AN INTER-TEAM ROMANCE?
If you’ve been watching the promos on TV, you may have gotten wind that there is some seriously heavy flirtation happening between two rival contestants this year. But even Pete and Manu, who spent long days on set with the duo in question, did not pick up on the vibes. “To be honest with you, I found out when I saw the promo, too,” says Manu. “I had no clue. And I don’t know that I’m interested in that, anyway—what happens behind their doors is confidential. What happens behind mine is, too.”
RECORDS WILL TUMBLE!
We’re sworn to secrecy on what happens, exactly, but you’ll find out soon enough—it all goes down during the Group One episodes. “Can’t tell you much,” says Manu with a sigh. “But let’s just say it’s like a singing competition … sometimes somebody lets out that voice and thinks they’ve hit a beautiful note, but it’s just not. You know?” Adds Pete, “And they got broken one night after the other, too.”
A CONTESTANT WITH A THICKER ACCENT THAN MANU!
“Oh, yes,” says Manu. “Hard accent, lots of mumbling, funny contestant. And very timid.” Timid? In the kitchen? Pete jumps to the contestant’s defence: “You can make that work. I was super shy when I started out. But you learn to harness that into the craft, be confident and start to lead.”
THE MALE VERSION OF ZANA AND LAUREN?
Last season saw two female fiery lawyers, Zana Pali and eventual runner-up Lauren Finelli, become breakouts due to their unfiltered mouths and blunt reactions. This time around it’s Tyson, the male half of a sibling duo, whose slow-building temper could make for trouble in the kitchen—or at instant restaurants. But Pete and Manu say there’s more than meets the eye. “He apparently has this angry man persona,” says Manu. “But we got that picture painted by his sister. I think the show helped him gain some maturity.” Adds Pete: “Let’s just call him passionate.”
NEW KITCHEN HACKS!
Plenty of budding home cooks watch MKR for bench inspo, but even the hosts—who have, in Pete’s estimation, “probably cooked a million meals each with our own hands”—learn some new tricks along the way. This year, Manu recalls the so-called cherry tomato shortcut: “Place them between two lids, then slice a knife through to cut them in half, instead of one by one. I’d never seen that before. All in one go.” Cracks Pete, “They probably learnt it on YouTube, too.”