PS: You met your wife, Julia, on the show in season one. Have you been watching Back to Win together?
Chris: Yes, we've both been yelling at the screen together [laughs]. It's funny because it brings back all of her memories of the show as well. She's kind of sad that she didn't get invited back — it would have been great fun cooking against her. She lives vicariously through me on the show and criticises me: why the hell would you do that, or say that, or why didn't you season that more or whatever. It's like, "What are you doing?" It was fun.
We've never really watched much of it. After the first season we opened a restaurant, and then we moved overseas for a while, and now we're back. So it's funny sitting down to watch it. It feels somewhat comforting actually — it's been such a big part of our lives.
PS: How has MasterChef shaped your life and career since 2009?
Chris: I met my wife — that's probably the biggest thing. And it's amazing just the opportunities and experiences you get from going on a show that's so successful. You get to meet so many of your food heroes, you get to travel all over the country doing demos and meeting people. It's like a foodie's wet dream almost — you just immerse yourself into something you love. You learn so much and you have all those experiences and I got to write a cookbook and all that stuff, and none of that is as easy or as possible without the MasterChef machine. I think everybody really experiences that when they do the show.
PS: Do you think there was any kind of advantage or extra momentum that you got out of being third on the very first season?
Chris: Oh, for sure. It was so crazy popular that I couldn't even walk down the street after it. People would stop you every five seconds, wanting to talk or get a photo, and that was very surreal. We all became household names and that was quite amazing. I mean I was living in Scandinavia — we've just come back to Perth — but I was at a beer festival in Copenhagen and people were coming up and saying, "Hey, you're that dude from MasterChef Australia." It's like, Holy sh*t, I'm on the other side of the world, a decade later, and people recognise you. That really shows you the impact it's had not just locally but globally.
PS: And it shows you that your hat is super recognisable. People spot it, and they know it's you.
Chris: I'm going to have to burn the damn thing [laughs], go incognito. It's got a life of its own now. PEDESTRIAN.TV wrote a whole bloody article about it. It's kind of stupid but fun. I've had it stolen so many times.
After season one, you'd be sitting in the pub or the bar or something and some drunk idiot would go running past and go yoink and run off [laughs], which was equal parts annoying and funny. It's crazy how that damn thing has got a life of its own.