“Something Truly Magical” —Why Melissa Leong Is Leaving MasterChef

MasterChef Australia will look a little different in 2024.
Channel Ten has just announced that Melissa Leong will be stepping away from co-hosting the popular reality cooking show next year and instead will focus on co-hosting Masterchef: Dessert Masters, which premieres on November 12.
Dessert Masters, which Leong will co-host with pastry prodigy Amaury Guichon, has already been renewed for a second season in 2024.
“Over the past four years, MasterChef Australia has infused my life with something truly magical. It has provided me with life-changing experiences that have given me the courage to continue to put myself outside of my comfort zone," Leong said in a statement released by Channel Ten.
“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."
Leong took over the co-hosting reins in 2020, along with MasterChef Australia Season 1 winner Andy Allen and the late Jock Zonfrillo.
Allen will return to co-host the series in 2024, along with new co-hosts MasterChef alumnus Poh Ling Yeow, food critic and journalist Sofia Levin, and multi–Michelin Star award-winning chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli.
“It is with great enthusiasm and warmth that I welcome new faces Sofia, Poh, and Jean-Christophe, to this very special family, I know they will make it theirs in their own special way, as we did," Leong said in the statement.
Allen said that after a difficult 2023, the decision to return to the Masterchef kitchen is not one he took lightly.
“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 said.
Yeow, who was the runner-up of Season 1, has been a part of the MasterChef Australia family for years and said this new role feels like a "full circle moment" for her.
“Talk about a thrilling, full circle moment. MasterChef Australia is where my food story began, so this feels like coming home. A big part of me will always be standing on the other side with the contestants and I hope when they look to me, they see proof you don’t have to win to win," she said in the media release.
MasterChef: DessertMasters focuses on pastry chefs competing in the kitchen for a chance to be named Australia’s first ever 'Dessert Master' and win $100,000 in prize money. This year's contestants include Kirsten Tibballs, Reynold Poernomo, Anna Polyviou, Adriano Zumbo, Morgan Hipworth, Jess Liemantara, Kay-Lene Tan, Andy Bowdy, Rhiann Mead and Gareth Whitton.
MasterChef: Dessert Masters premieres at 7:30pm on Sunday, November 12 on Channel Ten and 10Play.
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