Celebrity chef bound for Maitland


Former MasterChef Australia contestant Kumar Pereira became a fan favourite on the back of his ability to handle the relentless pressure.

This Australia Day, he will tackle a challenge of a different kind after being named as Maitland’s ambassador.

It is the latest accolade for the man who earned the nickname ‘Kumar-nator’ when he stared down, and beat, elimination several times during series three of the reality television show.

“I’m really honoured, it’s a lovely thing to do and I can’t wait,” he says of his upcoming ambassador role.

When he was a child, Mr Pereira used to follow his mother around the kitchen while she cooked meals.

It was the start of his love affair with food.

After moving to London from Sri Lanka as a teenager, he then landed in Hong Kong and, finally, Sydney.

“I went off to England as a student and learned to cook for myself, and I was then surrounded by great food in Hong Kong, where I lived for 18 years,” he says.
“I like all types of food, not just Sri Lankan food – that’s obviously a big part of it, but I tend to cook everything.”

A graphic designer, design teacher, food writer and tour guide, Mr Pereira has also spent the past few years as a volunteer, dishing up cost-effective and healthy meal options once a month to socially-marginalised disabled and elderly people in Sydney.

“We teach them how to cook a meal in 20 minutes and for under $10,” he says.

“Most of them are living on their own, often in situations where their partner may have died, and they don’t know how to look after themselves.

“I really like to help them and teach them the joys of cooking – I just enjoy what I’m doing, I’m very fortunate.”

Apart from Mr Pereira’s appearance, a range of activities have been planned for Maitland’s Australia Day celebrations on 26 January.

A free barbecue breakfast, provided by the Lions Club of East Maitland, will kick-start the festivities, while a classic car display, musical performances, free miniature pony rides, and free pool entry are also part of the program at Maitland Park.

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