26/06/2020 12:41 PM AEST | Updated 07/07/2020 2:38 PM AEST

Melissa Leong Says 'MasterChef Australia' Judge Role Is A 'Huge Adjustment'

She asked her fans to be respectful online and to avoid living life through a social media lens.

As the first female judge of ‘MasterChef Australia’ in its 11-year history, Melissa Leong, has said “this role of a lifetime comes with a huge adjustment”. 

On Thursday she informed her Instagram followers that although comments on her social media account have limited visibility, “it’s not because I don’t care, or that I am afraid of what people may write”. 

“To answer a persisting question, there’s a very simple reason comments are not publicly accessible on my page: because it’s my choice,” Leong wrote.

“This role of a lifetime comes with a huge adjustment, and I actively choose to take accountability for how I navigate life, social media, the universe, everything.” 

Channel 10
'MasterChef Australia: Back to Win' judge Melissa Leong.

The reality TV judge said some followers have been confused while others have “projected intensity at the fact that they cannot share their thoughts on my instagram page”.

“Social media has become a place where entitlement, solipsism and misguided rage reign, in addition to being a source of inspiration and connection,” she said.

She asked her fans to be respectful online and to avoid living life through a social media lens. 

“Likes don’t equal love,” she concluded. 

Earlier this year, the food writer, who joined the show alongside Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo, brushed off any criticism she had received since the show premiered.

“First and foremost, I take on this job knowing that I have the chops to do it well, otherwise I would not have been asked,” she told HuffPost Australia in April.

“I take my critical responsibility very seriously, and want to do a job I can stand by and be proud of.” 

Leong, Allen and Zonfrillo replaced Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston, who had a decade to build a strong rapport with viewers. 

Proud of her Singaporean-Chinese heritage, Leong acknowledged her casting indicates some progress in terms of cultural and gender representation on TV.  

“I am aware that my presence signifies a positive step towards diversity in the media landscape and with that comes a responsibility,” she said.

“And while I take it seriously, I’m proud to be just a part of the groundswell; I do not stand alone.

“Together, we represent inclusivity, and a broadening of stories and perspectives, and it’s with pride that I walk forward in great company.” 

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