By ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER
Graham Elliot is leaving the MasterChef franchise, Variety has learned. He will complete the current fourth season of MasterChef Junior before he departs.
No replacement for Elliot has been named, but an announcement is expected in the new year.
“It has been an awesome experience to be part of the MasterChef family,” Elliot said. “I learned so much from the people I got to work with and it has been a true honour to share my love of cooking with the audiences who have allowed me into their homes over the last six years. I remain committed to using my passion for cooking as a way to entertain and teach people of all ages, and will be making some exciting announcements about the next steps of that journey in the new year.”
In a joint statement, Fox, along with MasterChef production companies Endemol Shine North America and Gordon Ramsay’s One Potato Two Potato, said: “Graham has been an incredible judge and mentor both on MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. He’s provided insightful guidance and support to hundreds of participants who have entered the MasterChef kitchen and he has played an integral role in discovering some of the country’s greatest home cooks. Graham will always be a part of our MasterChef family and we wish him all the best in his next chapter.”
Ramsay also commented: “We’ve all loved having Graham as part of the MasterChef family, and the exciting and interesting part of reality television is that it’s always evolving and changing.”
Elliot, a chef and restaurateur, has been a judge on both MasterChef competitions since each show debuted in the US. He has been a judge with Ramsay and Christina Tosi most recently. Before Tosi, Joe Bastianich was on the judging panel for the first five seasons of the flagship show, and through Season 3 of MasterChef Junior.
Earlier, Fox announced a MasterChef celebrity special, which will feature teams, models Gigi Hadid vs Devon Windsor; Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Terry Crews and his wife, Rebecca Crews vs The Last Man On Earth‘s Boris Kodjoe and his wife, Nicole Ari Parker; Empire stars Kaitlin Doubleday vs Ta’Rhonda Jones; and MasterChef winners Luca Manfe, Christine Ha and Claudia Sandoval vs Season 4 MasterChef Junior contestants Addison, Amaya and Zac.
MasterChef has been renewed for a seventh season at Fox. – Reuters