MasterChef star Melissa Leong axed from show

Melissa Leong has been axed from her role on MasterChef Australia.

The popular judge’s exit will reportedly be officially announced at Channel Ten’s upfronts on Tuesday this week, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Leong will reportedly be replaced by MasterChef winner Poh Ling Yeow and Michelin star chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

Food critic Sofia Levin will be joining as a fourth judge, alongside returning star Andy Allen. However, Leong will continue to star on fellow Channel Ten cooking series, Dessert Masters, which begins next month.

A Channel Ten spokesman said: “Melissa Leong remains a key member of the MasterChef Australia family. Melissa is set to return for a second season of Dessert Masters in 2024, alongside fellow judge and pastry prodigy Amaury Guichon.

“Next year, MasterChef Australia and Dessert Masters will air back-to-back, therefore each show needs its own distinct style and personality and its own unique hosting team.”

Speaking about her exit, Leong said that her time on the show had changed her life, and she would look back on it with great respect.

“It has provided me with life-changing experiences that have given me the courage to continue to put myself outside of my comfort zone” she said. “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.”

Meanwhile, Andy Allen said that his decision to return to the show following the tragic death of his co-star, Jock Zonfrillo, was “not one he took lightly”.

He said: “After an extremely difficult year in 2023, and upon reflection, the decision to return to the series is not one I took lightly,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.

“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.

“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,” he added.

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