After a dramatic departure from MasterChef on Tuesday, George Calombaris may already be on his way to greener – and more lucrative – pastures.
The controversial chef is said to set his sights on a multi-million dollar Netflix or Amazon Prime deal with fellow departing judges Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan.
The 11-year run of the trio on the show ended last night after months of failed talks with Network Ten, with Poh Ling Yeow, Maggie Beer and Curtis Stone who would be announced later today as their substitutes, Who Magazine reported.
The change of hands was in the midst of demanding that Calombaris be dumped from the cooking show because he had paid his restaurant staff nearly $ 8 million.
But CEO Paul Anderson has since denied that Calombaris was released due to the wage theft scandal and said conversations with the three & # 39; difficult & # 39; after they had tried to sell themselves as a package deal.
George Calombaris leaves MasterChef after a storm of controversy for underpaid his staff nearly $ 8 million. Judges Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan also leave the show
Calombaris, Preston and Mehigan were allegedly looking for a pay increase of 40 percent and an interest in international profits, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The judges would earn an estimated $ 400,000 to $ 600,000 per season.
The three had also tried to negotiate more free time so that they could work on other projects outside the show.
In a farewell Instagram post, Mehigan & # 39; claimed it was never about the money & # 39 ;.
& # 39; It was time to move on, to have more free time to explore our own creativity. It was never about the money and will never be about the money & he said.
& # 39; We could not agree on the duration of the new contract for 2020 and season 12. Something we attached great importance to. & # 39;
The trio: George broke his silence on Tuesday night and went to Instagram to share a photo of himself alongside Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan, along with a long caption. He wrote: & # 39; We were close to signing a new contract for season 12, but the dates did not match & # 39;
Negotiations between the two parties are said to have become difficult after the judges allegedly tried to sell themselves as a packaged deal
In a farewell Instagram post, Mehigan claimed & # 39; it was never about the money & # 39;
Calombaris directed his exit and stated that the three & # 39; close & # 39; were signing a new contract for a 12th season, but & # 39; the dates were wrong & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Channel Ten, thank you for giving us the platform to change the landscape of food worldwide. We wish you all the best to the next three jury members and mentors & # 39 ;, he wrote in an Instagram post.
He concluded: & # 39; To my brothers @mattscravat and @garymehigan: I love you and thank you. Time to take a deep breath and be thankful. & # 39;
Matt also uploaded a farewell tribute to his personal Instagram account at the exact same time as George.
& # 39; Thank you very much for supporting @MasterChef in the past 11 years. We enjoyed every moment. However, it is with a heavy heart that I can confirm that season 11 was our last, & he started.
Matt added: & # 39; We really wanted to continue, but we couldn't agree to all the terms and conditions for the new contract & # 39 ;.
After the grand finale of the show on Tuesday, a report claimed that Yeow, Beer and Stone are taking over as three new jury members from MasterChef.
Who Magazine attributes the news to & # 39; an insider from MasterChef & # 39; and claims that Channel Ten was ready to make the agreements official in the coming hours.
The youngest winner ever! Larissa Takchi, 22 (photo) won the MasterChef final on Tuesday evening, after three perfect scores from the jury members for her Szechuan pavlova
Overwhelmed, the young cook said: & # 39; Thank you very much. Frankly, I can't believe it. I am so surprised that I have come so far in the competition & # 39;
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel Ten for comments.
A regular guest on television, Stone, a Michelin star-winning chef and restaurateur, is a frequent guest on MasterChef Australia.
The 43-year-old appeared as a judge in the show, both in 2018 and 2019, making him a viable candidate for a more permanent role.
Yeow, 46, was the first MasterChef Australia winner in 2009 and has had a successful career, as well as a mentor in the show.
Beer, 74, is a legendary Australian chef who is often called the queen of the kitchen.
She has published numerous cookbooks and has been a regular guest jury at MasterChef Australia.
Meanwhile, the show and final saw the last three chefs Larissa Takchi, Simon Toohey or Tessa Boersma compete for the main prize.
MASTERCHEF JUDGES GONE: COMPLETE STATEMENT OF NETWORK TEN
GONE: George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan are not returning to the MasterChef set
Network Ten announced today that Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris will not return as jury members in the following season of MasterChef Australia.
Network Ten chief executive officer Paul Anderson said: Despite months of negotiations, Ten was unable to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George.
& # 39; In 11 sensational seasons, MasterChef Australia has established itself as one of the most popular and respected cooking television series around the world.
& # 39; For more than a decade, the iconic series has shaped and inspired the Australian public's passion for food and cooking, bringing iconic TV moments and fulfilling the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks.
& # 39; We want to thank Gary, George and Matt for their contribution over the past 11 years.
& # 39; MasterChef Australia has always thought that ordinary Australians do extraordinary things out of love for food and we believe it is very important to continue that ethos.
& # 39; Australia is full of remarkable cooking talent and we can't wait to introduce a new group – and the next generation of exception judges – into season 12 of MasterChef Australia next year & # 39 ;.
Out: Gary uploaded his farewell post on the same night as his co-hosts on Tuesday night. & # 39; It was time to move on, to have more free time to explore our own creativity. It was never about the money and will never be about the money. & # 39; Pictured with Nigella Lawson
Calombaris was fined $ 200,000 by the Fair Work Ombudsman after it turned out that between 2011 and 2017 he had paid 515 employees for an amount of $ 7.8 million
Larissa won the victory after three perfect scores from the judges for her unusual view of pavlova.
At the age of 22 she is the youngest winner ever in the history of the show.
But her victory was overshadowed by the announcement of the network of the departure of the three judges.
"Despite months of negotiations, Ten was unable to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary, and George," Mr. Anderson said in a shock statement on Tuesday.
& # 39; We want to thank Gary, George and Matt for their contribution over the past 11 years. & # 39;
& # 39; Australia is full of remarkable cooking talent and we can't wait to introduce a new group – and the next generation of exception judges – into season 12 of MasterChef Australia next year, & # 39; said Mr. Anderson.
Calombaris was fined $ 200,000 by the Fair Work Ombudsman after it turned out that between 2011 and 2017 he had paid 515 employees for an amount of $ 7.8 million.
The trade unions and Calombaris' own workers had called for the Judge of MasterChef to be dropped. And now it is confirmed that he and his two co-stars will not return
The scandal surrounding Mr Calombaris's company, Made Establishment, first came to light in 2017, but broke out after the Ombudsman's action this week.
The star has blamed the issue in its high-profile Melbourne restaurants – including Hellenic Republic, Press Club and Gazi – for & # 39; historically bad trials & # 39 ;.
Trade unions and his own employees had called for Network Ten to dump Calombaris, and even the TV station itself was not economical in reporting on the TV chief's sins.
The ratings of the long-term show have risen despite the scandal.
Calombaris was dropped as the face of an advertising campaign for tourism in Western Australia following the scandal at the end of last week.
GEORGE CALOMBARIS STAFF LOSES OUT AT MASTERCHEF JUDGE
While George Calombaris is getting ready for the MasterChef grand finale on Tuesday night, employees have told Daily Mail Australia that he continues to cheat Australians.
Former Hellenic Republic waiter Aidan Carter said the MasterChef judge had little respect for the mental health of his employees.
Former Hellenic Republic waiter Aidan Carter continues to fight George Calombaris' company to charge unpaid vacation leave. He claims that the company has practically ignored employees
& # 39; It's pretty toxic – it's a tough thing for everyone's mental health I think. There would be so many problems within the industry & # 39 ;, he said.
Carter worked for five years in Calombaris' restaurant – four of which claimed he was underpaid.
The former employee said like many in the hospitality industry, he worked anywhere up to 55 hours a week, but was paid for just 38.
Others had worked up to 70.
He was also paid briefly at dodgy casual rates.
When he worked out his actual rights based on the price, he had missed considerable arrears.
& # 39; I think they convey the message that everyone is paid, but there is a small group of us who have been in contact with the company for at least 18 months and I really don't get an answer, "he said.
Mr. Carter said it felt like the Calombaris company, Made Establishment, ignored the problem.
One employee could not even obtain his full-time payslips, according to Mr. Carter.
& # 39; They really keep it quiet. In the past they really hoped it would disappear and now it has clearly resurfaced, but unfortunately it has not really put them into action and it is disturbing to see that the image he sells that people believe everyone is paid and it is now over, but there are still people fighting for payments, & he said.
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