Tarras farmer Jonny Trevathan made it through to the top 24
contestants on Sunday night's television debut of the
fourth series of MasterChef New Zealand. Photo courtesy of
Hardy, hairy and hungover - Tarras high-country farmer
Jonny Trevathan and his home-kill venison dish won favour with
the judges on episode one of MasterChef
Fresh, or rather not so fresh, from an all-nighter, a
bushy-bearded Mr Trevathan was shown nodding off in the
Auckland audition waiting room on Sunday night's 2013 debut
of the television show.
His entertaining back-story footage showed him trundling
around his family farm near Tarras on a tractor, with beer in
hand, and telling the camera he had entered the cooking
competition to ''represent the rural society''.
Most memorable in his preamble, was his comment: ''I like to
cook meat, except for chicken. To me chicken's like a ladies'
meat, so it's more of a vegetable.''
Standing before the trio of judges, he confessed he had only
made it home from his night out in the big smoke at 7am that
day, but his bender had netted him $14,000 at the casino, so
it was worth the effort.
Clad in his Young Farmers shirt and pair of moleskins, with a
laid-back, straight-talking attitude to match, he
acknowledged presentation was not his strong point.
''I don't get a lot of appreciation from the dogs when I
throw them a lump of meat each night.''
However, his venison backstrap - courtesy of a hunting trip
in the Lindis Pass - with red currant jus, baby potatoes and
stuffed mushrooms, was enough to impress the judging panel
and earn praise from Ray McVinnie on the ''purity of the
flavours'', putting him through to the next round.
''You better perform,'' McVinnie cautioned a beaming Mr
Trevathan, who was among the top 24 contestants selected from
more than 1000 hopefuls. Eight contestants will be eliminated
during next Sunday's episode, but bound by a strict
confidentiality agreement, Mr Trevathan cannot reveal how far
he progresses on the show - filmed over three months last
However, he said yesterday he was ''happy enough'' with the
way he was portrayed on the show, which he had watched at the
Luggate Pub with a group of mates.
''I think people perceived me the way I expected.''
Since the episode aired he had been inundated with phone
calls, emails, texts and Facebook messages, from friends and
strangers, he said.