MasterChef judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris have taken to Instagram to speak out about their shock departure from the hit Network Ten show.
"Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George," Chief Executive Officer Paul Anderson said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Across 11 sensational seasons, MasterChef Australia has established itself as one of the most popular and respected cooking television series around the world," the statement continued.
"We would like to thank Gary, George and Matt for their contribution over the past 11 years," he said.
"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."
The announcement comes after months of bad press for George Calombaris, after he was embroiled in a $7.8 million wage scandal after he was found to be underpaying his restaurant staff.
And now, taking to his Instagram, the TV personality has spoken out about the departure.
"@masterchefau geez you have warmed our hearts, filled our stomachs and sizzled our souls," he captioned the post, before telling the contestants of the past 11 years that they "ought to be proud".
"To the incredible @masterchefau team that works so hard to make the best cooking show on earth, we salute you."
George then followed on the sentiments of CEO Paul Anderson saying: "We were close to signing a new contract for season 12 however the dates just didn't align. Channel Ten, thank you for providing us the platform to change the landscape of food worldwide."
He finished off by wishing the "new judges" - who are yet to be unveiled - success in their new role.
(See the post below)
Matt Preston shared the same photograph on his own Instagram page and also elaborated about the unsuccessful contract negotiations with Channel 10.
"Thank you so very much for supporting @masterchefau over the last 11 years. We have loved every single moment," he said.
"It is however with a heavy heart that I can confirm that season 11 was our last. We were really keen to continue but we were unable to agree to all terms for the new contract.
After thanking his family, friends, past contestants and everyone they worked with on the show, he added: "I don't want to take any gloss off tonight's well deserved winner so I will not be making any further comment. Love Matt."
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Finally, Gary took to his Instagram thanking the show for the past 11 years and just like his fellow judges, "explained' why the trio made the difficult decision.
"It was time to move on, have more free time to explore our own creativity' It was never about the money and never will be about the money," Gary said.
"We couldn't agree on the term of the new contract for 2020 and season 12. Something we felt very strongly about. The opportunity to work with Matt and George has been a blessing and something I cherish.
"Working together will continue to be the most important thing for us.....the three musketeers.......🤗"
Tuesday's finale episode will be the final time George, Gary and Matt will appear on the hit show.
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