WION Web Team New Delhi
Jul 23, 2019, 07.44 PM
One of the most loved cooking shows in the world, Masterchef Australia is now bidding goodbye to iconic celebrity chefs Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, who have been part of the show for eleven seasons.
The announcement was made on Instagram ahead of the telecast of the season finale. The post read, “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!”
This news comes after one of the judges, George Calombaris came under fire for reportedly underpaying 515 current and former staff at his restaurants by a whopping AUD $7.8 million. The channel Network 10 where Masterchef Australia airs, however, backed George. A spokesperson was quoted, “George and MAdE Establishment have reached an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman in relation to this matter. George has the support of Network 10.”
The controversy first surfaced in 2017 when it was estimated that 162 workers had been underpaid by $2.6 million due to “historically poor resources.”
According to latest reports, Network 10 CEO Paul Anderson said that this decision was made as the network and the trio had not been able to agree to a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to the judges.
Meanwhile, as for the underpayment scandal, George was ordered to pay $200,000 which he would have to pay as “contrition payment”. He is also mandated to make public statements to encourage compliance with the Fair Work Act.
He also issued a statement: “We apologise to all our affected team members, past and present – as it is our people that make our restaurants great, and it is our priority to ensure all of our employees feel respected, rewarded and supported in their roles.”
The other judges too issued statements on their social media. While Gary and Matt said that they could not agree with Network 10 on all the conditions of the new contract for 2020, George said that their "dates didn't align."