Hosts on their guard
MyKitchenRules has been both a sweet and sour experience for hosts Pete Evans and Manu Feildel, writes HOLLY BYRNES
EVEN before an episode of Seven’s My Kitchen Rules has aired, season eight has left a sour taste in the mouths of hosts Pete Evans and Manu Feildel.
Not just because of the continuing cloud of controversy which seems to follow Evans and his provocative paleo lifestyle (more on that later).
But specifically, what was served up to them by contestants this year.
“We had a lot of pickles this year. Pickles on top of pickles,” Feildel tells TV Guide, eyes rolling. “Every cuisine, every vegetable, we had pickles on every bloody dish.” Even dessert? “Oh yeah,” Evans explains, “they pickled fruit”, prompting the two mates and celebrated chefs to double over laughing.
While the restaurant trend tested the palettes of Evans and Feildel, they remain enthusiastic and impressed by the evolution of the food served and the talent shown by this latest group of home cooks.
Contestants who hit each judge’s sweet spot have helped: serving Feildel his requisite jug of sauce, or Evans’ preference for “meat and three veg”.
Miss those marks this year and the punishment is swift.
“If I’ve got to ask you one more time, ‘Where is the sauce?’” Feildel says, “that’s it, we’ve moved on.”
“And if it’s out of a jar,” Evans adds. “You’ve seen what happens when people do that on the show, but they still do it.”
While the show’s formula has largely stayed the same, Evans says: “After eight years, it feels just as fresh now as it did in year one.”
Seven executives will be sweating on their top-ratings recipe returning the same dividends, especially given the competition this year from a more worthy rival in Nine’s expanded Married At First Sight series.
But for Evans especially, the highs have come with many lows, in the form of a sustained attack and criticism of his promotion of the paleo, or caveman, diet.
Feildel for one “doesn’t understand” the aggressive and more often than not personal targeting of ‘paleo Pete’.
“People are making changes in their life to be happy, why do you [critics] have to go and take such a negative path with it?” he asks.
“If you don’t believe in it, don’t worry about it.”
Evans has resisted the urge to argue back, accusing the mainstream media of misrepresenting his views, and the science he claims supports it, for clickbait.
“I don’t think I’ve ever said it, but I don’t want to give [critics] the oxygen to promote [their] story,” he says.
Of the key accusations levelled against him – that he promotes broth stock and camel’s milk over breastmilk for babies – he states, for the record: “that was a lie ... never have I said that.”
“This is what was actually said ... that if there was a mother that was looking to have dairy for herself while breast-feeding, not for the baby, then camel milk is less allergic, less inflammatory, from science, than cow’s milk. But the next day it was, ‘Pete says feed your babies f *cking camel’s milk!’,” he says.
“At the end of the day, I’m telling people to eat meat and three veg. That’s it in a fricken nutshell. If anyone finds that weird, they should look at themselves in the mirror.”
Hungry for more: MyKitchenRules hosts Pete Evans and Manu Feildel.