Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Matt PrestonWhen reality television came into the kitchen, it was easy to turn a blind eye. After all, the promos for MasterChef Australia reeked of a Big Brother approach, with intimidating stares from imposing judges, contestants with shared living arrangements, emotional video diaries, eliminations and tears, and all the accoutrements that are meant to fool viewers into believing they are watching somebody’s ‘reality’.

Until Matt Preston stepped in. Impressively tall and larger than life, he sat at an adjoining table at the prestigious Marque Restaurant, the night I was treated to a celebratory birthday dinner. With his flamboyant style and trademark cravats, the staff doted over the man known to be one of the best food journalists and restaurant critics, a man of international acclaim. And he in turn was ever so charming, unlike the way he was portrayed in the promos that filled prime time television.

One episode of MasterChef was sufficient to turn this die-hard heretic into an eager fan. Either dinner time was reorganised to fit around the show, or meals were served in front of the television, eagerly awaiting “Matt moments” such as those when his face contorts with pleasure at the dish he is sampling before he delivers his verdict.

“Because I like you, Andre… I’ve swallowed it” may be his most memorable line to date, titillating audiences with a dash of saucy humour, earning him a status of the new sex symbol, along with Facebook fan pages dedicated to the man and his cravats, even a movie tribute.

But it is his critiques of the contestants’ creations that are MasterChef’s true pièces de résistance. They arrive like the much anticipated petits fours served with coffee after an elaborate dégustation menu: small, concise and bursting with either a welcome sweetness or the bitterness of dark chocolate.

* Photo Credit – Masterchef


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.