After Network Ten revealed Masterchef judges George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan would not be returning next year, speculation intensified around who will replace them in the high-profile TV gig.
Speaking to Ben Fordham’s show, 2GB entertainment editor Peter Ford said that despite the “bombshell” announcement on Tuesday afternoon, Ten was already considering new talent.
“The network obviously is already looking forward. They’ve said there they have a raft of talent and indeed there’s a raft of talent that’s come through Masterchef itself that may now become one of the new judges themselves, like Justine Scofield, Poh, (and) Kylie Kwong,” Ford said.
Ford also suggested even some of “the old brigade” could get a run including Channel 10’s much-loved original celebrity chef, the one, the only Iain ‘Huey’ Hewitson.
While Huey excelled at drowning food in butter, oil, salt and pepper, throughout his “Cooking Adventures” perhaps he would be an odd choice for a show that claims to “change lives” — Huey’s cooking has only ever shortened those.
Not least of which for his criticism of the exact show he is being tipped to judge.
Criticism from hasbeen Iain ‘Huey’ Hewitson of reality cooking shows #MasterChef and #MKR for making food look complicated and being a terrible disservice to the public are at least pathetic at best a serve of sour grapes from a silly old fart – go away #IainHueyHewitson pic.twitter.com/nn2z82wcwc
— Megan Frank (@frank_megan) July 15, 2018
Fans on Twitter also joined in the speculation, with some frontrunners already emerging, including Australia’s most beloved public figure, Maggie Beer.
Unlike that "other" popular cooking show, Masterchef does indeed change lives. If we must have new judges, they need to be nurturing to contestants, have wide palates and years of restaurant experience. I'm thinking Luke Nguyen, Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer, Shannon Bennett
— Ed Brent Russell (@edbrent) July 23, 2019
Beer told ABC RN Drive that she was shocked at the news.
But Business Insider Australia isn’t shocked. In fact, we wholeheartedly endorse Maggie Beer to be the solo Masterchef judge.
— RN Drive (@RNDrive) July 23, 2019
Common names include Masterchef Australia season 1 runner-up Poh Ling Yeow as well as top Sydney chef Kylie Kwong.
So all three (middle aged, white, male) judges on @masterchefau have quit. I hope @Channel10AU take this opportunity to diversify things up a bit. Who would you like to see host Masterchef? Kylie Kwong? Larissa Dubecki? Luke Nguyen? #DiversifyMasterchef https://t.co/4ZXlX2DV2n
— Dr Seona Candy (@seonacandy) July 23, 2019
Season 12 Masterchef. My suggestion.
Judges plus hosts made up of the following people:
Poh – @PohLingyeow
Elena – @elena_jo_duggan
Adam – @adamliaw and
Reynold – @reynoldpoer
This would make me watch again. #masterchefAU #season12
— Claire (@penthesyllia) July 23, 2019
Others understand Masterchef’s willingness to capitulate to its corporate overlords by throwing Coles ambassador Curtis Stone even more spotlight.
Curtis Stone has been a Coles ambassador for years. He gets almost as much air-time on Masterchef as the judges as it is. ????
He'd be my bet.
— ????StoryGirl (Jemma) – writer, producer, TTRPGer (@BlueJayGliding) July 23, 2019
Alternative suggestions were a little less serious but would make a much more entertaining list.
SBS should buy masterchef, make the judges a rotating cast of yiayias, nonnas, abuelas, and other ethnic grandmas who berate the contestants for using expensive ingredients when there's vegetables in the back garden.
Boom. Network television saved. https://t.co/b1uoqmRURD
— Nick Stoll (@NickStoll) July 23, 2019
'Masterchef Australia' needs new judges, the nation is ready for a taste revolution pic.twitter.com/RQn06fqDQg
— Cam Williams (@MrCamW) July 23, 2019
Some were even bold enough to suggest that a few retired Liberal MPs might take up the tongs, not realising that lobby groups have far deeper pockets than Australian free-to-air networks.
— tomred (@TomRed43) July 23, 2019
Others were just happy to revel in schadenfreude.
The absolute irony of George Calombaris leaving MasterChef over a /pay dispute/
— Albert Santos (@albertinho) July 23, 2019
The speculation wasn’t enough to distract people from the obvious questions though. Namely, how three otherwise unknown TV hosts could expect $1.5 million a year to stand around and eat.
Most Australians today: "I'd eat food and travel around the country and the world for 4 months of the year for a million dollars."
Masterchef judges: "that offer is underdone."
— Damien Haffenden (@DamienHaffenden) July 23, 2019
[watching the judges on Masterchef]
any just economy would be paying these men at least one and a half million dollars each for this
— James Colley (@JamColley) July 23, 2019
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