The show Maggie Beer can’t refuse
The first time she appeared on MasterChef Australia back in season two, Maggie Beer’s hands trembled as she plated up her signature dish.
The Australian cooking legend doesn’t watch commercial TV so wasn’t aware of the show — or that she would be cooking against one of its contestants.
“I’m used to working under time pressure, but under the camera pressure my hands were shaking like you wouldn’t believe,” she recalls.
“I didn’t think I cared whether I won or lost ... but I was relieved that I won.”
Since that 2010 appearance, Beer has happily volunteered to come back every season, saying that she’ll always make time for the show.
“I just delight in the contestants — and the boys ( judges George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan) of course, but let’s talk about the contestants first,” she says.
“They’re putting their life on hold and they’re on this path to learn and in many cases find a new direction and I admire them so.
“And then the boys, they’re just three rascals really. They have so much energy and fun between them that it’s never boring, let me tell you.”
Beer returns to the show this Sunday for a Mystery Box challenge. But in keeping with the eighth season of the hit reality series, there’s a twist that comes along with it.
When the contestants enter the kitchen, they are stumped to see no mystery boxes on their benches. Instead, Beer has picked three ingredients for them to choose from to first perform an invention test.
The winner of that test then gains an advantage in the mystery box component of the episode.
“It was all turned on its head,” Beer previews.
“This (challenge) is quite tricky but I was really delighted by the ingenuity and creativity of the contestants. They really bring some things to the table that were very good.”
Beer was full of praise for the remaining 15 contenders.
And she’s equally effusive about her next TV cooking adventure.
Beer is currently filming a second season of The Great Australian Bake Off for Foxtel’s LifeStyle channel. And she promises that fans of the first series won’t be disappointed.
“Talking about synergies between people — working with Matt (Moran), he’s so cheeky I never know what’s going to come out of his mouth,” she says.
“And then Claire (Hooper) and Mel (Buttle), the hosts, are the most delightful, funny people. And the crew and the contestants are terrific. It’s the most positive atmosphere. It’s gentle, it’s quite different from anything else I’ve seen (on TV).”
MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA, CHANNEL 10, MONDAY-THURSDAY, SUNDAY, 7.30PM
Maggie Beer returns for a Mystery Box challenge... with a twist.