The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS - By Alice Coster

WHEN He­ston Blu­men­thal walks into MasterChef head­quar­ters the con­tes­tants have a melt­down. Ev­ery. Sin­gle. Time.

With MasterChef now in its sev­enth year and Blu­men­thal a se­ries reg­u­lar since sea­son two, you would think they’d know the in­ven­tive UK chef is com­ing.

But judge Ge­orge Calom­baris says they melt – like but­ter – be­fore go­ing wild. It’s not Beatle­ma­nia, it’s Blu­men­thal­ma­nia.

“It’s hi­lar­i­ous watch­ing their re­ac­tions, it’s al­most comedic. He has that aura about him,” Calom­baris told TV Guide.

Talk­ing to the Bri­tish celebrity chef it makes sense.

He­ston, or ‘H’ as he is called by friends, has a hyp­notic qual­ity. Our in­ter­view veers into sub­jects in­clud­ing Ed­war­dian cook­books and din­ner par­ties for kings.

He an­i­mat­edly chats about live chick­ens be­ing pre­sented on the royal din­ing ta­ble only to wake up from their slum­ber, run down the ta­ble “up­set­ting gob­lets and what not”, be­fore be­ing killed in front of their din­ers and stuffed with mer­cury and sul­phur. Af­ter be­ing roasted a “sul­phuric re­ac­tion” oc­curs and cre­ates a cluck­ing noise (which he then im­i­tates).

Blu­men­thal jokes this is the chal­lenge he has set for his MasterChef con­tes­tants this week.

“Imag­ine what that would do to rat­ings?” he chuck­les.

Jokes aside He­ston does take our top 11 con­tes­tants on an Aus­tralian history mys­tery box jour­ney. He has been study­ing up since mov­ing his Fat Duck res­tau­rant to MasterChef home­land Mel­bourne ear­lier this year, so he knows his bush tucker.

“Over the last cou­ple of trips here I have been learn­ing a lot more about Aus­tralian na­tive food,” he says.


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