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Ex-workers call for George Calombaris to be eliminated from MasterChef

Should George Calombaris be axed from Network Ten? Source: Getty
Should George Calombaris be axed from Network Ten? Source: Getty

“Ten network; it’s George’s turn to face elimination.”

That’s how a petition for George Calombaris’ removal from Network Ten’s Masterchef show concludes.

The petition was instigated by Orlaith Belfrage, who says she worked as a waiter at Hellenic Republic for over two years until 2014, and is still owed $2,000 in wages.

“I’ve been fighting to get back pay from my time working for Hellenic Republic for over two years,” she says.


“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.”

While Calombaris was slapped with a $200,000 fine, Belfrage says that’s simply not enough.

“Wage theft is a business model and George Calombaris has built his career on it.

“And he continues to be heralded as the “nice guy” celebrity chef and a MasterChef judge.

“He should be taken off MasterChef. Channel Ten should stop making excuses for this serial wage thief.”

Belfrage alleges it’s likely to be “way more” than 515 workers who have been underpaid, and she claims it’s “untrue that he has been cooperating”.

“Workers have requested repeatedly that Calombaris hand over records so that they can recover their stolen wages and he has not provided them with the documents they need to get their money.

“Meanwhile, George Calombaris enjoys celebrity status and is put on a pedestal as an industry leader, a reputation he has built on stealing wages from his staff.”

Chef Neil Perry is also on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s radar, and Twitter users aren’t happy about the lack of punishment for these celebrity chefs.

Australian Unions said nothing would change if dodgy bosses didn’t fear the consequences of wage theft.

Unions NSW was particularly bemused that Calombaris could manage his million-dollar properties, but couldn’t pay staff.

Belfrage’s petition has reached 10,392 signatures, of its 15,000 target.

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