Manu savours seven years of My Kitchen Rules
IN A perfect world, Manu Feildel would give out high scores every night on My Kitchen Rules.
But things are never that simple on the reality cooking show, now in its seventh season, which puts aspiring home cooks through their paces.
"As judges we hate criticising food," he tells APN.
"We like giving good scores and enjoying ourselves around the table.
"Every year there seem to be more and more people interested in food and for that reason we've got better cooks this year, which makes it so much better for us."
There are still a few disasters in the upcoming instant restaurants, during which home cooks serve up a three-course meal to Feildel, his co-host Pete Evans and five other teams.
"There are still some who think they can cook but they can't," he says.
"I wish they could get the message that it's better to start slow and get the basics right, then as the competition goes on you start building the knowledge; that's all we want. It's a cooking show about home cooks. We're not trying to get them to be professional in a few weeks.
"We just want to enjoy good, basic, home-cooked food."
The arrival of the well-dressed Feildel and Evans at the door still sends many of the contestants into fits of the giggles.
"It's a little embarrassing at times, what can I say? It's what they call star-struck I suppose," he says.
"They see you on the screen and then you're suddenly sitting there next to them.
"When we started we never thought we'd have a second, third or fourth series, so to even be talking about seven is pretty amazing. It seems the show is liked by a lot of people and we still enjoy making it."
The new season features a mystery female guest judge who will join Colin Fassnidge for an expected, but yet to be revealed, third round of instant restaurants.
"It's a little splash of colour I suppose," Feildel says.
"Every year we need to bring a few different things to make it a little bit new. This lady is coming around for a few episodes and shares time with Mr Fassnidge. I think they're a good pair together."
Someone who hasn't made a good first impression on Feildel is fitness fanatic Jessica, who will be seen clashing heads with the French chef over what constitutes healthy food in the second round of instant restaurants.
"I think Jessica probably needs to prove something to herself or the world and she's trying a bit too hard," he says.
"There's always one, you know? There's always one who's a bit over-the-top and so on. This year we've got Jessica.
"You need all kinds of people to make the world go round."
My Kitchen Rules season seven premieres on Monday at 7.30pm on Channel 7.