MasterChef judge George Calombaris dumped from Tourism WA campaign

Tourism WA has dropped celebrity chef George Calombaris from its new advertising campaign after he was fined for underpaying employees almost $8 million.

Celebrity chef and MasterChef judge George Calombaris was fined for underpaying his staff.

Celebrity chef and MasterChef judge George Calombaris was fined for underpaying his staff. Source: AAP

Australian MasterChef judge and celebrity chef George Calombaris has been dealt another blow, after being dumped as the face of Western Australia's latest tourism campaign.

The Fair Work Ombudsman last week fined the 40-year-old restaurateur and his Made Establishment company $200,000 and ordered he back-pay hundreds of current and former staff.

Mr Calombaris featured in Tourism WA's advertising campaign "Create Your Own Gourmet Escape in WA", which first aired in the eastern states on MasterChef during WA Week earlier this month and was due to run until September.

Tourism WA will attempt to recoup some of the money already paid to Calombaris for the ads.
Source: Tourism WA

But Tourism WA managing director Brodie Carr today said the ads with Mr Calombaris had been suspended although the campaign with MasterChef would continue.

"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.

"We'll continue with the campaign that we're doing with MasterChef but probably not with George.

"George was just a small element of the whole MasterChef piece."

He would not reveal how much Calombaris was paid.

Tourism WA today dumped Calombaris as the face of its food and wine campaign.
Source: Tourism WA

Mr Carr conceded Mr Calombaris' troubles with his restaurants "possibly" should have come up when he was being considered for the tourism role.

Premier Mark McGowan previously said working with MasterChef for tourism promotion was innovative but would not confirm the reported $1.2 million price tag.

Other recent tourism initiatives for WA include bringing the Manchester United soccer team to Perth, direct flights from Japan and Chris Hemsworth's hugely popular quokka selfie on social media.

Published 22 July 2019 at 2:00pm, updated 22 July 2019 at 4:14pm
By Cassandra Bain
Source: SBS News