After 11 long and food-filled years, the face(s) of television show MasterChef Australia will be no more. Judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, who have played an integral role in the cooking game show, will not be returning for another season. The news comes ahead of the season finale and the announcement was made by the official MasterChef Australia Twitter handle on Tuesday.
“After 11 sensational seasons, we bid a fond farewell to our judges - Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. Thank you for being a part of this remarkable #MasterChefAU legacy and helping make the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true!”
After 11 sensational seasons, we bid a fond farewell to our judges - Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. Thank you for being a part of this remarkable #MasterChefAU legacy and helping make the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true! pic.twitter.com/uG0A3ec8jI— #MasterChefAU (@masterchefau) July 23, 2019
Recently, George Calombaris was embroiled in a controversy after it was revealed that his companies had underpaid staff at his restaurants by nearly USD eight million, reported The Guardian. This controversy first came to light in 2017 and was being investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman in Australia.
However, Network 10 gave a different reason for the exit of the three judges. According to Paul Anderson, chief executive officer at Network 10, the trio was unable to reach a "commercial agreement" with the company. Talking about the next set of judges who will replace this trio, Paul said “Australia is full of remarkable cooking talent and we can't wait to introduce another group and the next generation of exceptional judges in season 12 of MasterChef Australia next year."
George, Gary and Matt took to social media to officially bid goodbye to the show and release statements.
“geez you have warmed our hearts, filled our stomachs and sizzled our souls.
To the great contestants of the past 11 years, you ought to be proud. To the incredible @masterchefau team that works so hard to make the best cooking show on earth, we salute you,” wrote George.
Gary, on his social media, further elaborated that the trio was unable to agree to the new contract for 2020. “To explain: ‘It was time to move on, have more free time to explore our own creativity’ It was never about the money and never will be about the money,” he added.
Matt also mentioned the contract disagreement in his statement.
He wrote on Instagram, “We have met some beautiful people, discovered and guided some of the brightest up-and-comers in the Australian food scene, worked with the best chefs in the world in front of the camera, and with the TV industry’s finest professionals behind the scenes. And of course, we three judges have formed a lifelong friendship that will live on far beyond the show.”
MasterChef Australia is based on the original British show. It is currently in its 11th season.
(With inputs from PTI and The News Minute)
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