MKR judge reveals 'problem' with MasterChef

Alicia Vrajlal
Entertainment Editor
Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris have confirmed they won't return to Masterchef in 2020. Photo: Network Ten

With all three judges confirming their departure before last night’s grand final, it’s been a big week for MasterChef Australia.

Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris have confirmed they won’t return to the Network Ten show in 2020, with contract negotiations claimed to be the deciding factor in their exodus.

Earlier this year, rival TV cooking show judge Colin Fassnidge spoke about what he believed was a big ‘problem’ with MasterChef’s format, and how his program My Kitchen Rules managed to better relate to viewers.

MasterChef’s a great show. I get on with the three guys – me and Matt Preston are really good, [and] George and Gary,” he told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Their food, sometimes even for me, is serious. That’s the problem they have with their one. I couldn’t even cook what was on the show. It went too far, and ours, we needed to ramp it up a bit, but it’s food you cook at home,” he explained.

My Kitchen Rules guest judge Colin Fassnidge (L) has previously spoken about what he believes could be the 'problem' with MasterChef's format - pictured here with MKR judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans. Photo: Channel Seven

Colin has been a guest judge on Channel Seven’s My Kitchen Rules, which also stars main hosts Manu Feildel and Pete Evans.

Meanwhile Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris have hosted MasterChef since 2009. However, after 11 years it was announced on Tuesday they wouldn’t be returning to the popular franchise that prides itself on technical cooking and making home cooks household names.

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.

The likes of Curtis Stone, Maggie Beer and former contestant Poh Ling Yeow are now rumoured to be the judges’ replacements.

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