October 22, 2009

Australian cricket

The Kat in the chef's hat

Brydon Coverdale

Two victories in different continents on the same night is quite an effort. A few hours before Simon Katich’s New South Wales outplayed Victoria in Delhi, an episode of Celebrity MasterChef featuring Katich aired on Australian TV. And what’s more, Katich was triumphant over his competitors, comedian Wendy Harmer and fashion designer Alex Perry.

Katich first prepared his signature dish, crispy salmon with wilted spinach and mashed potato, and then wowed the judges when he was asked to prepare a restaurant-quality ten-layer crepe cake. His crepes got him over the line and the victory was all the more impressive given that Katich has the disadvantage of having no sense of smell.

"Everyone thinks that not having a sense of smell must hold me back when I'm cooking, and especially when I'm tasting food, but I feel like my palette is no different,” he said. “When I describe a dish it's no different to anyone else. The only problem I have is I don't know when something is burning.”

Katich was taught to cook by his mother and whenever he’s at home he does most of the cooking for himself and his wife Georgie. He now finds himself in the semi-finals of the cooking show, along with Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan and INXS band member Kirk Pengilly.

In other television news, Shane Warne has reportedly accepted the role as the new presenter of Top Gear Australia, taking on the Jeremy Clarkson position in the Channel Nine version of the show. Perhaps his baked beans on toast weren't quite up to MasterChef standards.

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Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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