Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen are the new judging panel on the hugely popular reality cooking show Master Chef. Picture: Supplied
Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen are the new judging panel on the hugely popular reality cooking show Master Chef. Picture: Supplied

Who are the new MasterChef judges?

It's a question you'd be forgiven for asking upon the announcement of the new MasterChef judges today: Who?

The three new judges are hardly household names compared to some of the people suggested since Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan departed Ten's hit cooking show in dramatic circumstances earlier this year.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new MasterChef judges:

JOCK ZONFRILLO

 

Jock Zonfrillo. Picture: Jacqui Way.
Jock Zonfrillo. Picture: Jacqui Way.

Zonfrillo is the owner and chef of three-hatted Restaurant Orana, and Bistro Blackwood in Adelaide. He was named Australia's Hottest Chef in 2018 and has hosted television shows including Nomad Chef, Restaurant Revolution and Chef Exchange, as well as appearing in the MasterChef Australia kitchen as a guest chef across three seasons.

"When I think of MasterChef Australia, I think of discovering new talented cooks with fresh ideas and creativity. There hasn't been a season yet where I haven't been surprised by just how talented some of the undiscovered cooks are, so much so, that many of them have worked in my kitchen over the years. I can't wait to get in that kitchen," he said in a statement provided by Ten today.

MELISSA LEONG

 

Melissa Leong. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Melissa Leong. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Leong is a food and travel writer, food media consultant, radio broadcaster, television presenter, MC and cookbook editor. A first-generation Singaporean Australian, she also isn't afraid to consume anything at least once.

"It goes without saying, that it is an honour to be passed the baton and asked to help bring the next chapter to life on a show like MasterChef Australia," Leong said.

"It came as a huge surprise for me, and is, without a doubt the opportunity of a lifetime. I am really looking forward to getting stuck in!"

ANDY ALLEN

 

Former Master Chef winner Andy Allen. Picture: John Appleyard
Former Master Chef winner Andy Allen. Picture: John Appleyard

Season four winner Andy Allen is a true MasterChef success story.

Since winning MasterChef Australia, Andy has travelled Australia and the world, and has become co-owner of the Three Blue Ducks, taking on the role of head chef at their Rosebery restaurant, which went on to be awarded a Chef's Hat - making Andy the first MasterChef Australia contestant to be awarded the highly sought after honour. Andy and the Ducks have since opened a restaurant in Brisbane and are soon to launch another in Melbourne.

Andy said: "I entered this competition as a contestant in 2012, somehow I won it and then I went out into the big, bad wide world of hospitality. To be asked to be a judge - and to come full circle back to MasterChef Australia - is really flattering and really special.

"I'm stoked because it means that I've done the hard work to be here. You don't ask Joe Blow to be a judge on MasterChef Australia."

 

L-R: Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo are the new MasterChef judging panel. Picture: Supplied
L-R: Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo are the new MasterChef judging panel. Picture: Supplied

The trio will take over the reins for the show's 12th season, titled MasterChef: Back To Win, debuting on Ten in 2020.

"Having watched this group create their own restaurants, their own businesses and become great chefs in their own right has been amazing. But now to see them back, pitting their knowledge against each other in the MasterChef kitchen, sets the stage for the most exciting season yet," said Zonfrillo.

Leong said: "Back To Win - it says it all, right? This is the who's who of MasterChef Australia's favourites from seasons past. This season, they have an opportunity to show everyone what they've been up to and where they are at, in their food evolution. They know how this game works, so they should be prepared to waste no time in showing us what they've got."