It’s been the most joyous of times for celebrated food judge George Calombaris and his partner Natalie Tricarico.
Something kind of wonderful has happened to George Calombaris, and it has nothing to do with the perfect pressure test, ultimate mystery box challenge or even the most inspired culinary creation. It’s a beautiful baby boy named James George Calombaris, or James, as his parents call their very own Junior MasterChef.
George and his partner, Natalie Tricarico, can’t get enough of their little ray of sunshine. “Excuse my pyjamas,” apologises George when we knock on the door early in the day at the MasterChef star’s bright and stylish terrace house in inner Melbourne. “James has just had a feed, he’s content and now all he wants is to be held and cuddled. Suddenly, I go from running six restaurants with 300 staff to everything being all about James.”
Not that a beaming George, 32, is complaining. It becomes clear that being inducted into parenthood has irrevocably changed the no-nonsense award-winning chef, TV judge and restaurateur. “It makes us strong men who run businesses and do all these things, so soft – we become like marshmallows,” he confesses, cradling his tiny son in his arms in the kitchen while Natalie, 34, prepares steaming mugs of coffee for the Woman’s Day team. “I find myself sometimes just staring into his cot, just looking that he’s breathing. I still can’t believe that we could do something like this. It’s amazing what a new addition to the family does to everyone. It lifts everyone up. It’s really beautiful.”Natalie was just two days short of her due date when she went into labour in the middle of the night. Thankfully, George – who maintains a frenetic schedule due to his television and restaurant commitments – was home at the time, albeit fast asleep!
“I think George was panicking a little internally when I woke him up,” Natalie says, smiling, “but he didn’t want to show me that he was. He was driving a little faster than normal and I was like, ‘It’s OK. We’re not having the baby right now on the road!’” “All I know is that I put Nat in the car very quickly and got her to the hospital at the speed of light,” George recalls, laughing. “We got there about 1.30 in the morning and, unfortunately, the little one was the other way around. So at 6.37am our doctor made the decision to perform a caesarean.”
Read more about George and Natalie's beautiful baby boy in this week's Woman's Day on sale October 10, 2011.