Pete and Manu still cooking up a storm
TEN years ago two fresh-faced chefs fronted a new reality cooking show.
The new format, which didn't benefit from the brand awareness of a global franchise like MasterChef Australia, was a big risk for blue-eyed seafood master Pete Evans and cheeky Frenchman Manu Feildel.
Much of it took place in people's houses, rather than a shiny studio, where three courses were served out of often cramped spaces and the amateur teams joined in on the judging process.
Cooking was still a new medium in the reality TV landscape, which was dominated at the time by The Biggest Loser, Australia's Got Talent and Dancing With The Stars.
"We never thought 10 years ago that we'd still be talking about MKR, let alone recording it," Manu says.
"I was struggling on a daily basis (that first year). It's the toughest job I've ever had in my life. I was sh------ myself every day, excuse my French. I was scared to get on set."
Now, thousands of dishes and pieces to camera later, Pete and Manu are household names who leave many a contestant star-struck. They return to our screens on Monday for a milestone 10th season - no easy feat the world of reality TV.
"One of my favourite shows ever on TV was Seinfeld and they lasted 10 years too," Pete says. "It's interesting we've managed to get to 10 years as well. Manu and I have had a lot of good times on the show. Beautiful food's been cooked for us and we learned a lot on the show as well from the teams."
While the competition has always been intense, tensions boiled over last year when Pete and Manu were forced to dismiss a team from the show.
"Some people like to stir the pot but I think that's like any competition you see," Evans says. "When I used to play footy there were intimidating teams out there.
"We want the best food and that's what we focus on."
This year, the format features new twists including a team made up of two total strangers, a new-look Kitchen HQ studio and a new open house challenge, in which the teams will be paired up to produce a three-course menu for the public in a 'souped-up' instant restaurant round.
"The teams get to cook for the public in a situation where people are dining in every room including the bedrooms and garage; it's an intense situation," Pete says.
"We try to add a bit of extra spice to the series every year... Let's just say we break some new records this year. There's a lot of great food, drama, tears and laughter - all of those ingredients that make MKR so special and have given it its ongoing success."
Season 10 of My Kitchen Rules premieres on Monday at 7pm on Seven.