Despite rumours the trio quit MasterChef Australia after they were “unable to agree to all terms for the new contract," yesterday, Matt Preston revealed that he and his comrades were actually 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 Preston 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,” Preston 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.
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."
Following news of their departure, a former Channel Ten executive producer has since come out of the woodwork claiming fellow judge George Calombaris was extremely rude to his staff before appearing on Studio 10's breakfast program.
Speaking on his TV Blackbox podcast, Rob McKnight alleged the celebrity chef once lost his patience with a female producer backstage, sensationally revealing the 40-year-old restaurateur "abused" and "screamed" at the young lady.
"He came out and abused a young 22-year-old for 10 minutes— just screamed at her," Rob recalled of the confrontation.
LISTEN: Rob McKnight slams George Calombaris for being rude to female producer
Following the scary confrontation with the young producer, Rob revealed the incident was such a "big deal", George's fellow judges intentionally boycotted the breakfast show for a number of years.
"No judge from MasterChef appeared on Studio 10 for two years [after the incident] as a sign of solidarity with his perceived issues with the show," McKnight declared.
His jaw-dropping claims follow George’s run-in with the law. The popular television personality was recently accused of underpaying his workers. The Fair Work Commission later fined Calombaris $200,000 for underpaying 515 staff to the tune of $7.83 million between 2011 and 2017.
Although reports claim his staff have been repaid, the scandal lingers with the embattled chef not only out of his WA tourism gig, but now out of TV as well.