Hosts on their guard

MyKitchenRules has been both a sweet and sour ex­pe­ri­ence for hosts Pete Evans and Manu Feildel, writes HOLLY BYRNES

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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