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Gary Mehigan speaks out about the REAL reason the "three greedy judges" were let go from Network Ten

“I didn’t think they’d do it without picking up the phone.”

By Anita Lyons
In news that shocked MasterChef fans across the country last month, hosts Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris were axed from the hit show after 11 years on air.
"Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George," Network Ten chief executive officer Paul Anderson said in a statement at the time.
And now former host Gary Mehigan has revealed the brutal reality behind the axing, which he says had nothing to do with being greedy.
According to the 57-year-old, he received the news that he no longer had a job, via his colleague George Calombaris, not his Ten bosses.
"Have you heard?" he was asked via a phone call from his fellow co-host, Gary told The Sydney Morning Herald
"I didn't think they'd do it without picking up the phone," he told the SMH.
"It was abrupt, but that's television. And there are many stories like that."
Gary Mehigan has spoken out about being let go from Network Ten. (Source: Getty Images)
Gary also set the record straight over the negative chatter that had been circulating since the announcement.
"There's the 'three greedy judges' narrative, then there's reality," he said, denying that it had anything to do with a wage-increase.
In fact, the trio had formed a company called GaryGeorge&Matt, which would see them releasing books, podcasts and hosting cooking festivals, along with a new TV series, and asked Ten for their contracts to end at the beginning of 2020.
However, Network Ten insisted that they continue until the end of the year, which would have "limited our ability to do other things".
"All the financial terms had been agreed. It was purely about the length of the new contract. We wanted to keep making MasterChef, but we needed space to stretch our legs and do our own thing," he said, hoping that the Network would come to a compromise.
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"That's what saddens me," he continued.
"We'd always imagined we'd farewell our viewers and pass the baton to three younger and possibly brighter stars ... there was a grieving process; a sense of loss, a sense of anger and some tears."
The host who has faced the most severe backlash of the three, is George who was embroiled in a $7.8 million wage scandal after he was found to be underpaying his restaurant staff.
And after a 23-year friendship, Gary and Matt both rallied around him.
"We surrounded him because we were worried," Gary told the SMH.
"For one person to take that amount of scrutiny, it threatens your personal health.
"I know he's going to become a champion of [improved working conditions] … he wants to leave a different legacy for this industry that he loves."
George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan will not be returning to MasterChef Australia. (Source: Network Ten)
While hisMasterChef careers may be over, it's not the last we will be seeing of Gary.
The chef is releasing a Weight Watchers recipe book, will host a third season of Masters of Taste and will continue to make his podcast A Plate To Call Home.