Masterchef Australia Judges Quit Because They Weren’t Being Paid Enough
Just before Masterchef Australia was supposed to crown its 2019 winner last night, Channel 10 released a statement that was a bigger shock than the final outcome.
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) 23 July 2019
The network said: "Network 10 today announced that Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris will not return as judges in the next season of MasterChef Australia.
"Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George.
"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.
"We would like to thank Gary, George and Matt for their contribution over the past 11 years."
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Thank you so very much for supporting @masterchefau over the last 11 years. We have loved every single moment. It is however with a heavy heart that I can confirm that season 11 was our last. We were really keen to continue but we were unable to agree to all terms for the new contract. We have enjoyed 11 wonderful years on Masterchef Australia with Network Ten, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Ten for this amazing opportunity and for Network Ten's backing of this very special show. 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. I want to take this opportunity to thank you and everyone who has shared our amazing journey with us - especially all those fantastic contestants. I look forward to sharing many more adventures with you in the future. And finally I wish the new judges all the best with the show that we love so much. Thank you all. I don't want to take any gloss off tonight's well deserved winner so I will not be making any further comment. Love Matt.
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@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
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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
Hosting a show for more than a decade is a pretty good innings, but the timing of this scandal, as well as the reason behind the move, couldn't have come at a worse time for George.
Calombaris was last week fined $200,000 by the Fair Work Commission because he failed to pay more than 500 current and former staff $7.8 million in wages and superannuation.
So the idea that he wanted to be paid more per episode while he wasn't fairly paying his own staff is pretty ironic.
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The Sydney Morning Herald reports the trio was being paid individually more than a million bucks as the judges. The increase they were requesting, according to the SMH, was an extra 40 percent on top of their current salaries.
It's worth noting that George has since paid back all the outstanding wage and super issues, however the Fair Work Commission wanted something more.
In addition to forking out nearly a quarter of a million bucks, Calombaris has been ordered to 'complete speaking arrangements to educate the restaurant industry on the importance of workplace compliance'.
It's hoped this clause will send a message to other restaurateurs about the dangers they face when they don't pay their staff correctly.
In a final blow to a very difficult fortnight for Calombaris, he has been dumped by Western Australia Tourism as an ambassador.
The Masterchef Australia judge will be removed from all social media content previously uploaded by the body and all future posts will be avoided, according to news.com.au.
Apparently, the Create Your Own Gourmet Escape in WA was supposed to run until the end of September and Calombaris was the face of the campaign. There are alternatives that don't feature the celebrity chef.
There's much speculation of who could replace Matt, Gary and George, with news.com.au tipping Curtis Stone, Poh Ling Yeow and Maggie Beer.
Featured Image Credit: Channel 10