Seven sent foodie fans into a spin late last year with the announcement they were bringing the "dream team" to our TV screens for hot new cooking show Plate Of Origin.
And while viewers were delighted to see MasterChef's Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan team up with My Kitchen Rules' Manu Feildel on one show, an on-set spy tells Woman's Day old loyalties reigned supreme.
The source reveals much-loved chef and Seven darling Manu, 46, was the clear favourite throughout filming, with the network ensuring its long-serving talent was given the star edit over former Ten personalities Matt, 59, and Gary, 53.
"Seven made sure they looked after their own," says the source.
"Matt and Gary have obviously been embraced by Seven but there were clear directives that came from the very top and were fed down to the writing, producing, filming, and editing teams.
"That was to make Manu the star of the show and have Matt and Gary as the co-hosts," the source adds.
The insider says Manu was strategically placed in the middle of the three at all times, given the most dialogue and was even given first pick when it came to who did his hair and makeup.
"He had first dibs on all suiting and accessories, and even got to choose which hair and makeup artists he wanted before anyone else," says the spy.
"That didn't sit right with Matt, who believes his flamboyant satirical style sets him apart from the other judges," says our source.
While the trio had been putting on a united front in the lead-up to the show's premiere last Sunday night, the former Ten pair hinted at some friction, with Matt telling Woman's Day there was a "fair bit of ribbing that goes on, whether the cameras are running or not" and even cheekily taking aim at the French star.
"We had to remove Manu's French eye-patch because he started out a little one-eyed..." Matt said.
Perhaps even more telling, when Manu spoke of the friendly rivalry that went on between him and former MasterChef judges Matt and Gary, he said he was never competing and concluded that My Kitchen Rules was "always the best".
"It's nice to have them on my team now," he added.
As the judges ogled at the dishes served up in the first episode, fans were equally gobsmacked by Matt's new look!
His blemish-free complexion and perfectly coiffed hair didn't go unnoticed, with a source telling Woman's Day his strive for perfection had producers tearing their own hair out in frustration.
"He was spending a lot of time in hair and makeup. Scenes were delayed, and when he was finally ready they had to be shot again because his hair looked too flat. He'd catch sight of it on the screens and demand for the scene to be reshot!"
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