"I’ll be looking for some great Kiwi flavours and seeing what this country’s home cooks have to offer."
Judge and co-host Manu Feildel finally had his dream come true – an enormous serving of sauce!
“I never thought I would say it on My Kitchen Rules, but there was too much sauce,” laments the cheeky French chef.
He says the standard of contestants in MKR Australia and New Zealand is unbelievable.
“What I enjoy is how creative and ‘chefy’ some of the contestants are. And that they are bringing different cuisines of the world to the table.”
His recipe for MKR success is simple: deliver outstanding, home-cooked meals prepared with love. He wants teams to serve up their favourite dishes, the ones that invoke nostalgia and good memories, the ones they know inside out – just like the dishes he learnt from his mother and cooks for his own children, such as creamy cauliflower soup, tarragon roasted chicken and tarte tatin.
And he wouldn’t mind seeing some “cheaper cuts of meat and unusual seafood that other cuisines might use that we don’t necessarily know and use."
Manu is no stranger to innovative cooking himself. After completing a chef apprenticeship at his father’s bistro, he was bitten by the travel bug and packed his apron and headed to London.
Although he spoke no English, he began work at The Café Royal before rising through the ranks at restaurants such as Les Associes, Café des Amis du Vin and Livebait.
In 1999, Manu flew to Melbourne where he worked at Toofey’s for a short while before heading to Sydney.
After six months working alongside fellow My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans at his Hugos restaurant, Manu opened the kitchen at Hugos Lounge in Kings Cross.
Manu ran the kitchen for 18 months before he moved to Restaurant VII. During his reign, the restaurant’s exciting fusion of French and Japanese cuisine earned a coveted
Two Chef’s Hats from The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.
In 2004, acclaimed Australian chef Tony Bilson approached Manu to open his new venture Bilson’s at the Radisson Hotel. In its second year, the restaurant was awarded Two Chef Hats and Three Chef Hats the following year.
More success followed with the opening in March 2009 of his own restaurant - L’étoile in Paddington, Sydney. Specialising in classic French bistro food, it too was recognised with a Chef Hat.
In 2011, Manu released his first cookbook, Manu’s French Kitchen. He won Dancing with the Stars on Channel Seven and was crowned Chef of the Year at GQ’s annual Men of the Year Awards.
He released his second book, Manu’s French Bistro in 2012 followed by his third book, French for Everyone in 2014. He is currently writing his fourth book, due for release late in 2016.
"I look forward to seeing what the Kiwis can cook up for Manu and me!"
His personal mantra is “cook with love and laughter” and that’s exactly what co-host and judge Pete Evans wants to see from the new crop of MKR contestants.
“Love is the key ingredient for any successful dish,” says Pete.
Pete cites his mum’s spaghetti bolognaise as his favourite go-to dish. While he’s made a few tweaks to fit into his paleo philosophy, including upping the vegetable content and ditching the pasta, he says it is dishes that you’ve cooked many times which are more likely to contain that vital love ingredient.
A fan of nose-to-tail cooking, Pete was pleasantly surprised to be served numerous offal dishes at this year’s instant restaurants.
“The standard of cooking among our contestants has definitely lifted. Our home cooks have evolved – they are more multicultural, inspirational and a lot more seasonal.”
Pete is a man of many talents. In addition to co-hosting My Kitchen Rules since 2009, he is a respected chef, health coach, entrepreneur, author and father.
Born in Melbourne and raised on the Gold Coast, Pete’s passion for cooking was discovered early on.
“My cooking life really kicked off when I ditched going to university and became an apprentice chef so I could surf all day and then cooked all night. Not that that really ever eventuated...”
Pete has opened and consulted on eight award-winning restaurants over the last 25 years as a chef and loves catering large events where the pressure is definitely on.
The keen fisherman and seafood devotee has a raft of cooking shows under his belt both locally and internationally.
An accomplished author, Pete released his 11th cookbook recently titled “Fast Food for Busy Families”. He is a regular contributor to magazine titles Gourmet Traveller, Wellbeing as well as writing for Good Food and The West Australian Newspapers.
In recent years, Pete’s love of fresh, healthy and organic food along with his passion for nutrition and wellbeing has influenced his recipes and cooking style and he is now a health coach qualified through New York’s Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Pete’s latest project, The Paleo Way, is a healthy eating and wellness program. It consists of an online health program, a television program and a series of national speaking tours.
Pete is also an ambassador for the Australian Organic Schools Garden project.