REVEALED: The three new judges of MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA are...?

Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo
image - 10

After the shock sacking of 'the three amigo's' in July, it's been the question everyone has been asking. Just who will be the new hosts of Masterchef in 2020?

Well we finally have an answer, the 10 Network has used it's 2020 Upfronts media event in Sydney today to reveal Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen will be the new judges of the popular franchise.

As we previously reported, these three had already been rumoured to be taking over from Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris after the three failed to trike a deal with 10 to continue in the roles that made them famous.

Jock Zonfrillo is the owner and chef of three-hatted Restaurant Orana, and Bistro Blackwood in Adelaide. Jock was named Australia’s Hottest Chef in 2018 and has hosted television shows including Nomad Chef, Restaurant Revolution and Chef Exchange, as well as appearing in the MasterChef Australia kitchen as a guest chef across three seasons.

Few in Australia can boast the culinary credentials of Melissa Leong. An accomplished food and travel writer, food media consultant, radio broadcaster, television presenter, MC and cookbook editor, this first- generation Singaporean Australian isn’t afraid to consume anything at least once.

MasterChef Australia alumni and season four winner Andy Allen is the epitome of what television’s greatest cooking show is all about.

Since winning MasterChef Australia Andy has travelled Australia and the world pursuing his culinary curiosity. He’s also become co-owner of the Three Blue Ducks, taking on the role of head chef at their Rosebery restaurant, which went on to be awarded a Chef’s Hat - making Andy the first MasterChef Australia contestant to be awarded the highly sought after honour. Andy and the Ducks have since opened a restaurant in Brisbane and are soon to launch another in Melbourne.

Jock, Melissa and Andy will be joined in the MasterChef Australia kitchen by a delicious assortment of the world’s best chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Curtis Stone, to serve up the 12th helping of MasterChef Australia.

It cannot be underestimated just how vital MasterChef Australia has been for 10. The format originally acquired from the UK in 2009, was boldly turbocharged for prime-time Australian television. The decision to air it across multiple nights stunned observers, but the move proved to be an instant success.

MasterChef Australia may not be ratings hit it once was, but it still provides a consistently loyal, engaged audience for the network.

The program is still a big hit with advertisers too; the friendly reality format accommodates plenty of advertising integration with a wide variety of Retail, Food, Beverage and Tourism providers.

Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris
image - TheBragg.com

At the time of their sacking, 10's spin doctors went on a PR campaign to portray the three judges as greedy. Details quickly leaked to the media of significant pay demands, totalling a combined sum of $9million. Mehigan, Preson and Calombaris wanted to tell a different story, saying it was more about needing a more flexible work schedule allowing them to produce more TV content internationally.

At first glance, $9million might seem like a mighty sum of money, but Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris are global superstars. The Australian edition of MasterChef is broadcast in over 180 countries. The trio delivers 60 episodes of prime-time TV each year, with each season taking around five months to produce.

So now the network now has three new, untested judges. It's going to take a lot of clever PR work to sell them to the Australian public.

Will they find the same level of success as they have on MasterChef Australia? That's hard to say; Lightning rarely strikes the same place twice. 10 has taken a significant risk with its biggest franchise. If it pays off, they will look like geniuses. If it fails, the egg really will be on 10's face.