Born in London in July 1961, Matt's first food memory is sitting by the Aga in his grandparent's ancient farmhouse waiting for the Sunday roast to finish cooking. His most vivid early memory is forcing his mother to take him down to the cattle sheds to make sure that 'Ferdie' the bull hadn't lost his tail before he'd agree to eat oxtail soup.
Behind the scenes
Food and adventure are in Matt's fabric. He is the great, great nephew of Victorian food writer Andrew Valentine Kirwan - the author of Host and Guest (a book about dinners, hosting dinners, wines and dessert).
He is a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant (the seventh and last Dutch Director General of the colony of New Netherland) and the grandson of archaeologist Sir Laurence Kirwan who later managed Sir Edmund Hillary's successful attempt on Everest.
Resident in Melbourne for the past 16 years, Matt is married with three children. He enjoys playing tennis, supporting Chelsea Football Club, watching Australian Rules Football and making pizza. Matt is an accomplished cook in his own right. His signature dishes include pomegranate glazed lamb with nine-jewel couscous and Coco Pops with whipped cream.
Matt's most memorable meals are Christmas lunch with the boys at The Fat Duck in the UK back when it only had two stars, eating Ajo Blanco (Andalucian almond garlic soup) in a little restaurant in Ronda with his old man, his mother's cabbage rolls, and any meal when his wife has been sitting on the other side of the table.
In the beginning
Raised in Great Britain, Preston was educated in Sussex and graduated from the University of Kent with a BA Hons in Politics and Government. He began his career in the sales and marketing departments of British magazines including City Limits where he wrote the popular 'Backhanders' column for five years.
He then spent four years with the UK's biggest selling magazines, TVTimes and What's On TV, ultimately heading up their promotions and marketing department.
In 1993 Preston moved to Australia. His first role was as a correspondent reviewing Australian soap operas Neighbours and Home and Away for What's On TV, TVTimes and Women's Own magazine.
Here and now
Matt is one of three judges on MasterChef Australia
. The Network Ten show, dedicated to finding Australia's best home cook, made its debut on April 27, 2009.
It became an instant hit with the Australian viewing public and catapulted Matt, fellow judges Gary Mehigan and George Calomaris, and finalists Julie Goodwin, Poh Ling Yeow and Chris Badenoch into the culinary spotlight.
The show was a ratings winner and spawned a spin-off celebrity version which debuted on September 30.
Vogue Entertaining + Travel and delicious.
Matt has been contributing to Australia's leading glossy food magazines writing about restaurants, chefs and leading culinary destinations. The role has taken him to more than 30 regions across Australia and the world, from Copenhagen to Hyderabad. He is currently Vogue Entertaining's restaurant reviewer focusing on Australia's influential restaurant openings.
Epicure and The Age
Matt began regularly contributing to the Epicure food section of The Age in February 2000. He writes a weekly review of a cafe or ethnic eatery in his 'Unexplored' column in Epicure and, since February 2009, has written a weekly column in The Age on Saturday's A2 section. Matt also contributes cover stories to Epicure for which he has won a number of awards
Other Professional Roles
- Creative Director, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (2004-2009).
- Contributor, The Age Good Food Guide; Food and Wine (US).
- Five years as National Chief Judge for Restaurant and Catering's National Awards for Excellence.
- Contributing drink editor, Good Taste magazine.
- Secret reviewer on Channel 7's My Restaurant Rules (series one).
Other credits include guest appearances on Australian talk show Rove (June 28, 2009) and the game show Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? (July 27, 2009).
Matt was a guest panelist on Network Ten's Before the Game (August 1, 2009) and on the 7pm Project (August 4, 2009). He has been parodied twice on Chasers War on Everything and on Channel Nine's The Footy Show (July 24, 2009) and has also made appearances on SBS's historic quiz show AD/BC (on August 27, 2009) and the ABC's First Tuesday Book Club (on September 1, 2009).
In Spring 2009 Matt reprised his judging role when Celebrity MasterChef which premiered on Network Ten on September 30 and will air on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.
2008 Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards
Food Journalist of the Year.
Winner: Matt Preston for articles in delicious. magazine and the Epicure section of The Age.
2006 Food Media Club of Australia
Calypso™ Mango Award for Best Recipe Feature in a Newspaper or Newspaper Magazine.
Winner: Matt Preston for “Preserving knowledge”, Epicure, The Age.
2004 Food Media Club of Australia
Australian Mushroom Growers' Award Best Food Article.
Winner: Matt Preston for “The Temple Kitchen”, Epicure, The Age.
2003 Food Media Club of Australia
Grand Marnier Award for Best New Writer.
Winner: Matt Preston for articles published in the Epicure section of The Age.