As one of the young stars of Ten’s new series MasterChef: The Professionals, she has a skill like no other contestant.
Bonny Porter is a master lip-reader having been deaf since childhood, and during filming has listened to the instructions of renowned chef Marco Pierre White and host Matt Preston primarily using her lip-reading abilities.
She is a young girl who has worked really hard – she has the least experience yet she takes on these guys with years of experience behind them. She’s a clever girl
“Matt and Marco were very conscious of the fact that they needed to be looking at her when speaking. Her team members were always aware of this too,” said Ten executive producer Margie Bashfield.
“She’s an exceptional lip-reader, to the point where production had to be careful about talking in her line of sight in case we inadvertently gave anything away.”
The program is still in its final stages of filming in Melbourne.
Porter, now 23, was discovered to be deaf in one ear at the age of three, and by seven years old she was deaf in both ears.
She grew up in Camden and now lives in Bondi and has been a working member of the team at Rockpool Bar and Grill for a year, after completing an apprenticeship at the Park Hyatt in Canberra and working at Manly Wine by Gazebo.
As well as her skills at lip-reading, Porter wears a hearing aid, but she has not let her “hearing disadvantage” (as she describes it) get in the way of high achievement.
“It’s never been much of a hindrance. It’s been a challenge, but that’s made me stronger. I want to be a sponge. Be inquisitive and never be complacent,” she said in a statement released via Ten.
Bashfield said Porter was likely to be an inspiration to MasterChef viewers because of her cooking skills – her signature dish is spatchcock two ways, with corn puree and salad.
“You’ve got to remember that she comes from a commercial kitchen environment at Rockpool, so it’s an environment she’s comfortable with and used to working amongst. She is used to speaking up and knew that if there was anything she didn’t get she could always ask,” Bashfield said.
“No modifications were made [to the show] because she’s used to functioning in the same environment that she was in for the show.”
Bashfield said Porter was one of the younger contestants on the show, but her work ethic made up for it.
“Bonny will inspire the wider community, but not because of her hearing. She is a young girl who has worked really hard – she has the least experience yet she takes on these guys with years of experience behind them. She’s a clever girl,” Bashfield said.