Last week, it was revealed Dinner by Heston in Melbourne underpaid staff by more than $4m over three years, according to liquidators, with Network Ten today confirming he will no longer appear on MasterChef.
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Network 10 has confirmed that the international chef will not be returning for his usual position on the judging panel, having regularly featured on the series for many of its 11 seasons.
“Heston has been a long-time member of the MasterChef Australia family, but he will not be appearing in the upcoming season,” a spokesman told the Herald Sun.
Network 10 did not give a reason for the move.
Last week, the United Workers Union said $4.5 million is owed to workers of Dinner by Heston, which operates at the Crown complex in Melbourne.
The business is “best described as a joint venture” between Crown and restaurant owner Tipsy Cake Pty Ltd, provisional liquidators BRI Ferrier said in a creditors’ report.
“The major financial issue confronting the company is the underpayment of employee entitlements over a period of four years from commencement of business until circa June 2019 when the employment arrangements were changed to comply with employment legislation,” it said.
This year, MasterChef will premiere a completely new look following the exit of hosts George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston.
The show will now be fronted by Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.
Blumenthal’s ousting from the reality show comes just after it was confirmed George Calombaris’ restaurant group has gone into administration, months after being rocked by a staff underpayment scandal.
The voluntary administration means almost all venues will cease trading immediately, with hundreds of employees affected.