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Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston. Image Credit: Supplied

The hosts of Australian television’s popular and long-running MasterChef cook-off have walked out of the kitchen en masse amid a dispute over pay.

Producers announced that Tuesday night’s season finale was the last time Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris would adjudicate exotic dishes ranging from adobo to sambal.

The TV programme is watched by more than a million Australians and has a huge following overseas.

The programme’s Facebook explainer on “How To Eat A Dumpling” was viewed 27 million times, according to CBS-owned broadcaster Network 10.

“Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George,” Network 10 said in a statement.

The departure comes after Calombaris was fined for underpaying staff at his own restaurants by millions of Australian dollars.

The country’s attorney-general even weighed in on the dispute, suggesting Calombaris got off lightly with an Aus$200,000 (Dh512,658) fine.

Speculation has been rife about who might replace the trio, and whether viewers can stomach another serving after their departure.