After a decade working on MasterChef Australia, you could forgive Gary Mehigan for being a little tired. But when we catch up with the famed foodie over the phone, he's full of pep and showing no signs of slowing down.
"In the last two of three years I've really relished what I'm doing. For me as a chef, a restaurateur and a foodie it's the best time of my life," says Gary (51), who judges the show alongside fellow Australian chefs Matt Preston (54) and George Calombaris (40).
"I remember once a woman got quite angry asking why we didn't have a female judge on the show and I said, 'Because no one's ever taking our jobs!'"
He has recently returned from South Africa where he's been promoting MasterChef Australia, proudly adding that their reality cooking series airs in more than 100 countries.
Their 10 years on screen has seen the show develop a huge global following including a slew of celebrity fans who have appeared as guest judges this last season, which has finished to its strongest ratings yet.
"We just love having Nigella on the show; she was one of my favourites this year. We get all starry-eyed," laughs Gary. "She said we're like the three naughty brothers that she never had!"
Another highlight from this season's show was having Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall appear on the programme in Darwin.
"We weren't that fussed when we heard they were coming, but the funny thing was as soon as we meet them our knees went to jelly and we were nervous as hell!" Gary recalls.
"We watched Prince Charles walk around the room and give time to every single person, and then he insisted on meeting all the contestants – he was just a gorgeous man. When he left,we were all royalists and talking about how fabulous it was."
However, one person the reality star can't quite win over is his 17-year-old daughter Jenna.
"I've been doing this show since she was seven years old. Kids at school used to ask if her dad was Gary from MasterChef and she'd say nope and deny it. But she gets a few perks, she's eaten out at some fabulous restaurants and so even though she doesn't realise it, she truly is a foodie like me!"