A new generation of fans are fawning over famous TV chef Huey

Huey's back as a TikTok sensation!
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Call Iain “Huey” Hewitson “hot” and he just belly laughs. Yet, to his own surprise, the celebrity chef has become an unlikely sex symbol at the age of 75.

Since his recent TikTok debut, the ’90s Aussie TV favourite has won a legion of new young foodie fans. They love his crazy suspenders, walrus moustache and fun-loving chuckle, not to mention
his all-round kitchen skills.

“Hahahahahaha,” chortles the former Ten lifestyle star, astonished by his latter-day hunky status. “I reckon they need new glasses, these people. You know it’s been funny, a lot of them say I look exactly the same, that I haven’t aged a bit. God, my hair’s white these days! But I will take all the compliments, no problem.”

According to some online commentators, Huey is a suave “silver fox” whose “smooth one-liners make him a king” as he “continues to age like a fine wine”.

The New Zealand-born chef was on our TV in the ’90s. (Image: Supplied)


This isn’t exactly what the former Healthy, Wealthy And Wise presenter expected when his 22-year-old daughter Charlotte urged him to give video sharing platform TikTok a go. From his kitchen at home in Melbourne, they filmed a short introductory segment and hit send.

Within 48 hours, their first effort notched up more than 500,000 views and about 60,000 followers. Now Huey’s first three “warts and all” posts have received almost 1 million hits – probably even more by the time you read this!

“Bloody hell, I nearly fell off my bloody chair when Charlotte told me,” exclaims the Kiwi-born chef, restaurateur, author, TV personality and one-time folk singer.

“It’s been interesting, that’s the word I suppose you would use, but it’s been flattering. Very exciting and interesting and flattering. I really couldn’t believe it.”

Huey might be blown away by his new audience but he’s also equally astonished by how many past admirers have been in contact to welcome his return.

Huey’s cooking up classics on his TikTok account! (Images: TikTok)

“We got all these emails that say, ‘We dodged out of school to watch you. We rushed home from school,’ and they had grown up with me… Some of them said they even took sickies to tune in!

“A lot of them reckon I taught them to cook at home – so I guess it’s my fault if they’re doing it badly!” he says with another giant guffaw that threatens to snap his fruit-patterned braces. “But it’s nice to know I haven’t been forgotten.”

One woman told him she thought he was dead. She was sure she’d attended his state funeral. “Fair go, I can’t imagine a Kiwi like me ever making a state funeral,” quips the ever-affable Huey. “It turned out to be Big Kev [McQuay], King of Cleaning, who died in 2005.”

Unlike some other plus-sized celebrities, the host of Huey’s TV Dinner, Huey’s Cooking Adventures and Huey’s Kitchen is very much alive and kicking. What’s the secret of his long-lived popularity?

“I remember Gavan Disney, the production guru from Healthy, Wealthy And Wise telling me, ‘Forget all the fancy sh*t. We want uncomplicated food that people can actually cook at home without over-the-top ingredients or great culinary skills.’

Huey on his lifestyle show Healthy, Wealthy And Wise. (Image: Supplied)


“And that’s the exact response we’re getting. I did a TikTok recipe for homemade mayo – how simple is that – and it got 400,000 hits. My mustard vinaigrette video is booming along quite happily too.

“I’m not knocking MasterChef, but it’s very rare to get a recipe on there that you rush into the kitchen to make it straight away. But my audience will knock up a simple soup or salad. That’s the stuff they want to know about, and that’s exactly what Charlotte told me. She’s done a great job.”

Huey fondly recalls some words of advice given to him by the late, great Bert Newton, when he was presenting Good Morning Australia’s cooking segments.

“You know you’re past your prime when someone comes up to you and says, ‘Didn’t you used to be Huey?’ That’s what Bert reckoned. Well, no one has done that to me as yet, thank God!”

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