Miguel Maestre Is Ready For The Ultimate Kitchen Showdown When Ready Steady Cook Returns

After more than a decade, Ready Steady Cook is making a comeback, and no one is more ready than host Miguel Maestre.

Premiering Friday, March 8 at 7.30 pm on 10 and 10 Play, the Ready Steady Cook you know and love is back. Anyone who was home sick from school during the 2000s will remember the series that really redefined what “fast food” can be.

Team Tomato and Team Capsicum, each made up of a home cook or guest and a celebrity chef, will have five secret ingredients (plus pantry staples) and only 20 minutes on the clock to serve up some culinary creations.

The final round pits the celebrity chefs against each other in a 10 minute Chef’s Challenge where they’ll really be put to the test.

“The DNA of the show is the same,” Miguel told 10 Play ahead of the show’s launch, “two of Australia’s top chefs, two home cooks, 20 minutes, and a surprise bag full of ingredients.”

And while there are some cosmetic changes and upgrades to the kitchen arena, stocked to the brim with all the equipment the chefs will need at a moment’s notice to crank out their best 20-minute risotto.

The other change is the new host, overflowing with energy, the celebrity chef and former King of the Jungle said it was a dream come true when he received the call, recalling when he used to watch the UK version of the series back when it was hosted by Ainsley Harriott.

“I think they were looking for someone fun, and they needed a chef with a lot of energy. When someone is ticking the boxes, okay chefs that are fun, chefs that are really loud, chefs that can run around and scream… Miguel!”

While he makes the job look easy, Miguel has to balance “a lot of different vibrations and energies” in the kitchen arena, bringing out the best of the home cooks, coaxing technique and tips from the celebrity chefs and connecting with the live audience all at the same time.

“It’s a lot of elements and in a live scenario, there’s no smoke and mirrors,” he added. “It’s not a show where you can say, okay everybody stop - let’s make it look pretty, there’s none of that!

“When the clock goes on, it’s on! Twenty minutes can go like that,” he said, snapping his fingers. “Harnessing all that crazy energy is quite mentally draining and exciting at the same time. It’s a lot of elements that make it so real, and I think that’s why people love it.”

Part of the show’s appeal is also in what the chefs and home cooks can achieve with just a bag full of everyday items, a pantry of staples, and just 20 minutes on the clock. Miguel was stunned at some of the shortcuts and tricks the celebrity chefs whipped out, like watching Adriano Zumbo make a sponge cake in the microwave in less than a minute.

“We’ve got no time to cook anything, no time in life. Even if it’s 24 hours in a day, we all complain there’s no time… when we eat three times a day and it’s so important. These 20 minutes will inspire people to get into the kitchen,” he said.

“Zumbo can make a cake in 20 seconds, sure I can give it a go and do it in 10 minutes. It’s going to be a nice encouragement in that window of the weekend to inspire someone to cook something, how good is that?”

One of Miguel’s biggest struggles while hosting the show was resisting the urge to roll up his own sleeves and help out during the challenge.

“They’d be cooking a fish and I’d think, oh he’s cooking that? You want me to press that fish? Is this the bowl you need? I was trying to be the helping hand, the guardian angel a little bit because, being a professional chef, I think it helps to read the situation three steps ahead.

“Sometimes I’d think how I’d cook something different, you really dive into what the chefs are cooking and you’re like, are you cooking a tart? Where is it? in the oven? You want me to check? I have to be careful,” he laughed, “I help them both the same! As the host you have to be careful.”

With celebrity chefs like Zumbo, Anna Polyviou, Adam D’Sylva, Hayden Quinn, Khanh Ong, Mindy Woods, Sarah Todd, Diana Chan, and Sergio Perera, Miguel also teased some of the upcoming celebrity guests who are taking on the Ready Steady Cook challenge.

“Robert Irwin and Julia Morris — that’s very funny, I think Robert was a bit more into the cooking, Julia was more into entertaining the audience,” he laughed.

As he traveled around speaking to people ahead of the show’s launch, Miguel said everyone wanted to be in a future episode.

“I’d love to see Barry Du Bois against an old glory from Bondi,” he continued. “Hoppo from Bondi Rescue? They’re both Bondi roosters, silver foxes… and I’d love to have the guys from the Cheap Seats, that would be one of the greatest episodes ever.”

“It’s that healthy place where they can show off to their friends! I think we’ll have plenty of people to choose from when they see the show and how fun it is. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be yourself!

“Cooking is the best language we all speak, wherever you’re from you understand the language of cooking and I think that intrigue of, ‘What are they going to cook?’ That’s when you start leaning to Team Tomato or Team Capsicum,” Miguel said.

“I can close my eyes and see families at home saying, ‘Oh I’m going with Team Tomato’, ‘No, no, Team Capsicum!’

“See, nobody wins and nobody loses. We all win in this show, it’s a really healthy thing to watch on Friday nights!”

Ready Steady Cook premieres on Friday, March 8 at 7.30 pm on 10 and 10 Play!