MasterChef Australia judges quit show, claiming it wasn't about the money but their dates didn't align

FP Staff

Jul 23, 2019 13:02:53 IST

MasterChef Australia judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris have quit the reality cooking show. Network 10 confirmed about the withdrawal after the decision to upgrade changes in trio's contractual agreement proved unsuccessful.

The judges, each on salaries well over $1 million, walked after Network 10 refused to up their salaries by more than 40 percent, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Check out the official announcement here

“Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George," said Network 10 chief executive officer Paul Anderson in a statement.

"Across 11 sensational seasons, MasterChef Australia has established itself as one of the most popular and respected cooking television series around the world. For more than a decade, the iconic series has shaped and driven the Australian public’s passion for food and cooking, delivered iconic television moments, and made the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true," he said.

Matt took to Twitter to post a lengthy expressing gratitude to the Network and confirmed that Season 11 was their last.

George further explained on his social media post that they couldn't form Season 12 contract because of the schedule issues. He wrote, "We were close to signing a new contract for season 12 however the dates just didn’t align."

View this post on Instagram

@masterchefau 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. To our families, friends and teams who have supported us, you freakin’ rock. We were close to signing a new contract for season 12 however the dates just didn’t align. Channel Ten, thank you for providing us the platform to change the landscape of food worldwide. To the next 3 judges and mentors, we wish you loads of success. To my brothers @mattscravat and @garymehigan: I love you and thank you. Time to take a deep breath and be thankful. With love GC xxx

A post shared by George Calombaris (@gcalombaris) on

In his post, Gary wrote it was time to move on, ‘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."

View this post on Instagram

To all of our fans ‘thank you’ To the team that makes MasterChef ‘thank you’ and to all of the contestants that we know and love, we are all part of a very exclusive club and what a journey what an experience. 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. We couldn’t agree on the term of the new contract for 2020 and season 12. Something we felt very strongly about. The opportunity to work with Matt and George has been a blessing and something I cherish. Working together will continue to be the most important thing for us.....the three musketeers....... @mattscravat @gcalombaris @masterchefau #masterchefau #foodies #foodiesofinstagram #homecooks #homecooking #masterchef

A post shared by Gary Mehigan (@garymehigan) on

The news comes days after George was found to have had underpaid staff working for his Melbourne restaurant empire by nearly $7.8 million. The chef and his Made Establishment company was fined a “contrition payment” of $200,000 by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

George has apologised for his actions but that did not stop more than 22,000 people signing an online petition calling for him to be sacked from MasterChef. It was further revealed that the West Australian government has suspended its tourism campaign, featuring George Calombaris after the scandal.

“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," Managing Director Brodie Carr said.

Meanwhile, the finale of MasterChef Australia season 11 is due to air on Tuesday night. The program, once with the highest-rating television show in Australia, will continue in 2020, with a new panel of judges, who are yet to be announced.

Updated Date: Jul 23, 2019 19:11:13 IST