How tomatoes nearly destroyed Guy Sebastian's career

'I never follow recipes so it drives my wife insane': Guy Sebastian.
'I never follow recipes so it drives my wife insane': Guy Sebastian. Photo: Supplied

A few years ago, singer/songwriter Guy Sebastian lost his voice while on tour. Fearing he'd developed nodules or polyps, he turned to ear, nose and throat specialists for help.

Two experts deduced he had a case of the yips (a type of performance anxiety) but Sebastian was unconvinced and sensed a misdiagnosis.

The third medico informed him it was gastroesophageal reflux disorder that was preventing him from finishing a song and prescribed tablets that swiftly dealt with the acidity that was causing the vocal chaos.

The next time he performed, Sebastian sang two hours straight, without an issue.

Diet overhaul

A critical lesson was learnt and the popular performer's touring diet was overhauled.

"On tour, I can't eat tomato-based foods or curries, or drink red wine or scotch, because it smashes my voice," he says.

Career-wise, Sebastian is currently on a high. His new single Choir is flying up the charts, he's just announced an Australian tour for September/October and he's on the small screen as one of the four coaches on Channel 9's talent show The Voice.

But he'll always find time to cook - a passion he enjoys on and off the road. On tour, Sebastian sticks to "eating and cooking clean" - with greens, plain brown rice, sushi and basic chicken dishes on the menu.

While at home, in what he describes as "normal life", he regularly uses a teppanyaki grill, crams a clay smoker with juicy cuts or fires up the rotisserie.

Picking favourites

When probed, it proves tough for Malaysian-born Sebastian to choose a favourite recipe, but finally, the 37-year-old rattles off the ingredients he throws together to make his "mum's spicy mango chicken curry" - adding an apology of sorts.

"I never follow recipes so it drives my wife insane. She uses a Thermomix and follows that. I just add things according to taste."

Relaying the recipe (below) leaves a broad smile on Sebastian's face - perhaps he's contemplating how many times he can whip it up before he embarks on that upcoming tour.

Spicy mango chicken curry recipe


Garam masala


​Coriander seeds



Fennel seeds

Chilli powder

Star anise

Chopped onion (red or brown)

Fresh mango

Chicken pieces

Steamed rice

Coconut milk

Ghee or olive oil


Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle, then heat through in a small frypan. Set aside.

In a large pot, brown the onion in ghee or olive oil. Sear the chicken pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Add the heated, ground spices. By hand, squeeze fresh mango pieces into pot. Add coconut milk. Cook on low heat. Once chicken is cooked through, add more chilli to taste.

Serve curry with steamed rice.

Add ingredient quantities to taste