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The Worthian MasterChef

Matt Preston C’79 recalls Worth food in memoir

Matt Preston C'79 may not be a household name in the UK but in Australia he most certainly is, having been a judge on MasterChef Australia for 11 years. After leaving Worth Matt studied Politics and Government at the University of Kent and then, after a couple of years of working as a journalist in London, followed his heart down under. His successful career as a food critic and journalist took him to Senior Editor of Delicious and Taste magazines, and the author of several best-selling cookbooks, before hitting the big time on MasterChef.

Matt has now written a memoir, Big Mouth, about growing up in the UK and his journey to stardom in Australia. As you would expect, there is a heavy focus on food and Worth School is featured. “Each Friday, lunch was nothing more than boiled butter beans… with the money saved going to the monastery’s mission in Peru” Matt recalls, “Hence stolen bread from breakfast would be fried with pilfered pats of butter on camp stoves in the dorm and topped with cans of baked beans”. He has kept a lifelong love of peanut butter and jam on fresh toast from his school days, although not so much “the instant coffee so strong, sweet and thick you could walk across it”. Luckily the offerings from Worth’s kitchen have improved enormously from Matt’s memories of them.

Matt also recalls the thriller writer Frederick Forsyth being invited to a Sixth Form dinner and offering a valuable piece of advice which still echoes with him today, “You never know where the next great idea, insight or story will come from. So, listen to everyone equally and intently”.

Matt has included a couple of his school reports in the book, one written by the recently deceased Fr Stephen Ortiger whom he remembers fondly, “sitting in medieval history as Fr Stephen talked of a time when a Benedictine Abbot was the uncrowned Emperor of Europe – a little wistfully maybe…”.

Matt plans to come and visit Worth next time he is in the UK to sample some of the wonderful dishes now prepared by Worth Catering. In the meantime, Big Mouth is available on Kindle from Amazon.

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