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Food

Gary Mehigan - All in the Family

MasterChef's Gary Mehigan believes he is fortunate to be able to do the things he loves - travel, eat, cook and talk about food. He readily admits he owes it all to his family.

Most chefs recount it was the influence of a family member that first put them on their culinary path. UK-born Gary Mehigan is no exception. Food was at the heart of everything his family did and in fact, he had more than one positive role model.

"Family has been crucial for me growing up and certainly falling in love with food, that is where it all started," Gary tells me when we sit down for a chat on the set of the Selector cover shoot.

"Mum was a really simple cook. Nothing she ever did was extravagant or expensive, but it was always home cooked, whether it was pies and peas or a cupcake to take to school.

"I remember her pulling toffee. It was a real skill and we thought mum was really clever. So we always ate very simple home cooked food, this was back in the day when people didn't walk along the streets with lattes in their hands and eating food. For us, getting take-away, which would be something like fish 'n' chips, was a bit of a rare treat.

"But the real basis for why I became a chef was my grandad - he was a chef. He had a beautiful garden and he used to bake bread. It sounds a bit romantic, but I don't think it really clicked at the time. I wanted to be like my dad, be an engineer, be a fireman, a firefighter, anything but what grandad was, which was a chef.

"But certainly, when I got a bit older I started to realise what grandad was doing was very tactile and very interesting and he always seemed to be having fun. Whereas my dad was always very serious - he was very calculating, a very quiet man, and I thought - I am not like my dad. I am like my grandad - happy, always chatting, engaged in something textural, so that's when I really started taking notice.

"I had never been to a fancy restaurant, I had never eaten fancy food, we had never gone overseas. Our holidays were camping in Devon and Cornwall. But when grandad cooked, there was something amazing about that. It was always interesting. I loved that."

Read the full interview and Gary's fantastic recipes in the July/August edtion of Selector. Available in good Newsagents or in your next Wine Selectors wine delivery

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Jamie Oliver - cooking up a revolution
Words by Mark Hughes on 26 Jan 2017
Jamie Oliver admits he questions reality when he is centre stage at places like the World Health Assembly giving a speech on global nutrition or in the inner sanctum of British Parliament planning the obesity strategy with the Prime Minister. “It’s absolutely nuts,” he tells me down the phoneline from the UK. “To make it even worse, everyone listens, but  I  still feel like the naked chef." It is admirable, but why him? Why has Jamie felt the need to change the way we eat? Why has he became the flag bearer for the food revolution? Responsibility and right place, right time is only part of it. Happily married, he and wife Jools have recently welcomed their fifth child, River, into their lives. “It is brilliant and amazing and we are very thankful,” he says of his newborn son. “Sunday, I looked around the table and everyone was around it and I just went, ‘Bloody hell, how did this happen?’ I know how it happened...but you know…” And there’s the answer. Every parent knows, as does any responsible adult. For Jamie, it's about giving children the nutrition they need to be the best they can be. All this starts with education. Kids, adults, governments; everyone. Life Changes to Eating Australia and Britain are up there with the USA in adult obesity rates. How has this happened in just three short decades? “People always find a way to shortcut,” reasons Jamie. “And the minute they find a way to make time on a job, they fill it up with other stuff. Technology has really added to that. Everyone is juggling more things, more money and more responsibilities – life has just changed. “The reality of it is 56% of Aussies are overweight or obese and health problems are shooting through the roof because of it. And this is at the same time we have more knowledge and beautiful produce. But it comes down to two things: knowing how to cook and access to good food.” Jamie’s plethora of cookbooks and cooking shows is helping solve the first issue. But he’s gone above that, setting up initiatives such as The Ministry of Food, a hands-on community cooking school, The Kitchen Garden Project to introduce growing food and cooking into schools, as well as being part of The Obesity Strategy, Sugar Smart UK, and the list goes on.
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Tobie Puttock Gets Healthy
Words by Mark Hughes on 4 Aug 2016
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