Graham Elliot is leaving the TV franchise that made him a food celebrity around the country. The longtime Chicago-based chef announced on Friday evening that he'll no longer be a judge on FOX's "MasterChef" and "MasterChef Junior" when the current season finishes, according to multiple reports and first reported by Variety, ending a six-year run on the screen alongside Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Christina Tosi.
"I learned so much from the people I got to work with and it has been a true honor to share my love of cooking with the audiences who have allowed me into their homes over the last six years," Elliot says in a statement. "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."
Elliot currently has one restaurant in business, Graham Elliot Bistro on Randolph Row, after shuttering his eponymous original restaurant in River North two years ago, Grahamwich in August 2013, and his Connecticut restaurant in June 2014. Is one of his next steps finally opening his long talked-about follow-up restaurant? Elliot couldn't be reached for comment, so stay tuned.