In an unexpected and surprising move, Network 10 have dropped the original Masterchef judges and have confirmed that the well-known trio will not be returning to the blockbuster cooking show next year.
Channel 10 have said that Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris will no longer be part of Masterchef from next year.
This comes amidst a host of allegations against restaurant owner, George Calombaris, which revealed that the famous chef had underpaid staff at his Melbourne restaurants by more than $7.8 million.
The CEO of 10 Paul Anderson has said that despite months of negotiation, “10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George.”
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“We would like to thank Gary, George and Matt for their contribution over the past 11 years,” he added.
“MasterChef Australia has always been about ordinary Australians doing extraordinary things for the love of food and we believe it is very important to continue that ethos.
“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.”
Calombaris has was fined $200,000 by the Fair Work Ombudsman for underpayment of his employees.
While the chef and restauranteur has apologised for his actions, many people have been calling for him to be fired from Masterchef. There was even a petition, with over 22,000 signatures calling for his dismissal.
The celebrity chef was also dumped from a WA tourism campaign earlier this week.
Calombaris starred in Tourism WA’s advertising campaign “Create Your Own Gourmet Escape in WA”, which was due to run until September.
Tourism WA managing director Brodie Carr on Monday said the ads with Calombaris had been suspended.
“We’ve paused all of our work with George for now and we’re talking to his management about recouping some of our costs that we’ve paid him,” Mr Carr told 6PR radio.
Do you think Calombaris deserved to go? Will Masterchef survive without the three original judges? Tell us in the comments below.
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