“Manu and I are best of friends, but when we get into the kitchen it’s like two fighters – the gloves come off,” Colin jokes to New Idea.
“In the kitchen, we’re just out to do each other over, but then on the way home we get a lift together and we’re friends.”
But with a team of MKR rookies, Colin is worried Manu, who has previous contestants, might have the upper hand.
“I was a bit perturbed as Manu has got past winners, grand finalists and people who have done quite well on his team,” Colin says.
“I have been given the teams who haven’t cooked before, so I’ve got a harder job.”
But not one to take things too seriously, he adds with a cheeky laugh: “Obviously that means I’m the better chef.
“They gave the French guy that can’t really cook the other group.”
What’s more, this season will see the contestants live and cook in two Sydney houses, which meant a lot less travelling for the judges.
Colin was particularly thrilled with the new set-up as it meant that he could spend more time with his family while filming. In fact, he even brought his daughters, Lily, 10, and Maeve, 8, to the set.
“My girls would come to set and raid the cameraman’s lolly stash, empty the place and leave,” he laughs.
But despite them having a famous dad, Colin admits that his girls still think he’s a “dork”. “I was cracking some of my best gags on set,” he says. “They were rolling their eyes saying, ‘You’re an embarrassment’.”
Colin may have a reputation as a hot-head chef, but away from the stress of the kitchen, he’s very much the calm family man. He even credits his children for helping him get his life on track.
“I think the only reason I have been successful is because I had kids,” he says. “I mean, I was a successful chef, I had every award there was to win, but I was very angry, because that’s the pressure of the lifestyle you live.
“Then I had kids and I’m like, ‘I am not going to have a heart attack over someone’s dinner, and I didn’t have kids not to see them.’
“So, I did less work and the business got better. Years ago, I never would have done TV, but I thought, ‘if you’ve got an opportunity, take it’. It’s what I tell the kids.”
While Colin never thought he would end up on TV, he wouldn’t change it for the world.
“TV pays better,” he jokes. “It’s the same with Pete [Evans] and Manu. We started as kitchenhands, washing pots and pans, then we were chefs, which isn’t a glamorous job, then next thing we are getting three people doing our hair and makeup and it’s like, ‘Look where we are at!’
“It’s a different world, but it’s interesting in TV-land to see everyone with all these jobs and how it all comes together. It’s a little bit like a kitchen.”
Mkr: The Rivals starts Sun. 7pm
For more, see this week's New Idea - out now!