I tell you what, it’s a real bad time to be a high-profile celebrity chef guilty of systemic wage theft in your high-profile restaurants. Following on from this morning’s news that George Calombaris‘ restaurant empire was on the precipice of collapse, Network 10 officials have confirmed that Heston Blumenthal, himself in the midst of his own massive pay rorting scandal, has been given his marching orders from the roster of MasterChef Australia guest judges.
Buttermenthol has long been a frequent presence on MasterChef Australia, filling a regular slot for the much-dreaded “Heston Week” promotion, where amateur cooks are given two burnt sticks and a tube of Polyfilla and tasked with turning that into something called a “chicken balloon,” but this afternoon Ten confirmed Heston would not be returning for the upcoming season; the first with the show’s revamped hosting lineup.
Bluemangroup’s signature Dinner By Heston restaurant at Crown Casino in Melbourne was found to have underpaid staff by a whopping $4.5 million, and following a Federal Court hearing in December, the restaurant was placed into voluntary administration. Restaurant officials have placed blame for the wage theft squarely on Crown, but regardless the outlet will cease operations as of this Friday.
Speaking to the Herald Sun, Network Ten officials confirmed that Bundleballs will not return to MasterChef in 2020, stating “Heston has been a long-time member of the MasterChef Australia family, but he will not be appearing in the upcoming season.”
The new, revamped season of MasterChef, which features the all-new hosting/judging panel of Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong, and Andy Allen, is currently in production.