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Why Australia has fallen in love with chef Miguel Maestre on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!

He's proving nice guys do end up on top.

By Rebecca Sullivan
For the past 26 days, something wonderful has been happening in living rooms around the country and deep in the South African jungle - Australians have fallen in love with celebrity chef Miguel Maestre.
The charismatic Spaniard, 40, has lived in Australia for almost 20 years and worked at some of Sydney's top restaurants - including Bather's Pavilion and Tony Bilson's Number One Wine Bar - as well as starring in his own cooking show, Miguel's Feasts and a staggering 321 episodes of Channel 10's lifestyle program The Living Room.
He even appeared on Dancing With The Stars last year, but was voted off by the public in the first week.
Until a few weeks ago, if you'd asked the average Aussie if they'd heard of a bloke on TV called Miguel, you'd most likely be met with a series of blank expressions.
But just five days into 2020, I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! kicked off, sending 10 celebrities, including Miguel, into the jungle to face their biggest fears, along with a camera crew to document every mundane, hilarious, heartbreaking and raw moment in camp.
And all of a sudden, the man who called himself "The Crazy Bull" developed a brand new fan base.
"Oh. My. God. How can you not love Miguel?" one I'm A Celeb! viewer gushed on Twitter. "I want to be friends with Miguel", wrote another fan, while others described him as "like, my favourite human".
"Miguel is fantastic. What a lovely person. I hope he ends up being King of the Jungle," another said.
Miguel worked as a professional chef in top Sydney kitchens for years. Getty
He's quickly become a favourite both among fans and also in camp. Channel 10
His I'm A Celeb! co-stars are equally as obsessed with their new mate, with many proudly declaring they have met a lifelong friend in Miguel.
When former Channel Seven TV host Tom Williams was asked about his relationship with Miguel just hours after exiting the jungle last week, Tom was overcome with emotion and paid tribute to his wonderful friend.
"It's the rawest of emotions and friendships. That's it," Tom told Now To Love.
"Maybe a lot of people will bag me and say 'You're a sook', but bah humbug," he said.
Miguel breaking down as he farewelled Tom Williams on I'm A Celeb! Channel 10
Tom and Miguel shared many special - and vulnerable - moments during this season, with viewers praising their ability to open up to each other and express emotion, without shame or fear.
"You [viewers] saw me at my lowest moment, reaching out to that man and he held me every step of the way. He's a remarkable person and no one will ever understand what that means, other than him and I. No one will. I'll see him soon and we laugh together. He's an incredible person, he really is," Tom said of Miguel.
The pair had met once before, but those three weeks in the jungle have solidified their friendship for life.
"We'd met years before, but no one can prepare you for what you endure through that experience. I work with coaches and people who drive and really push you to every ounce of your physical ability but he does that on every different level and I love that. It makes me a better man, to be able to stretch my emotions and physical strength."
Miguel making his signature dish, paella. Instagram
When asked to explain Miguel's warm appeal, former MAFS star Ryan Gallagher was at a loss for words.
"Miguel is ... Miguel," Ryan told Now To Love.
"He's very much a family man, a gentle guy. He's not in there with any agenda. He is passionate about his cooking. It doesn't matter what ingredients he was given in camp. He doesn't have a bad bone in his body. I'm going to come around to dinner and have one of his paellas."
Love Island beauty Erin Barnett, who bravely opened up about her endometriosis to her fellow contestants on camera, said she was surprised - and impressed - by Miguel's incredibly compassionate response.
"I honestly didn't [expect such a strong reaction from Miguel]," she told Now To Love.
"He's such a beautiful guy and to see this story really touched him it made me want to give him a hug. He would be the perfect husband because the way he speaks about his beautiful wife Sascha, I think I love her too now."
Miguel pictured with his wife and kids. Instagram
Even the perennially unimpressed celeb gossip guru Perez Hilton is obsessed with Miguel, going so far as to compare him to Oprah and Madonna.
"I was deeply blessed to have met Miguel Maestre. I've met Oprah, I've met Madonna, I've met some of the most exceptional human beings alive and he is up there. He is on that level," Perez told Now To Love.
"He is so phenomenal and so inspiring and the clear winner. But I'm leaving the jungle with a lot of anxiety but I'm confident in Australia because they got it right by sending me home today and I really hope they get it right again this weekend and Miguel is crowned King of the jungle."
WATCH BELOW: Charlotte Crosby and Ryan Gallagher's first kiss on I'm A Celeb. Story continues after video.
Perez believes Miguel is set to take home the I'm A Celeb! crown, and could win $100,000 for his chosen charity R U OK?
"I view Miguel as the heart of the camp," Perez said.
"Without the heart beating and pumping blood and oxygen to every single person in that camp, you would die. The camp would have died without him I think. I know it would mean so much to him."
With just a few days to go before the I'm A Celeb! finale airs on Sunday night, Miguel fans are hoping that his affable nature and heart of gold will help him win the show - and some much-needed funds for mental health awareness.
If anything, Miguel has well and truly proven that sometimes, nice guys really do come out on top.

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