Former MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan reflects on shock exit: 'Inevitable'

Gary Mehigan has shared details about his decision to leave MasterChef in 2019.

Former MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan has opened up about his time on the popular Channel 10 series, four years on from his controversial exit.

The 56-year-old chef left the reality show in 2019 alongside fellow judges Matt Preston and George Calombaris, with the network claiming it “couldn't meet their demands for a pay rise”.

Former MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston.
Former MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan (left) has reflected on his time on the show. Photo: Channel 10

Taking to Instagram on Thursday, Gary shared a lengthy post adding “context” to his decision to say goodbye to the show after 11 seasons.

“I loved being part of MasterChef, I have so many wonderful memories, enormous respect for the production company and executives that took a chance on the three of us back in 2009,” he wrote.

“It brought everyday cooking to the world, who would have thought. I loved the crew and contestants so many of which are good friends to this day… MasterChef changed our lives… the lives of the contestants and so many of those who watched the show around the globe.”


The UK-born restaurateur went on to share that it thrills him that young people who grew up watching himself, Matt and George on TV “still remember us fondly”.

“I never once took that privilege for granted and always expected it to come to an end,” he continued. “Change was inevitable.

“We all worked bloody hard to make the show the success that it is and for that I will always be very proud and eternally grateful.”

Former MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan.
‘I never once took that privilege for granted and always expected it to come to an end.’ Photo: Channel 10

'A little bit different'

Gary’s comments come shortly after he spoke about MasterChef during a press conference in India and teased that Channel 10’s statement about their highly-publicised exit wasn’t entirely accurate.

“I promised myself early on that once I felt that it wasn't my thing, that it was time to move on,” he said. “The way we parted from Channel 10 was a little bit different. 10 decided to take the narrative and make it about the 'greedy judges'. But it wasn’t.”


Gary had previously explained in a post on social media in 2019 that his decision to leave the show was “never about the money and never will be about the money”.

“To explain: It was time to move on, have more free time to explore our own creativity,” he wrote at the time. “We couldn’t agree on the term of the new contract for 2020. Something we felt very strongly about.”

Gary, Matt and George announced their exit from the cooking competition immediately after the season 11 finale aired on TV, with food critic Melissa Leong, chef Jock Zonfrillo and season four winner Andy Allen taking over as judges in 2020.

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