George Calombaris Wiki: “MasterChef Australia” Judge’s Facts and Best Recipes

George Calombaris
getty/George Calombaris

George Calombaris is an Australian chef and restaurateur. He is also one of the seasonal judges on MasterChef Australia. Sharing the panel with Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston, George Calombaris is an encouraging judge who motivates the amateur chefs on the show.

The 38-year old celebrity chef owns 17 restaurants in Melbourne, including his flagship Melbourne restaurant, The Press Club. The Press Club was awarded The Age Good Food Guide Best New Restaurant 2008 and Calombaris was named Chef of the Year 2008, as well. Before appearing as a judge on MasterChef Australia, George Calombaris appeared on the daytime cooking show, Ready Steady Cook.

George Calombaris “MasterChef Australia Season 9 Update”

George Calombaris was mighty impressed by Callan Smith’s dish during the very first episode of auditions.

George Calombaris On “MasterChef Australia”

George Calombaris admits that it’s been one hysterical ride since 2009 when the reality cooking program, MasterChef Australia first aired on Channel TEN. He further said that MasterChef Australia is a show that has opened people’s eyes to real and whole foods. It has inspired people of all ages to look at cooking as an art.

Calombaris compares the popularity of the show to an AFL premiership! He acknowledges the “ingenuity” in the concept of the show as the key to its success. He also credits the learning curve of the show as credible and brilliant.

Facts about George Calombaris

Here are a few fascinating facts about George Calombaris.

  • George Calombaris, at just 24, was awarded the Young Chef of the Year by The Age Good Food Guide, while he worked at Reserve.
  • Calombaris has several cookbooks to his name including The Press Club, Hellenic Republic: Greek Cooking from The Hellenic Heart, Your Place or Mine, and Cook With Us.
  • The celebrity chef is of Greek heritage, and is quite fond of Greek cuisine.
  • He is on the list of Top 40 Chefs of Influence in the World by Global Food and Wine Magazine.
  • A 17-year old George Calombaris was employed by fellow judge, Gary Mehigan, when Calombaris started his culinary career.
  • In 1999, when he was still an apprentice, Calombaris went on to win the Bon Land scholarship.
  • He is an ardent football fan and is the No.1 ticket holder of the Melbourne Victory Football Club.
  • George Calombaris is the global ambassador for Swisse, a vitamin brand.
  • He was also featured in the 2011 edition of Who’s Who in Australia and appeared at the 2011 Good Food & Wine Show.
  • Calombaris entered the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition in Lyon, France, and achieved the best result ever for an Australian representative.

George Calombaris’ Recipes

Here are two wonderful Greek recipes from George Calombaris’ kitchen. Enjoy!

Garden Peas and Cauliflower Salad Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 300 ml pure cream (45% fat)
  • 500 g cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
  • 1 ½ cups (240 g) green peas
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • Large handful of pea tendrils (optional)

Oregano salt:

  • ¼ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ tablespoon salt flakes
  • ¼ tablespoon castor sugar


  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Take a medium-sized saute pan and heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions. When golden brown, add the cream and some cauliflower. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Keep stirring occasionally.

Drain the cauliflower and cream, don’t discard the oil. Transfer them to a blender. Make a smooth paste and add the reserved oil accordingly.

Boil the peas in a saucepan and then refresh in cold water. Meanwhile, prepare the oregano salt by combining dried oregano, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well.

Roast the almonds in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Roughly chop the roasted almonds and sprinkle oregano salt over them.

Next, make the lemon dressing. Mix the lemon juice with olive oil and whisk them well. Season with oregano salt. Now, deep fry the remaining cauliflower florets in a frying pan over high flame. Fry them until golden brown.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the peas, cauliflower florets, almonds, and lemon dressing. Season with oregano salt.

On a serving plate, put on a layer of the cauliflower puree, and top it with the mixed salad. Garnish with young pea tendrils. Serve cold.

Grilled Calamari with Watermelon Recipe

Watermelon juice can help with your workoutIngredients:

  • ¼ small watermelon
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 50 g vine leaves in brine
  • ⅓ cup (50 g) plain flour
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to garnish
  • 500 g calamari, cleaned, scored and cut into bite-sized pieces, tentacles reserved
  • Salt flakes and cracked pepper
  • 200 g green olives
  • 200 g goat’s curd, broken into small pieces
  • Flat-leaf parsley, to garnish


Start by prepping the watermelon. Remove the skin, and cut the flesh into thick rectangular shapes. Store them in the refrigerator.

In a frying pan, heat the oil over high heat. Remove the vine leaves from the brine, dry them, and dust them with flour. Loosen the excess flour and deep fry them in the pan. Remove and drain the extra oil.

Next, in a chargrill pan, braise the calamari in olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and some pepper. Lightly char the calamari.

Put the calamari on a serving plate with the crispy vine leaves on top of it. Arrange the chilled watermelon, olives, and goat’s curd on the plate as well. Garnish with some parsley leaves, a sprinkle of olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper.



Williams, G., “On the boil — MasterChef judge George Calombaris,” Perth Now web site, June 19, 2016;–masterchef-judge-george-calombaris/news-story/1db99eecc1bc67b6e8dc529ec21b6713, last accessed February 6, 2017

“Recipes from Greek by chef George Calombaris,” web site,, last accessed February 6, 2017