Har­mony the cru­cial in­gre­di­ent

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - SARAH NI­CHOL­SON

YOUR stereo­typ­i­cal chef is im­pa­tient, finicky and prone to throw­ing the oc­ca­sional tantrum.

See­ing Si­mon Bryant and Mag­gie Beer at work on the set of The Cook and the Chef, how­ever, there’s not the slight­est hint of ag­gres­sion or ego. So well do Bryant and Beer get on that in only three years they’ve notched up 100 episodes of their cook­ing show.

‘‘Most chefs take 10 years to do 100 episodes, be­cause they only do eight or 10 shows a year, but Mag­gie and I are mad and we do 40 shows a year,’’ Bryant says.

‘‘When we started we were all learn­ing, Mag­gie and I and the crew, and it was hard and we were prob­a­bly ter­ri­ble. I can’t watch those early episodes, but peo­ple stuck with us and here we are.

‘‘The big­gest chal­lenge Mag­gie and I had was be­ing overly po­lite to each other. Chefs are used to run­ning their own shows so when you put two to­gether they’re ei­ther re­ally po­lite or re­ally com­pet­i­tive.’’

Bryant says the se­cret to the suc­cess of The Cook and the Chef is that it of­fers two things to the viewer; it ex­poses them to new prod­ucts and lets them learn a few tricks of the trade.

‘‘Great chefs aren’t renowned for shar­ing,’’ he says. ‘‘Peo­ple in the trade are not about shar­ing. Each chef has se­crets that they covet, but that’s not what I am about and, as a chef, I have a lot of se­crets that I’m more than happy to give away.

‘‘Mag­gie is a very gen­er­ous per­son. She has a life­time of ex­pe­ri­ence. She will stand up there and give things away, and some of the things are hard-earned tricks and se­crets.’’

Though Bryant is now re­garded as one of Aus­tralia’s top television chefs, it al­most didn’t hap­pen.

‘‘I could never make up my mind about what I wanted to do,’’ he says.

‘‘I left school to be­come a me­chanic, then I went back to univer­sity and did eco­nomics, but those hor­ri­ble HECS fees meant I had to get a job at the stu­dent union to pay my fees.

‘‘They dumped me in the univer­sity cafe kitchen and the day I walked in I fi­nally felt like I was at home. It was a big kitchen, and ev­ery­one was busy and run­ning around, and I felt like that was where I was meant to be — and that hasn’t changed.’’

The ton: Si­mon Bryant and Mag­gie Beer have racked up 100 episodes.

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