Do you see it as part of your job to relax the contestants? It must be so stressful cooking for you both.
MF: They don’t stress hard enough, actually. The message that we usually give them at the start of the competition is, “Have fun – but take it seriously at the same time.” There’s $100,000 to win. It’s no walk in the park. We are going to give them challenges and if they don’t pull their socks up they are going to fail and don’t blame us for it.
CF: If we ask a question and they sit on the fence, we are like, “Mate, yes or no?” We are not playing the game and we are not going to leave you alone until you give us what you want.
Tell me about your friendship, which goes back a while now. How do you get along?
CF: We go back about 15 years now.
MF: There is a story where we knew of each other but we didn’t know each other.
CF: We didn’t get along.
MF: There was a bit of chef rivalry. But when we actually met, face to face, we realised who each other was and we became mates. And the friendship has grown and grown. And now we have Christmas together.
CF: Even if MKR wasn’t there, we’d still hang out – to the dismay of our wives. He’s been kicked out of my house many a night. “The sun’s coming up, get out!”
So what do you like about each other?
MF: I think we have a lot in common. We love to have a good laugh. We take the job seriously, but not too seriously because we love doing it. It’s not work anymore when you do something with your mate. We work hard and we play hard.
CF: I think also, we’re both 50 now. A lot of people in TV start to believe their own s--t. And we know you could be not here next year, so enjoy it. We are very lucky to do what we do. And we have fun doing it and we don’t buy into the TV crap. Everyone is dispensable, put it that way.
MF: Yes, you’ve been fired and re-employed! What are your dinner party go-tos?
MF: We know how to do dinner parties, so for us I think it’s less work more fun. We’d do a lot of work the day before – but MKR doesn’t work like that.
MF: A lot of sharing plates. Getting your hands in, a messy table, that’s what you want.
Is there something that you like the other one to cook?
CF: I’d probably cook him a pork shoulder or something like that.
MF: My wife cooks for him.
CF: His wife is an amazing cook!
MF: She does all Malaysian, Sri Lankan, Asian stuff and that’s what he wants to eat.
CF: If he asks me over for dinner I always ask who is cooking. If it’s Clarissa, I say I’ll be right over! She’s an amazing cook and so is her mum.
Do you watch The Bear?
CF: Yes, I do! It’s pretty spot on. When I watched the first season, I was itchy. The star’s got all the burns and I was itchy watching it. It’s quality. He’s got great hair, great curly hair. Curly hair is coming back.
Honouring Jock Zonfrillo
Feildel and Fassnidge were in the middle of filming MKR when the news came through about the sudden death of their friend and MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo earlier this year.
The Scottish-born chef was just 46 when he died on April 30 in Melbourne, leaving behind his wife Lauren and four children. An official cause of death is yet to be revealed.
“We were all so shocked at the time,” recalls Feildel. “There was a really special moment in our little caravan at the end of the day when we poured ourselves a whisky for him.”
Fassnidge says it was an emotional few weeks in the wake of his death, not just for them but also the crew, many of whom had worked with Zonfrillo. But his sudden loss has reminded them both of the importance of living each day as though it might be the last.
“The penny dropped and we thought, ‘It could be us,’” says Feildel. “It could be any one of us at any time, so let’s enjoy the rest of our lives. You question yourself when something like that happens, that it could be me, it could be him, it could be my friend over there. And that makes you realise, what are we whingeing about? Let’s just enjoy our lives.”