MKR: Dan and Steph give inside scoop on hit reality show
DURING a time where "reality TV" cops criticism for being anything but, our local stars, Dan and Steph Mulheron have sat for an exclusive interview with the Chronicle to answer all your questions.
How much scripting is involved with the show? Were you ever prompted on what to say?
Dan: We were never scripted or never told to say anything as such but producers are very, very good at their job and they will make things happen. The producers can have degrees in psychology. They know what types of people will clash with other people. Put them in a room, sleep deprive them, food deprive them, put them under pressure and with money up for grabs - it's always going to explode.
Steph: There was definitely no lines to read but producers would prompt you to say something by asking questions and if you say it, you say it. They will really fish for the answers. If you're going to stay true to yourself and say you won't comment on a certain thing they will move on to someone else. In the past couple years on MKR, viewers probably do think it is scripted but there are actually people out there that all have egos and different personalities and that is what the producers want. So when these people go up against each other it causes drama.
Do you still stay in contact with the other contestants from MKR?
Dan: It's funny we get asked that because we actually get contacted by a lot of teams who weren't in our season. We have already been contacted through social media by teams from this season wanting advice. In MKR you are in a little family no matter what season. You have so much other stuff to talk about but when you get together, you only ever talk about MKR.
Steph: We sure do. We stay in contact with Luke and Scott the Bondi boys who we went up against in our semi final, also Kerry and Craig from Melbourne. Whenever we are in Brisbane we will take Emmy to Eat Street which is where Jake and Elle have their food cart.
Where do Pete and Manu go between courses at people's houses?
Dan: They are not at the table. They have other things going on in their life. Manu and Pete do other things outside MKR so they concentrate on that - on the phone, sending emails or a lot of social media is done in the breaks. I remember when Pete and Manu come to our place, the production strip everything out of the house. They come at 4am with a big removal truck and take everything except for your main bedroom and your kitchen. Then all of a sudden MKR move in. It is an incredible set up. It was in between courses and I was busting to go to the toilet and I was wandering into our main bedroom and Pete was in the bed having a good old rest. Didn't even take his shoes off.
What does your date night look like?
Dan: We love date night. We put Emmy to bed early and we can't go past a good cheese, some yummy bickies with a bit of fruit in them, CC's Fig Jam, which is to die for, and just a good bottle of rose. You can't beat it. Don't forget to make sure the cheese is at room temperature.
If you went back and did MKR again would we see a different Dan and Steph?
Dan: I would love to do it knowing what we know now. We have been approached for All Stars Season but if they ever do it is another question. With Emmy now we would definitely do it very differently.
Steph: We would have a different mindset, a different set up and a different menu. When you find out you have to feed 12 people you think you need so much food but you are eating a three-course meal, you only need small portions. You are thinking you have seven kilograms of spuds to peel but you only need two. When you are making a sauce you don't need two litres, you need a small bowl.
Is the food you eat at the instant restaurant cold?
Dan: It has been sitting there for hours. There have been cases there when we have been told not to eat it because it isn't cooked properly and it has been sitting around too long. When you finish they take one plate away that's the one that you see the big pictures of. Two more plates are taken to Pete and Manu who eat it separately while it's hot and fresh. Then they will film different things for 15 minutes then the plates may sit on the table for another 15 minutes while production set things up. We never had a hot meal in six months of filming.
Steph: It takes a long time to film a TV show. It is all very structured so they want to get the right look, the right angle so everything looks amazing. Everything we ate was cold so you had to forgive if it was cold and gluggy. You would just think about the flavours and what it would have been like when it was fresh. Also Pete and Manu are always in and out of the kitchen tasting things as you are cooking so they have a bit of an idea of what they are going to say in the judging.
Watch the full video of the Q and A and see the much-loved couple answer more questions, at the Chronicle Facebook page.