If you’re a fan of MasterChef Australia, then you’re in for a treat in 2020. The show is back, and bigger than ever, with three brand-new hosts to tantalise your tastebuds.
The new hosts include a travel writer, celebrity chef, and a former MasterChef Australia winner! According to the broadcasting company behind the show, the updated lineup will help to reinvigorate the TV show in time for its 12th season.
Travel writer Melissa Leong said that her position on the show marks the “biggest news” in her career to date. Andy Allen, who won the fourth season of MasterChef in 2012, said that he was “stoked” to be returning to the MasterChef Kitchen.
Introducing Melissa Leong
The first new addition to MasterChef Australia in 2020 is Melissa Leong, a dedicated food and travel writer who is known for her claims that she’ll “eat anything once.”
Leong is the acclaimed author of a total of six cookbooks, including the top-selling book “The Great Australian Cookbook.”
She isn’t a stranger to life on television. As a former media consultant, she also co-hosts a cooking series on SBS with Dan Hong (a co-author) and Mark Olive. The show, “The Chefs’ Line” is popular throughout Australia. Leong has also appeared as a regular guest on the TV shows The Cook’s Pantry and Everyday Gourmet.
Introducing Jock Zonfrillo
Jock Zonfrillo was born in Scotland and moved to London as a young chef.
Throughout his career, he’s worked with various world-renowned chefs, including Marco Pierre White. In 2000, Jock moved to Australia to work as the head chef for Restaurant 41. Eventually, he relocated to Adelaide and purchased two restaurants – the Bistro Blackwood and Orana.
For dedicated MasterChef fans, Zonfrillo will be a familiar face, as he’s appeared as a guest chef in no less than three seasons. Additionally, former host Gary Mehigan once called Zonfrillo a “trailblazer” in the industry.
Introducing Andy Allen
Andy Allen is the Chef that won the fourth season of MasterChef in 2020.
Surprisingly, Allen only entered the show on a dare from a friend. Since his win, he’s travelled the world over, cooking and filming shows for his YouTube channel. Allen also opened a restaurant in Sydney called Three Blue Ducks in 2016, where he currently is the head chef.
He’s also the first contestant of MasterChef Australia to receive the coveted Chef’s hat.
Why the Change in Hosts?
So, why does MasterChef Australia need a selection of new hosts in the first place?
Well, in July, the Network 10 group announced that former long-term hosts, Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston, and George Calombaris would not be coming back. The exit of the trio came soon after Calombaris admitted that he had been severely underpaying his restaurant employees by around $7.8 million.
Just a few hours before the season 11 finale, the Chief Executive of Network 11, Paul Anderson announced that the trio couldn’t reach a deal for a new season, despite months of negotiating.
A few weeks after stepping down from the show, Calombaris said that he was “gutted” when he realised how much he had underpaid staff at his various restaurants. He noted that he wanted to apologise to his team and conceded that his company had made a severe mistake. Additionally, Calombaris announced that his team had paid everyone their dues.
As the most popular reality TV program in Australia, MasterChef is beloved by viewers across the country. How well viewers respond to the change in hosts on the show is anyone’s guess.