Just months after Woman's Day revealed My Kitchen Rules was headed for a massive shake-up for its 2020 season – which includes the return of some of the show's most controversial villains – a source close to the set reveals long-term judge Pete Evans is set to take an unexpected step back.
According to our insider, Manu Feildel, 45, and Colin Fassnidge, 45, will be team mentors in the upcoming season, with their teams going head to head.
Meanwhile Pete, 46, Manu's usual right-hand man, will be serving on the tasting panel.
Woman's Day understands Pete's diminished role was a hot topic of conversation behind the scenes.
"A lot of the contestants were shocked to see that Pete had been replaced by Colin," says our set spy.
"However it eventually became evident why they had done it that way," adds the insider, who maintains Pete doesn't have "mentor appeal" and notes the contestants often found the father-of-two "cold and awkward" to be around and that he avoided small talk between takes.
WATCH: Pete Evans' craziest claims. Post continues after video...
In the 11th season of the show, it's believed Manu will oversee the returning All Stars – dubbed Team Manu – who will compete against Colin's team of newcomers.
The teams will live together for the duration of the show.
According to our source, the much-loved interstate Instant Restaurants will no longer exist, and all of the upcoming season's kitchen action will take place in the team living quarters instead.
Incoming cast members were reportedly left shocked when the show's production team revealed the new season would have a $100,00 cash prize – a whopping $150,000 less than previous years!
"It left a lot of the newcomers wondering if Seven had overspent on the flash new filming location," says our spy.
"There was also talk they'd spent that money on luring back the show's All Stars."