Former MasterChef judge George Calombaris has said that he hit “rock bottom” after being fined $200,000 for underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017.

He told The Herald Sun that he is ready for the “next chapter” in his life, despite his business being audited for the next three years to ensure no staff are underpaid.

“I have hit rock bottom, but I have only written chapter one. Chapter two is ready to be written and I can only learn from my good, bad and ugly,” he said.

“Hopefully I can be an example, not only to my kids, but to young industry people that these are the lessons that you need to think of.”

He was also fired from his MasterChef role alongside co-judges Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston during the controversy as they were not able to reach a salary agreement with Ten.

Calombaris told The Herald Sun that he still talks to his Masterchef friends.”We walk and talk, occasionally we exchange cakes we cook at home. We were in each other’s pockets for 11 years of MasterChef,” he joked.

He’s expecting to make a return to public life soon as he is on a panel to talk at a restaurant and catering event in Melbourne.

“I am on a panel to talk at a restaurant and catering event soon and I’m very excited about that,” he says.

“I have a duty to make sure I can be out there, helping those who need to be helped in the industry that I love dearly, which is hospitality.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.