Ring thing really just flash TV trash

By Barry Clarke

Peta Mathias. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Peta Mathias. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Peta Mathias might be the flashiest chef on TV, but the rings she wears while cooking could harbour harmful bacteria.

Food safety experts say Mathias breaks all the rules when it comes to what you shouldn't do when cooking.

They say the rings and other jewellery she wears would never be tolerated in a commercial kitchen because of the bacteria that gathers underneath - no matter how hard you wash your hands.

Bacteria could be picked up from using the toilet or handling foods such as raw chicken.

Mathias agrees but says: "Hey, it's for TV."

Her latest programme, Unplugged in Marrakech, is currently screening on Prime on Tuesdays.

Food writer and columnist Julie Biuso said people had been talking about Mathias' rings for years.

"There's a grubby look about it," she said.

"It's an act. She dresses up with all the jewellery ... possibly she cooks like that at home.

"Of course, she's over the top, she's way over the top. But people love to criticise. She's doing it her own way. If you don't like it, switch off."

Biuso said Mathias would never be allowed to wear her rings while cooking in a commercial kitchen.

Mathias told the Herald on Sunday she wore the rings only when cooking on TV.

"If I'm teaching, I take my rings off. If I was in a commercial kitchen, I wouldn't be wearing them. It's just an entertainment thing," she said.

Mathias is back in her south of France base, Uzes, where she will make a new series on southern French cooking that she will then offer to networks.

AUT senior lecturer in food safety Suzanne Bliss said Mathias' rings were possibly sending the wrong message to the public and young people in the food industry.

But it was a TV show and, for that reason, hosts had licence to go outside the normal boundaries of food hygiene.

Rarely, if ever, did a TV food show host wear headgear - another must in a commercial kitchen, she said.

She thought it would be an interesting exercise to test Mathias' rings to see what bacteria they carried.

- Herald on Sunday

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