23/06/2020 12:38 PM AEST | Updated 20/07/2020 1:19 PM AEST

MasterChef Australia Stars Explain Why Melissa Leong Is 'Needed On Australian TV'

"She is someone we didn’t even know we needed on Australian TV till we got her."

‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ judge Melissa Leong has been touted as the person “we needed on Australian TV” by one of the show’s contestants.

Khang Ong, who was eliminated from the cooking show last week, said he connected the most with the food writer, who joined the program this year alongside Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen

“I love Melissa. She is a bright beacon of light on the show. She is someone we didn’t even know we needed on Australian TV till we got her,” Khanh told HuffPost Australia. “We understood why she is needed.”

Channel 10
'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win' judge Melissa Leong

He said Melissa is not only “unapologetic and strong” and someone who “doesn’t back down” from what she believes in, but also “champions positivity”.

“She’s not about scandal, she’s about championing positivity and I appreciate that and I admire her so much for it.” 

This year’s season of ‘MasterChef Australia’ has showcased a diversity of cultures and food, and Melissa’s Singaporean-Chinese heritage has helped play a part in that, according to contestant Brendan Pang

“I would say I connected quite well with Melissa given her background and her love of very similar foods to food that I love the most,” said the Mauritian-Chinese contestant, who was known for his delicious dumplings on the show.

“I think in the past five years there’s been a lot of diversity on the show. In my season two years ago, there was a big Asian representation. I think with the addition of Mel as the new judge, it’s been awesome and she’s really helped emphasise that.” 

Many viewers have shared similar sentiments on social media: 

On ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ this year, Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo have replaced former judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston.

There are 24 previous contestants including Poh Ling YeowReynold Poernomo and Callum Hann who have returned to the series for another shot at victory, but we are now up to the final seven. 

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