Jacqui James

THIS GUY IS the real champion, despite calling everyone else champions!

Nat is a comedian, cook and rocker all into one, but despite his colourful language to express his passion for cooking good food, he has made it his calling to discuss experiences with his ongoing mental health to help others who find themselves in the same boat.

Thanks to the pandemic (probably only a few good things that evolved during that time) Nat’s cooking videos skyrocketed him into a global phenomenon, even attracting Dave Grohl’s attention! People tuned in whenever Nat posted a video, laughing while learning to cook meals from scratch at the same time. I know watching his videos was a highlight of our day in this household.

I had the absolute pleasure to chat with Nat and he was what I expected – a really nice guy!

(Warning: If you are offended by coarse language, maybe this is not the read for you.)

Hi Nat! How are you?

Hi Jacqui, I’m ok today thanks for asking.

Thanks so very much for agreeing to have a chat with me! It’s been two years in the making, but it has been worth the wait.

It’s my absolute pleasure, I’m so sorry it’s taken this long to get my shit together.

I think I can safely speak for the majority of Australia, thank you for your videos during lockdown (especially here in Victoria). You provided entertainment, laughter and more importantly lots of easy recipes! Were you surprised how your videos took off?

It was super intense to put it lightly. My life changed very fucken quickly from that point in more ways than one. I remember vividly the fucken country was on fire, some days the sky was even red like some shit out of a scary end of days movie. Covid was about to fucken kick off in a massive way, I along with a lot of people had a solid dose of fear running through us not knowing what the fuck was going on. I made a video in response to all the panic buying of frozen food, jar sauce, toilet roll (still don’t get that one) suggesting we should all spend the time making food instead of buying all the shit pre-made garbage at the shop and holy shit! It blew up. My phone started ringing off its head, my inbox was slammed with offers and interview requests from TV channels wanting me to sign exclusivity deals to Dave Grohl sending me messages.

Out of the hundreds of millions of views of your videos, is there a particular one that audiences have responded to the most?

If I had to take a guess, I reckon it would have been the Bolognese recipe where I suggested people put milk in it. I ended up in the fucken newspaper over it. It’s actually an ingredient in the traditional way to make a Bolognese, not even my idea to be fair. The conversation about it was wild, and as soon as most people gave it a shot they were often like ‘phwooar, I’m never making it without it again’.

It was somewhat surprising to discover you suffer from anxiety and depression, but also refreshing that you’ve been so candid and open about it. At what point in your life did you go fuck it, this is something to be talking about?

You’re certainly not the first person to be surprised by that finding that out, and that is very fair. I do present as a very confident and “don’t give a shit what anyone thinks” kinda person but the truth is I’m actually pretty fucked up and am constantly at war with my head. I think I decided to speak about it in a review video called ‘is it shit’ which was a segment I briefly created. It got a pretty amazing response that shocked me and also made me feel like I wasn’t alone in that.

A very big congratulations on being in Forbes magazine! When you discovered you were going to be listed in such a prestigious magazine, what did you do to celebrate?

I was actually on holidays with my partner Jules at the time and flew back home to be a part of it, it’s pretty wild to be asked to be a part of shit like that. I don’t really see myself as the Forbes magazine type and felt pretty heavily out of my depth but did what I think a few other champions there did and rolled with it. If I’m to be perfect honest I didn’t really celebrate it, I just went back and sat on the beach with Jules and a couple of my best mates, that’s all the celebration I needed. I suppose that while it’s exciting and all, being in glossy magazines has never been a goal of mine. Though I will say I am very lucky and very grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of that kinda big deal shit.

How has it been to be on tour with your show Yeah, Righto?

It’s been a real exercise in vulnerability this show, I speak pretty heavily about mental health stuff while trying to have a laugh about how tough shit is sometimes. I have had a few panic attacks on stage that I have had to keep under wraps which has been challenging, I want to get what I’m saying right and if I fuck it up I can start to spiral in self-loathing. My hands started to go numb holding a mic in front of around 5-600 people in Melbourne on this tour which was pretty confronting and hard to push through. Immediately after the show I ran backstage to my room and cried for about twenty minutes, I found it hard to stop. I knew people were coming backstage to see me too which made things pretty intense. I was ok in the end. I am really self-critical so having some beautiful supportive people like Jules, my manager and mates about to reassure me was really amazing. It’s a wild ride stand-up sometimes, I’m getting better at knowing what I can survive on stage and how to manage it if my head starts to go on me.

Yeah Righto has taken a lot out of me but giving me more back in spades. I have met some incredible people who have shared their journeys with me after the show and I feel pretty lucky to have that chance. I was worried it wasn’t going to translate into a comedy show but it has turned out to be pretty fucken great.

You’ve written a best-selling book, taught us to cook without canned sauces and now have been on tour. What’s next?

A lie down I hope. {laughs Nat} I have a million things I want to achieve, some of them include getting back into my band stuff and playing some shows outside of comedy again. I miss It dearly, I want to make time for myself to do some self-care things like that, I think it will help with my head heaps.

Thanks very much again Nat for your enlightening answers. I really appreciate your time!

I appreciate your time too Jaqui, thank you so much for having me

Nat’s new book Smash Hits Recipes will be hitting the shelves on November 14 and is available for pre-order now. The book includes 45 of his all-time best recipes and features advice on key kitchen pantry items, the best appliances and utensils to have in your arsenal and how to chop like a legend. Nat’s here to take the nonsense out of your kitchen because he knows that while life can be tricky, cooking doesn’t have to be.

If you want to catch Nat’s live shows, head to moretalent.com.au/natswhatireckon.