MasterChef Judges 2024: Which Famous Faces Are Heating up the Kitchen This Year?

MasterChef Judges 2024: Which Famous Faces Are Heating up the Kitchen This Year?

MasterChef Australia is heating up our screens for another year, so let’s take a look at the list of judges confirmed for Season 16. Here is your guide to the regular and guest judges who will grace our tellies for the 2024 season of MasterChef.

Who are the judges of MasterChef Australia?

Poh Ling Yeow: Cook, writer and television presenter

Masterchef hosts 2024

Poh Ling Yeow should be a fairly familiar name to MasterChef fans, as she competed in the competition in 2009. She was runner-up in her season, and on her return as a judge, she said:

“Talk about a thrilling, full circle moment. MasterChef Australia is where my food story began, so this feels like coming home. A big part of me will always be standing on the other side with the contestants and I hope when they look to me, they see proof you don’t have to win to win.”

Andy Allen: Australian cook, food critic and television presenter

Masterchef Australia hosts 2024.

Andy Allen is the only original judge to return to the series in 2024, he released a moving statement on his decision to stay with the MasterChef show when the news was announced, saying:

“MasterChef Australia has been part of my life for over a decade. It gave me a pathway into the industry and led me to a career that I’m forever grateful for. After an extremely difficult year in 2023, and upon reflection, the decision to return to the series is not one I took lightly.

“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. 2024 will be the start of a new chapter, and it will be surreal – yet brilliant – to share this moment with my fellow judges, Poh, Sofia and Jean-Christophe.”

Sofia Levin: Food and travel journalist

Another new face in the judge’s line-up is Sofia Levin. The culinary travel journalist and food reviewer said the following on joining the MasterChef Australia team:

“The first season of MasterChef Australia aired the same year I started writing about food. By the time I graduated from journalism, I was sharing lesser-known food stories, while the show was exposing the nation to cuisines and cultures they had never considered before. Becoming a judge on MasterChef feels like two parallel paths converging, and I am giddy with excitement at the people I get to stand beside.”

Jean-Christophe Novelli: French chef, restauranteur and television personality

Rounding out the four judges is Jean-Christophe Novelli – a French chef, author, and restaurateur.

“Fostering culinary talent is something I have cared about for many years, and it is a passion I am excited to share in the MasterChef Kitchen. Australian cuisine has a remarkable reputation on the world stage, and it will be a great privilege to meet and mentor the country’s top home cooks on their journeys to greatness,” he said.

Which MasterChef guest judges can we expect in 2024?

Jamie Oliver: Celebrity chef, author

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Jamie Oliver MasterChef guest judge.

The first guest judge of MasterChef 2024 was announced in November 2023, with Network 10 sharing that Jamie Oliver would return to the kitchen for Season 16. He is set to appear on the series as a guest judge for two weeks.

The English celebrity chef is a hugely popular name these days and he has authored many books as well as opened a number of restaurants in the past.

“Returning to the MasterChef kitchen and spending time in Australia makes me very happy. I think MasterChef Australia is the best food show in the world – amazing production values and an incredible story of transformation,” he said.

“I love seeing how the contestants constantly surprise themselves about what they can achieve. More than that, MasterChef connects Aussies to food and the joy of cooking and that can only be a positive thing.”

Curtis Stone

masterchef judges
Curtis Stone Instagram

In April, Curtis Stone confirmed he would be joining the MasterChef Australia kitchen once again as a guest judge. In a video, he shared that he would be joining “at different points” in the competition and that he was incredibly excited to meet the contestants for 2024.

Luke Nguyen

masterchef judges

Vietnamese-Australian chef Luke Nguyen was another guest judge for the season of MasterChef Australia. He challenged contestants to cook with some of his favourite ingredients during an elimination episode that sent Juan packing.

Vincent Yeow Lim

masterchef judges

Vincent Yeow Lim, also known as Dim Sim Lim, appeared as a guest judge on MasterChef Australia earlier this week, during which he showcased traditional Cantonese cooking.

Anna Polyviou

masterchef judges

Anna is an award-winning pastry chef who is widely recognised for her bright pink hair (and epic desserts).

The cook is joining MasterChef Australia as a guest judge in 2024 and will dish out a breakfast-themed pressure test to our contestants.

Nagi Maehashi

masterchef judges

Nagi Maehashi of the beloved Recipe Tin Eats has also been confirmed as a guest judge for MasterChef Australia 2024. Folks are hoping her pooch Dozer might make an appearance, too.

Mikiko Terasaki

masterchef judges

Beloved TikTok personality Mikiko Terasaki appeared as a guest judge on MasterChef Australia 2024 and brought a delicious-looking egg challenge to the contestants.

Check out a short clip of the action here.

Rick Stein

masterchef judges

Seafood ‘king’ chef Rick Stein was one of the most recent guest judges to appear on MasterChef Australia. He challenged the contestants to produce a top seafood dish in the kitchen.

Adriano Zumbo

masterchef judges

Another well-known name that has been confirmed in the MasterChef Australia guest judge lineup is Adriano Zumbo.

In a post announcing his appearance on the show, Zumbo shared that he “Can’t wait to see you all this Season!”

Why did Melissa Leong leave MasterChef as a judge?

If you’re wondering about Melissa Leong, it was confirmed that she will be bringing her expertise to Dessert Masters going forward. This means that, no, she won’t be joining MasterChef Australia in 2024. On the announcement of MasterChef Australia‘s new judges, she shared the below:

“Over the past four years, MasterChef Australia has infused my life with something truly magical. It has provided me with life-changing experiences that have given me the courage to continue to put myself outside of my comfort zone.

“It is with great enthusiasm and warmth that I welcome new faces Sofia, Poh, and Jean-Christophe, to this very special family, I know they will make it theirs in their own special way, as we did.”

What is the MasterChef judging process really like?

Ahead of MasterChef Australia’s 2024 debut, Lifehacker Australia spoke with celebrity chef and judge Jean-Christophe Novelli, who gave us the rundown on the dynamic between the judges, saying they all bring “a different angle on a dish,”:

“We are very different, we have edge, experience, convictions – which is great,” Novelli said.

“…You’ve got Andy, he’s the legacy, his voice is very unique. Sofia is very eloquent, she’s quite rich in delivering all the differences, [and is] very well experienced, of course. Then you have Poh, every time she speaks I’m just [gawking], she’s very precise with chefs and she’s a very good artist… so basically the four of us are like four Dysons rolling over all the crumbs!”

Novelli also explained what the process of judging is like:

“In terms of doing the job, as a judge on the best TV cooking competition show… you have to be yourself. You have to find the best dish, the best cook and they are there. Whittled down from 50,000 [applicants] to just 22. You’ve got the best of the best, basically.”

The chef added that most of the time he ignores what the other judges are saying (in a positive way):

“What I tend to do is completely blank [the judges] when they speak… I don’t want to be distracted by anyone, because you can’t be seduced by what they say because they speak fantastically,” he said.

With so many contestants plating up so many fantastic dishes every episode, the judges don’t have an easy task.

When it comes to the specifics of what Novelli is looking for in a contestant’s dish, the judge said his analysis begins even before he’s tasted the food:

“My judging session starts from the moment the name is called, the dish is picked up from the bench and [they] are walking towards us. I’m [looking at] the way they hold the plate, the way they stand, how they place the plate down and then I’m open to the first imminent smell, aroma, flavours and so on. I get a sense of, obviously, the taste, [but] I look at the textures, the visuals…” he explained.

Novelli said a common mistake many of the amateur cooks make is to “overdo it”:

“A lot of them come in with a finishing visual of the dish, rather than focusing on giving love to each of the ingredients… Be yourself, don’t try to be someone else, don’t try to impress, and use your intuition because food is like a human being, you have to take it day after day. Sometimes the simpler you are [the better],” he said.

If you’d like to keep reading, check out our write-up on the contestants joining the series this year here.

Lead Image Credit: MasterChef Australia/ Instagram

This article has been updated since its original publication date.


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