When George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston were dropped from the MasterChef line up in July this year, it didn't take long for rumours to start about who would replace them.
Speculation about who would take over the coveted roles was at an all-time high, with names like Poh Ling Yeow and Curtis Stone being thrown around from pillar to post.
But when the new line-up was unveiled in October as Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen, fans were shocked that they weren't able to pick even one judge.
Now, according to a new interview, Curtis actually was approached to be a judge, however, had to turn the coveted role down.
"I've had a long relationship with those guys and they reached out early on and asked if I wanted to come on and be a part of it," the celebrity chef told News.com.au, before adding that "intense" work commitments back home in the US and his young family were major factors in his decision to reject the role.
"I've got two kids and a wife and a couple of restaurants," he said. "They film that show for a very long time so I wouldn't be able to do that."
Curtis, who owns two restaurants in Los Angeles, also said he was shocked that the three original judges were not returning and said it would be really "interesting" to watch next year.
"I was surprised!" he told the outlet.
"I think they have been super integral parts of that show and I think they all do an incredible job. It's a great format but it was also hosted by three really talented people."
As for his own role on the show, the 43-year-old will be returning in the same capacity has he has done previously - as a guest judge a couple of episodes.
As for Matt, Gary and George, it wasn't long before a rival network snapped up two of the three.
Channel Seven has today confirmed that former judges Matt and Gary will be joining the network with a new reality cooking show.
The exciting new reality series is called Plate of Origin, and "replacing" George in the line-up is none other than everyone's favourite French chef, Manu Feildel.
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The new international cooking competition will be "on a scale that Australia has never seen before" reaching the far corners of Australia, and also overseas.
As the show's name suggests, the series will showcase teams of diverse cultural backgrounds who are passionate about their unique cuisine. Described as the "Olympics of cooking" the teams will face off in the kitchen as they pit their different cuisines against one another.
Plate Of Origin will launch "with the power of the 2020 Olympic Games," which we can only assume means after they've wrapped up in August.
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Australian Women's WeeklyJan 23, 2020