Few in Australia can boast the culinary credentials of Melissa Leong. An accomplished food and travel writer, food media consultant, radio broadcaster, television presenter, MC and cookbook editor, this first-generation Singaporean Australian isn’t afraid to eat anything at least once.
Born and raised in Sydney to Singaporean Chinese parents, Melissa attended Sydney University, graduating with a degree in Economics and Social Sciences. A shoulder injury thwarted her dreams of becoming a concert pianist, but her love of food had other plans. It is of course, in her Singaporean DNA. It doesn’t matter if she is getting lost in the back streets of Ho Chi Minh in search of the perfect banh mi, or living on an abattoir in rural Tasmania for two years to better understand agriculture and primary industry first hand, there is nowhere and nothing Melissa won’t be or do in the name of a great food experience or an important life lesson.
A background in digital advertising working with big-name brands gave Melissa her start in the food industry as a freelance food critic for publications including Time Out Sydney, before she moved into PR, Marketing and Digital Media consulting.
Melissa LeongCast as co-host and judge on the hit series The Chefs’ Line, the show’s two seasons continue to broadcast worldwide. A season regular on Justine Schofield’s Everyday Gourmet and on Matt Sinclair’s The Cook’s Pantry on Network 10, Melissa can also be found hosting events at food festivals around the country, including Margaret River Gourmet Escape and Noosa Food & Wine Festival.
As a freelance food writer, Melissa specialises in cookbooks, recipe editing and chef wrangling. She co-edited and produced bestseller The Great Australian Cookbook, had a hand in bringing to life books for chef Colin Fassnidge and co-wrote Dan Hong’s cult favourite, Mr Hong. Melissa has recently been given her own column in the newly revamped Escape, Australia’s most-read travel publication. She also writes for Delicious Magazine, The Guardian and News.com.au, and in 2009 co-founded the young gun hospitality group TOYS Collective, with members including Adriano Zumbo and Darren Robertson.
Melissa’s life philosophy is the same as that in food - be voracious!