George took to Instagram to write: "Ending this awesome week with some bittersweet news. On December 31, 2019 we are farewelling Hellenic Republic Brunswick and transforming our beloved space into ‘Crofter’ with our new partner Matt Wilkinson and I have been peers and friends for almost 20 years. He is the unofficial Mayor of the North as far as I’m concerned and the venue could not be in better hands. Not just because of his food, which is the kind of food people want to eat, but because he is an absolute riot of a human - fun, energetic, brave but above all a beautiful person. Love him and can’t wait."
Speaking to Broadsheet about the move, Pope Joan chef Wilkinson said he wants to focus on more vegetables: "If you come to my house you’re not going to eat huge portions of meat. My favourite places to go out are places where you can have a few snacks, a bit of bread, some vegetable options and then some small sides."
"The world is changing, I’m not going to sell you a big f**k-off steak, you can’t order the chicken Kiev anymore. Those place will always be there and I love [them]. But the way I cook at home is lots of salads and a small amount of meat."
In July, MasterChef Australia announced that judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris would not be on the series anymore.
"After 11 sensational seasons, we bid a fond farewell to our judges - Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris," the show tweeted.
"Thank you for being a part of this remarkable #MasterChefAU legacy and helping make the culinary dreams of everyday home cooks come true!"
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, George, Matt and Gary were expecting a 40 per cent pay rise as well as a stake in international profits.