My Kitchen Rules

EXCLUSIVE: The MKR Judges talk new-season drama

“To be honest, it’s often the ladies more than the men [who cause the drama].”

By: Kietley Isrin

Food and fights go hand in hand on reality cooking competition My Kitchen Rules.

Now in its ninth season, the show is known for serving up tantalising – and sometimes not so tantalising – dishes.

But it's usually the heated moments and squabbling around the dinner table that really gets viewers talking. And this season is shaping up to be no different.

In December last year, Channel Seven confirmed that "an incident" took place, resulting in one of the teams allegedly being dropped from the competition.

Exactly what took place is still unknown. But when TV WEEK catches up with judges Pete Evans, Colin Fassnidge and Manu Feildel ahead of the series launch, they admit even they have been shocked by the contestants' behaviour.

"There's a bit of a conflict," French foodie Manu reveals.

"Unfortunately, when you put a bunch of people around a table who've never met each other, it's bound to happen. There are a few hot-headed people in there."

While Manu is careful not to mention the names of this season's troublemakers, the 43-year-old says their poor behaviour left a bad taste in his mouth.

"To be honest, it's often the ladies more than the men [who cause the drama]," Manu declares.

He adds that he isn't one to just sit and watch it all unfold.

"When something happens, we walk away," he says." Because, frankly, that's not what myself and the judges are there for.

"Viewers love the little fights here and there – but when there's too much, it's no longer about the cooking."

Last season's Caitie and Demi dishing up a delight.

Manu says the recipe for any great show is about finding the perfect balance of ingredients."If you've only got nice people on the show, it's going to be boring to watch," the chef explains.

"You have to be realistic. Whether it's a cooking, dancing or singing show, there always needs to be enough competition. It's part of the game."

Meanwhile, Colin, fellow MKR judge and resident firecracker, isn't one to hold back when asked how he thinks this year's contestants compare to those from previous seasons.

"There were maybe two groups I didn't really like last year," the cheeky 44-year-old Irish chef reveals.

Despite his personal opinion, Colin maintains he always treats contestants with the utmost respect.

"I always try to go into the kitchen and have a laugh with them," he explains. "Because I understand they're investing a lot of time from their lives.

"You have to think, they're not just contestants – they've actually got families and kids and all sorts."

Last year's champs on the Nipper's Challenge.

Chef Pete Evans reveals that while he's aware of the drama, he prefers to keep his attention on the competition.

"Every year we get different cultures and age groups," the 44-year-old says. "It's always a mixed bag. That's what's so great about this show."

He explains that he far prefers being in the kitchen with the contestants than at dinner-table disputes.

"That's where we are most of the time," Pete says. "We're watching what happens in the kitchen rather than what's going on at the dinner table."

My Kitchen Rules airs Monday to Wednesday, 7.30pm on Channel Seven.