TODAY |

George Calombaris and co-judges depart Australian MasterChef after pay rise demands not met

Australian MasterChef judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and the embattled George Calombaris are leaving reality cooking show MasterChef, with broadcaster Ten revealing it couldn't meet their demands for a pay rise.

The trio, who have been judges on the show for 11 seasons, will make their last appearance tonight in the 2019 season finale.

"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 Paul Anderson said in a statement today.

The "next generation" of judges will be introduced in season 12 of MasterChef next year, he said.

Nine newspapers report the trio had demanded a pay rise of more than 40 per cent to stay.

The announcement came amid calls for Ten to sack Calombaris after his Made Establishment company was last week fined $200,000 for underpaying restaurant workers to the tune of almost $8 million.

He was also dumped yesterday from a West Australian tourism campaign.

Mr Anderson denied the MasterChef announcement was linked to Calombaris' troubles.

"We've been in negotiation with the three guys for a number of months so this is not about George," Mr Anderson told Ten News.

"The reality is that we couldn't meet the demands of the three judges."

MasterChef today thanked the celebrity judges for their time on the show.

"After 11 sensational seasons, we bid a fond farewell to our judges - Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris," the show's Twitter account posted.

"Thank you for being a part of this remarkable #MasterChefAU legacy and helping make the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true!"

Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey said Ten made the right decision in "dumping" Calombaris.

"Hopefully into the future it will select (judges) who pay their workers fairly," he said in a statement.

Calombaris in early 2018 apologised for damaging the sport of soccer after his conviction for assaulting a teenager at the A-League grand final was overturned by a Sydney court.

The restaurateur was fined $1000 after pleading guilty in late 2017 to assaulting the 19-year-old at the A-League grand final between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.

But a district court judge subsequently overturned the conviction after agreeing with Calombaris's lawyer that he'd suffered significant financial and personal loss and was unlikely to re-offend.

He was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22:  George Calombaris attends the DIIDA flagship store launch in SOuth Yarra on June 22, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Sam Tabone/WireImage)
George Calombaris Source: Getty