Masterchef judge left squirming after awkward Project moment

Masterchef judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo squirmed through The Project
Masterchef judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo squirmed through a slightly awkward segment. Photo: Ten

A slightly uncomfortable moment unfolded on The Project last night as the new Masterchef judges sat down to have a chat with the network’s favourite panellists.

A hot topic was food critic, presenter and now judge Melissa Leong’s past tweets about the TV series, which were far from flattering.

She may be about to join chefs Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen as one of the new faces of Australia’s most popular cooking show, but a few years ago, the critic wasn’t the biggest fan of Masterchef, as she very publicly expressed on Twitter.

Waleed Aly on The Project panel
Waleed Aly didn't shy away from pulling some skeletons out of Melissa's closet. Photo: Ten

Last night those thoughts came back to haunt her as host Waleed Aly grilled her over her decision to take the job, after treating it with such derision in the past.

“Now Melissa, I’m sorry to have to do this, but there are some questions that simply have to be asked,” Waleed said, managing to keep it light.

“You’ve tweeted in the past and some of your old tweets have surfaced today.”

Awkward tweets come back to bite Melissa Leong

Melissa Leong Tweet on Masterchef
One of the tweets shared on the Project last night. Photo: Ten

They proceeded to air two of the most shocking tweets, which have raised an eyebrow or two.

“What happens when you go on Masterchef and then open a restaurant? Apparently not much. Back to used car salesman...” a tweet from 2012 read.

2012 was the year Andy Allen took out the top spot on the series and proceeded to be the head chef at Three Blue Ducks restaurant in Sydney.

Before winning he was an electrician, so it’s unclear if the tweet was referring to his venture.

The next tweet Waleed revealed was a retweet, but perhaps even worse.

“No David, the biggest mistake an amateur chef can make is going on Masterchef,” the critic had shared.


Melissa rejects ‘sanitised version’ of social media

Now the face of the franchise she dissed, Waleed wondered why the new judge hadn’t done a pre-season Twitter sweep before her new role was announced.

“My first question is: Why didn’t you find the delete button?” he asked.

Melissa, however, didn’t back down and defended her decision to leave the tweets live.

“We’re all human, right? We all have perspectives on things that change over time and so, you know, why should I scrub all my social media clean of former opinions that I’ve had?” she argued.

“I may not believe the same things I did before but I also don’t believe in presenting a sanitised version of myself that’s highly edited because that’s not who I am.”

Masterchef judges axed

MasterChef Australia was rocked in July when judges George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston left the show following a ten-year run when each failed to secure a significant pay rise from the network.

George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston pose together
George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston were axed from Masterchef in July. Photo: Getty Images

The new trio will make their debut on the show’s twelfth season in 2020, for an all-star series that will invite the show’s top contestants back for a second chance at glory.

They’re set to be joined by a guest line-up, including Heston Blumenthal, Curtis Stone and Gordon Ramsay.

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