Full plate: Former MasterChef star Ben Mil­bourne’s 2017 is al­ready shap­ing up to be nuts

Tassie’s own former MasterChef star Ben Mil­bourne had a hugely busy year in 2016, and this year is shap­ing up to be equally as mas­sive,

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASSLE LIVING - writes SHAUN McMANUS

It may only be the first day of the year, but with three tele­vi­sion shows on the go, former MasterChef con­tes­tant Ben Mil­bourne al­ready has a huge 12 months ahead.

While for most mere mor­tals, that would be more than enough to keep them busy, it is only the ap­pe­tiser for the Tas­ma­nian.

This year, Ben is also set to open a restau­rant in Devon­port re­lease an­other book, as well as keep­ing up with the de­mands of rais­ing his young fam­ily.

“If there was any­thing else [on the agenda] I think I would curl up in a ball and prob­a­bly cry my­self to sleep,” he jokes.

Ben shot to fame on the fourth sea­son of MasterChef in 2012, and since then has stayed in the pub­lic eye with a steady stream of TV shows and books.

Speak­ing from his home in the state’s North-West Coast, Ben said the new year was a great time to re­flect on the year that was and look ahead to the next 12 months.

“We al­ways get to the end of ev­ery year and sit down on New Year’s Eve with the team and say ‘wow what a year, it can’t pos­si­bly get any big­ger than that’, and each year it seems to get big­ger,” he said.

“It’s been an ab­so­lutely nuts 12 months, and I’m sure next year with the restau­rant open­ing that will throw an­other span­ner in the works and it will be an­other mas­sive year.”

The fourth se­ries of his hit TV show, Ben’s Menu (WIN), is on the hori­zon, with film­ing to start in the next cou­ple of months.

With al­most 300 episodes un­der his belt, Ben said the show had al­most be­come “sec­ond na­ture” to film, and is one he re­ally en­joys mak­ing be­cause it is based in his home state. Be­fore Ben’s Menu re­turns to the small screen how­ever, two other shows he stars in, Food Lab and Andy and Ben Eat Aus­tralia, are set to air next

month.

Food Lab (WIN) takes ad­van­tage of Ben’s back­ground as a science teacher to ex­plore the science be­hind food.

He ex­plains that it is “an at­tempt to try and make peo­ple at home not only bet­ter cooks, but bet­ter sci­en­tists in their un­der­stand­ing of sci­en­tific

It’s been an ab­so­lutely nuts 12 months, and I’m sure next year with the restau­rant open­ing that will throw an­other span­ner in the works and it will be an­other mas­sive year

prin­ci­pals and the role that science plays in world.” Fol­low­ing on from the suc­cess of Andy and Ben Eat The World, he made with good friend and 2012 MasterChef win­ner Andy Allen, Andy and Ben Eat Aus­tralia will air on SBS

Food.

A vis­ually spec­tac­u­lar se­ries, the show will fol­low Andy and Ben as they travel from Tas­ma­nia to north­ern Queens­land, stop­ping off at var­i­ous places to in­ves­ti­gate what con­sti­tutes an ‘Aus­tralian’ menu.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ben has a book com­ing out later in the year, as well as the open­ing of his new restau­rant on the wa­ter­front in Devon­port.

When the restau­rant does open, next spring or sum­mer, he plans to throw all his en­ergy and time into it to en­sure it’s a suc­cess.

“I’m hap­pi­est when I’m in the kitchen cook­ing for peo­ple, so that’s kind of where I want to be,” he said.

“The times I look for­ward to are those times dur­ing ser­vice when I can plate food up and send it out to peo­ple in the din­ing room.”

While he won’t be dis­ap­pear­ing com­pletely from the small screen al­to­gether, Ben said he would need to re­assess his pri­or­i­ties.

“At some point you have to make a de­ci­sion on what you want to do and for me mak­ing sure that this restau­rant is re­ally suc­cess­ful and pro­duces re­ally good food and is a bit of a point of pride for pro­duc­ers on the North-West Coast ... that’s go­ing to be first and fore­most,” he said.

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