Food & Wine

Masterchef judge Melissa Leong moved to tears after tasting dish

Masterchef judge Melissa Leong moved to tears after tasting dish

It was an emotional episode for Masterchef judge Melissa Leong who was overwhelmed with joy after tasting a Malaysian curry dish.

She was overcome with emotion as she tasted contestant Poh Ling Yeow's dish as memories of Leong's mother's cooking came flooding back.

Monday night's episode was a Mystery Box challenge which saw the top six creating dishes inspired by the colours of a Rubik's cube.

Poh selected red which was represented by chilli on the plate and served up a chicken and potato curry paired with herbed fried rice, fried whitebait, red onion and chilli relish as well as a roti.

Leong said that the food tasted like "home".

“If you come from South East Asia, it’s a taste of home, if you come from somewhere else, it’s a taste of soul and history and heart, and that’s what we love about your food.”

“The balance of flavour and the depth of flavour you’ve managed to achieve in 75 minutes it’s impressive, and I think you’ve done an incredible job honouring your heritage,” she said, her voice quavering.

“I think it’s really special … and I’m really proud to eat food like this,” she said, lowering her head as her eyes filled with tears.

“I’m actually crying with joy, and that doesn’t happen very often,” she explained.

Judge Jock Zonfrillo was curious and asked where the emotion came from.

“What is it about that specifically that made you cry?” Jock kindly asked Melissa.

“I really miss my mum, and this is food she cooks,” the magnetic star replied through tears.

“The way she can honour the accuracy of the flavours and the textures is absolutely spot on … Regardless of your culture, what she put in to this cook, that’s what we look for here,” she said, referencing Poh.

Poh's curry sent her straight through to the top three to battle it out for the coveted immunity pin alongside Laura, whose white dessert wowed and Reynold who made a moss-inspired sweet dish that surprised the judges.