"It has been an awesome experience to be part of the MasterChef family," said Elliot in a statement posted on Twitter to his 169,000-plus followers. "I learned so much from the people I got to work with and 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 6 years."
The bespectacled Elliot, owner of Graham Elliot Bistro in the West Loop, was one of the three original judges on the cooking competition, along with British chef Gordon Ramsay and restaurateur Joe Bastianich, who left last year.
"It's finding that balance and making sure I can be there almost every night," said Elliot, a Morgan Park resident. "I don't know if that means the TV thing goes away, but obviously the restaurant would be in Chicago and we'd absolutely make sure it's something we can do as perfectly as we can."
Elliot said Friday he would be "making some exciting announcements" in the new year. He didn't return messages for comment on Monday.
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