Surprise MasterChef judges revealed - but do you know who they are?

Holly Hales
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen have been named as Masterchef's new judges. Photo: Network 10

MasterChef Australia has revealed its surprising choice of new judges, three months after famously cutting ties with the trio who made the franchise famous.

Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen are the celebrity chefs who are now set to steer the show’s helm, and come as somewhat shock picks due to some big name contenders previously voicing interest in the high profile gig.

Favourites included the likes of Nigella Lawson, Curtis Stone and Poh Ling Yeow, who told Yahoo Lifestyle at the time she’d be ‘thrilled’ to take on the job. 

However, all three are no strangers to the small screen, with Andy even first finding fame on MasterChef, when he won season four back in 2012.

Who are the new MasterChef judges?

In the time since, the 31-year-old has continued to ride the wave of success, launching his own restaurant Three Blue Ducks in Sydney along with creating food-based travel vlogs.

Similarly, Scottish-born Jock is best know for his Restaurant Orana in Adelaide—which has twice been named the country’s top eatery.

He expressed excitement at the new appointment in a Tweet on Wednesday, just hours after the line-up was announced.

New judge Andy won the series in 2012. Photo: Network 10

“It’s a privilege to be asked and I can’t wait to get in the kitchen with Melissa and Andy to uncover Australia’s next MasterChef!” he wrote.

Melissa meanwhile, comes from the other side of the aisle, having crafted out an enviable career as a food critic and writer.

She perhaps most notably co-founded The Age and Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, in addition to assisting with celebrity chef’s own cook books.

The trio are set to be joined by a guest line up including Heston Blumenthal, Curtis Stone and Gordon Ramsay during their inaugural season next year.

Shock replacements

George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston were axed earlier this year. Photo: Network 10

And Network 10 were keen to express their own excitement about the appointments on Thursday, according to Chief Content Officer, Beverley McGarvey.

“In a nation obsessed with food, we are thrilled to welcome Jock, Melissa and Andy as judges to MasterChef Australia,” she said.

“Their combined culinary credentials coupled with their passion and sheer joy for food, and their relentless enthusiasm to explore ingredients, preparation and cooking methods ensures we are in for a real treat.”

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.

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