RI­VALS ADD SPICE

The new sea­son of MyKitchenR­ules doesn’t stray too far from the rat­ings jug­ger­naut’s win­ning recipe, writes Siob­han Duck

Sunday Territorian - - TV -

CELEBRITY chefs Colin Fassnidge and Manu Feildel aren’t wor­ried that too many cooks will spoil the broth on Chan­nel 7 this year.

They say they are con­fi­dent that there’s more than enough room on Seven’s menu for Gary Me­hi­gan and Matt Pre­ston, and don’t feel re­motely threat­ened by the new re­cruits’ up­com­ing show Plate of Ori­gin.

In fact, Fassnidge be­lieves that sign­ing the for­mer MasterChef

Aus­tralia stars will give the net­work a win­ning recipe in

2020.

“We’re like an Ital­ian soc­cer team now be­cause we have the best TV chefs in the busi­ness here at Seven,” Fassnidge laughs.

“I think there’s room for ev­ery­body.”

The out­spo­ken Ir­ish­man is rather more pes­simistic about

MasterChef’s fu­ture with­out Me­hi­gan, Pre­ston and Ge­orge Calom­baris in the kitchen.

“I think we all know how it ( MasterChef Aus­tralia) will go with­out them,” he says wryly. “They were a big part of what made that show a suc­cess.”

Feildel agrees: “We were all shocked when Chan­nel 10 let the boys go but it was a great sur­prise to hear they were com­ing to Chan­nel 7. I have been friends with them for 15 years.

“I was on the first sea­son of

MasterChef ac­tu­ally and I have cooked with Gary and Matt be­fore. I think this is a great move for the boys and for Seven. I don’t think too many cooks will spoil this broth.”

While Fassnidge be­lieves

Ten was fool­ish to mess with its suc­cess­ful recipe, he’s adamant that Seven is do­ing the right thing by adding some ex­tra spice to MKR.

This year will see the re­turn of some of MKR’s most fa­mous – and in­fa­mous – con­tes­tants as well as a batch of new­com­ers.

Adding to the drama, the two groups live to­gether in lux­ury houses. They will then face off against each other with Feildel men­tor­ing the sea­soned MKR con­tes­tants and Fassnidge over­see­ing the re­al­ity rook­ies.

Pete Evans sits in judg­ment of every­one and has rel­ished watch­ing Feildel and Fassnidge go head-to-head.

“This is a lot of fun to be in the mid­dle of,” Evans laughs.

“Both men are like broth­ers to me. Their friendly rivalry is just that, good blokes at the top of their craft, not afraid to step up to the plate ( par­don the pun). They love each other dearly but also want to win at all costs.”

Fassnidge be­lieves the changes to the for­mat have made every­one – even the judges – bring their A-game.

“I was ex­cited when I found out they were do­ing this be­cause I think I was get­ting a bit com­pla­cent to be hon­est,” Fassnidge says. “I needed a shake-up. I sug­gested to them a few years ago that we should all have our own teams, but they didn’t lis­ten to me then.

“I think it’s ac­tu­ally the best sea­son we have done.”

Feildel says the new for­mat will give view­ers an op­por­tu­nity to see more of the “real Manu and the real Colin”.

“We are not just a judge or a host, we are chefs – that is what we were trained to do,” he says.

“I have been want­ing to spend more time in the kitchen and this al­lows me to do that. Plus, I get to com­pete against Colin so that makes it even bet­ter. Chefs, as you know, have big egos. We like to be the best. Com­pe­ti­tion is in our na­ture.”

Both men en­joyed help­ing the con­tes­tants hone their kitchen skills. They also dish up some life ad­vice on the side. “I would lis­ten to my con­tes­tants talk­ing about scor­ing and strat­egy and I would just say to them, ‘Fo­cus on the cook­ing’, be­cause ul­ti­mately it is the food which will win or lose the com­pe­ti­tion,” Feildel says.

Fassnidge has first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence with the very worst side of so­cial me­dia. In 2015, he went to the po­lice when a troll made threats against his young daugh­ters.

He coun­sels con­tes­tants about how to deal with some of the on­line ha­tred that comes with be­ing on re­al­ity TV. “They all go into it with their eyes open but they’re in the MKR bub­ble while we are film­ing,” he ex­plains.

“To­wards the end of it I al­ways have a chat with them about it (deal­ing with abuse and trolls). I tell them not to read the com­ments on so­cial me­dia and on Twit­ter be­cause it can get to you if you’re not in the right head space. We are all guilty of do­ing it (read­ing the com­ments when you know you shouldn’t). It’s hard not to some­times. I wasn’t pre­pared for some of the stuff that was said to me. Go­ing af­ter some­one’s fam­ily is just not on.”

There have been re­ports that the changes to MKR come as a means of com­pet­ing with Chan­nel 9’s sala­cious rat­ings­grab­ber Mar­ried at First Sight.

But Fassnidge scotches any sug­ges­tion that the show is go­ing down­mar­ket to at­tract view­ers.

“I think it’s hu­man na­ture, isn’t it? Peo­ple will al­ways want to watch that sort of train­wreck TV,” he says of MAFS.

“But our new CEO isn’t in­ter­ested in go­ing down that path. He’s more in­ter­ested in fam­ily val­ues and fam­ily-friendly view­ing.”

MY KITCHEN RULES: THE RI­VALS

Recipe for suc­cess: Colin Fassnidge, Pete Evans and Manu Feildel re­turn for MyKitchenR­ules:TheRi­vals.

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