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Manu’s emotional reunion with his dad

Raised by a single mum, he needed to complete the family recipe

He’s known for his vibrant personality as host of MKR New Zealand, but acclaimed chef Manu Feildel got raw and vulnerable as he reconnected with his dad and explored his family history in the Aussie version of genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?.

Having left France in his early twenties, Manu, now 50, travelled back to his homeland for the show to reconnect with his estranged father.

The beloved TV chef had a very emotionally charged day. He confesses to Woman’s Day that he broke down in tears when he and his dad Patrick laid eyes on each other for the first time in seven years.

Manu Feildel talking to a show presenter on the corner of a street
The chef on Who Do You Think You Are?

“When I saw him, the tears pooled in my eyes instantly,” admits Manu. He adds that his motivation to go on the show stemmed from a desire to better understand his father’s side of the family.

“My single mother brought me up, so I knew much more about my mother’s side. I didn’t know anything about my father’s side. So, when that came on offer, I thought, ‘I want to know all of it.’”

Manu’s father left when the future chef was just four years old. His mother Evelyne raised him and his sister Gaelle.

Evelyne worked in an electrical goods store. The TV personality has admitted in the past that the family struggled when he was young.

Eventually moving to Australia, Manu built a hugely successful career and an incredible life for himself. Seeing his father again has allowed him to put the past behind him.

The MKR star reunited with Patrick in France.

After filming concluded, Manu and his dad reunited over dinner and “a couple of whiskies,” he reveals.

“It was a very nice evening with him where we didn’t talk about the past. We were just talking about the present, which was nice.

“For the first time in my life, after trying to catch up with my dad through the last 30 or 40 years, I think that we finally can close that chapter and we now speak on the phone more than we’ve ever done before.”

Rekindling a relationship with his dad wasn’t the only emotional discovery Manu made. He also confirmed he’s descended from Vikings and unearthed generations of culinary excellence in his mother’s family.

“I knew my grandfather was a chef – a pastry chef – but I didn’t know anything before that,” he says. “The fact that I’ve got that line of 175 years in the food industry, I can only be proud. It’s something I would be happy to tell everyone about. It’s something I cherish.”

Manu is a proud father to Charlee and Jonti.

Following his father into the food sector, Manu believes his dad is proud of him carrying on the long-held family tradition.

“I started working with my dad when I was 15, so I had the opportunity to spend a whole year with him when I was young,” he says.

“I think he’s also very proud I’ve continued on in the cheffing industry. Even though he wasn’t there much, I still have a piece of him in me.”

Now back home in Sydney, Manu says he planned to watch the episode with his son Jonti, 18. He also hopes to share it with daughter Charlee, nine, when she’s older.

“It’s very emotional,” he admits. “I’m probably going to cry again, but I’m really proud of where I come from.”

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