ANY lingering doubt about Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce's practicality vanished after he served up a beef-based dish for vegetarian host Annabel Crabb during his Kitchen Cabinet appearance last week.
"It's what the kids like to eat," he said.
"If you're going to cook, it has to have a purpose."
While Crabb managed to avoid the meal - opting instead for "the world's largest entree of pasta" - she said she was impressed by Senator Joyce's culinary ability.
"I think he's a good cook, actually," she said.
"He knows what he's doing in the kitchen."
It's a view the outspoken senator doesn't agree with.
"Politicians are terrible cooks," he laughed.
"If I'm rated as a good cook, the others must come with a health warning."
After filming wrapped, a rumour spread across the Balonne Shire that Senator Joyce had told Crabb if she didn't want the meal - called Lina's red wine and beef super - she could always get her own at the Chinese restaurant in St George.
The engaging host admits there was mention of the restaurant but laughed it off as good-natured fun.
"He did mention if I was unhappy with cuisine on offer, I could always zip around the corner," she chuckled.
"We had a great time; Barnaby and (Senator Joyce's wife) Natalie were very hospitable."
Kitchen Cabinet, the second series of which is currently airing on ABC2, shines the cooking spotlight on some of the country's highest-profile politicians and Crabb said she believed the format played a big role in its popularity.
"I think it's good to take the opportunity to sit down with people and have a chat that doesn't involve an argument," she said.
In trademark fashion, Senator Joyce said he hoped his cameo would raise the national profile of St George.
"It makes everyone conscious of our town," he said.
"It shows just that if you don't live in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, you don't live in a cave."
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