MasterChef Australia judges dish on why the show is so successful

"We're a dream team!"
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They were catapulted to success last year when the revamped MasterChef Australia became the runaway hit of the year. 

And now judges, Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen are dishing to WHO on their dish on their bond and why the show is a reality TV success story.

WATCH BELOW: A look inside MasterChef Australia 2021

Melissa Leong, 39


Your first season as the new judges on MasterChef was a huge success. How are you feeling going into your second season?

It’s been really fun. This year we’re more familiar in the space, we’ve bonded more and we’re having a bit more fun with it. Our first pancake has been made, so to speak, so we’re all coming back to it with a lot more confidence.

How does this season differ from the previous one?

Last year we had the All-Stars season, this time we’re back to home cook contestants who are trying to realise their dreams.

Do the judges hang out off set?

All the time – we went out for dinner last night. We went to a gallery exhibition, too. We’re very different people, but we have a lot of fun together. We’re a very tight trio and it’s a wonderful thing. The boys and I are close friends and feel like siblings, too.

“We’re all coming back to it with a lot more confidence,” Melissa Leong says of the judges returning for their second season (Credit: Instagram)

Jock Zonfrillo, 44


How would you describe the standard of dishes you get served by contestants this season?

They serve up some of the best dishes that we’ve ever seen on any season of MasterChef. The show’s tagline “ordinary people, extraordinary food” couldn’t be more true this year. We look at one another sometimes and can’t believe what we’re seeing and getting to eat. It’s a privilege to share this crazy experience with these guys.

Going into the show’s 13th season, do you think you’ll ever run out of talented contestants?

I used to watch MasterChef in the UK years ago – the show has been around forever! It outlived the last judges and it will outlive us, so as long as people still love food I don’t think we need to worry about finding new cooks.

You’ve got a five-month-old baby in the house. Are you sleeping?

Yes, but I love children so I don’t mind the broken sleep. You can never have too many kids as far as I’m concerned. It’s a juggle but I love it!

“It’s a juggle but I love it,” says Jock Zonfrillo of returning to filming six months after welcoming daughter Isla. (Credit: Instagram)

Andy Allen, 32


What is the best thing about being a MasterChef judge?

Nurturing the talent really excites all of us. The growth I had on Season 4 when I was a contestant was phenomenal [Allen won MasterChef in 2012]. I was an extreme amateur, the worst cook in my top 24, but I got pushed to places I’d never imagined I’d go to on the show. So to be able to do that with the new contestants is awesome.

Why do you think you three judges work so well together?

We didn’t know each other last year but weirdly it was always easy. We were comfortable as soon as we were put in a room with each other. We work so well together as a threesome!

What’s your food guilty pleasure?

I can pound ice cream – I can get through a litre in a sitting!

“Nurturing the talent really excites us all,” Andy says about what the judges love best about working on MasterChef (Credit: Instagram)

MasterChef Australia premieres on Mon., Apr. 19, 7.30pm on Network Ten

For more, grab the latest issue of WHO. On sale now!

MasterChef judges Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen have become good friends off-camera. (Credit: Supplied)
(Credit: WHO)

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