celebrity

From beloved TV chef to polarising influencer: The ever-evolving story of Pete Evans.

Longtime My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans has reportedly departed Channel Seven after a decade.

Celebrity chef Evans, 46, has been axed from his $800,000 contract, coming to “an amicable mutual” decision, after the network told Evans it would not be proceeding with another season of MKR in the foreseeable future, according to industry media organisation TV Blackbox.

No official statement is expected to be made, according to The Australian.

Evans is reportedly pleased with the decision and plans to use his free time to expand his ‘alternative lifestyle empire’, which includes books, documentaries and podcasts.

My Kitchen Rules.

Before becoming a regular on our TV screens, Evans found fame with the Hugos Group, opening internationally renowned pizza restaurants in Sydney with his brother Dave. He also published books with titles like Pizza: Award-Winning Pie and My Grill. In 2010, he even taught Oprah Winfrey how to make the perfect pizza during her Ultimate Down Under Adventure.

MKR Manu & Pete
MKR's Manu & Pete. Image: Channel 7.

Evans had been with Seven since 2010. He judged MKR for 11 seasons along with Manu Feildel, and at its peak in 2015 the show was one of the most popular on Australian TV, capturing two million viewers nationally.

Its ratings have declined in recent years, and there have been rumours the show would not return for a 12th season, after its latest season flopped.

Meanwhile, Evans' co-star Feildel has been involved in Seven's new cooking show Plate of Origin, with ex-Masterchef judges Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan.

Pete Evans' personal life.

Evans shares his daughters Chilli and Indii with ex-wife Astrid Edlinger, who he was married to for 12 years until their split in 2011, the Daily Mail reported.

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Always fun times. ✌️????❤️

A post shared by Pete Evans (@chefpeteevans) on


Evans met Nicola Robinson in 2011. Formerly known as Nicky Watson, the 41-year-old was a former model and New Zealand socialite who appeared in publications like Playboy, and became a household name across the ditch when she appeared on popular reality TV show Celebrity Treasure Island in 2001.

She was previously married to New Zealand millionaire and businessman, Eric Watson, but they divorced in 2003.

After three years of dating, Robinson and Evans got engaged under New York’s Manhattan Bridge in 2014.

Pete Evans wife Nicola Robinson
Image: Facebook.
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Then in 2016, the couple got married in a barefoot, intimate ceremony at their rural NSW home.

Robinson often shares Instagram photos of herself riding horses, preparing her Paleo-approved foods, and practising 'tea ceremonies'.

Evans even told Sunrise in 2017 that for the most part, the couple spend most of their time on the farm naked, after Robinson shared photos of herself posing in her "Earth Suit" with their pet horse, and another image of the celebrity chef wearing what looks like beach shorts.

Pete Evans wife Nicola Robinson
Image: Instagram.

"Well usually I'm naked most of the time but our horse Zorrow likes to have a bit of a nibble so I put shorts on just in case," he said.

"He's very frisky, he likes to show his love - you want to cover up for just that period of time but usually we're starkers - that's a beautiful thing about having a farm. Why do you need to wear clothes?

"You should try a bit of nudity - it's good. The horse is nude, our dogs are nude."

His controversies.

Evans has long been criticised for pushing his 'alternative lifestyle', which has included recommending bone broth for babies, which dietitians and paediatricians said could cause a dangerous vitamin A overdose in infants, and his advocacy against fluoride and vaccinations.

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According to TV Blackbox, Evans is understood to be keen on focusing his time post-MKR on expanding his business, which includes books, documentaries and podcasts.

pete evans sunscreen toxic
Image: Channel Seven.

Below are some of the celebrity chef's most infamous controversies, and what the experts say about his many unproven claims.

Light therapy to treat the coronavirus.

Last month, Evans received a $25,000 fine from the Therapeutic Goods Administration after he promoted a $15,000 BioCharger NG lamp - a 'light therapy' device that he claimed could assist with the treatment of COVID-19.

On the brand's website, the product is billed as "a hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform that works to optimise your health, wellness, and athletic performance by aligning and balancing the energy of every cell in your body".

According to Evans, "it's a pretty amazing tool" that contains "a thousand different recipes and a couple on there for Wuhan coronavirus".

In April, President of the Royal Australia College of General Practitioners, Dr Harry Nespolon, dismissed Evans’ latest claims and urged him to stop promoting unproven therapies in a statement to Mamamia.

"Several months ago I advised anti-vaxxer and celebrity chef Pete Evans that he should stick to talking about 'activated almonds' and leave vaccinations alone," Dr Nespolon said.

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"Well, he should also steer well clear of peddling devices which he claims use 'subtle energy' to counter COVID-19. He just needs to stop it right now.

"It is a reality that many people look up to Mr Evans in his roles as a popular chef and television host. I once again urge him to book an appointment with his local GP to learn about the damage he is doing on social media."

Bone broth for babies.

In 2016, Evans co-authored a paleo cookbook called Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way for Mums, Bubs and Toddlers that was pulled from print and investigated by the Federal Health Department after it recommended bone broth could be used in place of baby formula.

The publication was ultimately released as an e-book, including the recipe, which contained ingredients like chicken liver, oils and a probiotic supplement.

After dieticians and pediatricians expressed concern that the broth "could potentially cause a vitamin A overdose in infants", the recipe was revised with caveats that it should not be fed to children under six months. But according to the Dietitians Association of Australia, it still contained 4.5 times the amount of Vitamin A recommended for babies: "[the authors] have failed spectacularly to meet any safe standards," a DAA spokesperson said in a statement at the time, saying it could "seriously harm babies".

Fluoride and IQ.

In 2019, a Canadian study made a link between drinking fluoridated water during pregnancy and a baby's IQ, though the study was roundly criticised as being limited: it involved a sample of just 400 women and involved a lot of estimating of fluoride intake by the women involved.

"This has been known for ages, and this is just the tip of that iceberg," Evans told News Corp. "Fluoride is a known neurotoxin and it should not be put in our water supply."

Another study in Sweden that involved 728,000 people showed no association between fluoride levels in water and child or adult IQ.

Dr Michael Foley from the Australian Dental Association previously told Mamamia water, oxygen, calcium, iron, salt and even caffeine can all be neurotoxic if you have too much of them.

A paleo diet as a treatment for autism, asthma and cancer.

2017 brought us The Magic Pill, a film produced and narrated by Evans that advocated for the low-carb, high-fat Paleo diet. The film repeated claims previously made by Evans that the diet can serve as a treatment for multiple diseases.

It features a patient who claimed that cutting sugar from her diet shrunk a cancerous tumour in her breast. There's also a four-year-old girl with non-verbal autism and epilepsy who adopts a paleo diet and, in a matter of weeks, can speak.

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Without entirely dismissing the lived experience of these people, experts urged caution against accepting a single case as 'proof'.

"Australians could improve their lives by putting healthier things in their mouths, there’s no doubt about that," Australian Medical Association President Dr Michael Gannon previously told Mamamia. "But this idea that dietary manipulation can change the course of autism spectrum disorder or change the course of a cancer is not just ludicrous, it's hurtful to people who are affected by these, and are worried about themselves and their loved ones."

Sunscreen.

When asked by a fan on Facebook in 2016 what he used for sun protection, Evans responded by saying he "generally" doesn’t use any sunscreen at all and that people think they're safe from the sun because "they have covered themselves in poisonous chemicals".

While Evans didn’t mention any specific “poisonous chemicals” there has been investigation into nano-sized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide particles, which have been used in sunscreens in Australia since the '90s. However, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (the body that approves medicines and medical devices for sale in Australia) continues to conduct regular comprehensive literature reviews to assess their safety. Its most recent, in 2017, found that "on current evidence, neither [titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles] are likely to cause harm when used as ingredients in sunscreens and when sunscreens are used as directed".

The Cancer Council advises sun protection measures when the UV Index is 3 or above. It is not very often that the UV index is under 3 in Australia, so we should cover up and use sun protection year-round.

Looking directly at the sun.

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In the above Instagram post from 2018, Evans described "a brief gaze into the radiant light of the early rising or late setting sun" as one of the "the best forms of free medicine".

Staring toward the sun can cause damage to your eyes within a matter of seconds.

The Vision Eye Institute warns that when your eyes are over-exposed to the sun’s UV rays, the radiation literally cooks the exposed tissue and can cause permanent damage. And yes, this can even happen when UV levels are lower at sunrise and sunset.

Vaccination.


Evans has not openly stated he is anti-vaccination, but in recent times - especially as the world grapples with coronavirus pandemic - he has posted many Instagram posts in support of anti-vaxxers, including NRL players who were opposed to getting a flu shot in order to play in this year's delayed footy season.

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Back in January, Evans shared a selfie with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of late US senator, Bobby, and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy.

"Great to spend some time with @robertfkennedyjr and learning more about the important work he is doing for our planet and for the coming generations," the My Kitchen Rules star captioned the Instagram post.

Kennedy, an environmental lawyer, also happens to be one of the world's most prominent critics of vaccinations.

Not vaccinating children can be deadly, as explored in this episode of The Quicky.

He has also aligned himself with other prominent members of the anti-vax movement, including podcaster and "holistic wellness" consultant Paul Chek, and although he has never said anything explicitly himself, he has prompted un-moderated anti-vaccination and conspiracy theory comments from his followers with Instagram posts about the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, Bill Gates and 5G.

It is important to remember that Evans is a chef, not a scientist or a medical practitioner.

If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor.

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Feature image: Instagram.

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