Judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and the embattled George Calombaris have taken to social media to explain their departure from reality cooking show MasterChef.

The trio, who were judges on the show for 11 seasons, made their last appearance on Tuesday night’s 2019 season finale.

“Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George,” Network Ten chief executive Paul Anderson said.

New judges will be introduced in next year’s season, he said.

Nine newspapers report the trio had demanded a pay rise of more than 40 per cent to stay.

The announcement came amid calls for Ten to sack Calombaris after his Made Establishment company was last week fined $200,000 for underpaying restaurant workers to the tune of almost $8 million.

He was also dumped on Monday from a West Australian tourism campaign.

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Mr Anderson denied the MasterChef announcement was linked to Calombaris’ troubles, saying the network had been in negotiations with the trio for a number of months.

“The reality is that we couldn’t meet the demands of the three judges,” he told Ten News.

In a post on Instagram on Tuesday night, Mehigan thanked fans and the MasterChef team and paid tribute to the “journey” they and the contestants had travelled.

He denied their departure was motivated by finances.

“To explain: “It was time to move on, have more free time to explore our own creativity”,” he said.

“It was never about the money and never will be about the money. We couldn’t agree on the term of the new contract for 2020 and season 12. Something we felt very strongly about.”

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Working together will continue to be “the most important thing for us”, Mehigan said.

View this post on Instagram

To all of our fans ‘thank you’ To the team that makes MasterChef ‘thank you’ and to all of the contestants that we know and love, we are all part of a very exclusive club and what a journey what an experience. To explain: ‘It was time to move on, have more free time to explore our own creativity’ It was never about the money and never will be about the money. We couldn’t agree on the term of the new contract for 2020 and season 12. Something we felt very strongly about. The opportunity to work with Matt and George has been a blessing and something I cherish. Working together will continue to be the most important thing for us…..the three musketeers…….🤗 @mattscravat @gcalombaris @masterchefau #masterchefau #foodies #foodiesofinstagram #homecooks #homecooking #masterchef

A post shared by Gary Mehigan (@garymehigan) on

Calombaris likewise took to Instagram, saying the trio were “close” to signing a new contract for season 12, “however the dates just didn’t align”.

View this post on Instagram

@masterchefau geez you have warmed our hearts, filled our stomachs and sizzled our souls. To the great contestants of the past 11 years, you ought to be proud. To the incredible @masterchefau team that works so hard to make the best cooking show on earth, we salute you. To our families, friends and teams who have supported us, you freakin’ rock. We were close to signing a new contract for season 12 however the dates just didn’t align. Channel Ten, thank you for providing us the platform to change the landscape of food worldwide. To the next 3 judges and mentors, we wish you loads of success. To my brothers @mattscravat and @garymehigan: I love you and thank you. Time to take a deep breath and be thankful. With love GC 🧿 xxx

A post shared by George Calombaris (@gcalombaris) on

Preston posted on Instagram that the chefs were “really keen to continue but we were unable to agree to all terms for the new contract”.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you so very much for supporting @masterchefau over the last 11 years. We have loved every single moment. It is however with a heavy heart that I can confirm that season 11 was our last. We were really keen to continue but we were unable to agree to all terms for the new contract. We have enjoyed 11 wonderful years on Masterchef Australia with Network Ten, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Ten for this amazing opportunity and for Network Ten’s backing of this very special show. We have met some beautiful people, discovered and guided some of the brightest up-and-comers in the Australian food scene, worked with the best chefs in the world in front of the camera, and with the TV industry’s finest professionals behind the scenes. And of course, we three judges have formed a lifelong friendship that will live on far beyond the show. I want to take this opportunity to thank you and everyone who has shared our amazing journey with us – especially all those fantastic contestants. I look forward to sharing many more adventures with you in the future. And finally I wish the new judges all the best with the show that we love so much. Thank you all. I don’t want to take any gloss off tonight’s well deserved winner so I will not be making any further comment. Love Matt.

A post shared by Matt Preston (@mattscravat) on

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