MasterChef Australia two-time champion Billie McKay has revealed just how different the OG judges are from Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.

The current judging panel replaced Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris in 2020, delivering a different approach to the beloved cooking show.

After becoming the first Masterchef Australia contestant to win the show twice, Billie shared her unique insight on what really changed between her two seasons.

In an interview with, Billie revealed that Jock, Melissa and Andy were far more focused on flavour than presentation.

Comparatively, Billie recalled that the old judges “really appreciated a very good-looking plate of food” when she first appeared on the show in 2015.

“The new judges, they don’t tend to worry too much what the food looks like,” she told the publication.

billie masterchef new judges winner
Billie said judges Jock, Melissa and Andy don’t “worry too much what the food looks like”. Source: Ten

“So I had to sort of undo that in my head and realise that I didn’t have to make it look really good, I had to make it taste really good. I think that was a pretty big lesson to learn.”

The Judge’s Focus on Flavour Helped Billie McKay Win Masterchef Australia For the Second Time

On July 12, Billie’s first dish – cumin, rosemary and rhubarb panna cotta – suffered a “major fail” because it didn’t set correctly. So, it was damn lucky for her that the judges cared more about the taste!

billie mckay panna cotta dish masterchef australia
Billie’s cumin, rosemary and rhubarb panna cotta didn’t set properly. Source: Ten

Melissa was disappointed that it didn’t work out, while Andy noted that the dish was “delicious, but it could be better with a set panna cotta”.

In the final Pressure Test, Billie presented a Heston Blumenthal classic (a nod to her win in season seven), which absolutely wowed the judges.

Want even more goss? Listen to episode 202 of the So Dramatic! podcast with Megan Pustetto below!

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