Want to know what a world-renowned chef serves at his wedding? Well now we know.
In an exclusive chat with Now To Love, MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan has revealed that George Calombaris' big fat Greek wedding featured an "incredible spread" of simple Greek food and was attended by all their best celebrity chef pals.
According to Gary, George enlisted the help of his close pals Christoforos Peskias (who owns restaurant and bar Balthazar in Athens) and pastry chef Stelios Parliaros to do the catering - and boy did they deliver.
"There was lamb on spits, there was a dessert table with a fig tart that was like a mile long. It was basically a pastry base that they'd just baked and put together and then put loads of figs all over the top, just insane. But there's a fair amount of fog involved … alcohol, sunshine," Gary confesses.
George and his bride Natalie Tricarico's three day nuptials were attended by what seems like every top celebrity chef of the moment, from Nigella Lawson to Manu Feildel and of course his MasterChef co-judges. But apparently, no one expected such an extravaganza.
"At our age now, a lot of people who attended, their kids had already left home or are old enough to. I said 'If you did this when you were 25, no one could have afforded to go,' and he said, 'Well I didn't think anyone was going to come, I thought maybe 10 people would come,'" Gary revealed.
In the end, around 200 people attended from all over the world.
"If you think about it, as a profession, hospitality is not that big worldwide, certainly at the top end, so we're all following what everybody else is following," says Gary.
"Certainly through MasterChef we've forged some incredible friendships like Heston [Blumenthal] and Nigella [Lawson], Claude Bosi all these people are part of our professional circles so it was really lovely."
2018 has been a big jetsetting year for Gary. Not only was there the Greek wedding, but he also visited India on behalf of the Australian Government to promote trade and cultural relations, met Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla in Darwin and went on an international food tour with his MasterChef boys, George Calombaris and Matt Preston.
The trio ate their way through Barcelona, Paris, Copenhagen, Naples, Chicago and Lima just before they started filming for the 11th season of the cooking reality show.
"We did 12 of the best restaurants that we'd always wanted to go to as a celebration of 10 years of MasterChef and friendship. It was nice, it was beautiful," says Gary.
"We realised that we didn't bore each other, we talked non-stop and we're just nerdy about food and that's the common binder. Matt said it was like pre-season training."
WATCH: The MasterChef Australia judges on their world food tour. Post continues...
Gary, who sold his last restaurant in November last year in Melbourne, says he intended this year to be a quiet one, but it didn't exactly go to plan.
"I think it's because I've set my mind free, I was in business for nearly 20 years running multiple restaurants being a busy restauranteur. What I want to enjoy particularly is just enjoying MasterChef, enjoying my friendship with the boys, travelling and eating. My life goal is travelling and eating. I feel very lucky doing what I do."
MasterChef is not only massively popular on Aussie soil but it's also a huge international hit, with over 130 countries worldwide airing it. So is Gary up to another 10 years of the show?
"I don't know if I could do 10 years. I'll be 62 then, Matt will be dead," he jokes.
Gary was recently announced as the Australian ambassador for WW Australia, formerly known as Weight Watchers, for their new initiative WW Freestyle.
Not only has the chef started to adopt healthy habits when it comes to eating well and regularly exercising, but he hopes his role will encourage people, particularly men, to be open about their physical and mental wellbeing and their journey towards achieving that.
"If you look at Connect [the WW member-only social community], they are all women. There are very few men that are prepared to share, I would not share photos like that. There are quite a lot of women in their underwear and men will not do that and we also won't have an open conversation about it and it would be nice if we started to."
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