Masterchef Dark side of the show

Matt and Ge­orge make head­lines for the wrong rea­sons What made our celeb chefs snap?

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents - writes ZARA ZUBEIDI

For Masterchef view­ers, the ap­peal of the se­ries lies in its fam­ily friendly for­mat, ta­lented con­tes­tants and sup­port­ive judg­ing panel.

But fans were shocked to dis­cover the dark side of the Net­work Ten pro­gram last week, with two of the show’s lov­able judges, Matt Pre­ston and Ge­orge Calom­baris, spark­ing con­tro­versy.

While other re­al­ity shows make for drama-filled view­ing, when it comes to Masterchef Aus­tralia, it seems the ac­tion takes place af­ter the cam­eras stop rolling.

The nightmare be­gan to un­fold when for­mer Masterchef judge Marco Pierre White, 55 – who has pre­vi­ously had an en­tire week of the show ded­i­cated to his vis­its – re­vealed Matt was the rea­son he de­fected to ri­val net­work Seven.

The fu­ri­ous Miche­lin star chef, who is cur­rently film­ing Hell’s Kitchen Aus­tralia, re­vealed he quit the show af­ter Matt made what he called “dis­grace­ful” com­ments about his son Marco Jnr dur­ing the 22-year-old’s stint on Celebrity Big Brother UK last year.

In an in­ter­view with KIIS FM’S Kyle and Jackie O, Matt sug­gested Marco Jnr – who caused an out­cry for al­legedly hav­ing sex on BB – was “off the rails”, lived off his fa­ther’s for­tune and took drugs.

“Any dad would feel when­ever your kid goes off the rails the first thing is, ‘What could I have done bet­ter?’ I think Marco is no dif­fer­ent,” Matt said at the time.

Marco says he’ll “never for­give” his for­mer co-star for the re­marks about his son. “On my mother’s grave I will get him,” he vented dur­ing an in­ter­view last week.

Marco Jnr later took to Twit­ter to brand Matt a “fat f**k” and threat­ened to “slap him up” – but apol­o­gised the next day.

Matt ac­cepted, telling The Daily Tele­graph, “I whole­heart­edly ac­cept Marco Pierre White Jnr’s apol­ogy and I’m sorry for any hurt I may have un­in­ten­tion­ally caused him and his fam­ily.”

There was even more trou­ble right around the cor­ner. Matt, 53, found him­self at the cen­tre of yet an­other scan­dal as he and fel­low judge Ge­orge, 38, at­tended the A-league foot­ball fi­nal in Sydney.

Ge­orge has now been charged with as­sault af­ter al­legedly shov­ing a fan in the stands over taunts he made about the chef un­der­pay­ing his staff (it was re­vealed last month that 200 of Ge­orge’s em­ploy­ees had been short-changed $2.6m).

He quickly apol­o­gised but claimed the fan had abused his fam­ily. “I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed with what oc­curred last night,” he said. “I re­gret the way I re­acted, I’m dis­ap­pointed I let it get to me and I sin­cerely apol­o­gise for of­fend­ing any­one. While I’m not proud of my re­ac­tion, I was of­fended by a spec­ta­tor yelling abu­sive com­ments about my fam­ily.”

Now some fear the judges’ con­tro­ver­sial off-cam­era an­tics could tar­nish the rep­u­ta­tion of the pop­u­lar and up­lift­ing show.

‘I’ll never for­give him… On my mother’s grave I will get him’

The chef’s al­ter­ca­tion last week was cap­tured on cam­era.

Marco says he left Masterchef be­cause of Matt’s com­ments.

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