AUSSIE BARBECUE HERO: Ben O'Donoghue talks us through his motoring life.
AUSSIE BARBECUE HERO: Ben O'Donoghue talks us through his motoring life. Inga Williams

Stars' Cars - Celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue

BEN O'Donoghue is a man whose taste in cars rivals some of the culinary treats he dreams up.

The celebrity chef, television presenter and author clearly has a thing for speed, but also remembers the key nuances of the previous cars in his life; such attention to detail no doubt key in his line of work.

We caught up with the Aussie Barbecue Hero to ask him about his motoring past, present and future.

What was your first car?

It was a (Holden) HQ Premier sedan with 179 HP (2.9-litre) motor. It was a chocolate brown colour. The car I really wanted was a (Chrysler) VJ Valiant with a 318 cu in (5.2-litre V8) motor but my dad said I couldn't have it as I would kill myself! The HQ was awesome though. It didn't have any locks and I had to use a screwdriver to open the boot and glove box.

What are you driving now?

I'm driving a 2009 Toyota Prado. It's a solid car and it gets me down the beach, fishing and surfing and it hasn't missed a beat. I don't like that there's no Bluetooth sync with my music library though.

CURRENT RIDE: Ben O'Donoghue has a 2009 Toyota Prado for beach and surfing duties
CURRENT RIDE: Ben O'Donoghue has a 2009 Toyota Prado for beach and surfing duties Paul Bradshaw

What cars did your family have while you were growing up?

We had three cars while I grew up. The first was a (Holden) EH station wagon with a grey motor so I think it was the earliest (1963) model. It had the louvres on the rear window panel. Then Dad got a Valiant Safari with Slant-6 cylinder (inline) engine. I remember that car well as we used to drive from Port Hedland to Margaret River every summer in it. My brother and I would sleep in the boot and it just seemed so large. Then we traded up to an XB Falcon: that car was awesome, and it was huge for a 10 year old!

FAMILY WAGON: Growing up Ben's family had a Chrysler Safari Wagon.
FAMILY WAGON: Growing up Ben's family had a Chrysler Safari Wagon.

What is your greatest frustration on the road?

People's inability to merge in traffic, and people who tailgate.

What's your favourite place in the world to drive?

In Europe, as the motorways are awesome with unlimited speeds (in places) and great scenery. I also loved driving in South Africa. The mountains around Cape Town and the Western Cape are just out of control!

Do you have any preferred driving music?

I like listening to anything although I'm forced at the moment to listen to Katy Perry as my daughter loves her. I love a bit of rock'n'roll, but I also enjoy talkback radio.

If you were to pick anyone in the world to go on a road trip, who would it be and why?

I would love to get a bunch of my mates and hit the road in an awesome 4x4. We'd do a surf and fishing safari around the world to Central America, North Africa, West Coast South America and Australia.

What is your dream car if money were no object?

A Bugatti Veyron or McLaren F1. Something with power!

DREAM MACHINE: Ben O'Donoghue would be keen on McLaren F1 ownership, already given the seal of approval by Rowan Atkinson.
DREAM MACHINE: Ben O'Donoghue would be keen on McLaren F1 ownership, already given the seal of approval by Rowan Atkinson. Tim Scott

Vital statistics

Who: Ben O'Donoghue.

Born: May 1970, London, England.

Resume: Employed as a kitchen hand at a restaurant on Rottnest Island (WA) after leaving school, served his apprenticeship at a Perth seafood joint and once qualified was promoted to Sous Chef at Jessica's Seafood Restaurant in Perth. Was Chef de Partie at Goodfella's in Sydney, then Sous Chef at Tribeca in Sydney. Moved to the UK in 1996 and worked at London's River Cafe, befriending Jamie Oliver at the time. Appeared on Oliver's The Naked Chef television show, hired an agent and by 2002 was co-presenting The Best cooking show for BBC. Filmed Surfing the Menu with Curtis Stone for ABC in Australia from 2003, has appeared in The Best in Australia since 2007 and took part in MasterChef Australia. He has also written numerous books to accompany his television work.

See him: Aussie Barbecue Heroes airs Tuesdays at 7.30pm on Channel 7.

Celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue. Photo: Contributed
Celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue. Photo: Contributed


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