Celebrity chef Manu Feildel opens up about his mother’s brave cancer battle and what she taught him, ahead of Mother’s Day.
Celebrity chef Manu Feildel opens up about his mother’s brave cancer battle and what she taught him, ahead of Mother’s Day.

Reality star reveals family cancer shock

They say the relationship between mother and child is at the crux of all love affairs to follow - and that includes a love of food.

Ask chefs the origin of their passion for cooking and chances are most will say their mother.

French celebrity chef Manu Feildel's first memories of the kitchen are powerful - watching his mother Evelyne (inset) chopping apples for a sweet tarte tatin (apple tart) and helping her bake a delicious marble cake while delighting in the taste and scent of her cooking.

In some ways, Feildel said, he has spent his life trying to recreate the pleasures of those moments and he will do just that this Sunday on Mother's Day.

Manu Feildel with his MKR co-star, Pete Evans. Picture: Seven
Manu Feildel with his MKR co-star, Pete Evans. Picture: Seven

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As Feildel prepares the usual breakfast in bed for his wife, Clarissa, with the help of their daughter, Charlee, he will be supporting his own mum. The Frenchman has teamed up with the Breast Cancer Trials to raise funds for those affected by breast cancer including Evelyne (pictured, with her son) who was recently diagnosed with the disease.

"She was incredibly lucky as it was caught early," Feildel said.

"Thankfully, she is recovering well while living with my stepdad in France."

 

‘It was caught early’. Manu, right, with his mother, Evelyne. Picture: Supplied
‘It was caught early’. Manu, right, with his mother, Evelyne. Picture: Supplied

Raised in Nantes in the northwest of the country, Feildel enjoyed rustic, home-cooked food made from fresh ingredients. And even though his mum worked full-time while raising two kids, Feildel said she always made time for them.

"She was a single mum, yet she worked hard and looked after us," he said. "We had a great childhood.

"Mum also taught us three important lessons in life - don't lie, don't steal and work hard. Unfortunately, she wasn't good at finance and passed that on to me."

Feildel believes mothers are the key to recipes being passed down from generation to generation and responsible for keeping food traditions alive.

Celebrity chef Manu Feildel with his wife Clarissa Feildel, far right, and their daughter, Charlee, ahead of Mother’s Day. Picture: Richard Dobson
Celebrity chef Manu Feildel with his wife Clarissa Feildel, far right, and their daughter, Charlee, ahead of Mother’s Day. Picture: Richard Dobson

"My mother really gave me the love of cooking," he said. "She taught my sister and me how to create so many dishes in our kitchen. Much of the inspiration for my first cookbook - Manu's French Kitchen - was from recipes Mum cooked or taught me to cook over the years."

At home, Feildel's favourite food is the simplest. "It's a top notch bacon in a bread roll with lots of butter."

The My Kitchen Rules is asking Australians to donate to breast cancer research. And those who donate via Breast Cancer Trials will be treated to an exclusive virtual cooking masterclass to enjoy with their mum. Streaming live from his home, Feildel, an Australian Eggs ambassador, will cook some of his favourite French recipes, including a raspberry souffle, and share tips on cooking with eggs.

Streaming via Breast Cancer Trials' private Facebook page on May 16 at 2pm. Donate at breastcancertrials.org.au

Originally published as MKR star reveals family cancer shock


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