The Meeting Place

Should Channel 10 sack George Calombaris?

Following revelations that celebrity chef George Calombaris underpaid workers at his restaurant chains to the tune of almost $8 million there have been growing calls for the Masterchef star to lose his job over the fiasco.

A petition started by one of Mr Calombaris’s former waitresses Orlaith Belfrage is leading the charge for the network to sack the chef.

Ms Belfrage said Calombaris’ holding company, MAdE Establishment, still owes her $2000 in back wages. She also accused her former employer of not co-operating with the efforts of workers to seek recompense.

“I’ve been fighting to get back pay from my time working for Hellenic Republic for over 2 years,” Ms Belfrage explained. “I sent emails, made phone calls and sought legal advice. Still Made Establishment, George Calombaris’ company, refused to pay me for all of my work.

“George should pay a serious price for this massive theft of workers’ wages.

“How is it fair for him to steal over $7 million from workers is only fined only $200,000?”

Leading workplace advocates Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are concerned a $200,000 “contrition payment” agreed to by Mr Calombaris was not enough to discourage widespread underpayment in the hospitality industry.

Mr Calombaris was ordered to make the payment after the Fair Work Ombudsman found he underpaid 515 staff $7.83 million.

Maurice Blackburn’s Josh Bornstein said the $200,000 contrition payment was unlikely to discourage highly profitable restaurant businesses from exploiting workers. 

“We are paying a huge price for policies and laws that have deunionised the labour market,” Mr Bornstein said.

“Without effective unions employees are unable to bargain for pay rises or to even ensure that they are being paid properly. Economic growth is jeopardised in these circumstances as wage stagnation means people stop spending. 

“The Federal government needs to abandon its obsession with attacking and weakening unions and instead focus all of its efforts on arresting the low wages crisis.”

You can sign the petition calling for Mr Calombaris’s sacking here.

Do you watch Masterchef? Would you consider boycotting the program if Channel 10 refuses to sack Mr Calombaris?

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According to the Daily Mail:

Poh Ling Yeow, Maggie Beer and Curtis Stone will take over as MasterChef's three new judges, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

Who magazine reported the change of cast after the show's grand finale on Tuesday night. Who attributes the news to 'a MasterChef insider' and claims that Channel Ten would make the appointments official on Thursday.

:) Wonder how accurate the story is.

Poh Ling Yeow
• Malaysian-born Australian chef, artist, actress, author and television presenter
• First appeared on ABC Beat The Chef in 2005
• Selected in the top 20 contestants for the first series of MasterChef Australia, lost final to Julie Goodwin
• Own cooking series Poh's Kitchen on ABC
• Also another cooking series Poh & Co on SBS, 2015.

Maggie Beer
• Australian cook, food author, restaurateur, and food manufacturer residing in the Barossa Valley.
• Despite not having any formal training as a chef, has a successful cooking career spanning almost five decades
• Established the Farm Shop in 1979 which morphed into the Barossa Pheasant Farm Restaurant
• Starred in TV cooking series The Cook and the Chef, ABC 2006-2009
• Judge on second season of The Great Australian Bake Off and guest judge plus MasterClasses on MasterChef Australia
• Currently operates a business in the Barossa which produces a range of gourmet foods.

Curtis Stone
• Australian American celebrity chef
• Ambassador and TV face of Coles Supermarkets in Australia since 2010
• Worked at top Australian restaurants before leaving to work at various restaurants in London
• Returned to Australia for travelling cooking show Surfing the Menu, ABC
• Appeared regularly on the US NBC's Today and appeared on several top-rating US TV shows
• Judge on NBC's America's Next Great Restaurant 2011
• Appeared in an episode of MasterChef Australia All-Stars 2012 and a MasterClass 2015
• Co-hosted the FOX reality cooking series My Kitchen Rules, 2017.

Oh what a refreshing change, I might start watching again as all these people have great appeal IMO.

I would like to see Nigella Lawson on the team :)

Nigella is the only celebrity chef I have watched apart from the British guy with the dog he takes everywhere. They both have a passion for food, seeing it as a conduit to family and cultural interests.  

They sound like a good combination of Judges.  Those three amigos that have decided to leave Masterchef must have seen the writing on the wall, it was said negotiations have fallen through with regards to "their demands". I for one won't miss them. A "new broom sweeps clean".

If the news reports are true ...

Oh the irony !!

A pay dispute.

• All three amigos were on salaries in excess of $1 million as MasterChef judges, but walked away from their MasterChef contact negotiations after Network Ten refused their demands for a 40 per cent pay increase.

• Last week, a Fair Work investigation concluded Calombaris, 40, had underpaid more than 500 staff across his restaurant empire to the tune of more than $7.8 million.

LOL, a 40 per cent pay increase - they have to be joking.

Birds of a feather stick together. They are just as bad as our Politicians. It's the age of entitlement.

Tv stars are paid wll in excess of $1million ... try $25 million for the most popular ones.

Glald to see the backs of those three. My personal choice would be Adam Liaw, Donna Hay and Anna Polyviou. 

I like Maggie Beer, but I think she is a little too boring for the show. I do not like Poh and sick of seeing Curtis.


Hi KIAH, I love Adam Liaw..not too keen on Donna Hay and Anna Polyviou's colourful personality could appeal to young cooks, added to that she is a genius at pastry making. Maggie Beer says she is too busy with her foundation to be involved with Masterchef anyway..that could change if the price is right?

Seems like George won't be needing much staff these days..


Matt Preston has landed himself a job on ABC Melbourne’s breakfast show next week with Jacinta Parsons. They'll be on air from 5.30am, Monday-Friday. I don't listen to the show.

I totally disagree with trial by social media. Those who indulge in this gang warfare while hiding behind a keyboard, are in my opinion, comitting a grave injustice. 

You are quite right Adrianus

What trial by social media? Calombaris was found guilty by a court. Or are we not supposed to respect the findings of courts?

Ben, he was found guilty of underpaying his staff and there is no doubt about that. However, to hound the guy on social media calling for his sacking from his job etc, is in my opinion, increasing his penalty. This is a blatant injustice and shows a disrespect for the courts final verdict and level of punishment. That is in my opinion. 

I dont necessarily agree with social media bullying but I can understand how it gives some a sense of power that they dont find elsewhere. I do also see the value in people having an outlet for their ideas and opinions. That is very important, I feel. Do you have respect for the Courts findings? Or do you think the penalty should be more severe? I must admit, I have no idea what the court did or didnt know about this case?

Would you like your kids to be mentored by the Kray twins?

Think about it while you're still in your pensive state!

I am not confident at all of who the replacements for those men will be, there are a lot of opportunists in the field and some, like Gordom Ramsey, are repulsive and not worth watching and others they mentioned are just people travelling and looking for opportunities in the cooking field because they have no training or education in anything else to make a living and have never been trained to cook or are too old or too unwilling to retire from public view. Or are experimenters in scientific fields that have very little to do with good cooking.

It amazes me that some of those called "chefs" have become television worthy, when really all they have done is probably some dishwashing in a cafe or restaurant and in some cases they are home cooks, but certainly no "chefs".

One clear example is the stupid Spaniard making the simplest dishes anyone can make, shouting and yelling all the time and laughing stupidly at everythingy, in a program that is very popular and is made up of a woman, well known in tv, an amateur handyman-repairman, a veterinarian that is not anymore, and a fat man cook that is not a chef and not even worth listening to.

Maybe Channel 10 gets cheaper "stars" contracting the ex-Master Chef participants, we will see. 


Oh no!

I dislike Poh, as many of my friends do and I think Maggie is too old for the show! (She is not a chef also and should retire to enjoy her fortune at her old age)

And Curtis is obviously a very busy man and we see enough of him in commercials (more than enough).

What is wrong with Adam, Donna and Anna? They are a lot more appropiate for a show like that. Or really someone else with Chef experience and great personality (anyone else there?)

Please do not contract restaurant owners for the show!

Anyway it will be other showns to watch, rather than a boring crew of semi-cooks directing a few more boring participants always regretting they left the family and crying at every opportunity.

I think most pople will use their tv time watching SBS more interesting programs at that itme of the day.

And what about having an indigenous chef as a mentor. Mark Olive is a great cook, eaten at one of his places The Black Olive in Melbourne and the food was fantastic. 

Image result for mark olive

Good idea Reagan. When the Chinese move in and we have to escape to the bush, any cooking skills we can muster using bush tucker, will enable survival of the Aussie presence on this planet of ours.

I haven't had much experience with bush tucker, but I do agree there should be an Indigenous presence on Masterchef. 

By the way ABE, I've had wattle seed cake and it's delicious!

Right Abe!

I think the Chinese and Hindi have already moved in, judging by the numbers we see all over.

But should we leave our place and escape? nah! Better get them to cook for us!

Hate cooking shows - no matter what format find them all pretty boring.

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