MasterChef judges open up about their kids

The MasterChef Australia judges on what it's like managing their family life in the public eye.
Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston

MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston admit being in the limelight can have a downside for their children.

Chatting to TV WEEK, the three judges, who all live in Melbourne, say despite their fame, they prefer to keep their children out of the spotlight.

Gary and wife Mandy have a daughter Jenna, 16, Matt and wife Emma have three children Jonathan, 16, William, 13, and Sadie, 11, and George and partner Natalie have young children James, six, and Michaela, three.

“They didn’t ask for it, so we have to be careful about that and I’m still very conscious,” Gary, 50, explains. “As she’s gotten older, it’s a bit different.

“If you take them skating or to the pictures, people come and take photographs and you try to be polite.

“But I remember Jenna saying once, ‘dad you’re supposed to be spending time with me, stop having photographs’.”

Matt adds he tries to avoid “problematic encounters that might impact like that”.

“Mostly it’s about saying the weekends are sacrosanct and that’s family time,” Matt, 53, says.

Meanwhile, George, 38, agrees, saying he never works on Sundays.

“I only commit to a certain amount of hours in the kitchen so I can be at home and pick up James after school,” he says.

Despite their need for privacy, Gary admits the boys do appreciate their fans around the world. And most of them are very friendly.

“People are very polite and they say ‘Hey Gaz’, and my wife will say, ‘who’s that?’” Gary says.

“I don’t know, I’m just saying hello! I like the way people say hi in an overly familiar way.”

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