Would you want to take health advice from a chef, asks celebrity doctor Brad McKay on Channel 7’s Sunday Night program.
He’s talking about Pete Evans, one of Channel Seven’s most bankable stars. The Pete Evans from My Kitchen Rules – who also has a huge following for his Paleo diet.
Evans has copped flak over recent years for some of his more controversial dietary claims – which he said have been misreported by journalists who “lie” and then “regurgitate” the stories.
Ostensibly, the point of the show was to consider some of those claims, with journalist Alex Cullen apparently there to ask tough questions. But it ended up as an awkward cross between a My Kitchen Rules promotion and an attempt to deal with the controversy.
Cullen started with why Evans did the interview.
“There’s a lot of information out in the media that’s not true so this gives the opportunity to hear it from the horse’s mouth,” the celebrity chef said.
But, before we get to that, he showed us his rural hobby farm in northern New South Wales, his second wife Nicola Robinson (a model from New Zealand he married last year) and his two daughters Chilli, 12, and Indii, 10, from his first marriage.
Robinson (wearing a t-shirt that carried the logo “Peace, Love and Vegetables”) talked about her artificial life before she met Evans – breast implants, botox, fillers and bad food.
Over a lunch of homegrown vegetables and pork, Cullen asked Evans how he coped with the food on MKR. After all, much of what he eats isn’t paleo (basically, meat and vegetables – no dairy and no grains).
“Do you spit it out?” Cullen asked. “That’s what I’ve been told.”
“Are you crazy,” Evans replied. “Of course I eat it.”
And what about those claims that Evans and fellow judge Manu Fieldel dislike each other – even though they’ve been friends since the 1990s?
“Manu and I are best mates. Hand on my heart and he would say the same thing,” Evans professes
MKR promo over, Cullen finally moved on to probing the highly promoted controversies Evans has been involved in – ably supported by Dr McKay, the celebrity doctor who appears on Channel Nine’s Today show and has his own show called Embarrassing Bodies.
Without a trace of irony, Dr McKay talks about how celebrities get listened too.
“It’s the halo effect where celebrities will glow and everything they say can be believable,” he said.
What follows is an unsatisfying conversation in which Evans explains his views on topics like beef broth vs breast milk, the use of sunscreen containing chemicals, the use of fluoride in our water and how much calcium comes from cow’s milk.
Evans variously said he had been misquoted and has mountains of evidence to support what he says that he can provide if required – though, noting a good journalist would have done that research before doing the interview.
Cullen asked follow-up questions which went nowhere. Dr McKay basically said Evans should stick to being a chef.
And what was that heavily promoted childhood condition that Evans suffered? Turns out he was chronically shy. A problem he stills suffers from – despite his public work – and perhaps goes some way to explaining this uncomfortable piece of television.