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MKR winners reveal truth about cold food and lengthy filming schedule

EXCLUSIVE: Janelle Halil and Monzir Hamdin reveal what viewers don't get to see on TV

My Kitchen Rules winners Janelle Halil and Monzir Hamdin have shared some juicy behind-the-scenes details about the popular reality show.

The couple, who won last year’s season of the Channel Seven cooking competition, tell Yahoo Lifestyle that they noticed a number of differences when going from viewers to contestants.

My Kitchen Rules winners Janelle Halil and Monzir Hamdin / Janelle serving food to Manu Feildel and Nigella Lawson.
My Kitchen Rules winners Janelle Halil and Monzir Hamdin reveal what it’s like going from viewers to contestants. Photos: Channel Seven

The group dynamic

Having been a fan of the series since it premiered in 2010, Janelle shares that the dynamic between the teams was much nicer than she had anticipated.

“I expected it to be very dramatic, very b***hy, a lot of people being mean and all this stuff and it really wasn’t,” she remarks. “Our group was really kind to one another on the table.

“There was some stuff behind the scenes that people weren't nice to each other, but I feel like we didn't really notice because we were so preoccupied with just being on TV and being there and having fun.”

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The filming schedule

On the other hand, Monzir admits he had only seen a few episodes of MKR before appearing on the show so he was surprised by what the shooting days entailed.

“I had no idea what I was going into,” he says with a laugh. “I just thought it would be three to four hours of filming a day and you cook and give it out and then it’s all done.

“And then I went on there and we were filming for 12 to 14 hours and then they cut it down to one hour. And behind the scenes everything you see is different, you have to keep repeating yourself. I’d never been in front of the cameras so seeing it all was very, very different.”

“Nothing is scripted,” Janelle adds. “I think people tend to think that it's all like scripted or fake or whatever. Nothing is fake, we cook all the food ourselves, we don't have any help from anybody, and we plate everything ourselves.”

My Kitchen Rules winners Janelle Halil and Monzir Hamdin plating up.
‘Nothing is fake, we cook all the food ourselves, we don't have any help from anybody, and we plate everything ourselves.’ Photo: Channel Seven

The cold food

While the food might look amazing on TV, the couple reveal that most dishes are actually cold by the time the contestants get to eat them.

“There’s a lot of camera movement, so they’ve got to take the cameras from the kitchen to the dining table and they’ve got to set up, so you’ve got to wait,” Monzir explains.

“Then you’ve got to wait for the judges to eat first and then the teams eat later, so by the time you get the food it’s going to be a bit colder.”

Janelle details that the teams must judge the food as if it were hot and base their scores on the flavour and the effort that was put in.

“You have to be considerate of the fact that we all have to go through this process and we are all going to give each other food that's not completely hot, if it's meant to be hot,” she says.

“My advice honestly would be don't make soup and don’t use butter because it gets cold and it solidifies on the plate and then you can see that it's starting to set, so be careful. People say don’t do ice cream, but ice cream is okay because you can freeze that, set it, put it on the plate and it's fine. But soup, everyone likes a piping hot soup. No one wants to have a lukewarm soup.”

My Kitchen Rules winners Janelle Halil and Monzir Hamdin.
Janelle says it’s important for contestants to focus on what they’re doing and ignore their competitors. Photo: Channel Seven

Advice for future contestants

Janelle went on to say that her biggest tip for future contestants would be to stay focused on what you’ve set out to do.

“Don't worry about what anyone else is doing, and that goes for after you jump off the show as well,” she shares. “When you're finished and you're done with the show and whether you won or not, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Just focus on what you're doing.

“And I guess throughout the process when you're actually there, don't buy into the game of it. Just always carry yourself with integrity and be yourself.”

“Believe in yourself and cook from the heart,” Monzir adds. “Stay true to yourself.”

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