Weighty rules

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - re­ports Zoe Nau­man

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.

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