The reality of chefs’ TV rivalry
EVERYONE loves an underdog, and there are plenty to barrack for in the new season of My Kitchen Rules.
In the reality cooking show's new rivals format, a house of fresh-faced fans mentored by Colin Fassnidge will go up against a house of returning favourites mentored by Manu Feildel. Co-host Pete Evans will act as a neutral judge, attending all of the instant restaurants for both houses.
Fassnidge isn't fussed about having the newbies. In fact, he takes it as a compliment.
"I'm a better chef, so I get the harder group. Manu doesn't have to do a lot," he says. "I've got to mentor and guide the new teams. Obviously Seven knows who the better chef is."
While he and Manu are good mates off camera - even spending Christmas together with their families - the cheeky Irishman says it was "gloves off" as soon as they stepped into the kitchen.
"I'll step over him to get where I want to go. It's pretty much like a boxing match," Fassnidge says. "As a mentor you're a bit more invested because it's your head on the chopping block.
"In some of the challenges there were a lot of tears, and people were broken and giving up. You've got to hug it out and bring them back - talk them back. I've got nicer in the past few years apparently. I'm the nice one now."
Fassnidge says he wasn't tempted to score the all-star teams lower to benefit his own house.
"I understand it's House Colin and House Manu, but I don't want to see anybody do bad, except maybe Sophia; she's not on my Christmas card list," he says.
"If you look at MKR I'm the most consistent in judging. Pete just gives 10s to everybody. When I give a 10 it's a big thing."
Feildel says it wasn't all smooth sailing with his returning all-stars, which include season four winners Dan and Steph.
"Some were a bit stubborn at times," he says.
"But I've enjoyed every minute of it. We've seen some really good food and a lot less fighting. I', always saying to the guys focus on the food. Don't get revenge, just get even with the food."
A new team has also been created with returning villains Romel, from season 10, and Sophia, from season four.
"What happens when you've'g totwo sticks of dynamite and put them together?" Feildel says.
"I'm not going to say anything about those guys, except it's going to be fun to watch."
MKR: The Rivals premieres on Sunday at 7pm on Seven.