5am starts, coffee with her work husband and breaks every 50 minutes: A day in the life of Melissa Leong.

Want to know how your favourite celebs spend their days? Yep, us too. In Mamamia’s A Day in the Life series, high-profile people share everything from what they eat for breakfast to their pre-bedtime rituals. 

This week, we find out what life was like for Melissa Leong when she filmed Junior MasterChef during a global pandemic.

Melissa Leong knows as well as any of us that 2020 has been a very different year. 

The food writer, radio host and television presenter's life turned upside down in under 12 months; shooting to fame in April, when she became one of the new hosts of MasterChef.

Within a matter of days, Leong became a household name. Aussies found a glimpse of happiness in the wholesome cooking show, while a global pandemic unfolded around us. The weekly episodes with Melissa, Jock and Andy became a routine distraction.

But while we love to watch the fun and exciting episodes that appear on-screen, there's a lot that goes into making MasterChef and Junior MasterChef happen.

Watch the trailer for Junior MasterChef. Post continues below.

Video via Channel 10.

When filming Junior MasterChef, Leong's day starts pretty early. She usually wakes up between 4.45am and 5.15am, and is on set and in the makeup chair by 5.30am or 7.30am, at the latest.

"I turn up, Maureen, my makeup artist is always there before me and she's just such a wonderful human. It's great to see her face in the morning with a cup of hot water and lemon for me," Leong told Mamamia.

"She usually starts working on my hair and I do all my face bits and pieces - face massages, depending on how puffy and tired I am."


"I'm obsessed with NuFace. It's bloody brilliant. It basically uses micro-current technology to stimulate lymphatic drainage and sort of tone the skin. I tend to find it's really helpful to depuff around my eyes and wake up a little bit.

"After my micro-current device, I usually put on Clarins Double Serum because it's really juicy and hydrating on the skin. It's not too heavy for makeup to go over the top of. I really like a good eye cream as well, something that will depuff and hydrate around the eyes," she said.

When it comes to makeup, Leong keeps things simple.

"It's all about a little colour in the cheeks, a little contour and a really clean, simple eye with a little bit of smoke around the edges. Then when it comes to lipstick, it depends on what I'm wearing - whether or not I go with something more neutral or go with my signature punchy red or berry coloured lip," she said.

"It's not because I used to work for MAC but my favourite lipsticks are from MAC. They have incredible staying power and are highly pigmented."


After hair and makeup, it's time for some coffee and food. 

"I do not function without coffee, it's the first thing I need," she explained. "It's usually when Jock turns up - he's the first person to turn up out of him and Andy - and he makes me a coffee when he arrives. He's my work husband, so he makes coffee for everybody.

"Depending on the day, we might all make breakfast together; toasties are a huge thing. So coffee first, always. Then, toastie of some kind."

And if she doesn't have breakfast with her co-hosts, Leong opts for something simple.

"It's usually protein-based if I'm left to my own devices, like a boiled egg and some greens, maybe a small piece of toast. Something like that."

As Junior MasterChef involves children, the contestants legally need to have a break every 50 minutes. It allows the kids to relax, play and do their school work. 

When they go for their lunch break, the three judges eat together.


"The three of us have lunch together. [What we have] depends on the day," Leong explained. "If it were up to Jock, we'd have fried chicken every day, but that doesn't always happen.

"As we've been working through a pandemic, we've had to change the way that we do things. We like to support local businesses by ordering food from them. So it might be dumplings from somewhere in Flemington, it might be Gami fried chicken or some beautiful Vietnamese food and bowls of pho and wonton noodle soup and stuff like that."

"Because we like food so much, we kind of like to shake it up and make every day a little bit different," she added.

Before they head back on set for more filming, the Nescafe Farmers Origins ambassador will take a shot of espresso. The latest capsules from Nescafe include 100 per cent sustainably sourced coffee and are fresh from farming communities.


"I need to have a morning coffee and I need to have an afternoon coffee. That's my thing that keeps us all buzzing. Jock and Andy are the same. That's how we all vibe on the same level," Leong said.

When filming wraps, Leong enjoys spending some time unwinding with her husband, Joe, and her cats, Ghost and Ghoul. She also enjoys some form of physical activity.

"I like to just be very quiet," she said. "I like to have dinner with my husband and hang out with our cats. I'm very pilates driven, I like that it's a way of working out but it also helps you calm down.

"I tend to really focus on stretching and doing little bits of self care that help me unwind. I love watching documentaries while standing in the bathroom, removing my makeup any making sure I'm doing that whole routine properly," she said.

However, not everyday needs to include physical activity. 

"I have adrenal fatigue problems so I can sometimes be extremely tired. I think it's really important to listen to your body and pay attention to what it is you need on the day. Sometimes it might be rest, sometimes it might be nothing at all.

"If I'm feeling energetic, I love a bit of HIIT training once or twice a week, I like strength training and of course, pilates. I've been doing it for five or six years now and it's been the single most effective exercise that's transformed my body."


After Leong unwinds, it's time to do some of her own cooking. During the week, she likes to keep things simple and use ingredients that can be utilised in multiple dishes.

"On night one, I might roast a chicken and have it as a roast. On night two, I might have it as a pie. And on night three, turn it into a soup," she said.

After dinner, Leong has various nightly rituals that help her prepare for sleep.

"I like to listen to podcasts. I think that's been a really good way to get myself off my phone but giving my mind something to think about. I love all kinds of content, whether they're coming from Australian podcasts or overseas," she said. 

"And just hanging out with my cats. Sitting on the couch and just chilling is really underrated," she added.

If she's back on set the following day, she'll make sure to have an early night. 

"I'm not the kind of person who can function on very few hours of sleep, I like to get a good eight hours. I work backwards based on when I need to get up," she said.

Feature image: Instagram/@10styling @fooderati