MasterChef Australia Judge Melissa Leong Reveals 'The Big Hero' Of Food During Lockdown

Alicia Vrajlal
·2-min read

Since filming of ‘Junior MasterChef’ wrapped up earlier this year, Melissa Leong has enjoyed peeling back to basics in her own kitchen and enjoying some simple and easy-to-make pleasures.

According to the TV personality and food writer, it’s all about channelling “some fun and childhood comfort”.

“I think we all need that,” the 38-year-old told HuffPost Australia, reflecting on what’s been a very unexpected and challenging year for many amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everything is a little bit different to how we probably envisaged it to be,” she said.

'MasterChef Australia' judge Melissa Leong poses for Lexus after being announced as the luxury car brand's new ambassador ahead of the Melbourne Cup carnival
'MasterChef Australia' judge Melissa Leong poses for Lexus after being announced as the luxury car brand's new ambassador ahead of the Melbourne Cup carnival

Melissa said her approach to cooking for others is just “simple entertaining... whether you’re entertaining the kids or it’s when we’re allowed to have one family over”.

“Look up recipes that you can do a day in advance so when you actually are entertaining, you’re not slaving in the kitchen and you’re not worrying about things setting or cooking to the perfect degree,” she said.

“Do that ahead of time and [then] you can actually just be with your people. I think the most important thing we’ve learned this year is to be grateful for our friends, family and the company that we’re able to have within our homes.”

Melissa said her approach to cooking for others is just “simple entertaining... whether you’re entertaining the kids or it’s when we’re allowed to have one family over”. 
Melissa said her approach to cooking for others is just “simple entertaining... whether you’re entertaining the kids or it’s when we’re allowed to have one family over”.
 Melissa Leong with fellow 'Junior MasterChef Australia' judges Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen
Melissa Leong with fellow 'Junior MasterChef Australia' judges Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen

Melissa is based in Melbourne where some COVID-19 restrictions were eased this week, allowing locals to now meet in a group of up to ten people from a maximum of two households in an outdoor public place to socialise.

“Picnics are the big hero of this half of the year because of COVID,” she explained. “So to be able to prepare delicious things that you can take to the park and enjoy and share with friends is a wonderful idea as well.”

Cold seafood or antipasto platters are her go-to options, plus a personal favourite she can’t get enough of.

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