Cow­boy raises steaks

A death in the fam­ily, a mas­sive tax bill and an ail­ing mother haven’t knocked the smile off Texas cow­boy Robert Mur­phy’s face. AN­DREW FEN­TON re­ports

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS -

ROBERT Mur­phy’s new judg­ing gig on re­al­ity cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion Aussie Bar­be­cueHeroes came along at just the right time for the former Texas cow­boy.

The af­fa­ble Amer­i­can had such a bad run of luck lately that his life sounds al­most like one of those woe-laden coun­try songs. Even be­fore he and daugh­ter Lynzey were elim­i­nated from My KitchenRules in March, Mur­phy was stung by a $250,000 bill for back taxes that threat­ened to gobble up one of his prop­er­ties and his su­per­an­nu­a­tion.

Worse, his 63-year-old sis­ter was trag­i­cally killed in a car ac­ci­dent, leav­ing no one in Texas to care for his ail­ing mother, who suf­fers from de­men­tia. More re­cently Lynzey’s boyfriend, Fred Nunes, was in a bad mo­tor­cy­cle crash.

“I’ve been back three or four times [to Texas] in the past year just try­ing to get things sorted,” he says.

“My sis­ter took care of all my busi­ness and she got killed, you know, and I had a pretty good can of worms over there. I still haven’t got every­thing sorted but I’m try­ing the best I can.” Mur­phy’s mother re­fuses to come to Aus­tralia but he’s bought her a house, ar­ranged to pay her ex­penses and hired car­ers: “She’s got de­men­tia and she doesn’t al­ways co-op­er­ate much but I try to do all I can.”

There’s light at the end of the tun­nel on the tax front thanks to help from a good ac­coun­tant.

“I’ve never not paid taxes,” he says. “But it gets tricky when you’re do­ing it on two sides of the world and you have to pay it not just twice, you ac­tu­ally have to pay it four times.”

Mur­phy met his wife Delsey 30 years ago dur­ing a trip to Canada, the pair fell in love and he ended up fol­low­ing her to Aus­tralia, where he bought a place in the Blue Moun­tains.

“I’ve been liv­ing here for about 21 years now and I’m al­most used to it,” he says.

Fel­low AussieBar­be­cue He­roes judge Jess Pryles has gone the other way – an Aussie ex­pat who’s be­come a bar­be­cue afi­cionado in Austin, Texas. “She’s pretty incredible,” Mur­phy says. Former Surf­in­gth­eMenu star Ben O’Donoghue is the host and third judge.

The step up to judg­ing gave Mur­phy more sym­pa­thy for his MKR judges Pete Evans and Manu Feildel.

“I can feel their pain,” he says. “It’s not fun break­ing some­body’s heart be­cause a lot of peo­ple have their food dream. The way I look at it, you’re not al­ways go­ing to turn out the best food but you can al­ways give it your best ef­fort. I cooked some stinkers when I was on MKR … but you know I never felt bad about my ef­fort – Lynzey and I, we gave it every­thing we had.” AUSSIE BAR­BE­CUE HE­ROES WED­NES­DAY, 7.30PM, SEVEN

New recipe: Robert

Mur­phy is tak­ing on a new chal­lenge as judge on Aussie Bar­be­cueHeroes.

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