TV

My Kitchen Rules judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans answer our burning questions

Like the good blokes they are, they found time in their busy schedules to indulge us. But which one admits to 2 minute noodles being his guilty pleasure?

By Emma Land
The Aussie version of My Kitchen Rules is set to return to our screens next week, and judging by some of the reports to come out of 'the lucky country', this season is set to be the most explosive yet (think one team getting kicked off early after a heated altercation).
Our favourite judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans are back for another jam-packed season. But they weren't too busy to answer our burning questions.
Manu, your wife is Malaysian, and a pretty good cook we hear. What has she taught you about cooking?
"Pretty much everything! Clarissa is an amazing cook. Her mother taught her everything about cooking, as did her grandmother and so on. Her mother is Chinese Malaysian, so there is a lot of Chinese food and a lot of Malaysian food, but her dad is Sri Lankan so I get a lot of that too. She's taught me three different dishes, and I'm capable of cooking them, but I tend to do a lot of the chopping for her!"
Pete, your wife is a Kiwi. Are there any NZ dishes or foods that she's introduced to you?
"Nothing as such, but she's been instrumental in promoting the love of Bluff Oysters, but that's probably it. I do love the seafood that you have in New Zealand, I think it's some of the best in the world."
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Our former Prime Minister Bill English recently extolled the virtues of pineapple and tinned spaghetti on pizza. Does fruit ever have a place on pizza in your opinion?
Manu
"Fruit has a place in some savoury dishes of the world, like the French associate duck and orange sauce together, so I do understand that some combinations works, but pineapple on pizza – not for me thank you very much."
Pete
"It depends, I follow a paleo approach to everything so pizza's these days aren't really on the menu. I'm happy to have a chat with him and discuss health and nutrition though."
Manu and Pete pretty much both agree that pineapples are best enjoyed on their own - or in cocktails.
What's the one new ingredient we should be looking out for in 2018?
Manu
"Something that we've lost a love for is offal. My parents, grandparents and great grandparents would eat offal on a weekly basis and we've kind of lost that. I think it's a beautiful product."
Pete
"It's not a new ingredient, but I think it's going back to basics, and that is nose-to-tail cooking and using the whole animal, whether it's liver, heart, marrow, or kidney. I think this is the future, and definitely from a nutritional point of view it's where it's at, and from a chef's point of view its where it's at. But it's about re-educating the home cooks to how our parents and grandparents used to eat, that's where we need to head again."
What's your go-to dish when you really can't be bothered cooking?
Manu
"I love 2-minute noodles! And I've got a little trick, cook the noodles in boiling water for two minutes, and add the sachet that has all the flavour in it, then sieve it through so you have the soup in a mug. Then grate cheese in the noodles and drink the stock separately."
Manu confesses his love of 2 minute noodles - and that's why we adore him.
Pete
"I always love cooking, but generally speaking I only have one or two meals a day maximum, so it's pretty simple when you eat a low carb paleo approach your body finds its happy place so to speak, and you don't crave or need to eat as much, you just eat quality. And that's very refreshing."
This will be your ninth season of MRK Australia. What are you hoping to see this season that you haven't seen previously?
Manu
"We've seen a lot, but we keep on being surprised by new cuisines and new techniques that come through, and this series is no different."
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Pete
"The highlight for me this year is the different styles and cultures that were represented around the table and in the kitchen. We had teams from Jordan, Russia, a team from Vietnam, Italians being represented we had country Tasmania, so we had a really good mix of ethnicities. Even though everyone is Australian, we got drawn into some really fantastic cultural heritage. That to me is always the best part of MKR, and being introduced to new kinds of food. Delicious food can never be denied, no matter where it comes from, and that's what we're looking for in the competition and that's what keeps Manu and I coming back for more."
What's the worst food trend you've seen in recent memory?
Manu
"There's a lot of them. I think the worst that I can think of is overdoing it, and charging a lot of money for things that don't cost a lot. If you're going to do a little dish with sardines, which are a very very cheap fish to use, and charge $30 for it, I'd be annoyed."
Pete
"The low-fat diet movement is probably the worst food trend that could have happened, which has happened, which is why our countries are in crisis. "
Truffles – worth the money or not?
Manu
"It all depends, if you know how to use truffles it's worth the money, if you don't know anything about it, then don't even bother. It's like champagne, you can have a glass of sparkling wine and you can have a glass of champagne, if you know anything about wine go for champagne. If you just want to get pissed go for the cheap stuff!"
Pete
"It depends who's using them. They can be used the wrong way and lost, then it's a waste of money, but in the right hands with the right dish it can be a once in a lifetime adventure of indulgence. I love it, but I probably have it once every few years."
If you were cooking for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding reception, what would be on the menu?
Manu
"Wow, I'd freak out to be honest. If I had to cook for them, seafood is something I love to cook with, so I'd go for all seafood."
Pete
"I don't know, they'd have to ask me. Whatever they'd like, hopefully some Kiwi or Aussie cuisine."
If money wasn't an object, what is the one dish you'd fly anywhere in the world for?
Manu
"Wow, that's an amazing question. I would go to Peru, and try the guinea pigs, which is a Peruvian delicacy."
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Pete
"Well when I'm away I'd fly home to eat my wife's delicious cooking, she's one of the best cooks and I love her food because we get it from the garden and it's cooked with love and respect."
My Kitchen Rules returns Monday 12 February at 7:30pm on TVNZ 2.