Melbourne MasterChef headquarters like Caesar returning from battle. There’s a confidence, an arrogance about him that is unquestioned and completely acceptable. As he walks past the photos of signature dishes prepared by his crop of professional charges each goes out accompanied by a thud as if he’s some sort of culinary Dementor. The group part to let him walk through the middle of them & his gaze never falters. They are ignored. But when he addresses them you can feel the hairs on their neck bristling with anticipation and expectation. The contestants think they know what’s about to hit them, but they’re just so wrong. He is Marco Pierre White, and he wants to spend a little time with them.

MasterChef The Professionals is here and fans of the franchise rejoice: it’s very, very good.

While MPW & Matt Preston (Lord Preston, if you don’t mind) run the show – and it’s straight into it from episode one – somehow the producers have managed to find a crop of 18 professional chefs almost all with incredible back stories. It’s a veritable roller coaster just finding out who each of them are and it’s all delivered suitably throughout the episode. Coop, Anthony, Rhys, Bonny, Akuc. So many good back stories.

There’s no pulled punches, either. The group are told very early what they will and won’t do, and what MPW will and won’t accept. Ch10 have built him up for this series and he delivers en pointe.

Across the series will be all the standard team challenges, individual immunity challenges and elimination challenges as you’d expect and the standards surrounding them are suitably high given the experience these chefs come with. No failed snow eggs or V8 cakes here – it’s all or nothing. There is plenty of fun for live-tweeters and recappers too, with everything being so serious the series again lends itself to joyous lampooning and satire.

Yes it’s more of the same from Shine Australia, and that’s exactly what long time viewers of the show will devour. Can. Not. Wait.

MasterChef The Professionals – premieres Sun 20 January 7:30pm, Ch10.
Screens Sun/Mon/Tue each week.