In 2015, MasterChef said goodbye to Graham Elliot, and naturally, fans wondered, “Why did Graham Elliot leave MasterChef?

Elliot, a chef and restaurateur, was the judge on the cooking show. He got such a positive response from fans that he was asked to be a part of the flagship show, MasterChef Junior, which premiered in 2013. 

But after several seasons, he left the shows. 

His exit came after five years with the franchise, and fans were not happy about it. As a result, many fans still wonder why he left. 

Why did Graham Elliot leave MasterChef?

Elliot never really clarified why he left the franchise. In the statement announcing his departure, he shared that he had totally enjoyed his experience on the show and learned a lot from it. 

“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,” he said. 

Graham Elliot and the judges of Masterchef

Graham Elliot and the judges of Masterchef (Source: Graham Elliot/ Instagram)

He also said that he would remain committed to his passion for cooking and use it to entertain and teach people of all ages. Speaking on his plans, he added that he had exciting announcements about it in the new year.

His fellow co-star, Ramsay, also commented that he loved having Graham on the show and was excited about his upcoming journey. 

The judge was replaced with Aarón Sánchez, who is still with the show today. If Graham’s statement is anything to go by, it appears he was just ready for the next big thing in his life. 

What Happened to Graham Elliot?

A few months after his departure, on June 5, 2016, Bravo announced that Graham would be joining the judges’ panel for Season 14 of Top Chef

The outlet stated that he would be helping host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, and judges Gail Simmons and Richard Blais in deciding the next Top Chef winner. But that wasn’t all. 

The chef also took his judging skills over to Food Network’s Cooks vs. Cons, hosted by Iron Chef winner Geoffrey Zakarian. The show featured two competitors: home cooks and professional chefs in a series of competitions. 

Elliot and the other panel of rotating judges, including Kardea Brown, Josh Elkin, and Daphne Oz, had to choose a winner between a professional and amateur cook in a blind taste test.

What Is Graham Elliot Doing Now?

The judge continued to make appearances in different shows, but according to recent reports by Hawaii Magazine, he has been appointed the Executive Chef of Pounders Restaurant at the Polynesian Cultural Center, Hawaii. 

This news baffled foodies and fans as they felt that the job was beneath Graham, who boasts a long list of accolades. He explained that COVID was the reason. 

After selling his Chicago restaurant, he moved to Hawaii to surf, skate, and spearfish. The chef had plans to hold culinary classes and cooking demonstrations, but he met Felix Tai, the executive chef at the cultural center. 

The two got on well, and the rest is history. 

He shared with the outlet that he still had plans to host cooking classes and start a food truck.