The Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

FIONA BYRNE: Thanks for your time, Pete. How did you start your day?

PETE EVANS: My wife and I do tea most morn­ings. It is like a rit­ual. So this morn­ing we woke up, we go to the beach for an hour, have a swim in the ocean pool, take the dog for a walk and then come back and do tea. We drink prob­a­bly 500ml to a litre of beau­ti­ful black tea from Tai­wan or China and it is a beau­ti­ful cer­e­mony. We do that at sun­rise, which is beau­ti­ful.

FB: When you signed up for

My Kitchen Rules 10 sea­sons ago did you think the show would be this suc­cess­ful?

PE: I was lucky enough to work with Fox­tel when I started my first job in tele­vi­sion, which is nearly 20 years ago, and my first se­ries was called Home on the Life­style Chan­nel and that ran for pretty much seven years. Then I did a show called Fish and then one called Fresh, which I did for 400 episodes. Then My

Kitchen Rules popped up. I al­ways have the in­ten­tion that any­one I work with, it is go­ing to be a long-term relationship.

FB: Have you had of­fers from other net­works try­ing to lure you away from Seven?

PE: No. None. If I put the en­ergy out there then po­ten­tially the of­fers or op­por­tu­ni­ties would come, but it is like any­thing in life. If you are in a relationship with some­body and you are happy in that relationship gen­er­ally those temp­ta­tions or op­por­tu­ni­ties don’t arise. I have worked with Fox­tel and Chan­nel 9 and I left on great terms and that is my in­ten­tion al­ways.

FB: A decade is a life­time in TV. Ten years down the track, does MKR still chal­lenge and ex­cite you?

PE: What I have loved so far on this jour­ney, if we are talk­ing about tele­vi­sion, is the amount of growth I have had from my very first day. I was the green­est, shyest, most novice, most am­a­teur, most scared per­son ever to step in front of a cam­era. I am now 18 years into the me­dia side of this ca­reer and the growth I have ex­pe­ri­enced is huge and now I am step­ping into an­other role pro­duc­ing my own films and TV shows.

FB: Have there been any

MKR con­tes­tants who re­ally made an im­pact on you for good or bad rea­sons?

PE: I am em­ployed to be a judge and a co-host on My

Kitchen Rules and it is a job I take very se­ri­ously and with great responsibility. How­ever many peo­ple en­ter this com­pe­ti­tion each year there are only two peo­ple who win. Even in my years of run­ning my own busi­nesses one of the hard­est things you can do is let some­body go. These con­tes­tants have sac­ri­ficed so much to be on the show. They have put their hearts and souls into it and they have had to leave their fam­i­lies (to film the se­ries) and ba­si­cally Manu and I have to re­move 95 per cent of them and that is why we don’t take it lightly. We do care about these peo­ple. We want them to have a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence on the program. But ul­ti­mately, we ba­si­cally sack most of them and it is the hard­est part of our job.

FB: What makes My Kitchen

Rules work?

PE: It is the per­fect recipe. It has got the drama, the ed­u­ca­tion, the tears, the bit­ter­ness, the spici­ness, the sour­ness, it has some­thing for ev­ery­body and it is re­ally in­ter­est­ing. It de­pends on what you fo­cus on. I fo­cus on the evo­lu­tion of the con­tes­tants, I fo­cus on my per­sonal growth and I also fo­cus on the beau­ti­ful mo­ments that hap­pen on the show. Ev­ery­body has a dif­fer­ent per­cep­tion of the show and gen­er­ally how you per­ceive the show could be a mir­ror into how you per­ceive your­self in your life.

FB: You are one of Aus­tralia’s most suc­cess­ful and pop­u­lar TV pre­sen­ters and au­thors, but you also are a con­tro­versy mag­net. Not ev­ery­one ac­cepts your ar­gu­ments about health and diet. How does that af­fect you?

PE: There are con­ver­sa­tions now in main­stream me­dia about things, ideas or con­cepts that I use my­self, or im­ple­ment my­self, or have the be­lief or phi­los­o­phy about, that have be­come talk­ing points for the me­dia. I think that is f---ing bril­liant that peo­ple are now talk­ing about these things in a way that pro­motes con­ver­sa­tion, dis­cus­sion and fur­ther re­search. Amer­ica and Canada are so far in front of where Aus­tralia is. They are so open-minded and they ac­cept these things that you are talk­ing about that seem con­tro­ver­sial. I don’t take all this (con­tro­versy) on my­self be­cause there are lots of peo­ple talk­ing about these top­ics whether it is low carb, whether it is the in­dus­tries that are po­ten­tially not do­ing the planet, our own health, and the com­ing gen­er­a­tions health, any good. If we are go­ing to catch up to dif­fer­ent parts of the world and if this is part of the process then fan­tas­tic, so be it.

FB: Who do you ad­mire the most?

PE: My­self. If we can’t be in­spired by our own self, if we can­not ad­mire our­selves … if you can­not start by lov­ing your­self, then how can you love oth­ers? I had a friend say, “you can’t say that in main­stream me­dia, peo­ple will think you are a f---wit.” I go, “But it is the truth.” Let’s just start speak­ing the truth and see what hap­pens.

FB: What comes next for Pete Evans?

PE: I have not even started. Ev­ery day we start again and I have got so many things in the works. I don’t have a PA, I don’t have a man­ager, I don’t have an agent, I don’t have an as­sis­tant, no pub­li­cist, it is just me. What is next is more of the same but on a larger scale.

My beach rules: Chef Pete Evans re­laxes at Mal­abar on the NSW coast. Picture: Adam Tay­lor

All smiles: With Manu Feildel, left, and an In­sta­gram picture of Evans and his chil­dren on their way to Ta­ma­rama to surf.

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