MasterChef's Gary Mehigan admits being fazed about meeting Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

If he was nervous, imagine how the poor contestants felt!

MasterChef has hosted some very famous faces over the years. But for the first time in the show's history, contestants have cooked for royalty - none other than Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Darwin's Royal Flying Doctor Service base.
The episode will air on TVNZ 1 on Friday, September 14. We caught up with judge Gary Mehigan to find out what it was like to host the royal couple.

How did you feel on the day?

We were nervous as hell!
Our pride and professionalism were on the line. All we could think was, "What if the contestants properly stuff up?!" George and I were probably a lot firmer than we'd normally be and dispensed advice rather than clues.

Were there any hiccups?

A challenge like this is always going to throw up a few challenges. The ideas were flowing and they got stuck in, even though they were cooking outside in 37°C heat and 90 per cent humidity!
If you've ever been to Darwin in the wet season, you'll know those skies are famously beautiful and the weather famously changeable... Darwin sure does turn it on!
Wearing suits in 37°C heat only turned the fluster factor up a notch.

What was Prince Charles like?

The thing that struck all of us was what a wonderful sense of humour the Prince of Wales has. At the royal reception he navigated the room perfectly, spending time with every group in the room.

Did you share a laugh with Camilla? We've heard she's very entertaining!

I was a little nervous meeting the Duchess of Cornwall. I should be old enough and wise enough not to be fazed, but it was a slightly surreal experience! She was lovely, obviously, and gave us her full attention. We laughed and talked about food and Prince Charles. My job was to get an idea of what he loved to eat on an ordinary day of the week and when they were travelling.
They may have been "nervous as hell" but the judges looked as cool as cucumbers with Prince Charles.

Have you enjoyed working on MasterChef this year?

I can hardly believe MasterChef celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It's truly remarkable and we've certainly played our part in changing the food landscape and language in Australia. Our show has aired in more than 100 countries worldwide. I think generally Aussies are unaware of how popular the show is overseas and how positive Australia is portrayed through this little culinary window.
I know I'm speaking for the boys, but we all still absolutely love coming to work. How could we not?!