12/05/2020 1:41 PM AEST | Updated 29/05/2020 5:58 PM AEST

MasterChef Australia 'Desperately Needed' New Judges According To Contestant

"I thought the show became about the old guys and less about the contestants and food."

One of this year’s ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ contestants has said the new judging panel is what the cooking show “desperately needed” after a decade.

Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston fronted the series from 2009 to 2019, and it eventually became more about the trio and less about the food, according to Chris Badenoch

“I think the show desperately needed new judges. I thought the show became about the old guys and less about the contestants and less about the food as years went on,” Chris told HuffPost Australia.

“They almost became caricatures of themselves.” 

Channel 10
'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win' judges Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen

This year Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo have stepped in as the new judging panel.

“I think getting new judges was the shot in the arms the show needs,” claimed Chris, adding Scottish celebrity chef Jock is particularly an asset to the Channel 10 show. 

“Especially Jock, it seems like he’s been doing it forever,” said the show’s most recently eliminated contestant.

“He’s just so natural and got a really good presence in the kitchen. He’s articulate and he’ll make you cook and get good advice and feedback from him.”

Sam Tabone via Getty Images
Former 'MasterChef' judges George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan 

The three new judges have attracted mixed reactions since their debut earlier this year, but Chris said “people will warm to all of them” in due course.

“It might take a season or two,” he said.

Highlighting it’s a big adjustment for Andy, Melissa and Jock as well, he said “they’ll relax into the roles as well”. 

“It’s hard, it’s a big deal [and] a lot to take on. [It] turns your life upside down. They go from being slightly known to everybody knows your name and your face all over the country. It’s a lot to contend with.”

Andy was winner of ‘MasterChef Australia’ back in 2012. Melissa Leong is a food writer and previously appeared on SBS show, ‘The Chef’s Line’, while Jock owns Restaurant Orana in Adelaide. 

On the show this year, there are 24 previous contestants including Poh Ling Yeow, Hayden QuinnReynold Poernomo and Callum Hann who have returned to the series for another shot at victory.

This week is ‘Twists Week’ on the show, with special guest Katy Perry set to make an appearance. 

‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ continues at 7:30pm on Channel 10. 

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