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My Kitchen Rules

EXCLUSIVE: Nigella Lawson admits Manu Feildel is such “a tease” behind the scenes on My Kitchen Rules

"It doesn’t upset me because it just feels affectionate.”

By Woman's Day team
There are two reasons why Nigella Lawson is itching to start her new role as host of Seven's reboot of My Kitchen Rules.
"I love Australia, I always feel at home here," Nigella, 62, tells Woman's Day.
"The quality of food in Australia is also just so good. The produce is great and varied, and yet it's not fussy or pretentious."
And the second reason is, of course, her charismatic and oh-so handsome French-Australian co-host Manu Feildel.
"He was just so welcoming and lovely," she enthuses. (Image: Seven)
"He was just so welcoming and lovely," she enthuses.
"He's so loved by the crew – that's always something you need to look for. It tells you something when someone isn't," she says of the TV judge, who is entering his 12th season on the reality juggernaut.
However, that didn't stop the original MKR judge, 48, from showing some of that famous Parisian bite, Nigella reveals.
"Oh, he's a terrible tease," she confesses. "But I have a brother, so I'm toughened to deal with a bit of teasing. It doesn't upset me because it just feels affectionate."
The culinary superstar, who has more than 10 books and television shows under her belt, admits that she did feel some apprehension about starring in the reboot, which was a ratings powerhouse in its heyday, but saw a steep decline when it began to focus more on the drama between the contestants rather than the cooking.
"I was just a bit anxious, but that's because work hasn't really been on the cards [due to the pandemic] so I was a bit like, 'Oh, how will this work, how will I do it?'
"But because it's all about home cooks, and I knew they wanted to return to more of a focus on the food and cooking, I wanted to do it. I would have been enormously disappointed in myself if I said no.
"And anyway, you go and do it and two seconds in, you feel incredibly at home because you're surrounded by fellow food obsessives."
In the new season, which is set to premiere this Sunday, five new budding teams from each state will compete against each other, serving three-course meals at their homes.
And while Nigella's well-versed at being inside a pressure-cooker kitchen on MasterChef, she still couldn't hold back her nerves for the teams.
"Well, I'm a home cook and not a chef – and a lot of people tell me that I'm just being modest when I say that – but I am a home cook, so I know how stressful it can be in that home kitchen setting. I got quite nervous for the contestants," she says.
"Manu was always like, 'Oh, you always worry, don't stress,' and I really shouldn't have because they seemed to be less nervous than I would have been in their position. I really ended up admiring them all."
"Well, I'm a home cook and not a chef," says Nigella. (Image: Seven)
Adding that "just because the contestants weren't making an eight-layer terrine with baby leeks grated on top" like someone on MasterChef would plate up, she was still floored by some of the dishes, and even hints that she may have taken a few recipes back to the UK – some of which could pop in some sort of variation in one of her upcoming cookbooks!
"I'm still incubating ideas," she reveals. "And I'm not going to give away any dishes but that will happen, yes."

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