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Calombaris workers face uncertain future

George Calombaris DO NOT REUSE

MasterChef Australia judge George Calombaris departs the Downing Centre court in Sydney, Friday, October 20, 2017.  AAP Image/Joel Carrett

Hundreds of workers face an uncertain future as venues run by George Calombaris are put up for sale after the celebrity chef put his restaurant empire into administration.

Twelve of Calombaris' venues have stopped trading after the former television personality placed 22 companies in the hands of advisory and investment firm KordaMentha.

Administrators Craig Shepard and Leanne Chesser hope to find buyers for the businesses quickly so that some of about 400 staff members may keep their jobs under new operators.

"We could have them ready to go by Monday," Mr Shepard told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Declining patronage and inability to turn the business around forced Calombaris to shutter the Made Establishment Group.

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

Employees have been paid outstanding wages and superannuation up to Sunday, the administrators have been told.

But KordaMentha will still have to verify that claim after reports emerged of some workers not getting paid their annual leave.

If the business cannot pay those entitlements through recovered funds, workers may be forced to apply for what they are owed through a Fair Work guarantee scheme.

Oanh Tran, head of the Victorian Trades Hall Council's legal centre, said Made workers on temporary migrant visas may be forced to leave Australia.

"There are going to be at least some and probably many who are in that really vulnerable position."

Neither KordaMentha or the unions know how many workers are on those visas, but the United Workers Union - which covers hospitality workers - says at least one has approached them anonymously.

© AAP 2020