Last week fans of Channel 10’s popular reality TV cooking show, MasterChef, were left shocked after it was announced that the judges Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan would not be returning to the show.
Channel 10 announced the news on MasterChef’s official social channels alongside a picture of the three judges.
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After 11 sensational seasons, we bid a fond farewell to our judges – Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. For more than a decade, #MasterChefAU has celebrated Australian food and made the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true. We thank Matt, George and Gary for being a part of this remarkable MasterChef legacy!
Some fans were up-in-arms about the decision, and weren’t shy about sharing their opinion on social media.
And as it turns out, this is actually how celebrity chef Matt Preston found out that he wouldn’t be returning to the show after 11 seasons!
Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, Matt revealed that he heard about the decision through “commiserating fans delivering the news” on the social media app.
The 57-year-old also revealed that while the decision ultimately came down to contract disagreements, it had nothing to do with money, which is what was originally reported.
“We were happy with what was being offered, in fact we had accepted Ten’s financial offer to make the next series of MasterChef,” he told the publication.
“We just failed to agree on the other terms.”
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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.
Paul Anderson, Network Ten’s chief executive officer, released a statement following the decision, letting fans know that the show would return for season 12 with a new batch of judges.
“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.”
The rumoured judges are thought to be Curtis Stone, Maggie Beer and former MasterChef contestant, Poh Ling Yeow.
This news came after George Calombaris’ restaurants became embroiled in an underpaid workers scandal, although the decision to let him go from Masterchef is reported to be separate.