• Meet the judges Dan Hong, Melissa Leong and Mark Olive in The Chefs' Line. (The Chefs' Line)Source: The Chefs' Line
Where would a cooking comp be without its judges? Thankfully, we’ve brought on some of the best in the biz: chef Dan Hong, food writer Melissa Leong and native ingredient expert Mark Olive.
Siobhan Hegarty

17 Jul 2018 - 1:32 PM  UPDATED 2 Aug 2018 - 3:56 PM

The Chefs’ Line returns to our screens with a second season, bringing home cooks and expert chefs together in our studio kitchen. Working up the chefs’ line, you’ll see apprentice, station, sous and head chefs taking turns to compete with everyday contestants. The challenge? To craft a chosen dish from that week’s featured cuisine. Each night, our team of astute judges – Dan Hong, Melissa Leong and Mark Olive – will take on the difficult, albeit delicious, role of picking a winner. On Friday nights, Leong takes us into the kitchen of that week’s featured restaurant, and uncover the culinary secrets to their chosen cuisine.  

The judges deliberate, who's got the best dish?

But before the show kicks off, here's the lowdown on the team:

Dan Hong

Few know chef lines better than Dan Hong. His culinary career started early – like, childhood-early – learning the ropes from his family’s restaurant. Thanks to Mama Hong, Dan snared his first job at Longrain before completing an apprenticeship at Marque. He joined the Tetsuya team as chef de partie, then Bentley Restaurant and Bar as sous chef. A stint at WD~50 in New York came next before Dan returned to Oz and became head chef of Lotus and, later, Ms. G’s. The kitchen climb never really slowed down because today Dan’s the executive chef of four Merivale restaurants.

Likes: Sneakers – lots of ’em! – and bad reality TV shows.


Melissa Leong

One of Melissa’s first memories comes from the kitchen: watching her Singaporean mother pound aromatics to make sambal. That spicy sauce must have had some addictive qualities because the Sydneysider has been thinking, talking and writing about food ever since. A multitalented millennial, Melissa’s hosted a food-themed radio show, written for some of the country’s top food mags, consulted for restaurants and food companies, and played an essential role in bringing cookbooks – like this one – to life.

Famous last words: “Singaporeans are food people, period.”


Mark Olive

It’s a happy coincidence Mark shares his last name with a tasty ingredient. ‘The Black Olive’ isn’t just the title of his catering company in Melbourne; it’s a moniker he’s taken on, too. A renowned indigenous cook, Mark has more than 30 years’ experience. With his technical background in European cookery and passion for native ingredients, he’s played a huge role in shaping ‘modern Australian’ cuisine. You can catch Mark later in the year on NITV with his series Outback Café.

Roots: Although born in Wollongong, Mark is a Bundjalung man. His family originated from the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? The Chefs’ Line premieres Monday 6 August, 6pm weeknights, on SBS followed by an encore screening at 9.30pm on SBS Food Network. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On DemandJoin the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more! 

Who's who and what's what
The Dan Hong effect
Sneaker fiend, tripe lover and executive chef Dan Hong talks food TV, celebrating diversity and why family recipes are often the best.
Mark Olive on the ingredients to success
As a chef and TV host, Mark Olive works in two of the most ego-driven industries out there, but this humble Bundjalung man is hungry for food, not fame.
Kicking it old-school with Melissa Leong
Fresh off the film set, Melissa Leong talks about eating fearlessly, food writing as a career, and why Australia’s culinary scene could do with a dose of glamour.
The Chefs' Line S2 | Episode guide
Can passion beat profession? #TheChefsLine
What is a Chefs' Line, anyway?
Like a well-oiled machine, in every kitchen there's a chefs' line, from apprentice right to the top.