Heston axed from MasterChef after wages scandal
Besieged celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal won't be returning to MasterChef this year for his usual guest appearances amid revelations a restaurant he fronted underpaid staff by $4m.
Network 10 confirmed the news about Blumenthal to the Herald Sun this afternoon.
"Heston has been a long-time member of the MasterChef Australia family, but he will not be appearing in the upcoming season," a spokesman said.
MasterChef has been totally reinvented after the exit of its well known trio of hosts - George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston.
The show will now be fronted by Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.
The news about Blumenthal comes amid news the restaurant kingdom of former MasterChef host George Calombaris could appoint a voluntary administrator as early as this afternoon as it teeters close to collapse.
Network 10 did not give reasons for Blumenthal not appearing.
They did confirm he would not be on the show this year.
"Season 12 of MasterChef Australia is currently in production, and we look forward to showing viewers our amazing new judges and an incredible cast later in the year on 10," the spokesman said.
Last week liquidators of the Blumenthal-fronted Dinner By Heston said the restaurant underpaid staff by more than $4m over three years.
The revelation comes after Crown Melbourne two weeks ago ousted the trouble-plagued high-end restaurant from its base, giving it 14 days to vacate.
The restaurant's parent company Tipsy Cake Pty Ltd applied for provisional liquidation on December 19 last year.
The restaurant has been run by provisional liquidators Brian Silvia and David Coyne of BRI Ferrier, after being appointed by the Federal Court.
But their report to creditors shows the depth of the problem, and links it to Melbourne's larger problem of underpaid restaurant workers.
"The company has quantified amounts totalling $4,044,397 as not having been paid to current employees and former employees for work undertaken between 2015 and 2018 conclusive," the report says.
"These amounts are underpayments as a result of the company miscalculating entitlements."
The provisional liquidator has advised that the winding up proceeding of Tipsy Cake is scheduled for a case management hearing on February 12.
A creditors meeting is set for February 17.