Neil Perry Talks About Why He Is Doing Iron Chef
Neil Perry talks to TV WEEK about his role on Iron Chef and his comments on this season of Masterchef.
The article says:
You’ve Turned down TV gigs in the past – what drew you to Iron Chef?
I’ve always watched the Japanese [version] and I have a lot of respect for what the guys do, so I thought it was a real honour to be asked to be an Iron Chef. I just didn’t realise how hard it was going to be!
How worried are you that you’ll be beaten by the challengers?
Oh, tremendously! Being an Iron Chef means I’ve got absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose.
Is it tougher than Masterchef?
I don’t know. It’s completely different, as it’s professional against professional, whereas Masterchef is about amateurs. The ferocity of [the challenge] – four world-class dishes in an hour – is really pressurised and I think the level of cooking that people [will] see might be a little more extraordinary than on Masterchef.
While you said your quotes were taken out of context, were the Masterchef producers angry that you described their contestants as “nobodies”?
I spoke to the judges and the producers and they all know exactly what I said. It upset me a little bit because [the article] missed the point, which I still stand by – that all these contestants coming off the show are terrific, but they really need to utilise that 15 minutes of fame and really work hard. I am 53 and I ‘m still working really hard to be relevant in this business.
Do you think people like Julie Goodwin will stick around?
Julie Goodwin will have her moment in the sun, but I don’t know if it will continue – I hope it does. With reality TV, there are always new contestants ready to take your spot, [but] if you own restaurants and work really hard at it, you have more longevity.
Why weren’t you at the Masterchef grand final?
I was invited, but Sundays are off limits as it’s the only time I get with my family. I only get about 40 days a year to spend with them, so I just couldn’t give that day up.
Do you feel bad for spending so much time away from your kids?
Yeah, you’re really torn. It can be really difficult, because I often don’t see my kids in the morning, as they’re not up when I leave, and then they’re in bed when I get home. I miss a lot.
What kind of dad are you?
Too relaxed! My wife calls me “the yes man”. My girls wrap me around their little fingers and pretty much get whatever they want.
Does it put a strain on your marriage?
No, we just work it out. We’ve had to realise that this is the life we’ve chosen. We do try and take time out together for date nights, plus we love having Sunday lunch with the girls. Josephine’s boyfriend, Matt, comes along now, so it’s an extended family.
Are you cool with her dating?
Yeah, I’ve learnt to cope! She’s happy and he’s a good kid. There are plenty of ratbags out there, and she’s not out gettign drunk.
Will you retire in the near future?
I think I’d honestly still love to be working in restaurants when I’m 80! It’s a lifestyle.
You’re a keen Twitter user – where do you find the time to tweet?
Just in the office doing all my work before I hit the kitchen! When the Masterchef drama happened, people were just so vehement and vile towards me on Twitter.
How did that make you feel?
You can’t take it personally, but, yeah, it does hurt. In my twenties, I’d probably have tried to punch them out, but at 53, you just go, “Wow, these people really have nothing else going [on] in their lives.
Gosh I hope that last comment wasn’t aimed at me… but I think he makes a good point about there will always be more reality TV stars to take someones place.