The West

Kris Smith in Celebrity Come Dine with Me Australia.

Model and presenter Kris Smith turned to his mum back in the UK when it came time to put together a menu for Celebrity Come Dine With Me Australia and she came through, even emailing pictures of what the dishes should look like.

But whether his homespun menu will turn on his fellow diners - comedian Josh Thomas (Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation), public relations guru Prue MacSween and fellow model and presenter Chloe Maxwell - is another matter. At stake in the one-hour show is a $2000 prize to be donated to the winning cook's favourite charity, which in Smith's case is the Challenge Foundation to help children with cancer.

"I was going to go Asian infused at first," he said, "but then I thought, no I am away from home and I kind of miss it at times and one of the dishes was a family recipe and that was also a nice little touch."

So he presented a menu that was as much retro as British: prawn cocktails, bangers and mash and apple crumble.

The former professional rugby player, who came to Australia with his former partner Dannii Minogue, is now settled in Melbourne and is a Myer fashion ambassador.

To add to the fact that he had never hosted a dinner party before Celebrity Come Dine With Me or made the dishes on his menu, the show was filmed two days after he moved into his new home.

"I didn't know how to use the oven - I didn't even know if the gas was connected so it was a trial and error process, which made it all the more exciting but we got there - and nobody died. There were one or two things I would have done a bit differently if I had my time again but they looked like they were enjoying it."

MacSween was anything but happy at several other times during the very funny show. A self-confessed germ-phobic, she is appalled when Maxwell confesses that she dropped a piece of pumpkin on the floor and then tossed it back on the roasting tray. But it gets worse and she is left almost speechless when she finds herself nose to nose with Thomas' dog John at the dinner table.

There is a distinct lack of sympathy for her. As first host, she manages to put everyone offside by outrageously sexualising her dinner party. She says people either like her or loathe her and as she pats him, openly gay Thomas looks like he will happily join the latter group.

Making the show over one week was a high-pressure job with the group not only cooking but having to travel between the Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne to attend the dinner parties, but Smith says he enjoyed it.

"I probably threw myself in the deep end a little bit but it was a great experience. The casting was done extremely well because we were such different personalities.

"I've watched the show at home in the UK and I like the concept so it wasn't really tough for me to decide to do it."

For Smith, catching up with Maxwell's husband rugby player Mat Rogers was a bonus. "He was someone I grew up watching and he was one of the idols of mine as a rugby league player when I was young and upcoming so it was great to meet him. So good relationships have been formed with a real nice bunch of people and it was a nice week - hectic, full on but very enjoyable."

After a busy racing round working for Myer, he will concentrate on finding premises for a personal training studio he plans to open in Melbourne next.

"My TV work is also doing quite well and radio is doing great and I'm learning how to DJ," he said. "I'm doing all the things I have always said I would like to do but never actually ended up doing."

But he says nothing comes in front of his commitment to Ethan, his two-year-old son with Minogue.

"We do a lot of things together and he is my number one priority. Dannii and I are very fortunate in that we split his time evenly between the two of us, we have a very good understanding like that."

Celebrity Come Dine With Me Australia airs at 5.30pm today on the pay-TV LifeStyle channel.

The West Australian

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