Reality TV

Why Melissa Leong will not be returning to MasterChef in 2024

Brand new judges for next season.
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It’s official, Channel 10 has announced that Melissa Leong will not be returning to MasterChef Australia for the 2024 season.

The beloved judge unfortunately can’t return to the show due to many scheduling conflicts. However, no need to worry, she won’t be disappearing from your screens completely.

Melissa was the host of Dessert Masters for its first season alongside amazing pastry chef Amaury Guichon (who you may recognise from his addictive TikTok content), and will also be featuring in SBS’s three-part series The Hospital: In The Deep End this year.

Melissa shared how being a judge on the iconic food show has just opened up more opportunities for her and grown her as a person.

“Over the past four years, MasterChef Australia has infused my life with something truly magical,” explains Melissa.

“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.”

However, not everyone understood the change and responded to her decision immediately, without the context of her decision making.

A whole new panel of judges after Channel 10 announces that Melissa Leong won’t be retuning to MasterChef in 2023.

(Credit: Channel 10)

She responded to these claims in an Instagram post by reaffirming her excitement for this new chapter.

“I get that there is going to be a bit of confusion and chaos about the ‘why’ of it all right now,” says Melissa.

“I’m here and happy to clear that up, because negative tropes draped around women who achieve something is boring, and frankly we are all better than that.”

She continued, “This is a shift I embrace with joy. One that allows everyone involved, to expand.”

“To put it plainly, I’m very fortunate to continue to be a key part of @masterchefau, yet have the space to evolve my career.”

MasterChef Australia has decided to take a new direction moving into 2024, with a mixed panel of homegrown heroes and international star chefs.

Andy Allen will be there to carry on Jock Zonfrillo’s legacy after he devastatingly passed away on April 30, 2023.

He will be joined by MasterChef alumnus Poh Ling Yeow, food critic and journalist Sofia Levin, and multi–Michelin Star award-winning chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli.

MasterChef Australia has been part of my life for over a decade. It gave me a pathway into the industry and led me to a career that I’m forever grateful for,” Andy excitingly explained.

“After an extremely difficult year in 2023, and upon reflection, the decision to return to the series is not one I took lightly.”

“But there is something special in the MasterChef Australia Kitchen, and it feels right to come back to work with the amazing production team, and to play my role in seeing the contestants do as I have done.”

Andy concluded his statement saying, “2024 will be the start of a new chapter, and it will be surreal – yet brilliant – to share this moment with my fellow judges, Poh, Sofia and Jean-Christophe.”

Poh was runner-up in the iconic show’s debut season!

(Credit: Channel 10)

Melissa also congratulated the new judges by saying, “It is with great enthusiasm and warmth that I welcome new faces Sofia, Poh, and Jean-Christophe, to this very special family, I know they will make it theirs in their own special way, as we did.”

The most anticipated new judge would have to be none other than former contestant, Poh Ling Yeow. Poh has been with MasterChef from the start, finishing runner up the TV series debut season.

“Talk about a thrilling, full-circle moment,” thoughtfully stated by Poh.

MasterChef Australia is where my food story began, so this feels like coming home. A big part of me will always be standing on the other side with the contestants and I hope when they look to me, they see proof you don’t have to win to win.”

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