Matt Moran turns his back on cooking contests
"I just felt I wanted to learn and cook. And on those shows I was never allowed to," says Paddock to Plate host Matt Moran.
After appearing in 3 seasons and 2 spin-off versions, he is no longer interested in cooking competitions.
“I just felt I wanted to learn and cook. And on those shows I was never allowed to. I just got sick of looking at what everyone else was doing…. cooking and judging. I just wanted to get out there and do something,” he told TV Tonight.
“But a lot of the shows I’ve been doing I am eternally grateful for. I wouldn’t be in the position I am now (if not for them).”
Moran, who now fronts his own Paddock to Plate series for Foxtel, has only ever hosted a series solo once -a cooking contest on Nine.
“I did The Chopping Block with The Block boys. Catriona (Rowntree) left after the first series and I did the second myself. I kind of cooked on that show but it became too formulaic. In the end I didn’t enjoy trying to tell idiot people how to run restaurants. And they didn’t listen to you anyway.
“Don’t get me wrong. What MasterChef has done for Australia and the amount of knowledge people have on food is incredible. And that’s a great thing. I’m just taking it a little step further.”
For Paddock to Plate Moran is going back to basics, leaving the chefs whites behind and meeting farmers in Victoria and New South Wales.
“We did 5 episodes in Victoria: Daylesford, Yarra Valley, Bellarine Peninsula, Gippsland and the High Country,” he recalls.
“In New South Wales we did the Central Tablelands, New England and Northern Rivers.
“Maybe I’m a bit ambitious but when we looked at Australia and thought we could go everywhere, we thought it would be great to carve it up into 6 different regions for 6 series!
“So I’m hoping!”
For this series he gets his hands dirty, milking a fresh water salmon and spit roasting a rare black pig, facing his fear of sharks to dive for abalone, visiting an Ostrich farm, and learning about the sex lives of snails.
It’s hard to ignore his enthusiasm.
“I’m a cook and I’ve always been a cook. I love food, I love produce, I have my own farm and market garden in Chiswick. I like to know where things come from and how they’re produced and whether it’s ethical,” he says.
“Professionally this was the best 3 months of my life. I loved it and I loved everything about it. I met the most intriguing, passionate people. I just loved their stories and that resonates in the show. It’s a very different Matt Moran to what you’ve seen before.”
It may also go some way to changing the way people perceive Moran. (Former) ITV Australia boss Leonie Lowe told him it was time to put the ‘bully chef’ to bed.
“She said to me ‘Everyone sees you as a big, mean, bully chef that you’ve been told to be.’ But the first time we saw the real Matt Moran was a snippet in Junior Masterchef, because I have kids,” Moran explains.
“She said, ‘All I want to do with this show is bring the real Matt Moran out.’
“I get emotional when I pull things out of the ground and cook. There’s a cheekiness in the people I meet. It’s the real me, not the big bully that people think I am.
“Foxtel are calling it the prettiest show they’ve got. It is shot so beautifully with amazing countryside. They’ll get to know all about produce, meet some entertaining characters who are incredibly passionate and at the end of the day they get a cooking class.”
Moran also returns to Tamworth and joins his father, Jim, and son, Harry, at the Moran Family Farm as three-generations of Moran men cook up lamb. But ultimately he hope to give the audience some food for thought and inspire them to grow their own.
“Everyone should have a little vegie patch at home and if they live in an apartment then they should have a pot plant with basil in it.
“When you look at it, you nurture it, cut and grow it and make a sauce with it, it tastes better!”
Wednesday, November 6 at 8.30pm on The LifeStyle Channel