Maggie Beer shuts down rumours she'll be the next MasterChef judge

Alicia Vrajlal
Entertainment Editor
Celeb cook Maggie Beer says she won't be joining MasterChef in 2020. Photo: Channel Ten

She’s been tipped as a frontrunner to join the new MasterChef judging lineup, but Maggie Beer says becoming part of the Channel Ten reality cooking show is out of the question.

It all comes down to other priorities the 74-year-old has that would prevent her from taking over the reigns from Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris.

“My focus is the Maggie Beer Foundation and my ongoing work with aged care,” she told 9Honey.

“I am also focusing on my family time. I would not be able to commit to such a massive undertaking as a permanent judge.”

One of the most well-known names in Australian cooking, Maggie is no novice to TV hosting, having previously fronted The Great Australian Bake Off and The Cook and The Chef.

But perhaps she’s best known for her products which include her chutneys, pate, ice cream and chocolate sauce, just to name a few.

Among her other accolades are the fact she was named Senior Australian of The Year in 2010, while her work with the Maggie Beer Foundation has been improving the quality of food in the aged care industry.

Having previously made guest appearances on MasterChef, she was tipped as one of the leading names to join the Channel Ten show as a full-time judge.

The other names thrown in the mix included former MasterChef contestant Poh Ling Yeow and celebrity chef Curtis Stone.

On Wednesday a Network Ten spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle the final decision has yet to be confirmed.

Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris will not be returning to MasterChef in 2020. Photo: Channel Ten

“Maggie, Curtis and Poh are loved members of the MasterChef family,” they said. “We are currently casting the judges for 2020 and no decision has been made.”

Meanwhile this week, George, Gary and Matt decided to leave the franchise after 11 years.

Network Ten’s chief executive officer Paul Anderson, said in a statement, “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.”

It’s understood the decision is separate to embattled judge George’s recent underpayment saga, and according to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, the trio were after a 40 per cent pay increase.

Earlier this week, George was found to have underpaid staff by more than $7.83 million across his restaurant empire, which led to calls from former workers and unions for the star to be dropped from the popular reality show.

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