An evening with Matt Preston and Wendy James from Transvision Vamp

One of my more memorable dinners happened last week. It’s not often you hang out with an 80s popstar and a current pop cultural icon.

Some background: Months ago, in the middle of Masterchef fever, I wrote this post, waxing lyrical about how brilliant I thought it was that someone so unique and charismatic had been cast in a commercial TV show and had captured the hearts and minds (and, yes, even loins) of so many Australians.

Here’s reminder of why:

Such a refreshing change in a sea of bland, forgettable people who are usually cast in TV shows (memo to network casting directors: more diversity please!). Anyway, it turns out that the person who DID cast Matt in Masterchef (he has been well known to foodies for years as an exceptionally gifted and well-loved food writer and critic) was one Henri Stride (Henri is a girl) who was the casting director at Channel 9 when I was there. As well as casting the Catchup together, Henri was a wonderful friend during my less-than-a-year at 9 and we supported each other through some pretty interesting times. Enough said about THAT.

I hadn’t seen Henri since we both left Channel 9 and waddya know, she now works as a talent agent with a number of celebrity clients including Matt. So. After I wrote my initial post about him, Matt emailed me and we struck up something of a rapport. My son was stoked because he is a wannabe chef and Matt was kind enough to critique a photo I sent to him of some meals Luca had prepared for me.

So then he named a cravat after me and then we arranged to have dinner with Henri and another mutual friend, best-selling author and journalist Wendy Squires (pictured with Matt and I).

FYI – he wasn’t wearing his Mia cravat. He was wearing a jaunty combo of the Rachel (Finch – former Miss Universe contestant) and the Eamon (Sullivan – the swimmer). Apparently there are rumours that those two are a jaunty combo in real life too so there’s that. Matt told me it’s tacky to ‘wear the person you’re dining with’.

It was a really fun night, except for the food. I am not a very foody person. I like my food simple. Not fussy. Not tricky. That’s a bit awkward when you’re dining with Matt Preston, isn’t it?


We went to an amazing restaurant which specialises in incredible but very complex food that arrives on the plate looking like a small piece of extraordinary art. There was foam. And an eel-infusion.

Matt was put in charge of ordering and before doing so, he asked the table: “Is there anything you don’t eat?”

Um, how long have you got? There are so many things I don’t eat in so many different ways.

I proceeded to give him an embarassingly long list of things I didn’t eat which included ‘any kind of organ and any small and cute animal’ (which he wittily translated to the waiter as “she eats nothing with eyelashes”).

Anyway, the food began to arrive and I ate a lot of bread and I noticed that people walking past the window where we were sitting kept stopping and gaping at Matt. He has this affect. One girl came over to our table to say how much of a fan she was and it turns out she was an MTV VJ called Daisy who had just come from an interview with Wendy James.

Remember Transvision Vamp – I Want Your Love:

That hair. That pale pink lipstick. Oh how I worshipped her. An early prototype of Gwen Stefani in every way.

Here’s how she looks now:

So after a wonderful and hilarious dinner (yes Matt is fabulous and funny In Real LIfe and much taller than you think – usually when you meet famous people they are munchkins. He is a giant of a man with a giant wit) Daisy pulled us over to introduce us to Wendy James.


The best part is that Wendy bowled right up to me and kissed me on the cheek while apologising for smoking. Totally something I would do (minus the smoking) because I am a very inappropriate kisser. Chuffed beyond belief but too shy to ask for a photo. Posed in the street with Matt and the OTHER Wendy (Squires) while people shouted “WE LOVE YOU MAT” from passing cars. No shit.

A delightful night. On of the more memorable of my year.

Got any Brush-With-Fame stories?

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