Sue Hewitt

<i>MasterChef</i> judge Gary Mehigan faces an elimination challenge of his own.
MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan faces an elimination challenge of his own. Photo: Justin McManus

MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan is facing his own foodie challenge with several rivals vying to oust him from his Moonee Ponds Boathouse restaurant.

The lease will expire next year on the Moonee Valley Council-owned riverside venue that Mr Mehigan has run with fellow chef Steve Bogdani for the past 10 years.

Mehigan said he had expected a number of competitors to tender for a new 10-year lease by last Friday's deadline but believed he and his partner had put forward a case to run an "exciting" restaurant for the next decade.

He said the pair had already invested $1 million on refurbishing what was once a "Besser block" building and had spent almost 11 years developing the business.

"We don't want 2015 to be our last year," he said. "I'm hungry and excited by the next phase [of the Boathouse business]."

Mehigan said he and his business partner wanted to be part of showcasing the area and the "beautiful" Maribyrnong River, which he regarded as the west's answer to Albert Park.

MasterChef, which is filmed in Flemington, had put the Boathouse, where a breakfast challenge was filmed in 2013, and Moonee Ponds, on the international foodie's trail, he said.

Mehigan said the restaurant had shown its community involvement, including hosting charity dinners and sponsoring local sports clubs.

Leasing agent Fitzroys' Rick Berry said there had been "a lot" of site inspections of the 120-seat 235-square-metre restaurant.

The Weekly Review Moonee Valley