Michel Roux Jr leaves MasterChef: The Professionals due to "conflict in commercial interests"

The judge and presenter rues his “frustrating” negotiations with the BBC, saying the Corporation “needs to recognise the value of the talent they work with”

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Michel Roux Jr leaves MasterChef: The Professionals due to "conflict in commercial interests"
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Paul Jones

Michel Roux Jr, the face of MasterChef: The Professionals, has left the BBC2 show due to "a conflict in commercial interests".

The chef's TV adverts for Albert Bartlett Rooster Potatoes are thought to clash with the Corporation's strict rules on commercial tie-ins and will also mean he no longer fronts the channel's recently revived series Food and Drink.

In a statement, the BBC said: “MasterChef is sad to announce after a very happy relationship with Michel Roux Jr as one of the judges on the Professional series, that he will no longer be appearing on the BBC due to a conflict in commercial interests.

“Chef Michel has been a committed and extremely well loved and respected member of the MasterChef team, an inspiration for the young chefs who have appeared on the show and those he works with on behalf of MasterChef off camera. We wish him the very best of luck in everything he does."

Roux hit back at the BBC, calling his recent negotiations with the Corporation "frustrating" and suggesting it had a naive view of the modern commercial environment.

"This hasn't been an easy decision for me to make," said the 53-year-old. "I love working with the BBC, and am very proud of how we have built up the popularity and success of these two iconic shows.

"It's not for lack of trying, but sometimes negotiating with the BBC can be a frustrating process, and there are times when I have wondered if the Corporation understands the realities of today's commercial world.

"The BBC needs to recognise the value of the talent they work with, and also that, whilst we love to be associated with top-quality television, we have other professional commitments that are as important to us as programme-making."

MasterChef: The Professionals is considered by many to be the cream of TV cookery competitions, with Roux's likeable manner and tendency towards constructive criticism, rather than the fiery outbursts associated with some TV chefs, a key ingredient in its success.

Part of arguably the world's greatest modern culinary heritage, Roux is the son of the famous Albert Roux and nephew of the great Michel Roux Snr.

Casting for a replacement for Roux Jr is currently under way, with MasterChef bosses hoping to hang on to fellow judges Monica Galetti – who is Roux's sous chef in his two Michelin-starred London restaurant Le Gavroche – and Gregg Wallace, who acts as the show's professional diner.

MasterChef: The Professionals returns in the autumn for its seventh series – its first without Roux, who has fronted it from the beginning back in 2008.


 


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