Andy Allen posted a somber message to social media on Thursday, after it was announced he will be returning to Channel Ten’s MasterChef Australia next year.
The celebrity chef, 35, shared a photo to Instagram of him gazing at the ocean while on a nature trail and captioned it with some reflective words.
‘A lot of thoughts, of lot of emotions and a lot of thanks to all of you,’ he wrote next to the picture.
He also shared a MasterChef promotional photo of him posing up a storm with new judges Poh Ling Yeow, Sofia Levin and Jean-Christophe Novelli.
‘The decision to return to the MasterChef kitchen was one that I thought long and hard about,’ he began.
Andy Allen posted a somber message to social media on Thursday, after it was announced he will be returning to MasterChef Australia next year. Pictured L – R: MasterChef’s new judging line-up Jean-Christophe Novelli, Allen, Poh Ling Yeow and Sofia Levin
‘But I’m super pumped to continue Jock’s legacy, mentoring a new crop of Australia’s best home cooks. Ready to begin a new chapter with these three legends.’
Andy’s statement comes after reports that Melissa Leong is no longer a judge on MasterChef Australia – but she maintains she left the program ‘on my terms’ following a ‘magical’ four-year tenure.
Her departure from the cooking show was announced on Monday – just a day before Channel Ten unveiled its 2024 programming slate at its Upfronts presentation.
The celebrity chef, 35, shared a photo of him gazing at the ocean while on a nature trail and captioned it with some reflective words
The upcoming season will see the introduction of three new judges: series alum Poh Ling Yeow, Michelin-star chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and food critic Sofia Levin.
Leong remains part of the Ten family and will be presenting Dessert Masters, a MasterChef spin-off series, alongside Swiss-French pastry prodigy Amaury Guichon.
A network spokesperson told the Australian Financial Review Leong’s exit was down to scheduling and she ‘remains a key member of the MasterChef family’.
Andy’s statement comes after reports that Melissa Leong is no longer a judge on MasterChef Australia – but she maintains she left the program ‘on my terms’ following a ‘magical’ four-year tenure (She is pictured left with Andy Allen and the late Jock Zonfrillo)
‘Next year, MasterChef Australia and Dessert Masters will air back-to-back. Therefore each show needs its own distinct style and personality and its own unique hosting team,’ they added.
Allen revealed on Monday his decision to return to MasterChef following the death of his co-star Jock Zonfrillo was not an easy one.
‘After an extremely difficult year in 2023, and upon reflection, the decision to return to the series is not one I took lightly,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
‘But there is something special in the MasterChef Australia kitchen, and it feels right to come back to work with the amazing production team, and to play my role in seeing the contestants do as I have done.’
Allen revealed on Monday his decision to return to MasterChef following the death of his co-star Jock Zonfrillo was not an easy one
Following the announcement, Fried took to Instagram to say Zonfrillo would be ‘very happy’ with the new line-up – which no longer features Leong.
Her remark has sparked speculation that Zonfrillo, who died on April 30 of natural causes at the age of 46, did not get along with Leong behind the scenes.
In a lengthy post, Fried gushed about Allen returning to the franchise and congratulated Ling Yeow and Novelli on their new roles, but in a somewhat telling move failed to mention Leong’s departure or her four years on the show.
‘This would make Jock immensely happy – @andyallencooks unexpectedly came into our life four years ago. He quickly became a best mate to Jock, shared a passion for food and fun, and was someone who cared deeply for our family,’ she began.
‘Andy walked back into the MasterChef Kitchen to film his segment for Jock’s tribute show seven months ago, literally only hours after I called him to tell him the news. He did that for Ava and I, for Jock, and as a gift for our little ones to watch in the future.’
She went on to say Zonfrillo would be ‘super proud’ to see Allen ‘heading back into the MasterChef kitchen now with three new talented and kind judges’.
Fried also appeared to take another dig at Leong, 42, when she said the new judges ‘respect the privilege of being part of an extraordinary show’.
‘This is a group of people who respect the privilege of being part of such an extraordinary show. They know they’re stronger together than as individuals, and they want to nurture contestants in turning their dream of food as a career into reality,’ she said.
‘You all have my absolute support – all I ask is that you continue to take the p**s out of Andy, make him coffees that are so strong he walks onto set shaking, take him for a round of golf to let off some steam, and that you beat him in any cook-offs.’
Fried concluded: ‘Let’s make 2024 the best season of @masterchefau yet – get to know the judges, support the contestants, and keep cooking!’
Melissa and Andy joined MasterChef Australia in 2019, after former judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris left the show amid a pay dispute