Who Do You Think You Are returns to SBS for a new season on June 21. Eight prominent Australians delve into their ancestral past, including actor Simon Baker, TV presenter Myf Warhurst and celebrity chef-slash restaurateur Matt Moran. For Moran, it was a great opportunity to get the lid on his family history, especially as some “absolute doozies” about his ancestors were revealed.
“I absolutely loved it,” he told Guardian Australia. “It was just a fantastic experience. I became very invested in it. Finding out some things about what my relatives went through and what they went through was quite full.”
While Moran isn’t allowed to talk about everything the show has uncovered so far, he can say that it uncovered a lot of surprising history between his family and the small town of Rockley in New South Wales. That felt like a ‘creepy’ coincidence to Moran, as he only bought a pub there last year.
His work makes Moran regard a particular kitchen tool as his most useful object. Here the old chef tells us about the knives he couldn’t live without, as well as the story behind some prized collections.
What I would save from my house in a fire
Back in the day, when I was more frivolous, I went a little crazy and built up a collection of watches, so I had to get that one. I have about half a dozen of these and have found them over the course of probably 20 years – that’s how long I’ve been collecting them.
Watchmakers often make very limited quantities, and each one is numbered. So there’s a Jaeger LeCoultre watch of which they’ve only made 200 in the world – and I have number nine. I have a Panerai they only made 500 and again mine is number nine. I have a very rare IWC of which there are only 100 in the world. I couldn’t get number nine for that one, but I got number 69. Six upside down is clearly a nine. Not only that, it’s also the year I was born.
The other thing I have quite a lot of are motorcycles and they’re all limited editions too – but they’re all number 299. Because my theory was, what’s better than one nine? Two nines. Nine is my favorite number, but 299 was also the address of my grandmother’s house when I was growing up. So I have all those weird things with nines.
My most useful object
I’m a cook, so it must be a knife, right? I’ve built up a collection of literally hundreds of knives over the years, but there are three very special Japanese knives that I use a lot. One is a carving knife. One is a multi-purpose chef’s knife. And one of them is a filleting knife. They’re from the best knife shop I’ve ever found – the knife shop in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Markets.
They were all very expensive, but some of my knives I’ve had for 30 years. It is always important to have a very sharp blade. It’s the opposite of what people think: the sharper the blade, the less chance of an accident because you have to apply less pressure when chopping.
The Item I Most Regret Losing
I’ve never really lost sentimental items. I’ve never lost a watch. Never lost a jacket. I once had a set of bicycle helmets stolen – that was about it.
But I lost my wallet last week and it hurts my ass so much. You have to have everything redone: your driver’s license, your credit cards, your debit card. Nobody carries cash anymore, so I don’t worry about that. I’m the kind of guy who usually always puts things in the right place but I have no idea where this has gone so it hurts.