SACRE BLEU: Manu Feildel's three-year-old daughter has three course canteen lunches.

We might have known him for years on our television screens as the suave chef judge and host of My Kitchen Rules. But Manu Feildel is so much more than a man who visits strangers’ homes to rate the food they prepare for him.

Feildel, 45, is a restauranteur, best-selling author, and also, a father-of-two.

His eldest is 13-year-old son Jonti, whom he had with ex-partner Veronica Morshead (they separated in 2009).  And then there’s three-year-old daughter Charlee Ariya, whom Feildel has with wife Clarissa Weerasena.

LISTEN: Zoe Marshall talks about returning to work on Mamamia’s latest podcast for new parents, The Baby Bubble:

As a fourth generation chef (one grandfather was a pastry chef, and both his dad and other grandfather were chefs), good food is very important to Feildel – and what his family eats matters very much.

The television host spoke to Mamamia about the importance of food for his children, especially youngest Charlee, who attends a Sydney pre-school where lunch is provided – but it’s not your typical lunch time school meal.

“My daughter goes to the French school,” Feildel explained, adding that the school follows a European curriculum, and in France, children start proper school at three years of age.


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And when Feildel says it’s French, he means that in every way – even in the canteen.

“It’s a French curriculum, and there they do [lunch] the way they do it in France. They have a three course meal at the canteen.”

The top chef added, “The kids are sitting down every lunch together around the table and eating – even dessert.”

When asked whether he feels there is too much pressure on parents to focus on what’s always healthiest for their kids, Feildel said, “I think so.”


“We need to see food as pleasure as well as fuel for our bodies.”

So, what do Charlee and her classmates eat from the canteen? Feildel explains lunch is presented in three parts.

“It might be a little tomato salad to start, a rice based dish and a yogurt.

“It’s not fine dining, it’s just simple food.”


It may be simple, but we’d still like to have what she’s having.

What do you pack for your children’s school lunch? Tell us in the comments below.

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