And go for it he did! The beloved TV personality cut out carbs, sugar and alcohol from his diet and visited the gym five days a week. Four months later, Manu had lost 12kg.
“I’m very proud I’ve finally got to where I wanted to go,” he says. “After four months, I was 12 kilos down and I am still the same weight today, so I am really happy.
“You don’t think it’s a lot of weight, but then you put your clothes on and you go, ‘Oh, I’ve lost two sizes of clothes,’ and that’s pretty cool.”
However, Manu had some help. “I did it with my wife so we could help each other,” he shares. “Every morning we drop the kids to school and go to the gym together, and we have both lost 12 kilos each. So, she has a new husband and I have a new wife.”
While the couple have completely overhauled their lifestyle, Manu admits that they still treat themselves occasionally.
“After the initial four months, we now have weekends off,” he reveals. “We go back on the naughty food and have a couple of glasses of wine.”
For Manu, losing the weight hasn’t just meant a new wardrobe, it has also meant a whole new attitude to life.
“I have more energy and I am so much happier,” he reveals.
“It’s good especially for my son, Jonti, 14, because he plays a lot of sport and I’ve got to be part of it, so it’s nice to be able to run on the field without feeling like a hippopotamus.”
Speaking of his children, the Australia’s Got Talent judge revealed that his two children are showing signs of their own talents.
“My daughter, Charlee, [aged 4], loves to sing,” he says.
“But I’m crossing my fingers that Jonti gets given the chance to play rugby league professionally. He is doing very well.”
In the meantime, Manu is having a blast as a judge on the talent show, and is thrilled to showcase the incredible acts that Australia has to offer. And he admits that he loves to get up on stage and participate in as many of the acts he can.
“The acts are so different from one to another,” he shares.
“It’s always like, ‘Oh what’s going to happen next?’ Some people bring machines on the stage or sharp knives or animals, and part of the fun is getting involved.”
But he does admit that, given the fact he attended circus school before he became a chef, he has high standards when it comes to magic performances.
“I am hard on magicians,” he says. “I think because I know the tricks of the trade, I suppose, but magic
is very hard, [they] have to be very good at it to amaze you.”
As for who he presses the golden buzzer for, Manu is keeping tight-lipped.
“All I can say is the judges all went for all different types of acts,” he reveals.
“But it’s stressful because we only get to press it once each, and you are like, ‘shall I or shall I not?’ because the following day there might be better performers.”