In the third season of M-Net’s hit reality series, MasterChef SA, food judge Pete Goffe-Wood chats about his health kick, which has seen him lose 10kg to date. Debashine Thangevelo found out how the Banting diet has changed his life for the better…
MASTERCHEF SA judge Pete Goffe-Wood embarked on the Banting diet last year and for the first time he has not picked up weight while filming a season of the show.
“I started doing it in November,” he says. “Myself and the boys picked it up on set. (Fellow judge) Benny (Masekwameng) has been following it quite strictly as well.”
Goffe-Wood says that the Banting diet, which has become synonymous with Tim Noakes, influenced his food routine and set him on course to lose weight and keep in shape.
“Last year I picked up about eight kilos. I was determined that was not going to happen again. It is all very well going on a crash diet. I wanted something sustainable.
“For the first time, with this season, I didn’t pick up weight.”
How did he manage that, given all the food they have to polish off – well, sample – on the show?
“We are professional enough to have one or two mouthfuls. What is a problem is when you are eating like that in the day, your brain sends your body signals that its full. Then at 10 at night, you realise you haven’t taken enough food in and you end up eating at night.
“The secret was to ensure we had a good breakfast and a solid lunch while shooting. In that way, we didn’t have to eat late at night. Also, we were able to snack. But instead of tucking into chocolates, sweets and everything (unhealthy) known to man, we told the guys to bring us some biltong, nuts and fruit.”
Although he is getting in three gym sessions a week, it wasn’t easy to maintain this while shooting as they had to be up and at it by 6.30am or 7am. But the boys did squeeze in a bit of golf.
“We effectively steer clear of starch… all starch. It’s not just about losing, it is maintaining the weight. That’s what I like about this Tim diet. Once you get into the swing of things, you’re not conscious about it. Now when I cook at home I don’t think about potatoes or chips with my steak. I do a salad – it has become second nature. Your energy levels are up and you sleep soundly at night.
“Feeling better goes beyond dropping a pants size – there’s no way you want to go back. I’m absolutely loving it. I gym and cycle.”
Of Reuben Riffel’s joining the team, he says: “It’s been fantastic. We love Andrew (Atkinson) to bits and we were sad to see him go. In Reuben we have a suitable replacement. He and I are old mates. He is an incredibly nice guy. He is genuine and easy to get along with. He has done TV work on his own, so there wasn’t much catch-up for him.”
Riffel is largely self-taught, worked his way into the top echelon of chefs, and has an empathy that filters throughout this season’s episodes.
Of the three, Goffe-Wood is undoubtedly the strictest.
He says: “We have got great contestants this year. Better than we had before. Sometimes my frustration or anger comes from people I know can do better – they just take their eye off the ball. You can’t really come down hard on someone for cooking something for the first time. Technique is a big part – knowing the basics. Those are the building blocks. It is the attention to detail to the small stuff. Master the simple stuff and the more complicated stuff falls into place.”
While Goffe-Wood is dogmatic about technique, Masekwameng focuses on flavour and taste.
Goffe-Wood adds: “We have a nice well-rounded team of judges, so we tick all the boxes from a technique and human point of view.”
What fans should keep a look out for is an interesting mix in personalities and backgrounds. “I think the audiences will bond sooner. There is more to love from the contestants this year.”
• MasterChef SA airs tonight on M-Net at 7.30pm.