MasterChef favourite Melissa Leong expertly put a contestant in their place for talking back to the judges in last night’s premiere episode, and viewers couldn’t get enough of it.
Twitter erupted after flight attendant Ben, 36, bit back at Leong when she critiqued his meal, applauding the food critic for standing her ground.
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The beloved judge had told Ben he “brought us a dish you thought we wanted to see” instead of playing to his culinary strengths, to which he promptly responded “I disagree”, going on to defend his decision.
“I think I brought a dish that speaks about a side of me that I’m just kind of meeting now,” Ben retorted as fellow MasterChef judges Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen looked taken aback.
“I could have easily cooked something that I’ve been cooking for years, you know, a slow braised dish or anything like that, but that’s …” he continued, before Leong cut in.
“I would invite you to … to listen to us and to hear … To take that on,” she said calmly.
“I would like you to cook again,” she concluded, sending Ben to the second round to cook and potentially secure a spot in the competition.
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Fans took to Twitter to praise Leong’s polite yet stern shut down, with one joking: “My sexuality is Melissa Leong interrupting a man.”
“Holy sh*t, I didn’t know Mel was cooking tonight, but give her an apron because she tenderly roasted smug Ben,” another wrote.
This season comes after a wildly successful first year on the judging panel for Leong, who quickly secured herself a viewer and contestant favourite due to her ability to genuinely connect with the cooks.
On Monday night, she welcomed the new contestants with an emotional speech, urging them to “support each other, celebrate each other’s successes, have each other’s backs when things are not so great”.
MasterChef Australia continues at 7.30pm tonight on Channel 10