Australia

All three MasterChef judges to depart show after pay dispute

MasterChef Judges pose for portraits. Source: AAP

George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan will relinquish their roles as MasterChef judges after contract negotiations broke down.

Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and the embattled George Calombaris will leave MasterChef as judges after contract negotiations with the reality cooking show's broadcaster broke down.

The trio, who have been judges on the show for 11 seasons, will make their last appearance on Tuesday night in the 2019 season finale.

Masterchef Australia judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris  on a red carpet.
Masterchef Australia judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris on a red carpet.
AAP

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

"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 Calombaris outside Downing Centre Local Court.
George Calombaris outside Downing Centre Local Court.
AAP

The announcement comes amid calls for Ten to sack Calombaris after his Made Establishment company was last week fined $200,000 for ripping off restaurant workers to the tune of almost $8 million.

He was also dumped on Monday from a West Australian tourism campaign.

MasterChef on Tuesday thanked the celebrity judges for their time on the show.

"After 11 sensational seasons, we bid a fond farewell to our judges - Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris," the show's Twitter account posted.

"Thank you for being a part of this remarkable #MasterChefAU legacy and helping make the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true!"

Calombaris in early 2018 apologised for damaging the sport of soccer after his conviction for assaulting a teenager at the A-League grand final was overturned by a Sydney court.

The restaurateur was fined $1000 after pleading guilty in late 2017 to assaulting the 19-year-old at the A-League grand final between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.

But a district court judge subsequently overturned the conviction after agreeing with Calombaris's lawyer that he'd suffered significant financial and personal loss and was unlikely to re-offend.

He was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

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