MasterChef Australia judge, George Calombaris showed up at the Durban Good Food and Wine appear at the weekend. He addressed Shelley Seid about the South African hard working attitude, blowtorches and life behind the cameras.
“MasterChef Australia is part of the fabric of the world. I say that with all respect. It changes people’s lives. I remember going into my local hardware shop the day after we’d featured crème brûlée in the first season. The manager came across to tell me that they had sold out of blowtorches. It was almost unbelievable.”
“Nothing is fabricated. There’s no teaching people how to cook behind the scenes. At the end of the day the judges have their reputations to uphold.”
“I’m not sure why it became such a phenomenon. Some things just happen. There’s an incredible chemistry between the three of us. We made a show that doesn’t discriminate culturally. We highlight people from all walks of life. People watch us in Abu Dhabi, rooting for their favourite contestants.”
“About 90% of all our contestants are working in the food industry. A redhead from the first Junior MasterChef is now an apprentice in my restaurant, The Press Club. That’s what it’s all about.”
“I’ve visited South Africa four times this year. I rate Cape Town as one of my top five cities in the world. I was blown away by the wineries and especially some of the restaurants in Stellenbosch.”
“The head chef at my restaurant Gazi is South African – Simon Merrick, a Port Elizabeth boy. South Africans understand that to get on you have to put your head down, your bum up and work hard.”