CELEBRITY

EXCLUSIVE: Manu Feildel dishes on the dramatic changes to My Kitchen Rules

"The show is going back to how it was in the beginning"
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After a two-year hiatus, fans were delighted to see My Kitchen Rules back on screens last week, but things aren’t looking quite the same as they used to. 

Watch Below: First look at My Kitchen Rules 2022

Following its 2020 axing due to declining ratings, the once popular home cooking competition has undergone some drastic changes, including replacing one of the big-name judges who had been with it from the start.

Pete Evans, who made headlines over the last couple of years for his controversial anti-vax views, is out in favour of Nigella Lawson. 

The British food writer and TV cook joins long-term co-host and judge Manu Feildel for a season that promises to be “the best”.

“Peter and I are still very good friends,” Manu exclusively tells New Idea as he invites us into his Sydney home to share dumplings with his wife Clarissa and seven-year-old daughter Charlee. 

“And we know things have changed a lot during COVID. And that’s one of the things that’s had to change.”

Manu Feildel
MKR has undergone some drastic changes. (Credit: New Idea)

Back to basics 

A new co-host isn’t the only change that the French-born chef suggests had to happen. 

After 11 seasons, Manu felt the program was relying too much on the drama between the contestants at the dinner table, but this year the heat is staying in the kitchen. 

“The concept is going back to how it was at the beginning, where it was all about good food and nothing else. There is no backstabbing this year,” he promises.

Manu Feildel
“I think she’s going to be a great cook when she grows up.” (Credit: New Idea)

Perfect pairing

Working with Nigella, Manu says, has been an “absolute pleasure”.  

The pair had only met each other a few times before she flew Down Under for filming, but they have now formed a solid friendship.

Their pedigrees couldn’t be more different. Manu trained to be a professional chef at some of London’s best restaurants. 

Nigella took a very different path. The 62-year-old foodie graduated from Oxford uni with a degree in medieval and modern languages, before embarking on a career in journalism. 

After a stint as a food critic, she parlayed her passion into a series of several very successful cookbooks and shows. 

But just like strawberries and balsamic vinegar, the pair turned out to be each other’s perfect accompaniment. 

“I think my background as a professional chef with her experience as a home cook just balances out very well,” Manu explains. 

“We are very different critics and bring a different perspective which covers all bases.”

Manu Feildel
Manu admits he was “pretty much born in the kitchen”. (Credit: New Idea)

Full circle

As a fourth-generation chef, Manu admits he was “pretty much born in the kitchen”. 

His earliest memories involve helping out his dad and grandfather, and cooking is a passion that he’s now passing on to Charlee. 

“Charlee loves to cook and every afternoon she jumps up on the stool to help out,” Manu says. 

“I think she’s going to be a great cook when she grows up.” 

Manu also has a 17-year-old son from an earlier relationship, Jonti, who isn’t such a big fan of helping out in the kitchen, but loves to share the spoils. 

“He likes to eat so I enjoy cooking for him,” Manu says. “He’ll make some scrambled eggs for breakfast, but that’s pretty much it.”

Watch Below: Manu Feildel’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs Recipe

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Family first

Manu tied the knot with Clarissa in 2018 after they started dating in 2011. 

After over a decade together, they still appear as happy as newlyweds as we join them at home. 

Manu says the secret to their happy union is simple.   

“Constantly agreeing,” he says with a laugh.  “It takes a communication and lots of trust. Just like all couples we have our moments, but deciding to work through it together is key.”

While Manu boasts that Clarissa is also great cook, you won’t find them in the kitchen every night. 

“We love to get a takeaway pizza,” he says.

For more, pick up a copy of New Idea. On sale now!

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