She's also become a small screen fashion icon in her own right, with her bold, show-stopping earrings, food-proof lipstick and vibrant frocks often the subject of viewers' tweets.
As she returns to the show this year for MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites, Leong says that food and fashion are the ultimate pairing, and she's very hands-on when it comes to the selection of her outfits on the show.
"I've always had ultimate say over how I look," the 40-year-old tells Refinery29 Australia. "And I think... that's really important for humans in general to be able to express themselves in the way that they see themselves. So I'm very clear about what I want to look like and how I wish to project myself."
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Leong keeps it sleek in black in We Are Kindred's Luna Crochet Midi Dress ($399) that features a square neckline, fitted waist and 3/4 sleeve. She accessorises with Foxx & Ginger's statement glittery Antonia dangle earrings ($46) and a pair of glossy black bumps.
Leong injects some brightness to her look for this elimination episode, choosing to wear the Safiree New World Printed Tiered Midi Dress from Ted Baker ($309). As per usual, bling is always a big part of the TV star's look, and a pair of Dented Diva earrings do the trick.
Leong looks lush in this silky teal dress called the Puzzle Dress - Ink ($595) from Kitx for the special episode filmed at The Lume, Melbourne. She's elevated the elegant look with a pair of sleek black Carvela heels and the glistening Lellie Melts - Black Glitter & Green Glitter Stud earrings ($45) from Lellie Jewellery.
Leong brings vibrance to the MasterChef kitchen in the Valentina Silk Mini Dress ($699) from Leo Lin teamed with Steve Madden's Vivacious pumps in orange ($169.95) and the Jazzy Jeff Glam - Dangle earrings ($35) from Dented Diva.
Leong wears a floral number by Alemais teamed with a brown leather belt from Husk called the Husk Kingdom Belt - Tabacco ($299).
Why pick one colour when you can wear them all? This is the stunning Rainbow Midi Dress ($595) from Alemais accessorised with a gorgeous rope belt, and Leong brings the sparkle to her look with a pair of the Proud Mary Glitz-Dangle earrings ($35) from Dented Diva.
Many of the dresses that Leong has worn this season are from Aussie label Husk. While a few of them don't seem to be available to purchase online anymore, we've scoured the internet for some stylish alternatives. Here, Leong's teamed a bright yellow number with a pair of Seed Bead Trapeze earrings from Lovisa ($25.99).
Gold Logie nominee Leong promises that this season — which features 12 'favourites' from previous seasons and 12 'fans' who are amateur home cooks — is really going to up the ante.
"What you have is 12 returning contestants who, yes, they bring so much to it. But what the fans bring is this unbridled enthusiasm for wanting to excel and to also impress the people that they've grown up watching for so many years on their favourite television show," she explains.
"And what you get is this energy and this enthusiasm as well as just a significant amount of culinary skills."
In terms of the cast, the favourites include Julie Goodwin (Season 1), Billie McKay (Season 7), Sashi Cheliah (Season 10), Alvin Quah (Season 2), Michael Weldon (Season 3) Mindy Woods (Season 4), Christina Batista (Season 5), Sarah Todd (Season 6), John Carasig (Season 7), Aldo Ortado (Season 10), Minoli De Silva (Season 13) and Tommy Pham (Season 13).
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites airs Sunday to Thursday at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10Play.