The tabloid-favourite TV chef, My Kitchen Rules host, restaurateur and dedicated Paleo diet ambassador Pete Evans invites KBQ into his new Sydney kitchen and reveals all about celebrity diners, his kitchen must-haves and those now-legendary “activated” almonds
Tell us about your new kitchen?
When we bought the house, it had a pretty average kitchen, so we wanted to give it a makeover. We pulled out a wall because we decided we wanted something quite large. We film TV series in here, so a lot of thought went into it. We had to make it functional. It’s my dream kitchen, for sure.
We love the mammoth benchtop. What’s the story behind it?
It’s Corian, two pieces joined together. I think it’s the largest piece of Corian they’ve ever had to do. I’ve used it before and I like that you can have one long piece and it’s easy to clean. We don’t have a dining table and we wanted a place where the kids [Chilli, 9, and Indii, 8] could sit and do their homework, while my partner and I cook.
Did you face any challenges along the way?
It all went smoothly. The rangehood we had was average, so we swapped it for this one. It’s quieter but more powerful.
What about the striking surf-themed splashback?
It’s glass. We blocked in the window that was there — we didn’t want to work with the light during filming — and Eugene Tan from Aquabumps made it from a photo from Broome, WA.
What are your must-have appliances in your home kitchen?
The induction cooktop. It’s so easy to clean and versatile. And the Scholtès MultiPlo is great.
Did you have to adapt the design for the Paleo diet (known as the caveman diet) you promote?
No, it’s pretty simple! We do have a Zip HydroTap, though, and the whole house has a filtration system, so we filter everything three times before we drink the tap water.
What do you most like to cook in here?
In winter it’s mostly soups, stocks, braises. In summer, it’s lighter food, like salads. We try to cook for the temperature outside. When it’s cold, we cook warm, when it’s warm, we cook cold. We’re getting an outdoor kitchen from The Outdoor Kitchen Company shortly. We’ve designed a small kitchen, which should be here soon, and, in the meantime, I’ve got my barbecue.
Where do you stock up your kitchen?
B U Organic in Bondi Junction, Grub Butchery on New South Head Road, Vaucluse, and Sydney Fish Market.
Do you remember the first dish you learned to cook?
Cooking steak for the first time was exciting! One of my first jobs was at Sizzlers as a 14-year-old.
When did you get into the Paleo diet?
I’ve always been interested, but it wasn’t until probably the last three or four years that I’ve actually taken it to a larger scale. The Paleo Way tour, which I did a few months ago, was a lot of fun and we got to talk to 6000 people. The reaction was great. It’s not a fad diet. It’s basically eating the foods that are most optimal for health based on scientific research. Weight management is a bonus; it’s more about reclaiming our health. You do not have to count calories or do anything weird. It’s cheaper and it’s given me many health benefits. My family, my children, my partner, my mum all do it and have seen benefits.
How do you deal with the negativity and the “activated almonds” storm (Pete’s food diary caused a stir on Twitter when published in a newspaper for including such items as activated almonds, meaning the nuts have been soaked in water)?
It doesn’t worry me. It’s actually amusing that, as a health coach and chef, I manage to reach so many people. I’m just a messenger, it’s nothing new.
You’ve cooked for a lot of celebs, from Princess Mary to Elton John. Who was your favourite?
I don’t really care about that, to be honest. My favourite people to cook for are my kids and partner (Pete’s engaged to model Nicola Robinson). They’re my celebrities. They’re the people I enjoy cooking for the most.
What’s next for you?
I’ve got an online program called The Paleo Way (thepaleoway.com), a subscription-based health and fitness program with scientific evidence all packaged into one. Also, I have a few more books coming out in the next couple of years. I do another TV series in America called Moveable Feast. We just filmed the second series, so I’m going to film the next series next year back there, and I’m doing My Kitchen Rules for the next two years. It’ll be good to work with Manu again.
What are your ambitions?
To continue what I’m doing. I love my job.
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Originally from Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly magazine, Volume 21 Issue 4