'Masterchef Australia' bids goodbye to star judges

Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris will not be returning in next season of the reality TV cookery show

Entertainment Desk July 24, 2019
PHOTO: GEORGE CALOMBARIS

After 11 successful seasons, MasterChef Australia judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris will not be returning in the next season of the reality TV cookery show.

The news of their exit from the show was shared on the official Instagram handle of MasterChef Australia.

“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 MasterChef legacy and helping make the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true,” the post read.



The news comes amid calls to drop Calombaris after he came under fire for underpaying $7.8 million to his staff at his hospitality firm, Made Establishment. He was even dropped from an Australian tourism campaign.

There are reports indicating that the trio chose to walk away from the program after Network 10 refused to give them a significant pay raise. However, the judges denied the speculations.

“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. (This is) 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,” Mehigan wrote on Instagram.

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



Calombaris also took to Instagram to share his thoughts. “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, I love you and thank you. Time to take a deep breath and be thankful,” he wrote.

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



“Thank you so very much for supporting the show for over the last 11 years. We have loved every single moment,” Preston tweeted.



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