Celebrity chef Curtis Stone weighs in on George Calombaris' restaurant empire ...

Curtis Stone, who worked with Calombaris on multiple seasons of MasterChef Australia, backed the business owner.

Curtis Stone, who worked with Calombaris on multiple seasons of MasterChef Australia, backed the business owner.

Curtis Stone has given backing to fellow celebrity chef George Calombaris, whose restaurant empire collapsed last week amid a staff underpayment scandal.

Calombaris' MAdE Establishment restaurant business was put into voluntary administration, leaving about 400 workers in limbo.  

The decision to close the venues came after it emerged last year that staff were back-paid $7.8million in wages and superannuation in 2017.

But Stone, who worked with Calombaris on multiple seasons of MasterChef Australia, has called him a 'great guy'.

'George is a good friend of mine. I hate what has happened to him,' Stone told The Herald Sun.

'I have reached out to him and offered my help and support.

'He is a great guy, a very genuine, kind, human being and I wish nothing but the best for him.' 

Pictured, left to right: Shannon Bennet, Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston George Calombaris, Curtis Stone

Pictured, left to right: Shannon Bennet, Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston George Calombaris, Curtis Stone

The underpayment scandal first came to light in April 2017 when it was revealed Calombaris owed $2.6 million in back payments to 162 MAdE Establishment workers due of payroll 'discrepancies' dating back to 2011. 

Restaurateur and friend Matteo Pignatelli said the celebrity chef's wife and kids have been heckled and bullied since his business collapsed.

Pignatelli has been close to Calombaris' wife Natalie Tricario for many years and told The Weekend Australian the celebrity chef is 'very, very family'. 

'She's been at the supermarket and been heckled. The kids have been teased and bullied at school,' Pignatelli said.

'George told me: "I can handle it, but not Natalie and the kids". '

Calombaris' wife Natalie Tricarico (pictured together) has been heckled in public

Calombaris' wife Natalie Tricarico (pictured together) has been heckled in public

Pignatelli also speculated that Calombaris could move overseas to get his family away from the bad press and make a fresh start.

He said Singapore would make sense because of the type of schools there.

'The kids matter most,' Pignatelli said.

A 'gutted' Calombaris revealed his 'personal devastation' at the crumbling of his restaurant empire on Monday.

'Although we have all continued to work tirelessly and overcome the many challenges we have recently experienced, it is with deep sadness and regret that today MAdE Establishment has been placed into voluntary administration,' he wrote on social media.

Photo the closed down Hellenic Republic restaurant in Brunswick on Tuesday 11 February

Photo the closed down Hellenic Republic restaurant in Brunswick on Tuesday 11 February

The closed down Hellenic Republic restaurant in Brunswick, Melbourne

The closed down Hellenic Republic restaurant in Brunswick, Melbourne

'To all my team, I truly regret it has come to this. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your loyalty and friendship.

'I am so sorry all our collective efforts have not

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