It’s meant to be a family- friendly show, but the latest season of MasterChef Australia has descended into chaos amid bitter and unsavoury infighting between the judges.
The fans’ love affair with the cooking show seems to be over after former judge Marco Pierre White, 55, revealed he had decamped to Channel Seven’s rival show Hell’s Kitchen because of ‘disgraceful’ comments made about his son by MasterChef judge Matt Preston, 53.
‘Another bully from @masterchefau attacks Marco Pierre White’s son – say it to his face,’ wrote one Twitter user.
Program insiders have exclusively informed New Idea that the Channel Ten show is in danger of descending into chaos, with Matt forced to issue a public apology ‘for any hurt I may have unintentionally caused him [Marco Pierre White Jr] and his family’ after learning of the viewer backlash.
Meanwhile, Matt’s fellow judge George Calombaris has been charged with assault, and is due to appear in court next month after an altercation at the A-League grand final.
‘The cast and crew are in meltdown. Even Gary [Mehigan], who has not been tarnished himself, is in crisis mode,’ reveals the insider. ‘It’s not proving easy to ignore all this controversy, and the crew are at a loss as to how to get the show back on track.’
Matt’s controversial remarks came during an interview on Kyle & Jackie O – and further reported on in the British press – when he commented on the behaviour of Marco Jr after the 22-year-old shared news of his drug binges and romps with prostitutes bought with his father’s money.
‘I think it is that terrible thing when you have kids that go off the rails, how do you deal with it?’ he told the radio hosts. ‘Anyone who’s got tattoos on their face normally behaves badly, don’t they?’ he continued, before later suggesting Marco’s son was mixed up in drugs.
‘I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with your children having a highly evolved social life but I think the drugs might be a little bit of a worry.’
‘With my hand on my mother’s grave, I will get that man,’ Marco fired back to News Corp in response.
‘No-one should ever say that about someone else’s children. I will never forgive that man.’
Marco Jr fired off his own expletive-ridden Twitter response to the debacle, calling Matt an ‘a** hole and dumb f**k’ for ‘messing with the Pierre White family’,
in a since-deleted tweet. However, Marco Jr later apologised, saying on Kyle & Jackie O last week, ‘I don’t have any problems with him [Preston]... It was disgraceful what I said.’
While Marco’s son has been the subject of much media attention in the British press of late after appearing on UK Big Brother, local MasterChef fans slammed Matt’s comments.
‘Talking about someone’s children negatively is off-limits, it will push anyone into fierce protection mode,’ wrote one.
Another fan commented: ‘Matt was bang out of order criticising his colleague’s child to the media... no matter how true.’
Matt’s shock outburst has left network head honchos worried the unwanted publicity could have a negative impact on the show. ‘Marco Pierre was a huge drawcard for MasterChef but now he’s jumped ship, the producers are worried that it’s a bad look,’ says the insider.
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – Out now.
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