Ten has revealed the names of its newest judges for its tentpole reality cooking show, MasterChef, which include Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.
Zonfrillo is a Scottish celebrity chef, television presenter, and philanthropist, while Leong is a well known food critic and writer and Allen is a celebrity chef and winner of the fourth season of MasterChef.
The announcement, made this morning at the network's annual Upfront event, follows the departure of long-time judges, Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris earlier this year.
At the time Calombaris was tied up in a pay scandal with his hospitality group which had been accused of underpaying staff $7.8 million.
At the time of their exit Network Ten chief executive officer Paul Anderson stated the decision to drop the judges was due to a commercial disagreement, with sources stating the three were all disputing payment terms within their contracts.
“In a nation obsessed with food, we are thrilled to welcome Jock, Melissa and Andy as judges to MasterChef Australia," Ten chief content officer Beverly McGarvey says.
“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.”
Jock, Melissa and Andy will be joined in the MasterChef Australia kitchen by an assortment of the world’s best chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Curtis Stone.
“Jock Zonfrillo is heading up a great new trio of judges for MasterChef. Great casting, very different from the past and fabulous to have arguably one of Australia’s most celebrated and talked about chefs on screen next year," Sarah Keith, MD, Publicis Media Exchange told AdNews.
Amplifi ANZ chief investment officer Michael Bass agreed, adding that the combination of the fresh lineup and familiar contestants is a good move.
"Gordon Ramsay, Curtis Stone, Heston Blumenthal, Nigella Lawson, etc will provide the star power. It's a nice balance to breath new life in to the format, whilst not making a significant shift from a format that works," he says.
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