MKR changes all the rules in new season –

My Kitchen Rules is back for season 11 but with a tasty twist that might surprise fans of the long-running competitive cooking series.

This season, the format has been tipped on its head like a pineapple upside down cake as two of the regular cast members put on their pinnies and get their hands grubby in the kitchen.

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In My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals, former judge Manu Feildel and mentor Colin Fassnidge take on the role of team captains, while Pete Evans keeps his seat at the head of the table as judge.

Feildel leads the Faves, comprising familiar faces from past seasons, while Fassnidge helms the Fans, a group of novices who think they have seen enough episodes to have the edge over their competition.


Manu Feildel in My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals

Its a bit more competitive I suppose because now its Colin versus myself, so its a very interesting concept which we really enjoyed, says Feildel.

So how did Evans score the plum gig of scoffing all the dishes while his former sidekick sweats it out alongside the contestants?

Colin and I have always been doing a lot of banter between the two of us, says Feildel, and so they thought it would be interesting to have us going against each other.

And having Pete to be in between us and being the judge of us, that was really, really good.

Feildel says feedback from previous seasons revealed that viewers enjoyed seeing him in the kitchen during the competition, offering up encouragement and pointers on the perfect sauce to contestants.

But his competitive nature also made him a natural choice to head one of the teams.

I was very excited to have a new concept and so was Colin. Its interesting because in the normal hospitality industry, chefs are always fighting anyway in some ways and always trying to better themselves. Its a normal thing to happen. So it was nice for us to be able to get into the kitchen and get the public to see that we are chefs, not only TV people.

While it might seem like Feildels team of Faves has the advantage of experience he says, There were pros and cons.

If youve got people whove already done it, they cannot think they know it all already. Its hard to change their bad habits.

When youve got someone completely new, you can show them the way you want. So theres a bit of good and bad to take with it.

Feildel is as famous for his love of a good sauce as he is for his role as MKR host. His determination to beat Fassnidges team meant grilling his group on how to create the ultimate accompaniment to their dishes.

That was my aim from day one because weve never really had an amazing sauce on the show, just because, you know, it takes a lot of knowledge and understanding.

He reveals that some of the contestants managed to deliver a sauce with the Feildel seal of approval (Once) the competition got tougher and we needed to pull out the big guns.


Colin Fassnidge in My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals

Among the teams to return are Dan and Steph, who won the competition in 2013. Like many former contestants, the husband-and-wife team have enjoyed success following their win, opening their own restaurant and fulfilling their long-held wish of becoming parents, through IVF treatment.

Its nice to be able to help someone whos got a dream and they finally achieve their dreams as well. And I think Dan and Steph, for example, after the series they won seven years ago, theyve already achieved a lot and now its pushed them to go even further to even bigger things, so its brilliant.

In another twist this season, the teams now share a house and the division between the Faves and the Fans only served to ratchet up the tension.

While My Kitchen Rules is a cooking competition, it has always been liberally garnished with tableside drama and this season is no different. As the two teams bonded together under their respective roofs, it soon became house versus house.

Yes, there is drama, sighs Feildel. Unfortunately I say unfortunately because Im not one to enjoy the dramas Im there for the cooking.

Its like two football teams going against each other, adds the chef, 46, who has a daughter with wife Clarissa and also has a son from another relationship.

I was hoping for just a good competition Colinversus me but theres a little bit more unfortunately, he laughs. Hopefully, New Zealands going toenjoy that.

My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals, TVNZ 2, Monday May 18

MKR changes all the rules in new season -

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