reality tv

Say hello to your new MasterChef Australia judges.

MasterChef Australia will have three new judges when it returns to our screens next year.

On Monday, Melissa Leong shared she would not be returning to the series in 2024, and of course, the series will be the first to be filmed since Jock Zonfrillo's death in April.

Instead, season four winner and Melissa's fellow judge since 2020, Andy Allen, will continue his hosting role on the show, along with runner-up of the competition's first season, Poh Ling Yeow, Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and food writer Sofia Levin.

"After an extremely difficult year in 2023, and upon reflection, the decision to return to the series is not one I took lightly," Andy said in a statement issued by Network Ten.


"But there is something special in the MasterChef Australia kitchen, and it feels right to come back to work with the amazing production team, and to play my role in seeing the contestants do as I have done," he added.

On Instagram, he said he was also "super pumped to get back into the kitchen and continue Jock's legacy" while mentoring a new crop of Australia's best home cooks.

Here is what we know about the new MasterChef team, ahead of the series' return next year.

Poh Ling Yeow.


Poh hardly needs an introduction.

Poh was runner-up to Julie Goodwin in the very first season of MasterChef Australia, and has returned to the show both as a mentor and a contestant during the Back to Win season in 2020.

She has released three cookbooks, hosted Snackmasters, appeared in the I'm a Celebrity... jungle and starred in two of her own TV shows, Poh's Kitchen and Poh & Co.

"Talk about a thrilling, full-circle moment," she said of her new judging gig. 

"MasterChef Australia is where my food story began, so this feels like coming home. A big part of me will always be standing on the other side with the contestants and I hope when they look to me, they see proof you don't have to win to win."

Jean-Christophe Novelli.


Jean-Christophe is a French chef with multiple Michelin stars. He's also a pretty recognisable face, with appearances on shows like Chef Academy, Top Chef, MasterChef Holland and Junior MasterChef UK

He has been awarded Michelin stars while working at Gordonton Mill in Hampshire, the Four Seasons at Park Lane, Maison Novelli in Clerkenwell Green and Maison Novelli in Mayfair.

And he really is a master chef... even running his own cooking school, the Novelli Academy, in Hertfordshire, UK.

"Fostering culinary talent is something I have cared about for many years, and it is a passion I am excited to share in the MasterChef Kitchen," he said. 

"Australian cuisine has a remarkable reputation on the world stage, and it will be a great privilege to meet and mentor the country's top home cooks on their journeys to greatness."

Sofia Levin.


Sofia Levin is a journalist and presenter who has spent more than a decade writing for local and international food and travel publications. 

She is known for her #EatCuriously movement, encouraging everyone to eat outside their comfort zone and embrace diverse cuisines and cultures. In 2020, she launched Seasoned Traveller, a website dedicated to sharing lesser-known food stories.

"The first season of MasterChef Australia aired the same year I started writing about food," Sofia said. 


"By the time I graduated from journalism, I was sharing lesser-known food stories, while the show was exposing the nation to cuisines and cultures they had never considered before. Becoming a judge on MasterChef feels like two parallel paths converging, and I am giddy with excitement at the people I get to stand beside."

On Instagram, Sofia also said it was "an honour to continue Jock and Melissa's legacy and be part of this new era".

Speaking of Melissa, you won't have to worry about missing her - she's set to co-host Dessert Masters, which begins airing in November and is already confirmed to return back-to-back with MasterChef next year.

"My time as co-host and judge on @MasterChefAU has been a great gift. To have been given the opportunity to learn and grow - and now to be given the vote of confidence to expand and evolve the MasterChef universe is huge!" she wrote on Instagram.

"Stepping away from the main show and into #DessertMastersAU alongside the extraordinary @AmauryGuichon, is yet another sweet present indeed. It is with great warmth and enthusiasm that I wish this new lineup of judges and hosts all the best in making it theirs, and big love to @andyallencooks for leading the way.

"The changing of the guard is one I always planned to embrace, and I'm so glad to do that, on my terms, today."

MasterChef Australia will return in 2024.

Feature image: Network Ten.