Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

Gary) are any worse, they’ve just de­cided to open up and play the game.

‘‘ You have to look at it as a game. You want to be the last team stand­ing. A lot of money is at stake.’’

Most crit­ics la­belled My Kitchen Rules a Masterchef ripoff when it pre­miered in 2010.

Since then, MKR has gone from strength to strength. Twonights-a-week turned into fivenights-a-week, and it in­creased its rat­ings ev­ery time.

Evans, who had been a guest judge on Masterchef, says the two shows are com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

‘‘ You’re not go­ing to see con­tes­tants mak­ing a cro­quem­bouche or V8 cake on My Kitchen Rules. There is no room for He­ston Blu­men­thal in the MKR kitchen.

‘‘ Our show has an im­me­di­ate au­di­ence con­nec­tion,’’ Evans says. ‘‘ You get to know the teams quickly and get straight into their homes.

‘‘ It is won­der­ful to see how they in­ter­act.’’ Feildel agrees. ‘‘ It puts a lot of pres­sure on cou­ples,’’ Feildel says.

‘‘ Would I want to do it (be a con­tes­tant?) I’m not sure. Last year there were some rocky re­la­tion­ships be­tween cou­ples.

‘‘ What view­ers don’t see is the amount of stress those peo­ple go through.’’

The suc­cess of My Kitchen Rules does have a down­side for Feildel and Evans.

For Feildel, it is an ex­pand­ing waist­line. The French heart­throb reck­ons he put on 10kg judg­ing the cur­rent se­ries.

Last year, Feildel was able to slim down by be­ing a con­tes­tant on Danc­ing with the Stars.

This year, he has had to hire a per­sonal trainer to help shed the un­wanted ki­los.

Evans has had to with­stand the me­dia glare on his per­sonal and busi­ness life.

Last month it was re­vealed that Evans had walked out of his Hu­gos res­tau­rant af­ter a bit­ter feud with his brother, and busi­ness part­ner, Dave.

The two are said to be no longer on speak­ing terms.

‘‘ Pete has had less and less to do with the busi­ness as he spends 10 months a year work­ing full time on MKR and his other tele­vi­sion and book com­mit­ments,’’ a Hu­gos Group spokes­woman said.

At the same time, Evans fi­nally broke his si­lence about his ro­mance with model girl­friend Nicky Wat­son.

It came six months af­ter he split with Astrid Ellinger, his part­ner of 11 years. The cou­ple have two young chil­dren, Chilli and Indi.

Wat­son was once mar­ried to mil­lion­aire War­riors rugby league club owner Eric Wat­son.

Evans says the me­dia scru­tiny is a small price to pay for be­ing part of a show that, he be­lieves, has the abil­ity to change peo­ple’s habits.

Evans is a staunch ad­vo­cate of health­ier eat­ing.

‘‘ If peo­ple want to know more about my pri­vate life (be­cause of the suc­cess of MKR), so be it,’’ Evans says. My Kitchen Rules, Chan­nel 7, semi-fi­nals start Sun­day, 7.30pm; the grand final is on Tues­day, 7.30pm

Look sharp: Manu Feildel and Pete Evans; be­low, Evans with

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