Ex-MasterChef judge George Calombaris breaks his silence on his shock TV comeback and sends a special message to Channel 10 after being fined $200,000 for underpaying his restaurant staff
Former MasterChef judge George Calombaris has broken his silence on his return to television after being caught underpaying staff in a wage scandal.
The 42-year-old was unmasked as The Duster during Tuesday night’s episode of The Masked Singer.
George told Studio 10 on Wednesday, he still has a ‘soft spot for Channel 10’, despite the network dumping him as a judge on MasterChef in 2019.
Speaking out: Former MasterChef judge George Calombaris has broken his silence on his shocking TV comeback and sends a special message to Ten following the show – after being fined $200K for being caught underpaying staff in wage scandal
‘It was a wonderful experience. I was scared like you would not believe… but It’s time for chapter two of George. It has been a tough time over the last couple of years,’ he said.
‘I’ve also got a soft spot for Channel 10. I love the network and everything that they believe in and the joy every show puts into people’s hearts.’
George added: ‘It was a wonderful experience and I’m very grateful for it.’
He also shared a post to Instagram, admitting he was pushed out of his comfort zone after being revealed as ‘The Duster’ on Tuesday night.
‘WHAT AN EXPERIENCE I CAN NOT EXPLAIN ON THE MASKED SINGER,’ he captioned a photo of himself on the show’s stage.
‘It pushed me out of my comfort zone and to my limits, but most importantly put smiles on my kids faces and demonstrated to them that in life all you have to do is ”have a crack!”’
‘What an expeirence’: He also shared a post to Instagram, admitting he was pushed out of his comfort zone after being revealed as ‘The Duster’ on Tuesday night
Back: On Tuesday’s episode of The Masked Singer Australia, George was unmasked as The Duster
George went on to thank his former employer for ‘always believing in him’ by offering him the opportunity to appear on the show.
‘A big thanks to Channel Ten who have ALWAYS believed in me!,’ he ended.
The Masked Singer marked the former MasterChef judge’s return to Channel Ten after his exit from the cooking show in 2019 over a pay dispute.
Not so happy: A number of fans were less-than-impressed with his return to TV
Several fans complained that the cook shouldn’t have been offered a comeback after he was fined $200,000 for underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017.
One person Tweeted: ‘Pfft George Calombaris doesn’t deserve to be back on our TVs’.
Another wrote: ‘Noooooooo sorry George Colombaris Too SOON sorry we have NOT forgotten or forgiven maybe try reputation rehab on the ABC.’
One more added: ‘Channel 10 what are you doing putting him in another one of your shows’.
Someone else Tweeted: ‘I hope George didn’t get paid for this appearance… bit of a double standard otherwise.’
Another wrote: ‘Where was the clue about not paying your workers?’
Scandal: In 2019, the chef made headlines after he was found to have underpaid his restaurant staff by nearly $8million, for which he paid a huge fine
In 2019, George made headlines after he was found to have underpaid his restaurant staff by nearly $8million.
He was fined for underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017 and will have his business audited for the next three years.
He was also axed alongside veteran MasterChef co-judges Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston amid the controversy and a pay dispute.
‘Despite months of negotiations, Ten has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George,’ Ten’s CEO Paul Anderson said in a statement in July 2019.
Out: George was also axed alongside veteran MasterChef co-judges Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston amid the controversy and a pay dispute. Pictured with Gary Mehigan (left) and Matt Preston (centre)