Melissa Leong On How MasterChef Remains A Ratings Success & What To Expect From Junior MasterChef

Melissa Leong On How MasterChef Remains A Ratings Success & What To Expect From Junior MasterChef
SHARE
THIS



Nothing says ratings success cooking show quite like the MasterChef franchise.

And, with Junior MasterChef Australia returning to our screens this Sunday night, B&T chatted with judge Melissa Leong to understand just how the series continues to be beloved by Australia, what to expect from the new kid-focused season and why diversity on screen matters.

On the major success of MasterChef earlier this year and what it was like stepping into big shoes, Leong said: “It was such a wonderful opportunity, and tremendously exciting. There’s no way obviously to tell how things will be received, so we just focused on doing the best that we could and bring each of our unique perspectives on food to the MasterChef kitchen.

“The results speak for themselves, we are just so thrilled with how everyone has received it. We hope to continue to be able to celebrate people’s food stories, which is the most important thing.”

Speaking to what it’s like stepping into a new era of something that’s been so wildly successful, Leong said there is a “unifying thread” through MasterChef’s history and that is that it’s about the celebration of food.

“That’s the true hero of the MasterChef show. Judges will come and go, but the heart and soul of the brand is that love and celebration of food.”

Leong has also been a fierce advocate for more diversity in Australian media, and says she’s pleased that’s resonated with Aussie viewers.

“In terms of diversity, who I am is the only person I can be,” she said. “To be able to represent a change in the way that people are represented is amazing.

“I see it as opening the door for everybody who has not felt adequately represented in the past because it’s about ability, it’s about identity, it’s about age, it’s about so many different things other than just cultural identity – although cultural identity is incredibly important. I’m very proud to be part of this conversation currently happening in Australian media.”

How did MasterChef Junior go about casting with diversity in mind?

“In terms of casting competitors, MasterChef has always been an incredibly diverse place,” says Leong.

“If you look at former contestants across all of the seasons, junior or the regular season, it has always been a place that celebrates cultural diversity and the stories of families from all across the world. That bit doesn’t change, that will always be the way that it is and we will hopefully continue to celebrate cultures that haven’t been represented in the past.”

Leong added, however, that diverse casting is a multi-layered effort.

“You need to think about applicants. So if people don’t apply, then we can’t represent them. And at the same time, we’re also looking at who can cook and who’s going to make great television as well. And wonderfully, that will always be a diverse group of people who bring perspectives from all over the world to the kitchen.”

On what to expect from the upcoming Junior MasterChef season, Leong said she was completely inspired by “joyful, fun, and fearless humans.”

“Kids have a really unburdened interpretation of meeting [cooking] challenges. I think as we grow older, we take on various levels of baggage. The kids are encouraged to just be themselves. It’s completely unfiltered. And I think that there’s so much to learn as adults from watching kids just be themselves. It was a really fresh and inspiring experience throughout.”

Junior Masterchef Australia 2020, which premieres October 11 2020 at 7.30pm.

 

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

junior masterchef australia

Latest News

Burger King Trials Reusable Packaging
  • Media

Burger King Trials Reusable Packaging

Here's a top initiative from Burger King that does kinda sound like a slightly tedious Craig Reucassel documentary.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Smarter Use Of Art & Science Stretch Auto Budgets Further
  • Media

Smarter Use Of Art & Science Stretch Auto Budgets Further

The majority of adverts uploaded to Facebook aren’t created for Facebook as its priority. This is causing huge inefficiencies and poor performance for brands, many of whom are facing up to shrinking budgets. Tom Phillips (main photo) managing director at Connecting Plots shares lessons from 12 campaigns they optimised for auto brands… It’s no secret […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Jaguar Land Rover Appoints Haystac As PR Agency Of Record
  • Advertising

Jaguar Land Rover Appoints Haystac As PR Agency Of Record

Jaguar Land Rover Australia has appointed social relations agency, Haystac, as its PR agency of record following a competitive pitch process earlier this year. Haystac, part of the BWM Dentsu Group, will deliver a comprehensive portfolio of services including trade and lifestyle PR, content creation, ambassador management and influencer engagement. Haystac joins its dentsu network […]

Young Guns Take The Lead With The First PRIA University Mentoring Program In NSW
  • Media

Young Guns Take The Lead With The First PRIA University Mentoring Program In NSW

On Wednesday, 21 October 2020, the PR industry was bolstered by the launch of the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) first University Mentoring Program in New South Wales, adapting the traditional face-to-face program to a virtual format for the first time. In collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the PRIA NSW Young […]

JCDecaux Teams Up With MyPayNow To Serve Real-Time Data
  • Media

JCDecaux Teams Up With MyPayNow To Serve Real-Time Data

JCDecaux has developed a dynamic digital campaign with live timetable data where commuters can access their money from MyPayNow while waiting for the bus. In an exclusive nationwide Out-Of-Home campaign, JCDecaux’s SMARTFRAME digital assets are broadcasting bus arrival times, letting commuters know how far away their next bus is – and just how easy it […]

Rokt Secures $US80M Series D Investment Round
  • Technology

Rokt Secures $US80M Series D Investment Round

Rokt has today announced an investment of US$80M. The capital will help accelerate research & development and support the expansion of its client base into new verticals and geographies as Rokt continues to make e-commerce smarter, faster, and better. The funding round was led by Rokt’s largest institutional shareholder TDM Growth Partners , and supported […]

Nature Invests In New Team Members And Innovation
  • Marketing

Nature Invests In New Team Members And Innovation

Leading strategic insights consultancy Nature today announced it has hired several key new team members and restructured senior roles to increase its focus on innovation, including new technology and data sources.

PayPal And Buy From The Bush Launch New Marketplace
  • Media

PayPal And Buy From The Bush Launch New Marketplace

PayPal Australia and Buy From The Bush have joined forces to launch a new online marketplace to showcase rural Australian small businesses in time for Christmas. The expanded partnership aims to build stronger connections between bush businesses and Australians in cities and suburbs across the country. The new Buy From The Bush Marketplace is an […]

Wednesday TV Wrap: Gruen Takes A 200K Hit
  • Media

Wednesday TV Wrap: Gruen Takes A 200K Hit

Gruen plummets 200,000 viewers in just one week. However, that's not to say Highway Patrol went up a similar amount.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Philippe Krakowsky Named New IPG CEO
  • Advertising
  • Media

Philippe Krakowsky Named New IPG CEO

Philippe "Crackers" Krakowsky named new IPG global CEO. However, says he only uses Crackers on less formal occasions.