Riding the wave to foodie success
YOU know Hayden Quinn means business when the surfing chef can be lured away from “pumping” waves at a Newcastle beach and go willingly down the local coal mines. Never one to miss the chance to throw himself into any boiling beach action, TV’s goldenhaired boy is proud to say he put his hosting duties for his LifeStyle Food series TheDinner Project ahead of the lure of the heaving surf tempting him to help mentor NSW mine rescuer Chris and his teenage sons about cooking.
Like each episode, the 27-year-old left behind his own salt-and-sand lifestyle on Sydney’s northern beaches to walk a mile in the shoes of a cross-section of Australians who could do with a few cooking lessons, advise on budget meals or inspiration to eat healthier.
When he shadowed a few Deakin university students [as he does this week] existing on a diet of ramen noodles and take-away, he did manage to sneak away for a surfing session.
But in Newcastle, he turned down blue skies for a day underground in the mine.
Still, sharing his other passion for food and cooking with another “straight-up Aussie bloke” was its own reward, Quinn enthuses, with the family man thanking his TV teacher for the life lessons.
“He’s come away going, ‘Mate, off camera I’m loving this, I’m really learning a lot’, and that’s exactly what we wanted to hear,” Quinn says.
Quinn’s knockabout personality and easy charm rightly made him an instant hit during season three of MasterChef.
Despite being eliminated before the finale, his likeability and on-camera confidence made him a natural to front his own spin-off projects.
And this one fits both his TV persona and a niche in the TV cooking series menu that takes viewers back-to-basics.
“Not everyone has that ‘foodie’ knowledge,” Quinn says.
“People watch this stuff and sometimes they’re in awe and think, ‘There’s no chance I could make what they just did.’ We’ve pulled it back, made the food accessible and achievable, which I’ve always been pretty into.” THE DINNER PROJECT SUNDAY, 6PM, LIFESTYLE FOOD
Surf’s up: Hayden Quinn.