Melissa Leong Reveals How Much Food the ‘MasterChef’ Judges Actually Eat

Melissa Leong masterchef australia fans and faves judge

Being a judge on MasterChef Australia definitely has its perks. Not only is the series free from the bickering of Married at First Sight or savage blindsides of Australian Survivor, the judges get to taste all the delicious food that gets cooked up daily. But how much do the MasterChef judges eat, really?

If you’ve ever pondered this while watching the cooking competition series, you’re not alone. Do they ever want to finish off an extra tasty dish? How many bites is enough? What if you fill up on one of the first dishes and still have a ton left to judge?

In a 2022 interview with New Zealand publication Stuff, judge Melissa Leong explained what the deal was.

Chatting with the outlet over her lunch break, Leong said that she’d “already eaten a fair few things” that day, laughing as she added: “It’s fair to say I will never starve to death in this place.”

How Much Food the MasterChef Judges Actually Eat

When it comes to judging, Melissa Leong said that she eats “enough to inform [her] judgement”, but no more than that.

“Sometimes when something is especially tasty it is very difficult not to go back for a second, third or fourth bite,” she admitted, “but part of the job is exercising restraint”.

Still, sometimes a contestant will plate up a dish that makes that self-restraint especially difficult.

“I’m not going to lie,” Leong said. “There are definitely days where I do not need to have dinner or lunch because I do most of my eating on camera.”

MasterChef Australia and the Emphasis on Family

This season of MasterChef Australia will be a bittersweet one.

MasterChef Australia: Secrets and Surprises was set to premiere on Monday, May 1, but was pulled from the schedule at the last minute after news of judge Jock Zonfrillo’s death broke.

With the full support of Zonfrillo’s familyMasterChef Australia 2023 premiered on Sunday, May 7. Before the episode, The Sunday Project aired a tribute episode to the beloved late chef.

In her interview last year, Melissa Leong noted that MasterChef Australia‘s intention is for everyone to leave the competition feeling like part of a big MasterChef family.

Over the course of the season, the contestants bond not only with each other and the judges, but with the crew of 85 – 90 people working behind the scenes, “making the magic happen”.

“We always like to say when people leave the kitchen after they’ve competed that they become part of the MasterChef family,” she said. “We really do mean that.”

Leong continued: “Just like the viewers at home, everyone on set becomes emotionally invested in the contestants and watching them struggle when something goes horribly awry with their dish can be agonising”.

The judge added that “it is very hard” to see one of the competitors fall “in a bit of a spiral” when something goes wrong, and to not be able to step in and help. Unfortunately, it’s still a competition, so it’s all a part of the job.

“Because it is television we need to document what’s really happening and we can’t fix everything — we can’t in life either,” she said. “But we’re always there to support them emotionally and give them a pep talk and help them maybe get back on track to the most successful result they can possibly achieve.”

MasterChef Australia airs at 7.30pm Sunday – Thursdays, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.

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