A Conversation With George Calombaris

Sponsored by Morning Fresh (S2 post)

We sat on a thatched double-seater chair in a tiny backyard terrace surrounded with pots of wrangling herbs and vegetables.  It was a lovely Sydney afternoon and the sun’s rays were kind and light.  I couldn’t help but notice the oh-so-lightly freckled completion of the person opposite me.

Before this moment, I was treated to a three course lunch by George Calombaris, hosted by Morning Fresh, which turned out to be a highlight in my birthday week.  I initially declined the invitation to this event, as it’s always hard to organise interstate travel on my end but when I casually mentioned it to my kids, who are huge Masterchef fans, they freaked out that I wasn’t going “to meet George!”. So I went. And I’m glad I did because it was a fabulous experience.  I promised the children I would try and come home with a picture of George and I, thus: my mission. And BAM! Snapped in the backyard terrace. I was the coolest mum on the block that afternoon!

George Calombaris - Mastherchef - Morning Fresh ambassador

I sat across from George Calombaris with a few scrawled questions I planned earlier.  There were no questions about Masterchef or how he lost weight.  I didn’t really care about that. What I wanted to hear more about was George’s passion for food and how to mesh food with value as an integral part of life.  What was interesting: this was less an interview and more of a conversation.  We talked for a good 15 minutes and I’ve highlighted a snippet of our conversation below.

I’m curious about the partnership with Morning Fresh and how it links to your history.

Washing up is where I started, so there’s a zen moment for me there.  It’s important to stay humble about your beginnings.  And partnering with Morning Fresh makes sense.  It has to make sense; it’s not about a cheque.

I like that a lot: when life events connect as a story like that. What are ways to make connections with the food produced from the earth and food we eat?

Just take a look where we are right now.  George speaks with his hands bringing emphasis on his words. Even in this tiny space there are veges growing.

In our backyard, I recently planted tomatoes and herbs like oregano, sage, thyme, coriander, parsley with the kids. What are some ways we can enjoy the harvest?

The first thing is to allow the kids to enjoy tomatoes straight off the vine.  And then, cut in half, with olive oil and just a little salt.  Make a basic pasta and a simple tomato sauce by smashing up tomato with onion and a few herbs. There’s such a joy in being able to make pasta from a bit of flour and egg.

I can feel myself getting excited about putting this into practice. In this modern world, we tend to compartmentalise things — cooking here, family time there — how to make it more about living and less about the respective tasks.

You know what it is?  It’s watching my son eating broad beans, directly from the plant in the backyard. My mum goes on about how it should be prepared and all that, but I think, let him enjoy it.  It’s about living.  Just the other day, my son walked in on me in the shower; he was desperate to show me something he was excited about.  And I thought, this is what it’s about: this stuff; these moments.

Do you have a favourite childhood comfort food?

When we were young, all the kids were having chicken nuggets but my mum wasn’t going to give us something from a packet.  So she made lamb brains (crumbed) and to us it was chicken nuggets. We didn’t know any different.

I like your mum.  You know, something I find hard about food, is lack of inspiration when I cook for six people most nights.  How do you keep it interesting?

It’s mixing it up. When we were growing up, every Friday night was down at the local Chinese place.  It was bad Chinese: I realise now — all yellow greasy rice — but at the time, I thought it was fabulous.


The event was hosted at the Bite Club House in Woollahra, Sydney.  The renovated home retained a rustic charm giving it a old-world, and intimate feel.

The Bite Club House, Sydney

The Bite Club House, Sydney


Was an amazing treat to eat such beautiful food!

George Calombaris for Morning Fresh

Slow cooked salmon in olive oil, black tahini, pickled cucumbers, prawn crackers

Entrée Slow cooked salmon in olive oil, black tahini, pickled cucumbers, prawn crackers
Millionaires Moussaka with Fennel Salad

Main Millionaires Moussaka with Fennel Salad

White chocolate mousse with berry compote and crumble

Dessert White chocolate mousse with berry compote and crumble

The dessert was fabulous; absolutely my favourite and so very clever.  It all looked so much like soap that I had to get my head around the concept before I took a bite. Awesome.

Behind the Scenes

The atmosphere was brilliant, and I took video for a seek peek behind the scenes of the event and more about the new product: Morning Fresh Power Soaker.  I’ve been using it at home for a few weeks now and I love it.  In a nutshell, it’s a pre-wash soaker detergent that works in 10 minutes for ease of cleaning off baked on stuff on pots, pans and casserole dishes.

“Morning Fresh’s Power Soaker speeds up the cleaning process dramatically while ensuring we maintain our philosophy of delivering the highest quality for our guests.” — George Calombaris

Morning Fresh Power Soaker

I put this video together with candid footage of interacting with George Calombaris and the story behind the success of the product by David Tesoriero from Cussons.


I was not paid for this post.  I was treated to a lovely lunch with George Calombaris by Morning Fresh — loved it; wanted to share it. All views are my own.  You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

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  • Reply
    Bek {Just For Daisy}
    November 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Oh wow! That food looks amazing! The dessert – those bubbles! Whoa!
    And I loved your little snippet of your chat with George that you’ve shared with us. I read it as his voice and it totally spoke out of the page like that! xx
    You look smashing too lovely lady!!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      November 11, 2013 at 8:33 am

      I found him to be very much like on TV in the way he talked. Like when he used the word ‘smashing’ about the tomatoes. That was my fav bit. LOL. I find myself wanted to use that word now. Can’t WAIT to smash me some tomatoes!

      Thanks Bek. x

  • Reply
    November 11, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Wow, what a special experience! And, oh wow, that dessert! haha. (I could hear the George Calombaris voice in your written chat as well as Bekka, haha). The power soaker sounds like something I need for my casserole dishes before I shove them in the dishwasher. Thanks for sharing your experience 😀 x

  • Reply
    November 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    What a cool event! Love that you got to chat with George.. I reckon I’d like his Mum too!

  • Reply
    Christie - Childhood 101
    November 12, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Wow, how much fun does that look! I love your video too 🙂

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      November 12, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Thanks Christie. I’m starting to enjoy editing videos more and more.

  • Reply
    Louise - Paging Fun Mums
    November 12, 2013 at 7:30 am

    What a great opportunity! I’m glad your kids encouraged you to go – even my Mini Masterchef (5yo) knows and loves George.
    PS. I’m so hungry for some soap now lol!

  • Reply
    nae peters
    November 12, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Oh wow.
    We love George. What a great experience.
    p.s. I love his story about his chicken Nuggets lol

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      November 12, 2013 at 11:28 am

      George was so generous in sharing stories about his life. His mum sounds all kinds of strong and awesome.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    This post has really inspired me. Firstly, I LOVE George and his down to earth approach. I love how you make your posts so easy to read and every one I can apply to my every day life. At my next grocery shop, this new product, will be definitely on my list. Can’t wait to try it out. Can I please have that dessert?

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      November 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      I like that about George too Sharron. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I saw your photo with him on IG and was insanely jealous. It was lovely to follow up on this post and find out what the day was all about. Loved your questions and his responses were perfect too.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      November 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Would have loved to have you sitting beside me Penny. Would be wonderful to catch up again. x

  • Reply
    Nathalie Brown
    November 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Not jealous at all 😉

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Oh, I love George. I met him briefly this year when hubby and i dined at St. Katherine’s for our anniversary. We didn’t get to have an indepth convo with him though. It sounds like you had a lovely time.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    No way! (And happy birthday too!) How awesome does the place and food look?! Had to chuckle about the (bad) Chinese food George mentioned. We have come a far way since then 🙂 xo

  • Reply
    November 18, 2013 at 11:12 am

    That looks amazing. I can not believe the bar of soap look-a-like dessert! Salivating.

  • Reply
    Laughing Kids Learn
    November 19, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Oh I love George! It looks like it was a fabulous event with lots of yummy food.

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