I’d like to see people growing more of their own food, even if it’s just herbs. It’s not that hard.
Personal chit-chat with this foodie nice-guy and competition winner …
1. You won MasterChef NZ last year – what else would you like to be doing? BRETT: I’m doing almost everything I love. My book The Taste of a Traveller is just out, and people are enjoying it. I’d love to do a TV cooking show – so watch this space. Getting off the couch and entering MasterChef was the best thing I ever did.
2. If you could be stuck on a desert island with just one person, who would that be?
BRETT: It would have to be Tracey. She’s just an amazing person. She’s very intelligent – and she keeps me grounded, focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. Tracey gave me the push I needed for MasterChef. She’s definitely the looks and brains around our place. We met travelling, 10 years ago in London. We’ve been on desert islands before, just the two of us. The trouble is, I’d never want to leave. There would have to be some food, though …
3. A great night out for you would go like …?
BRETT: Having a few friends around for hors d’ouvres and a glass of wine – then heading out for something spicy, probably Asian food.
4. What’s the No.1 key to a great marriage?
BRETT: Listening. Plus give-and-take. Relationships aren’t always easy. It takes time to get to know your partner’s idiosyncrasies. But if you respect each other it works out.
5. What’s your all-time most embarrassing moment?
BRETT: One time, when I was young, I was walking across McDonalds holding a tray of food – and my mate thought it would be funny to pull my track-pants down. Unfortunately everything came down! I tried to walk calmly to the table, but I was blushing bright red …
6. What’s your fondest growing-up memory?
BRETT: I grew up in Taranaki. We were a pretty tight family and I loved going camping with my parents and my brothers. I remember going for walks up streams and skimming stones. My fondest memories are all about family. My Dad’s not around now. I wish he’d been able to know Tracey and Jack, our son.
7. If you could do anything in the world right now and not fail, what would it be?
BRETT: Everybody would have food. We in the West eat far too much – there’s got to be a way for us to waste less and distribute it better. So I’d like to change the way we eat. Water shouldn’t be more expensive than pop. I’d like to see people growing more of their own food, even if it’s just herbs. It’s not that hard. And I’d like to see us thinking more about what we’re feeding our children. Give a kid an icecream at 6:30 at night, and he’s going to be tearing around like a madman at bedtime. We know – from personal experience!
8. Who do you most admire, and why?
BRETT: Nelson Mandela. During the 80s, when the Springboks toured here, I was about eight and my grandfather took me to a game. It was a turbulent time, and I first become aware of apartheid. What Nelson did for South Africa and the rest of the world is impressive.
9. What’s one thing about New Zealand that you would change if you could?
BRETT: I’d differentiate between teaching and social work in our schools. I taught at an international school in Hong Kong for three years. Because the students’ behaviour was not problematic, they could learn so much more – and they could be pushed to excellence. Teachers in New Zealand have to spend so much time with behavioural issues that not enough time is left for teaching.
10. Do you have any quick-snack suggestions for the World Cup?
BRETT: Yes, I’d recommend spicy pork balls … barbecued pork ribs … marinated chicken wings … Moroccan meat skewers … and larb gai, a Thai salad.
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