Melissa Leong Won’t Be Returning to “MasterChef Australia” in 2024
In a press release, it was revealed that Leong won’t appear in the show’s 16th season when it premieres in 2024. Of course, following the tragic passing of Jock Zonfrillo earlier this year, this would leave only one current judge — Andy Allen — still on the show’s beloved judging lineup.
However, replacement judges for both Leong and Zonfrillo have also been announced by Network Ten, including that of big-name celebrity chefs and previous “MasterChef Australia” contestants.
It’s not all sour news, though. Leong is still set to host the MasterChef spin-off series “Dessert Masters”, which is set to premiere on November 12. Learn more about Leong’s reported departure, and what’s next for her, below.
Is Melissa Leong Leaving “MasterChef Australia”?
According to a press release from Network 10, the 15th season of MasterChef Australia, won by Brent Draper, was Leong’s last season as judge. She will sadly not return for the show’s 16th season in 2024.
Why Did Melissa Leong Leave “MasterChef Australia”?
Leong is leaving MasterChef Australia, but will still play a part of the MasterChef family, heading up the judging and hosting duties on the new spin-off series “Dessert Masters,” alongside co-host Amaury Guichon.
“Over the past four years, ‘MasterChef Australia’ has infused my life with something truly magical. It has provided me with life-changing experiences that have given me the courage to continue to put myself outside of my comfort zone,” Leong said in a press release.
“The great honour of growing the ‘MasterChef Australia’ family with the introduction of ‘Dessert Masters’ is not lost on me. I relish the sweet opportunity to nurture this special series alongside Amaury.”
Who Will Be Replacing Melissa Leong on “MasterChef Australia”?
Andy Allen won’t be short of company next season on the judging panel, as he’s about to have some big names stand alongside him.
Now, it was previously rumoured that Jamie Oliver, beloved celebrity chef, would be joining the lineup. We now know that’s not the case. Instead, fan-favourite contestant and OG runner-up Poh Ling Yeow, Michelin star chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and food critic and journalist Sofia Levin will be replacing Leong and Zonfrillo. This marks the first time four people have been on the MasterChef Australia judging panel since the show’s third season in 2011, where Matt Moran joined George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston.