In honour of his memoir, Big Mouth, we caught up with Matt Preston. Learn about what inspired him to write the book, how it differs from his journalism experience and whether – if forced to choose – he’d pick fashion or food.
What inspired you to share the details of your childhood and family life in your new memoir Big Mouth?
I’ve just hit my 30th anniversary of arriving in Australia so that seemed a good milestone. And the urgency to complete increased when my mum was diagnosed with myeloma, Parkinson’s and the first signs of dementia. Also, my youngest hit eighteen so it was time to rip back the veil for the kids and let the light in.
It’s amazing to see your passion for food shine through in the book. Did writing about your favourite foods during different life-stages inspire any current-day culinary adventures? Or did you revisit some of those old favourites (like your mum’s rice pudding, for example)?
It made me realise how bad the so-called fancy food was back then . . . and how the simple classics are still delicious.
In the book, you reveal that many of the cravats you wore on MasterChef were handmade or op-shop finds. Out of all the many cravats you have worn over the years, is there a favourite that sticks out in your memory?
The one I sold yesterday at an auction for a maternity charity The Village Co. It was white with little white and green flowers. It raised $3,000 for this charity that supports new mums with gift bags that include everything they’ll need from nappies and wipes to a breast pump and the voucher for home-delivered meals for the first week.
How does writing a memoir differ from your experience writing as a journalist?
One takes a day, the other takes two years, a couple of pints more tears and a lot more brutal honesty.
Without giving anything away, what do you think will surprise readers most from the book?
That anyone could be that rubbish at life but still make a living and fall in love with the girl of his dreams.
You can only pick one, and the other is banned from your life forever: butter or velvet. Which do you choose?
Easy – ban velvet! Butter is a multifaceted texture (depending on temperature) and is essential for toast and crumpets. Velvet, even German velvet, has no place on grilled bread.
If there is one thing you hope readers can take away from Big Mouth what would that be?
Luxuriate in what you have - no matter how little or how much that is. I’ve been in both places. Be generous if you are in the latter category. Be kind, stay enthusiastic and interested. Don’t buy a quesadilla maker.
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