Matt Preston: ‘We were the rebound boyfriends’
MasterChef judge Matt Preston reveals the suit colour he can't pull off, why everyone thought the show would be a disaster and which Twisties flavour - Chicken or Cheese - comes out on top.
When Stellar spoke to you for your cover story in October 2017, you said you were waiting for the phone to ring because MasterChef is huge in India. Have you realised your Bollywood dream yet?
Nothing happened! The phone never rang. I still want my role as a baddie in a Bollywood movie. Maybe they know my dancing is a bit rubbish. That counts me out of lots of plotlines.
Your three kids have called some of your cooking concoctions "Dad's crazy food." What's the craziest?
I was recently developing a recipe for the next cookbook that involved turning old banana peels into a sort of smoky candied vegan bacon. My middle son rather pointedly asked why we couldn't just have "ordinary bacon".
Earlier this year you wrote that Chicken Twisties are "a guilty pleasure that goes too far". Stellar's editor-in-chief, Sarrah Le Marquand, has subsequently admitted to you that she is a lifelong devotee of Chicken Twisties...
I think that's the great thing about guilty pleasures. One man's meat is another man's poison. When it comes to Twisties, for me it's Cheese all the way [laughs].
In 2009, a little television show called MasterChef premiered and made you a household name, along with fellow judges Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris. Did you have any idea how much love MasterChef would attract?
None at all. Everyone told us it would be a disaster. You know what we were going to be? The rebound boyfriends. Australians had a long relationship with Big Brother and Big Brother was going [off television].
We saw ourselves as the sacrificial lamb before they would put on the real show that would succeed. But thankfully, because the climate around the world was ready for a slightly nicer type of show, MasterChef dropped into that slot.
Approximately how many dishes have you eaten on the show?
Thousands. That's why we always push and mentor the contestants; we want as many of those dishes to be good. Eating bad dishes is never fun.
The irony is that the three worst things I've tasted on MasterChef - none of them has come from a contestant. They've all come from professional chefs.
If you were stuck on a desert island and had to choose between either Calombaris or Mehigan to join you, who would you pick?
You can't make that choice. We're the three musketeers. It's like choosing between salt or sweet; you gotta have both. A great dish has salt, sweet and sour. And I'd rather not be on a desert island, thank you very much!
You're known for your colourful suits. Is there any colour you have sworn off wearing?
Yellow is a hard colour to wear unless you're very tanned. So I probably wear less yellow shirts than anything else.
I think all colours are created equal. When I started wearing pink suits back in 2010, it was seen as, "Oh, that's a bit ridiculous. Men don't wear pink suits." And now you look at the Channel 10 promos and there's Osher Günsberg in a lovely pink jacket.
Things have changed. It's nice to see that we judge people by their personalities, not their clothes.
In a couple of years, you'll turn 60. How will you celebrate?
It will be loud. It will be late. There will be dancing and too many cocktails. It will also be celebrated either the year before or the year after as I don't like investing specific dates with significance or power.
I want to celebrate and appreciate every day I wake up.
MasterChef Australia airs 7.30pm, Sunday to Thursday, on Network 10.