MasterChef Australia 2024: Meet The 3 New Judges Joining Babygirl Andy Allen This Season

Who’s ready to get hot and cold in the kitchen à la Katy Perry? Well, the new season of MasterChef is here with a whole new gang of friendly MasterChef judges to boot.

Following the tragic passing of former MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo, the judging panel has had a bit of a shake-up. Most noticeably, there are now four judges instead of three.

Andy Allen is back again for Season 16, and he is joined by MasterChef‘s princess Poh Ling Yeow, food critic Sofia Levin, and renown French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

Meet your new dream team!!!! (Image: MasterChef Australia / Channel 10)

Table of contents

Who are the judges on MasterChef Australia?

So, let’s the meet MasterChef judges, shall we?

Andy Allen

Okay, you’ve already met MasterChef‘s sweet boy Andy Allen. Before he became wrapped up in the celebrity chef universe, Andy was an electrician with a love for food. In 2012, Andy applied to MasterChef Australia and somehow, despite seemingly floundering throughout the competition, he took the whole thing out.

Cheers!!!! (Image: Instagram / @andyallencooks)

From there, he kicked off a pretty amazing career as a cook, a critic and a restauranteur, launching Three Blue Ducks with a couple of mates. The restaurant now has five locations and was awarded a Chef’s Hat. He’s the first MasterChef contestant to receive the honour — pretty bloody impressive, hey?

Andy became a judge on the show in 2019. At the time, it was pretty great having a former contestant and winner step into the role. Finally, contestants had an expert who knew exactly what they were going through on the show and really understood the stress that comes with making top-notch food under a strict time limit.

Poh Ling Yeow

Next up is the princess of MasterChef herself — Poh Ling Yeow. Poh was on the very first season of MasterChef Australia back in 2009 and she was an absolute delight from the get-go. Although she had a brief stint as an eliminated contestant after incorrectly guessing ingredients in a minestrone — heartbreaking for viewers at the time — she was brought back into the competition and made it to the top two. She ended up coming in second to Julie Godwin but put up a pretty great fight with a dish that brought Century Eggs to a mainstream Aussie audience.

If anyone else wants to start a Poh fan club give me a buzz!!! (Image: Instagram / @pohlingyeow)

Poh came back to MasterChef as a mentor in 2019, and then a contestant for 2020’s Back to Win season. Although she didn’t actually win, she’s now won the big ole’ competition of coming back as a fkn judge. On ya, Poh!

Aside from the MasterChef universe, Poh has hosted her on cooking shows Poh’s Kitchen and Poh’s Kitchen on the Road.

She has also hosted Channel Nine’s show Snackmasters and appeared on Channel 10’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! in 2022.

Jean-Christophe Novelli

Now we’re onto the newbies!!! Jean-Christophe Novelli, 63, is a French chef, restauranteur and television personality. In the culinary world, old mate is no joke. He’s got his own cooking school which has been voted as one of the top 25 cooking academies in the world, he’s a multi Michelin star-winning chef and despite all that hullabaloo, he still regularly teaches classes and performs cooking demostrations for his students. What a guy!!!!

He’s the guy in the middle, in case you were wondering. (Image: Instagram / @jeanchristophe_novelli)

Although we haven’t seen him on mainstream Aussie television before, he has a heap of TV credits under his belt, including his own show Chef Academy in which he trained a bunch of aspiring chefs. He was in the British version of Hell’s Kitchen too and, along with a bunch of other appearances, he managed to win the celeb version of reality show Hunted.

With so much experience nurturing cooking talent, I’m excited to see him guide the 2024 contestants this season.

Sofia Levin

And finally, it’s time to meet food critic Sofia Levin. Sofia, 35, is a food journalist and presenter who knows a thing or two about a delectable plate of grub. She’s been writing about life’s greatest pleasure (see: food) since 2013 for some of the biggest publications across the country.

One of my favourite pieces by her is called “Is Burrata Actually Boring?” which concludes that it really depends on the chef, and how the cheese is made. Personally, I think burrata is overrated but I’m open to being proven wrong!

Hell yeah this looks delish. (Image: Instagram / @sofiaklevin)

Anyway, one of the coolest things about Sofia and her writing is that she’s down to try anything, with a penchant for street food and off-the-beaten-path snacks.

In 2021, Sofia launched a website and newsletter called The Seasoned Traveller which discusses culinary delights and food stories from lesser-known corners of the world.

Which MasterChef guest judges can we expect in 2024?

Jamie Oliver

So far, the biggest MasterChef guest judge confirmed is the chef all mums love — Jamie Oliver. We know that he’s a part of Season 16 because he is all over the marketing for the first episode. In fact, he even promises the contestants can him a buzz if they’re ever in London. Isn’t that sweet?

Thumbs up!!! (Photo by Jose Perez / Getty)

Nagi Maehashi

Beloved food content and recipe creator Nagi Maehashi from Recipetin Eats has been confirmed as a guest judge this season and to put it politely, I am losing my fkn shit.

Nagi is an absolute sweet pea whose cookbook Recipetin Eats: Dinner proudly sits on my bookshelf as one of my go-to recipe books. Her recipes are easy to follow, perfect for a quick weeknight feed or a dinner party and just so fkn delicious.

She also has a dog called Dozer who features a lot on her site and in the physical book and I am begging, nay, pleading that he makes an appearance too.

Why did Melissa Leong leave MasterChef?

Queen Melissa Leong may have stepped down from MasterChef, but the good news is that she’s still on our screens! She’s now the host of the spin-off series Dessert Masters with Swiss-French pastry chef Amaury Guichon.

When it was first announced that Melissa would be stepping down from the helm of MasterChef Australia, there was a bit of discourse around whether she left willingly or whether she was booted.

OKAY, ICON!!! (Photo by Wendell Teodoro/Getty Images)

So, Melissa clarified her decision on Instagram with a statement that makes me want to burst into applause.

“I get that there is going to be a bit of confusion and chaos about the ‘why’ of it all right now. I’m here and happy to clear that up, because negative tropes draped around women who achieve something is boring, and frankly we are all better than that,” she said. Yes mama!!

“This is a shift I embrace with joy. One that allows everyone involved, to expand. To put it plainly, I’m very fortunate to continue to be a key part of [MasterChef], yet have the space to evolve my career.

“In effect, I get to have my cake and eat it too…and what could be better than that?!”

What a woman, honestly.

The new season of MasterChef Australia 2024 kicked off on April 22. You can watch it on Channel 10 or 10Play, and I can’t bloody way!