If there's one thing contestants in the new series of My Kitchen Rules should already know about judge Manu Feildel is: don't forget the sauce!
While it may have become his catch-cry on the show, the French-born chef is still surprised by how often it is forgotten.
"It's always interesting to see the things that people get wrong and one of them is so simple – you should try the entire dish before sending it to the judges," he says, adding cheekily, "And of course, ‘Where's the sauce!'"
Manu says Italian cooking is popular among the series four teams. "The reason I think is that Italian food is all about making the ingredients shine."
And the strangest ingredient combination he's seen so far this series – a mixture of chocolate and avocado. But he's keeping mum on whether it works until the show goes to air in early 2013.
Manu is no stranger to innovative cooking himself. After completing a chef apprenticeship at his father's bistro, he was bitten by the travel bug and packed his apron and headed for London.
Although he spoke no English, he began work at The Café Royal before rising through the ranks at restaurants such as Les Associes, Café des Amis du Vin and Livebait.
In 1999, Manu flew to Melbourne where he worked at Toofey's for a short while before heading to Sydney.
After six months working alongside fellow My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans at his Hugos restaurant, Manu opened the kitchen at Hugos Lounge in Kings Cross. Manu ran the kitchen for 18 months before he moved to Restaurant VII. During his reign, the restaurant's exciting fusion of French and Japanese cuisine earned a coveted Two Chef's Hats from The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.
In 2004, acclaimed Australian chef Tony Bilson approached Manu to open his new venture Bilson's at the Radisson Hotel. In its second year, the restaurant was awarded Two Chef's Hats and Three Chef's Hats the following year.
More success followed with the opening in March 2009 of his own restaurant - L'étoile in Paddington, Sydney. Specialising in classic French bistro food, it too has been recognised with a Chef's Hat.
In 2011, he released his first cookbook, Manu's French Kitchen, through Penguin Books; won Dancing with the Stars; hosted the primetime show Dinner Date and was crowned Chef of the Year at GQ's annual Men of the Year Awards.
He released his second book, Manu's French Bistro, in 2012.
In between filming, writing for magazines and books and running his restaurant, any spare time he has he likes to spend with his son Jonti.Follow Manu on Twitter @manufeildel and Facebook
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