“They are one of those wonderfoods ... They're just lovely. ”
For a man celebrated as New Zealand’s own‘ Masterchef’, the first thing that strikes about Brett McGregor is his humility.
He’s a down-to-earth, nice guy.
Since winning TV One’s record-breaking reality television cooking show last year, Brett has became a household name appearing on Countdown commercials, releasing his own cookbook, writing regular newspaper columns and appearing at events all over the country.
He a superstar of the kitchen – but you wouldn’t know it to talk to him.
“I’m still a home cook who won a TV show,” he said.
“It takes a long time to become a chef and a long time to become a Masterchef.
“I’m doing my best to get there. I’ve been going around the country over the last 12 months, doing one-on-one training with some excellent chefs, like Jonny Schwass.
“There’s so much to learn. I like to listen to what other people have to say. And the more people I meet, the more knowledge I get and the better I become.
“But I’ll never set myself up as an authority on food.”
He might not pretend to be an authority, but people definitely listen to his thoughts on food.
At the Havelock Mussel Festival, Brett had a crowd of more than 200 people hanging on his every word as he put on an intimate cooking display and answered questions about the dish.
And the message about mussels was great news for producers.
“I cook mussels through the summer– I love all seafood. For me, the fresher the better and you can buy mussels alive in your supermarket.
“They can freak people out because they might have to scrub them, but they take only a small amount of cooking.
“They’re just great.”
For Brett, like most Kiwis, they taste like summer.
“For me it’s that fresh taste of the sea,” he said.
“I love all things from the ocean. And with mussels, it’s just the ease of cooking.
“They are one of those wonder foods. You can do them on the barbecue as they are, or steam them open in a pot with a bit of wine. They’re just lovely.”