If it has anything to do with the Australian food industry, chances are that Melissa Leong has written or broadcast about it, collaborated with or has it on speed dial. There isn’t much Melissa hasn’t had to do with when it comes to food in Australia. A freelance food & travel writer, media consultant, radio broadcaster, television presenter, stylist and cookbook editor, this first generation Singaporean Australian isn’t afraid to consume anything at least once. From getting lost in the back streets of Ho Chi Minh looking for the perfect bun bo hue, to living on an abattoir in rural Tasmania, there is nowhere and nothing she won’t do in the name of a great food experience.
A background in digital advertising working with brands such as Coca Cola, Nokia and LG gave Melissa her start in the food industry as a freelance food critic for publications such as Time Out Sydney, before moving into PR, Marketing and Digital Media consulting. Working with the likes of Adriano Zumbo, Gelato Messina, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and more, Melissa has worked with some of the highest profile and most respected names in the Australian food scene.
In 2009, Melissa co-founded the young gun hospitality group TOYS COLLECTIVE alongside leading chef Morgan McGlone, which was recognised and awarded for its contribution to industry innovation by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. Members include some of today’s hottest restaurant industry talent: Dan Hong, Adriano Zumbo, Monty Koludrovic, Darren Robertson, Aaron Turner, Hannah Green, Banjo Harris-Plane and Annaliese Gregory, to name but a few.
Melissa’s work as a television host can be seen on SBS’ The Chefs’ Line alongside chefs Dan Hong and Mark Olive, now in its 2nd season. Melissa can also be seen as a regular on Justine Schofield’s Everyday Gourmet and The Cook’s Pantry on Channel 10. She can also be heard over the Airwaves in ABC Radio Melbourne as a food expert regular on Afternoons with Richelle Hunt.
As an MC and speaker, she has hosted events at celebrated food festivals such as Margaret River Gourmet Escape and Parramatta City’s Chinese New Year celebrations in front of a 9,000 strong audience. Melissa is an outspoken advocate of diversity in story telling and is part of the next generation of television presenters and journalists showcasing the multicultural richness of Australia through its food.
Melissa’s life philosophy is the same as that in food – be voracious!