Telling ‘feud’ detail in MasterChef post

Jock Zonfrillo’s widow has further fuelled rumours of a feud between the MasterChef judges after failing to mention Melissa Leong in a tribute post to the show.

Lauren Fried has shared her thoughts on the MasterChef Australia shake-up in a long social media post to her followers.

It was announced this week that Leong has been replaced on the show by new judges Poh Ling Yeow, Michelin-star chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and food critic Sofia Levin, who are joining returning host Andy Allen.

Insiders claimed that Leong had in fact been axed, and had only discovered she wouldn’t be returning a matter of weeks before filming began.

Following the official announcement, Ms Fried took to Instagram to say that her late husband Zonfrillo would “very happy” with the new line-up, fuelling ongoing rumours of a former feud between the chef and his former co-star.

“This would make Jock immensely happy – @andyallencooks unexpectedly came into our life four years ago. He quickly became a best mate to Jock, shared a passion for food and fun, and was someone who cared deeply for our family,” she began.

She continued: “This is a group of people who respect the privilege of being part of such an extraordinary show, they know they’re stronger together than as individuals, and they want to nurture contestants in turning their dream of food as a career into reality.

“You all have my absolute support – all I ask is that you continue to take the p**s out of Andy, make him coffees that are so strong he walks onto set shaking, take him for a round of golf to let off some steam, and that you beat him in any cook-offs.”

“Let’s make 2024 the best season of @masterchefau yet – get to know the judges, support the contestants, and keep cooking!” she added.

Earlier this year, fans questioned why Leong had chosen not to take part in The Sunday Project’s moving tribute to Zonfrillo shortly after his tragic death.

At the time, a source told Daily Mail Australia that the “company line” was that the pair were “best friends”.

“There was a very emotional tribute from Andy on The Project and it was surprising Melissa wasn’t there sitting beside him,” said the insider.

“You would have thought they would have taken on the media together. Especially since the company line was that they were all best friends.”

Leong later hit back at confusion from viewers regarding her absence, telling Stellar Magazine: “There is no right or wrong way to be in these moments, just what is true to you.”

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