‘I OWE MY CA­REER TO MY HUS­BAND’

New Idea - - Official Magazine / Home and Away - By Jackie Brygel

She’s the grand­mother we’d all love to claim as our own. And while Mag­gie Beer has long been one of our favourite chefs, there is one per­son who has been by her side through it all – her hus­band of al­most half a cen­tury, Colin.

Mag­gie, 73, cer­tainly doesn’t take Colin’s love and sup­port for granted.

“He’s just the back­bone – the cheeky back­bone,” says Mag­gie with a smile. “He’s the quiet achiever ... but not quiet! I could not ever have done what I’ve done with­out him. We’ll be mar­ried 49 years in Jan­uary, and he still makes me laugh.”

Are the cou­ple, who have two daugh­ters, Saskia and Elli, and six grand­chil­dren, plan­ning a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion to mark their 50th wed­ding an­niver­sary? “Oh yes, we will, and with all of the fam­ily,” says Mag­gie. “It will also be my 75th birth­day then, so it will be a dou­ble whammy!”

Fam­ily has al­ways been ev­ery­thing to Mag­gie and Colin, who call South Aus­tralia’s beau­ti­ful Barossa re­gion home.

“I’m very lucky that my daugh­ters and grand­chil­dren live in the Barossa, and my el­dest grand­son is only 20 min­utes away,” she says. “They’re very much part of our life. Gosh, I’m just so lucky!

“My only strug­gle is fit­ting ev­ery­thing into my life and be­ing away from the Barossa,” she con­tin­ues, ad­mit­ting: “I don’t rel­ish that. I’m a home­body.”

It seems, too, that some of the grand­chil­dren, aged be­tween 22 and four, have in­her­ited Mag­gie’s pas­sion for cook­ing.

“Well, the three el­dest are very much into it, but let’s see – let’s see what hap­pens,” she says. “I just love when they come around to­gether. Now they cook for me and Colin some­times, and that’s even bet­ter. They’re very ad­ven­tur­ous and they know food. It’s just a de­light that they’re in the kitchen. I don’t think it’s ever too young for chil­dren to start in the kitchen. From the age of two, mine have had some­thing to do with the kitchen.

“I still love to cook as well – life’s far too short not to!” Mag­gie adds, with a laugh.

“For me, it starts with the veg­eta­bles in my gar­den. I love veg­eta­bles and that sets the tone – what’s in sea­son. On the week­end, I had ar­ti­chokes, leeks and golden beet from the gar­den and that be­came the ba­sis for din­ner.”

Clearly, life isn’t show­ing any signs of slow­ing down for Mag­gie, who co-hosts with land­scape de­signer Paul Ban­gay the stun­ning new one-hour Foxtel spe­cial, In­side Dame Elis­a­beth’s Gar­den.

Mark­ing the 90th year of the late Dame Elis­a­beth Mur­doch’s trea­sured Cru­den Farm in Vic­to­ria, the Life­style pre­miere sees Mag­gie ex­plor­ing the truly glorious out­door grounds, left by Dame Elis­a­beth – the mother of Rupert who died in 2012, aged 103 – as a space for pub­lic re­flec­tion and en­joy­ment.

With Paul by her side, Mag­gie then heads back to her home in the Barossa Val­ley to cre­ate a mem­o­rable gar­den party menu in hon­our of the mile­stone event.

“I’d never been to Cru­den Farm be­fore, so it’s been so spe­cial for me, and I was de­lighted to be in­volved,” she says. “It’s been lovely work­ing with Paul, too. He’s been a friend for a long time and his mem­o­ries of know­ing Dame Elis­a­beth and his knowl­edge of the gar­den were re­ally spe­cial.

“Dame Elis­a­beth’s legacy is her work with com­mu­ni­ties and char­i­ties. She gave so much, yet she was so down-to-earth. She wanted to share what she had.”

“I’M VERY LUCKY THAT MY DAUGH­TERS AND GRAND­CHIL­DREN LIVE IN THE BAROSSA”

Mag­gie is grate­ful for her hus­band and chil­dren (above).

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