At the time, the news of the judges' sudden exit came as a shock. After all, the three men had appeared on screens in Australian living rooms for 11 highly successful seasons.
Now, Matt Preston is lifting the lid on why exactly they left – revealing that despite the widespread rumours and reports that they left due to disagreements over money, it was actually over the terms and conditions of their contracts.
The men wanted the freedom to explore creative pursuits outside of the show, Preston told Stellar in a new interview.
"We always said that we would stay together or go together," he said. "On the show we always lined up together: Gary, George and myself. If one of us wasn’t there, we would refuse to narrow the gap or stand in someone else’s place. Because it didn’t feel right."
"There were definite dark moments when I sat there and said to myself, 'What have I done? Have I made the right decision? Should I have taken the money and the safe option and stayed?'"
Watch: Things we all say when watching MasterChef. Post continues below.
Now, Preston and Mehigan will host Channel Seven's new food show, Plate Of Origin, alongside former My Kitchen Rules judge Manu Feildel.
So how did Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan become some of the biggest names in television and what are they doing now?
The Spill is Mamamia’s daily entertainment podcast that catches you up on everything you need to know in the entertainment world. On this episode, why the MasterChef judges really left. Post continues after audio.
Matt Preston was born in London to British Naval historian and journalist Antony Preston.
During his time growing up in London, Preston was a DJ and punk musician before he began writing for City Limits and IPC Magazines.
In 1993, Preston moved to Australia, where he started writing for IPC Magazines as their Australian TV correspondent. After several years with the company, he began writing reviews for magazine Inside Melbourne before moving on to write food reviews for The Age in 2000.