Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love

by Joanne Drayton

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I’ll give everyone a heads up – when you know how things end up for this volatile and flamboyant duo, this is rather a sad story.

Peter Hudson hid a lot of his past. David Halls hid a fair bit of his present from his English family. Or at least he allowed them to ignore his homosexuality.

Interesting to think that neither of them were ever truly ‘out’. Australian Hudson and British Halls met in New Zealand when homosexuality was still a crime. (embarrassingly, homosexuality was only legalised in NZ in 1986.)

So it is interesting while they always appeared to be themselves – they weren’t.

Both had strong entrepreneurial skills. They had several successful (and not so successful) businesses. Halls was a talented shoe designer and they made some good deals in NZ real estate.

Kiwis loved their Kiwi cooking show where they argued, set the kitchen on fire (accidentally!) and threw food on the floor. They lived like kings, but particularly in the early days of their show they were woefully underpaid. And they obviously made a few enemies at TVNZ as their show was cancelled when still reasonably popular.

I’ll mention that alcohol played a big part in their frequent arguments. Brings back unfond memories of those older generations in the 1970s for me.

A big talking agent promised them the moon if they moved to England. While they did have a cooking show in England (that was mostly panned by the critics) visa problems for the Australian Hudson, disasters in English real estate and, most tragically of all Peter’s prostate cancer came back. This lead to serious money problems. Deeply in debt and depressed, David Halls committed suicide a year after Peter’s death.

I hope the friend who lent them the money for the London flat was paid back. (not clear from this book)

The other weakness of this book is a rather rambling epilogue, which is more about the author than the two stars (because these guys were Stars with a capital S!) This book was put aside when Ms Drayton had trouble getting funding and the epilogue which for me contained a bit too much about the author and her musings. Your mileage may vary.

I’ll leave you with this picture of the guys with fellow NZ cookery TV host, Alison Holst. I find this photo very endearing and so typical of the warm personalities of all three of them.

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