It's his first time at Fieldays, but celebrity chef Mark Southon thinks he will be able to help the rural bachelors on both the cooking and courting fronts.

The UK-born and trained chef who has gained experience at some top international Michelin-starred restaurants will be using Waikato beef and cheese to whip up his hearty meatball and chilli sauce dish which he will demonstrate three times on Thursday, while also judging the rural bachelor's cooking efforts too.

Southon, 37, who is executive chef at O'Connell St Bistro in Auckland and the resident chef on 3's The Cafe, admitted he had high expectations of the breakfasts the bachelors would prepare as some of them had put down cooking as their hobbies. It is just one of a number of challenges set-out for the eight bachelors over the week.

"It will have to tick a few boxes before I taste it, but it's breakfast. What can go wrong?"


He was also considering giving extra marks for presentation and wooing, depending on what the men rustled up.

"It's an important part of being a bachelor. Women love guys who can cook.

"That will be great fun so looking forward to that."

And Southon said it was not just cooking tips he could give the bachelors.

"I'm married with two kids so I can quietly give them some women advice. But definitely cooking advice - definitely."

And when Southon he wasn't fulfilling his duties in the Kiwi's Best kitchen, he could be found watching the tractor pull.

"I'm so excited because it's huge. I didn't realise it was as big as it is. I've never been to it."

Southon and his family had recently moved from Auckland's CBD to Pokeno so admitted to "slowly becoming a country bumpkin".

"We love it out there. Great community. It's just growing so fast... I would love to get some pigs, or little quails or chickens - but we need a bit more land for that. It's definitely the idea or goal one day."

And while he might get some ideas at about rearing animals at Fieldays, the self-confessed foodie said he was more likely to walk away with an authentic pizza oven this year.

"Maybe I will put a pizza oven in before the animals."

Kiwi's Best Kitchen Theatre Timetable


Brett McGregor - 9.15am, 11.00am, 1.15pm, 3.15pm

Mark Southon - 9.15am, 11.00am (Rural Bachelor cooking competition), 1.15pm, 3.15pm

Friday 16 June
Michael Van de Elzen - 9.15am, 11.00am, 1.15pm, 3.15pm

Saturday 17 June
Karena and Kasey Bird - 9.00am, 10.45am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm