The three judges of MasterChef Australia -- George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan -- have decided to exit the long-running show. On Tuesday, Network 10 announced the upcoming finale of its eleventh season will be the last episode for Calombaris, Preston and Mehigan, who have been associated with it since the beginning.
"After 11 sensational seasons, we bid a fond farewell to our judges - Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. Thank you for being a part of this remarkable #MasterChefAU legacy and helping make the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true," the official Twitter handle of MasterChef Australia tweeted.
Recently, Calombaris was embroiled in a controversy after it was revealed that his companies had underpaid staff at his restaurants by nearly USD eight million, reported The Guardian.
Paul Anderson, chief executive officer at Network 10, however, gave a different reason for the three judges' exit. He said the trio could not reach a "commercial agreement" with the company.
"Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George. Across 11 sensational seasons, 'MasterChef Australia' has established itself as one of the most popular and respected cooking television series around the world.
"For more than a decade, the iconic series has shaped and driven the Australian public's passion for food and cooking, delivered iconic television moments, and made the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true. We would like to thank Gary, George and Matt for their contribution over the past 11 years," Anderson said in a statement.
He said a new of group of judges will be announced soon. "'MasterChef Australia' has always been about ordinary Australians doing extraordinary things for the love of food and we believe it is very important to continue that ethos.
"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," he added.