MY Kitchen Rules judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans agree there is one potential downside to heading up the successful cooking show – putting on weight from eating all that fabulous food.
Both chefs agree with the benchmark set higher than ever on the Channel Seven show, the contestants pulled out all the stops with some pretty delectable dishes.
For Feildel, 37, eating those extra calories is something he pays the price for every season: ‘‘ I usually put on about five to six kilos every time. I am a bit of a yoyo thanks to MKR – it goes down and then goes up,’’ he says.
‘‘ It’s a very tough gig for the contestants – they are away from their families and friends for a long time. We throw big challenges at them every day. We travel a lot – there is a lot of stress and there is a lot of happiness as well. We finished a few weeks ago and I am back on the treadmill. I’ve put that weight back on as usual.’’
Co- host and judge Pete Evans takes a different attitude towards his weight while filming and brings his own food while he is not critiquing the contestants’ dishes: ‘‘ I cook for myself when we are travelling, and on set I bring my own food so I am not eating the catering food,’’ he says.
Evans, 39, was criticised recently after revealing he likes eating activated almonds and cultured vegetables as part of his diet.
But he says he doesn’t let his own eating preferences affect his decisions on the contestants: ‘‘ When I am judging the food I judge it for what it is and I look at technique, skill, flavour, taste, presentation. It’s not a healthy cooking competition – it’s a cooking competition,’’ he says.
This year two groups of six couples will fight it out, pitching state against state.
The judges are joined by Dublin- born chef Colin Fassnidge, who will give contestants a no- holds- barred opinion.
Evans says: ‘‘ He is a very well- respected chef and says what he thinks. He doesn’t hold back, that’s for sure.’’
But all of the chefs are agreed that this season the competition is fiercer than ever: ‘‘ I think they are pushing themselves and the boundaries. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,’’ Evans says.
MY KITCHEN RULES, Southern Cross, premieres tomorrow, 7.30pm MKR not only tests the contestants’ skills but also the judges’ waistlines,
RULING PARTY: MKR judges Manu Feildel, left, and Pete Evans.