How are you, your highness! It’s been quite a crazy year.
Absolutely. When I was in the jungle the bushfires were at their worst but we were kind of oblivious to that. So it was a shock to come home and find out how bad they were. Then I came out of the jungle bubble, arrived home and moved into the isolation bubble. It’s been a weird time. But I’ve also enjoyed the time with my family, especially after being away for so long in the jungle. Isolation has been like flat-sharing with my three favourite people in the world.
Have you been worried about your family in Spain?
Yes, I’ve been freaking out about my mum and dad every day. I speak to them all the time. They have been hiding in the house. My dad is more than 100kg, because my mum is such a good cook, so I’ve been very worried about them.
Did you inherit your cooking talents from your mother?
Yes, I think so. She is one of 20 children and so she had to pitch in with the cooking. When I was a kid, I’d go to lunch at my grandparents’ house and there would be 70 people there – lots of colour, flavour, noise and incredible food. My mum’s paella is out of this world. That influence was very powerful on me. It’s why my restaurants, events – and personality – are really loud. I was born loud!
So is there any chance you and wife Sascha could also have a large family?
No! We have two children [Claudia, 9, and Morgan, 5] but Morgan especially is a little pocket rocket. He feels like five kids, not one. Claudia’s my little princess, she’s so good. I think we’re done. Life as a family of four is already quite busy.
Why do you think The Living Room works so well as a show?
Because we are genuinely all such good friends and the audience feels really connected to us. Nothing is off limits and me, of course, I’m an open book. We share our lives and our expertise – which is our superpower! – with the audience and we bring them along on the journey. It’s really exciting to refresh the show with a new location house too. Gringo spends most of his time in the pool!
The Living Room can get pretty emotional too. Are you going to make us cry?
Yes. Every episode is a roller coaster. It’s all so real, we’re working with real people so I can’t help but get emotional. I cry all the time. I’m like a tap.
Have you been lording your jungle win over Barry, Chris and Amanda?
Of course! They must call me ‘your highness’ or I won’t answer them!
Did you lose a lot of weight in the jungle?
Yes, I lost 11kg but I felt really weak. So when I got home I started a healthy diet. Lots of steak, fish and vegies, plus I walk or run most days.
How are you feeling now?
Amazing! I promised myself that when I turned 40 I would get fit for my family. I want my wife to look at me and still see a handsome man. I don’t want to have a big belly like my dad! I’ve put another 5kg back on, but good ones, not chubby ones! I’m stronger than a bull now. I am feeling great.
The Living Room returns Friday, July 3, 7.30pm on 10.
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