After Hadil called Jess a “blowfish” and Emma snapped back, “You look like Bubba Gump, seriously,” the ceaseless rancour delayed Kim and Suong’s entree service by 10 minutes and culminated with Sonya pointing to all the contestants and declaring, “And I’ll come for you, and I’ll come for you, and I’ll come for you, because you’re all disrespectful arseholes.”
The outbursts, judge Manu Feildel tells WHO, were “upsetting” and left him and Pete Evans no choice but to eject the pair from the table. “We were shocked at how Sonya and Hadil kept going full blast with comment after comment after comment,” he says. “I said to myself, ‘I think it’s time when you need to stop that. It’s gone too far.’”
While Sonya and Hadil have declined to comment for this story, WHO asked Jess and Emma for their account of what happened.
Q: Did you expect to have the argument continue from Henry and Anna’s ultimate instant restaurant?
JESS: It was instant. I had such anxiety going in to Kim and Suong’s that I didn’t know what to expect because it was so heated the last time we were together. I didn’t know where their headspace was because we didn’t have a chance to talk things out or clear the air, so I was just hoping that they would come with the same mindset as us, just to enjoy this. Instantly, it started again, and I let it go, let it go, let it go to the point where I just couldn’t, and that’s when I got up to leave because I had enough of listening to the under-the-breath comments and jabs at the end of the table. It was just uncomfortable.
Q: When other teams started speaking up, did you think that would help?
EMMA: I felt bad for Stella and Jazzey because they were actually really upset about it, especially when Hadil started calling me names. That’s when Stell got really upset. They usually mind their own business. But I think for Jess and I, we were just more upset that everyone else was brought in to it and uncomfortable when we all hoped the night was going to start of amazing, and we weren’t going to ruin Kim and Suong’s night again because we have a bit of a track record with that. So we wanted to enjoy the night and just let bygones be bygones, but we saw everyone else at the table get dragged into something we would have preferred no one get dragged into.
JESS: Because it was done over two instant restaurants now, so not only did Henry and Anna have this beautiful and moody restaurant that was dedicated to their late grandfather that was ruined, it also then spilled into Kim and Suong’s, and the one thing that Emma and I didn’t want was to walk into somebody’s house and their hard work and preparation of their meals is disrespected in a way. If we had our time over again, we probably wouldn’t have reacted. We would probably have tried to ignore it more, but that situation was hard to ignore.
Q: Did It help to walk away?
JESS: For me, it was something I needed to do. I couldn’t stay in that room. I was getting really emotional and it was really, really upsetting me because it was uncomfortable and if I had to stay there I’m not sure how much worse it would have been, so I needed to get away from the table.
EMMA: For me, I didn’t want to waste the fabulous insults that were flowing through my mind at the moment, so I figure I was needed.
Q: When did you sense that Pete and Manu were going to make a decision?
EMMA: Oh, you could tell they were starting to get peeved because they let us bicker, and we do have some conversations around the table that do get a bit heated, but I think they just got to the point where they were like, “Enough’s enough now.
JESS: It’s their integrity and professionalism on the line as well. I’m sure they didn’t want to see it going down the path it was going. They crossed the line and they went too far and you could tell Manu was so genuinely angry about the situation. He had no other choice but to do what he did.
Q: What was Sonya and Hadil’s reaction to being asked to leave? Were they still arguing or were they shocked?
EMMA: I don’t think they actually realised what was happening. I think they thought they were going to come back in because they kind of just left and walked out, and then we all just sort of sat there a little dumbfounded not knowing when the entrée was coming.
JESS: But I can tell the mood, once they had left, it was like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. Everything just changed and the dynamics changed and everybody got along and we had a really good time after. Everyone couldn’t believe that something so horrible could happen and then everything just turned, like, a dark cloud lifted, and we all had a good time.
Q: What did Kim and Suong think? When did they find out what happened?
JESS: Oh, poor Kim and Suong! We told them after. We apologised to them the next day just because we personally felt like we didn’t want to ruin their restaurant and we felt terrible for our part in it. They were like, ‘We understand,’ but we just wanted to make sure they knew we were sorry for holding them up.
EMMA: Yeah, you know when there’s World War III building up in your backyard. It was hard to avoid. They knew it was simmering from Tasmania as well, so they weren’t surprised it escalated further. We just felt horrible, like, here we go again.
Q: Have you reached out to Sonya and Hadil?
JESS: We have spoken to Hadil and we’ve just kind of let it go, and just hope that everybody else can do the same. We definitely don’t want the girls going through what we had to before [with Roula and Rachael]. We know how horrible that was, so go easy on them.
For more on the scandal from Manu and other dinner guests, pick up the latest issue of WHO on newsstands today.
‘My Kitchen Rules’ airs Sunday at 7 PM and Monday through Thursday at 7.30 PM on Seven.