Simon Gault put on his gumboots and kicked the show off in the Kitchen Theatre on the first day of Fieldays in the Waikato – and served up a health lesson on the side.

The celebrity chef, commonly known for being a Masterchef New Zealand judge, cooked three rustic dishes in front of a full house.

Gault admitted that cooking at Fieldays was the first time he had ever whipped up a dish while wearing gumboots.

"It's my first time ever cooking in gumboots and the farmers said to me before I came here to make sure the dishes were going to be rustic," said Gault.


Inspired by the farmers' demands, Gault made three dishes consisting of a pork burger with chipotle slaw, a sausage and corn pie and a cheesy Italian dumpling soup.

While Gault was cooking, the floor opened up for questions.

Simon Gault (right) cooking up a storm at Fieldays. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
Simon Gault (right) cooking up a storm at Fieldays. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

A confronting question from one of the audience members saw Gault's cooking demonstration quickly turn into a health lesson.

"What's it like to be a chef and not turn into a fat bugger?" asked the audience member.

Taken back from the question, Gault started a discussion about his own health journey with diabetes and the documentary he made: "Why are we fat?".

Food is an important part of Gault's life, but it also had him knocking on death's door.

For five years he was too embarrassed to tell anybody that he was living with type-two diabetes.

He also said he had done very little to help his case until his doctor asked him a hard-hitting question.

"My doctor asked me if I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle. I walked out there feeling quite shaken and upset," said Gault.

His doctor had also told him he was one step away from having insulin and going on dialysis. This wake-up call pushed Gault to travel to the United Kingdom to seek treatment for four weeks.

Gault went on to tell his story and influence people to make smarter diet choices by filming the "Why are we fat?" documentary.

"We've got a real problem here in New Zealand, we eat too much processed food and we need to get back to old fashioned cooking," said Gault.

While filming his documentary, Gault travelled to Greece where he found the secret to a healthy and long life – extra virgin olive oil, he says.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please start drizzling the oil over everything, over there in Greece they're each having 25 litres of it a year and living way longer,' said Gault.

Eventually the crowd and Gault were drawn back to the fact that they were actually at a cooking demonstration.

As he served up his burgers, pie and dumplings that all looked divine, he commented on how ironic it was to be giving health tips while he was cooking.

"You come to a cooking show and I tell you all about how to lose weight, I'm so sorry," said Gault.

One in 11 Kiwis have diabetes and New Zealand is the third fattest nation _ the worrying statistic though is that Kiwi children are the second fattest in the world.

Watene Hema, a Sport Waikato worker talking in the Health Hub at Fieldays, says the amount of people with diabetes in New Zealand is a real concern.

"I've started to notice now that we even have children coming through the programmes who have type-two diabetes, it's quite crazy," said Hema.