The 52-year-old continued: "A moment in time to be savoured and remembered with a big smile. We are so proud. But a mentor of ‘mine’ told me ‘never be afraid of change’ Time to move on, maybe work a little less, dig our fingers into something new and exciting and maybe make a different kind of TV."
Last week, Ten’s CEO Paul Anderson announced that the famous judges wouldn't be returning to next season, blaming a contractual disagreement for their departure. The Sydney Morning Herald claims that the trio— each on salaries in excess of $1 million— walked after Ten refused to up their pay by more than 40 per cent.
"Across 11 sensational seasons, MasterChef Australia has established itself as one of the most popular and respected cooking television series around the world," the chief executive said in a statement. "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."
Although the judges originally claimed they were “unable to agree to all terms for the new contract," Matt Preston has since revealed that he and his comrades were fired... and he found out about the sacking via social media.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the English born food critic, 57— who was doing press rounds when the news was announced— said he discovered he wouldn't be returning to the cooking series after an Instagram user claimed Network Ten had walked away from contract negotiations. Contrary to popular belief, a very salty Matt also revealed he was, in fact, happy with the salary that was offered, but it was Ten who decided to walk away from the mega-deal.
"We were happy with what was being offered, in fact we had accepted Ten’s financial offer to make the next series of MasterChef,” Matt told the publication. “We just failed to agree on the other terms," he added before admitting he could "say no more" about the issue as he remains under contract with the network.