George Calombaris Has Been Unmasked! And He’s Spilling on Who Will Win Celebrity MasterChef
On Tuesday night The Masked Singer brought one very familiar TV personality back onto our screens. Duster, an adorable character that came complete with gold fringe, was assumed to be a cricket player after the clues alluded to it, but in a surprising turn of events, he actually ended up being celebrity chef and former MasterChef judge George Calombaris.
I was able to speak to the man himself about his entire experience on the show, and as a HUGE MasterChef fan, I couldn’t be more excited. Before getting on the phone I brushed off my nerves and faked a bit of confidence, and wow, what an experience.
George was one of the nicest people I’ve ever spoken to, and after telling him that my mum and myself are big fans, he sent us a video message which I’m pretty sure is the highlight of my mum’s entire life.
POPSUGAR Australia: What did your kids think of your performance, and did they know from beforehand that you were appearing on the show?
George Calombaris: Yeah look, I think only two people in my life knew and that was my manager and Natalie, my wife. The reaction on my kids faces last night as we were sitting on the couch watching it was insane, incredible, to the point now, I just walked into the kitchen and my daughter looks at me and says “good morning Duster!”, and I said, “Oi! I’m not Duster anymore I’m your Dad!”
It’s brilliant. And that’s the thing, the show brings so much joy to people and especially young kids, and right now more than ever you need to put joy into young kids hearts and minds.
PS: Yesterday on Instagram you shared a photo and captioned it “Getting the dust off these bad boys”, was that a hint as to what was to come?
GC: You know, honest truth, I didn’t even think of that, but I found them in a box that I had packed up and I went, “Oh, these are my tweezers that I used to use in the restaurants and on MasterChef” and it was literally just that. But now that you say it, you’re the first person that picked that up! That’s gold!
PS: What’s it like performing in costume? Was there any point you were afraid you would fall over?
GC: Oh my gosh my darling, I think the daunting thing is — everything is daunting, I’m not a singer, I’m a chef. Put me on stage to cook, no problem, but this is pushing me right out of my comfort zone. Then suddenly okay, you learn how to sing better than you ordinarily are but then they go “now you need to dance, and you need to wear this big fluffy costume, and you can’t really see your feet so don’t fall over!”
There’s so much in it, and it seriously stretched me in terms of my capabilities. But I’m really happy and very grateful to the people that make the show because it’s a massive production.
PS: Do you get to choose your costume?
GC: No, obviously the producers are very clever people and they obviously got to pick costumes that don’t give too much away. Now, I reckon if I was in a kebab or a pavlova, I was quite jealous of those ones, it would probably give a little too much away. But I actually fell in love with my costume by the end of it.
PS: Is there any ventilation inside the mask?
GC: I lost about 5 kilos in the week so you just gotta be prepared to sweat a lot. But it was all worth it. It’s a real, incredible experience sort of akin to the first day I learnt to become a chef. I walked in scared, daunted but excited. I haven’t felt like that in a long time, it really stretched me but in a real positive way.
PS: What do you think of Celebrity Masterchef, and do you have any guesses on who will win?
GC: I’m pretty pumped for Celebrity MasterChef! Obviously, they’ve announced who’s on it, and there are some rippers on there. A couple of them are good friends of mine as well, so I’m really pumped. I would say Gordon Ramsay’s daughter will definitely know how to cook a little bit, but there are some rippers in there so I’m pretty pumped for that. Again another ripping show on the Ten Network.
PS: And finally, you’re currently in lockdown with your family. How has it been homeschooling the kids?
GC: I really feel for them more than I feel for us. It doesn’t matter what year you’re in, the best thing about going to school was being able to be with your friends. Being able to chat, talk, discuss. They’re around us all day long and down here in Melbourne we’ve done it the most. But look, we get through and things like The Masked Singer are a perfect distraction and a perfect opportunity to put joy and laughter — a lot of laughter, into their hearts and minds right now.