“Nostalgic experience”: Scott Pickett on why Snackmasters is no piece of cake

“There’s a massive relationship between the viewer, the chef, and the snack”

Arnott’s Tim Tams, Snackbrands’ Cheezels and Allen’s Snakes are a staple of every kid’s birthday party, Christmas platter or Grandmother’s snack tin.

The snacks we treasure and love are consumed daily around the nation – but what goes into the process of making them, and could you do it?

Snackmasters aims to test just that and returns for a second season with a new lineup of Australia’s top chefs trying to recreate some of the nation’s favourite snacks.

Hosted by award-winning chefs Scott Pickett and Poh Ling Yeow and joined by Yvie Jones as the Snackmaster factory host, the series premieres on Sunday, December 4 at 7pm on Channel Nine and 9Now.

Mediaweek spoke to chef, author and television presenter Pickett ahead of the season premiere about bringing the show to life.

“We’ve really taken it up a notch this year,” Pickett said.

This season, the Snackmasters team have moved the cook-offs into a home-based studio, added more elite chefs to the competition, and upped the series from four episodes to six.

Yvie Jones, Poh Ling Yeow and Scott Pickett

“Rather than each episode just being a cook-off between the two [chefs], there are four heats, and then a semi-final and a final. So you can follow your favourite chef along the whole way, but they might get knocked out early.

“So rather than just individual, there’s actually a grand final winner of Snackmasters this year.”

Joining Pickett for hosting duties for another year is full-time artist-turned-cook, Poh Ling Yeow.

“Poh and I had a season together, and now we’re even closer, and we work better together as friends and on screen, and we know each other’s gist and sense of humour. It’s really exciting to see it all come together.”

From the classic Arnott’s Tim Tam and the hugely popular Aussie Four’n Twenty classic meat pie to a Domino’s Pepperoni, the culinary legends will have nothing but a supply of these products and their own taste buds to try to crack the secrets of the snack.

The knockout competition starts with eight highly skilled chefs, with the four winners from each heat advancing to an action-packed semi-final where two more chefs are knocked out, leaving the last two to battle it out for the honour of ultimate Snackmaster champion.

“Every snack, in its own way, surprises me because these aren’t things that chefs normally cook.”

Chefs joining this season include Adam D’Sylva from Melbourne’s, Lollo at the W Hotel, Benjamin Cooper from Chin Chin, and Laura Sharrad, runner-up on MasterChef.

“There’s a massive difference between a chef who is taking inspiration and trying to do their own take on a Cheezel or a Chicken Jumpy or a Sherbie and trying to recreate the snack exactly how every Australian knows how it tastes because we’ve grown up with all these things

“This is what I love most about the show, there’s a real sense of connection between what the chefs have to produce and then what it actually tastes like.”

Different to shows like MasterChef, regular Aussie watchers know the look and taste of the items being created, giving the show a relatable edge.

“A chef might cook a beautiful dish [on TV], but unless you go to their restaurant or they cook it for you, you don’t know. So there’s a massive relationship between the viewer, the chef, and the snack.”

Another element of the show includes ex-Goggleboxer Yvie Jones heading to the snack factories to give viewers the behind-the-scenes look into how they are really created.

Additionally, each week, a specialist judging panel of four experts from the snack factories will deliberate over each chef’s rendition.

“Two of the judges are from Allen’s and have been there 35 and 36 years. And they love snakes, and they love Sherbies – that is their life.

“It’s really interesting to see somebody whose life is about that nostalgic experience, where they want every kid or any person that has a snake to have the same snake that they had 30 years ago – the quality control, the research, and the development that goes into it is very important.”


As the host, Pickett got a say in the snacks and chefs selected for the show.

“Poh and I threw around quite a few ideas, and a few got through, and a few were a bit difficult.

“They asked us for a list of chefs that we might think would be good talent on the show. And we also gave them a list of 10 or 12 snacks, and three or four of them got through.”

Pickett says he has a deeper respect for the chefs competing.

“This really takes chefs outside their comfort zone because it’s not what they would normally cook.

“Normally, a chef would take a product or an idea or a flavour profile, or an ingredient and then use that as inspiration. The difficult thing is recreating that snack. Because anybody could do an Iced Vovo, but does it taste like the real thing?”

As Snackmasters explores the intricacies and the unexpected secrets of our favourite snacks, Pickett wants viewers to gain a deeper appreciation for the art that goes into creating the food Australians have loved for decades. 

“I hope they [the audience] understand how much care and love so many people put into their favourite iconic snacks.”

Snackmasters season two premieres Sunday, December 4 at 7pm on Channel Nine and 9Now.

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