New trio tipped as next Masterchef judges

 

Celebrity chefs Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo, and food writer Melissa Leong, are strongly tipped to host Masterchef Australia in 2020.

The trio are set to helm popular reality cooking show after Channel 10 cut ties with George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston.

Allen, a former electrician, won Masterchef in 2012.

He is now the head chef at Three Blue Ducks in Sydney.

Allen recently let a few Masterchef secrets slip on the Duck's website.

He said contestants are only allowed two standard drinks of alcohol per week.

But Allen added: "Myself and a couple of other legends took matters into our own hands, made a hectic batch of homemade ginger beer, and got everyone totally sideways," he revealed.

"We were then banned from drinking."

Former Master Chef winner Andy Allen at Three Blue Ducks. Picture: John Appleyard
Former Master Chef winner Andy Allen at Three Blue Ducks. Picture: John Appleyard

Zonfrillo runs the world-renowned Orana in Adelaide. A former heroin addict, Zonfrillo once said food, and training under legendary chef Marco Pierre White, saved his life.

"If it wasn't for food I would have died," he told the Good Food Guide.

"If I hadn't found my career path, I would have just been another statistic. Luckily for me, I somehow fluked upon cooking."

Celebrity chef Jock Zonfrillo on MasterChef. Picture: Supplied
Celebrity chef Jock Zonfrillo on MasterChef. Picture: Supplied

Leong, a food scribe, broadcaster and author, is wonderfully blunt about the industry, especially the age of the food blogger.

"Just because you have a stomach and a laptop doesn't make you a writer, publisher or editor," she told SBS-TV.

"I think in an age where we do things all by ourselves, it's very easy to claim status that isn't earned.

Leong added: "There are a lot of people out there who think that because they've done a season of a reality show, that makes them an editor, or because they have a blog that makes them a publisher.

"It's a wonderful start, but in order to really be a writer, you need to pull that thread and you need to earn it."

Food writer, broadcaster, and author Melissa Leong. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Food writer, broadcaster, and author Melissa Leong. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Channel 10 was contacted for comment today.

A network spokesperson said: "The identity of the new MasterChef judges is a hot topic and we welcome speculation. Sit tight, their identities will be revealed very soon."