Why Rebecca Gibney changed her mind about competing on Celebrity MasterChef

Rebecca Gibney

• “I actually thought there had been a mistake when my agent called”

Rebecca Gibney may not consider herself anything above a basic cook, but that hasn’t stopped her from signing up as one of the celebrities taking to the kitchen when Celebrity MasterChef airs on 10 Sunday, October 10th. 

Mediaweek spoke to Gibney about why she pulled the apron on, surprising herself in the kitchen, and getting the Packed to the Rafters gang back together.

When asked what exactly it was that made her want to sign up for Celebrity MasterChef, Gibney said she initially didn’t want to.

“I said no! I actually thought there had been a mistake when my agent called, I said ‘are you sure it’s not Survivor or one of those other shows?’ and she went no, MasterChef. I went, but I don’t cook – I’m a basic cook, I’m certainly not a chef – so I think I’m probably the wrong person. I love the show, I’ve watched it and I know the dishes that are expected.”

There was one person in particular who changed Gibney’s mind.

My son said he would disown me if I said no! He’s 17 and he said ‘Mum, that’s the only reality show that has credibility. If you’re going to do any reality show, this is the one’. I didn’t realise that he’s a little bit of a closet MasterChef viewer.

“So I had to ring them back and say I’ve reconsidered. But even then, I don’t think I realised the enormity of the decision until I actually walked through the MasterChef doors for the first time and saw the big sign on the wall and the kitchen set up, and thought Oh my god, what have I done?”

Her family wasn’t just the reason that Gibney stepped into the kitchen, they also helped her stay there when the going got tough.

“On day two or day three, I called home and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this. It’s too hard’. Not only are you under pressure anyway in that environment, out of your comfort zone in a pantry that you’ve never been in before, using appliances that you’ve never used before, but you’ve got 50,000 cameras in your face recording every single emotion while you’re doing it. There are producers asking you questions while you’re cooking, and we’ve got the clock ticking down. There’s a lot going on.”

Celebrity Kitchenmates

Going into the kitchen alongside celebrities from all sorts of backgrounds, Gibney was initially apprehensive.

“I thought it’s Celebrity MasterChef so we’re all in the same boat. I did do my due diligence and asked if the other celebs were cooks, they went ‘no, they’re all basic cooks like you’. Well, that’s okay. Then you go hang on a second, Thorpie’s got cookbooks, Collette Dinnigan runs cooking classes in Italy, if you look at Chrissy Swan’s Instagram she’s a really good cook. So I’m going ‘oh no, this is not good!’”

Despite initial fears about her own abilities, Gibney says she surprised herself with what she was able to produce.

“That’s probably one of the things that I loved the most, apart from the fact that I met the most extraordinary people who I’ve got friends for life in. The wonderful thing is that you challenge yourself, you get pushed out of your comfort zone, and consequently you end up doing things that you never thought possible and achieving things that I never thought I was capable of achieving.”

“I learned so much, and I came back a much better cook. My husband and my family were so thankful because I was getting in the kitchen and whipping up all these things, and they were like ‘Wow!’”

celebrity masterchef

Celebrity MasterChef contestants 2021

Working with the Judges

With regular MasterChef judges, Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo returning to the kitchen for the Celebrity season, Gibney says she appreciated everything the trio had to offer.

“They were extraordinary, they all are really kind and very giving. I know sometimes they have to get tough, and they did. I got pushed on one of the challenges – I just threw in the towel because it was too hard. I said I’m not doing this and Andy went ‘Gibney! Get yourself together!’. He really gave me a talking to. 

They would push you but then but they would also help you. He then helped me through it because I didn’t know what I was doing, he was saying do this, try that. I was falling behind and he just was helping me – not physically but just offering bits of advice.

“They have such great chemistry between the three of them, they all genuinely like each other. They joke around when the cameras aren’t on, they’re mucking around together and telling each other jokes. They’re just a really great team.”

Behind the scenes, Gibney was also very grateful for the production team.

Marty [Benson] the producer would come in and just say ‘You guys are being awesome and we’re so happy that you’re here. We’re making a show about food, and goodness, and kindness. There are no villains. We’re not interested in portraying anybody in a bad light’. So they really reassure you that they’re there for you and they just want to make good, uplifting, joyous television and I think that’s what this show is going to be.”

Returning to the Rafters

With Back to the Rafters now airing on Amazon Prime Video, Gibney says getting the gang back together was as easy as if they’d never left each other.

Back to the Rafters

Back to the Rafters

“It was extraordinary, they are my other favourite family on the planet. I spent six, seven years with these people and often we would be shooting 22 episodes, so you’d be doing the show for six months. Michael Caton actually said the other day, we were having a zoom chat, that when the show would finish for the year he would he would actually go into a bit of a depression for about four or five weeks afterward because he felt like he’d lost his family. We are very, very close. 

“For all of us to be given the opportunity to reunite, even all these years later, it felt like we just stepped back in time and we just said goodbye to each other last week. That’s how easy and simple it was to get back to being that family on screen, and I think it shows when you watch Back to the Rafters. It was just a joy to be with these people that I love. I can honestly say from my heart, I love them all. I absolutely love them.”

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