Amanda Keller: how I eat

The radio host on strange '70s recipes, broadcasting underwater and dancing with Chris Hemsworth.
Amanda Keller

Amanda Keller

What’s something memorable you ate while growing up?

There was one exciting tuna casserole my mum would make and it had potato chips on top. I loved that, because chips for dinner – what a score!

Did your meals resemble food from the ’70s Dinner Party segment on Jonesy & Amanda in the Morning, where you serve recipes from decades-old cookbooks?

A little bit, because there was a lot of gelatine used. People loved their jelly. They loved putting weird flavour combinations together: Coca-Cola salad, which was Coca-Cola frozen in a mould with cream cheese. Carnival Cream Cups: whipped cream, so much sugar, maraschino cherries on top. But the ingredient that you stirred through it? Tomato sauce. It was weird stuff.

You’ve made everything from beef brownies to tomato and orange soup for ’70s Dinner Party. What was the most fun to cook – and the most stomach-churning to produce?

Perversely, the Coca-Cola salad looked so disgusting, but was so delicious. I cannot believe how delicious it was. But the worst one to put together was the sardine banana boat: banana slit down the middle and you put a whole sardine in it. Just foul!

Can you tell us about the two world-record attempts you made with your co-host Brendan Jones?

We decided that we’d break the world record for broadcasting underwater, so we were underwater at Sydney Aquarium for three-and-a-half hours. We had full-faced masks that allowed us to speak to each other. We wrote things down on a whiteboard and chained a chair and a table, so it looked like we were at the office. In the end, we made the Guinness World Records.

What about the dumpling-eating record?

We did this as part of Sydney’s Chinese New Year festival and there were very strict Guinness World Records rules: you had to eat at least two dumplings, you couldn’t leave the table until you’d all been verified. The number of people who were disqualified because they took one bite and wandered off, or left the table too early – we only just scraped in! How hard is it to eat dumplings?

I hear you’ve got interesting souvenirs at home, such as Camilla Parker Bowles shot glasses and Hugh Jackman’s DNA?

I’m not a royalist, but I do love collecting royal kitsch. My favourite one is a coffee mug with Princess Anne’s face on it. My friend got that in a car-boot sale in Wales. I did a story with Hugh Jackman for The Living Room and he was wearing some lolly teeth as part of a joke. When we finished filming, I grabbed them, brought them home and put them in a frame. In case of emergency, break glass and you’ve got Hugh Jackman DNA.

You’ve had to wake up at 4am for 13 years for Jonesy & Amanda. Does caffeine help you cope with these early starts?

I’ve never been a coffee drinker. I have 1000 cups of tea throughout the day. I’ve just started drinking tea without milk and it’s taken me about four months to get used to it and look forward to it.

You co-host the reboot of Dancing with the Stars, but you were a contestant on the show in 2006 – and one of your rivals was Chris Hemsworth. How would you rate your dancing skills against Thor?

I certainly was not watching his feet when he was dancing! To be honest, we were both pretty crap, but he lasted a week longer than me, I think. His spunk value got him over the line.

Amanda Keller co-hosts WSFM’s Jonesy & Amanda in the Morning, 6am-9am weekdays in Sydney, and The Living Room on Ten, 7.30pm on Fridays. She is the author of Natural Born Keller (Allen & Unwin, $22.99, pbk).

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