Most of us will know Matt Preston from his 11 years as a judge on MasterChef Australia, a phenomenally successful show that broke viewing records, pushed our understanding of what cooking shows and reality TV could be and made household names of ‘the chubby trio’. Thank goodness for us, though, that Matt is also an award-winning writer, as the 400 pages here are well-crafted, witty, self-deprecating (he happily describes himself as ‘an over-stuffed, rambling peacock’) wrenchingly revealing and highly entertaining. I must confess that celebrity memoirs are not my usual genre, nor am I a MasterChef devotee, but I genuinely enjoyed tales of dashing archaeologist grandfather Larry introducing 10-year-old Matt to astronaut Neil Armstrong, early sartorial influences from Dr Who, enthusiastically embracing punk while in the British army and attending the uber-establishment Royal Military Academy, and wearing a satin négligée to a rugby club ball. Early writing gigs saw him covering punk music and militant rallies, then the heady magazine world of celebrity TV. Arriving in Melbourne, young Matt wrote about air conditioning and kitchen appliances for a trade publisher before becoming the world’s number-one expert on Australian soaps (from where he went on to be named the World’s Best Food Writer in 2009 and became a restaurant critic and senior editor for delicious and Taste magazines). But you want to know about MasterChef don’t you? Well it’s all there – roughly the last half of the book tells the behind-the-scenes tales of all 11 series and is well-seasoned with favourite contestants, celebrities and culinary greats, but don’t expect dirt dishing, snarkiness and scandal as this book is an altogether more amiable affair than that. Tracy Whitmey