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Celebrity chef Manu Feildel breaks down in tears on Anh’s Brush With Fame


Manu Feildel broke down in tears during an emotionally raw interview on Tuesday’s episode of Anh’s Brush With Fame.

The 47-year-old celebrity chef spoke about battling depression after he was forced to close his restaurant in Melbourne shortly after it opened. 

Manu opened Le Grand Cirque alongside fellow celebrity chef, George Calombaris, but it closed just four months later in August 2014. 

Breaking down: Manu Feildel (left) broke down in tears during an emotionally raw interview on Tuesday’s episode of Anh’s Brush With Fame. Pictured with host Anh Do (right)

He described the experience as ‘really painful’, and confessed he ‘cried for days like a kid’. 

‘We had big ideas and we spent big money, and we spent about six months to build that place,’ he explained. 

‘And I was already having sleepless nights because I kept on thinking about the menu and I was exhausted. It was terrible.’

Candid confessions: The 47-year-old celebrity chef spoke about battling depression after he was forced to close his restaurant in Melbourne shortly after it opened

Candid confessions: The 47-year-old celebrity chef spoke about battling depression after he was forced to close his restaurant in Melbourne shortly after it opened

Manu said there was one early review ‘that killed me’, and admitted ‘it was a very personal critique more than a restaurant critique’.

After the damaging review came out, Manu sat down for a meeting with his business partners, who told him the restaurant would have to close.

He said it sent him into a downward spiral at a time in his life when he should have been excited for the future.

Falling on hard times: He described the experience as 'really painful', and confessed he 'cried for days like a kid'

Falling on hard times: He described the experience as ‘really painful’, and confessed he ‘cried for days like a kid’

Despite his wife, Clarissa, being pregnant with their daughter at the time, Manu said the closure of his restaurant took a toll and was ‘f**king hard’.

‘My daughter was born and I was an a**ehole. I wasn’t there,’ he confessed, wiping away tears from his eyes.

‘And I was lucky to have a wife that was strong, was backing me up regardless… I wasn’t me and I was angry, and she stuck by me, and then I turned again and restarted my life.’ 

Distracted: Despite his wife, Clarissa Weerasena (left), being pregnant with their daughter at the time, Manu said the closure of his restaurant took a toll and was 'f**king hard'

Distracted: Despite his wife, Clarissa Weerasena (left), being pregnant with their daughter at the time, Manu said the closure of his restaurant took a toll and was ‘f**king hard’

Elsewhere in the interview, Manu spoke about missing out on a judging role on MasterChef after being told his French accent was too hard to understand.

Describing the experience as both ‘the most exciting part of my life and the most disappointing’, Manu said he received the upsetting news the day after his audition.  

‘I got the call the next day and they said to me, “Manu, we really… Frankly, you’ve got to understand that you were that close,”‘ he recounted.

Oh, mon Dieu: Elsewhere in the interview, Manu spoke about missing out on a judging role on MasterChef after being told his French accent was too hard to understand

Oh, mon Dieu: Elsewhere in the interview, Manu spoke about missing out on a judging role on MasterChef after being told his French accent was too hard to understand

‘”We really love you. We really think that you’ve got a great character. But there’s one little issue that we can’t go past – your French accent…”‘ 

He added: ‘So, that was… Yeah. That was the reason.’

Manu said he almost missed out on his role as a judge on My Kitchen Rules for the same reason, but was saved after Pete Evans signed on.

Firm friends: Manu said he almost missed out on his role as a judge on My Kitchen Rules for the same reason, but was saved after Pete Evans (left) signed on

Firm friends: Manu said he almost missed out on his role as a judge on My Kitchen Rules for the same reason, but was saved after Pete Evans (left) signed on

Pete, 48, had been Manu’s boss when he landed his first job as a chef at Hugo’s restaurant in Sydney, and pushed for him to appear on the show.

‘My agent calls me back and said, “Well, guess what. You’re back on the list. The first executive producers pushed hard to get you in, but also Pete Evans doesn’t want to work with anybody else but you,”‘ he recounted.  

Born in Nantes, France, Manu left his home country at the age of 18 and moved to London, where he landed a job in a restaurant.

'My agent calls me back and said, "Well, guess what. You're back on the list. The first executive producers pushed hard to get you in, but also Pete Evans doesn't want to work with anybody else but you,"' he recounted

‘My agent calls me back and said, “Well, guess what. You’re back on the list. The first executive producers pushed hard to get you in, but also Pete Evans doesn’t want to work with anybody else but you,”‘ he recounted

He later relocated to Australia in 1999, and was offered a job just hours after dropping off his resume at a series of restaurants in Sydney’s Bondi.

Manu was then invited to work as the head chef at Bilson’s, a modern French restaurant, which won three coveted Chef Hat Awards. 

He eventually transitioned into TV, appearing on Ready Steady Cook in 2006, before following it up with a judging role on My Kitchen Rules in 2010.

Claim to fame: He eventually transitioned into TV, appearing on Ready Steady Cook in 2006, before following it up with a judging role on My Kitchen Rules in 2010

Claim to fame: He eventually transitioned into TV, appearing on Ready Steady Cook in 2006, before following it up with a judging role on My Kitchen Rules in 2010

In 2009, he opened his own restaurant, Manu at L’Étoile, but it closed in March 2014, after what he described as a ‘nightmare year’. 

On a personal level, Manu has a 16-year-old son, Jonti, with his former partner, Veronica Morshead, who he split from in 2009.

He later married jewellery store manager Clarissa Weerasena in January 2018, and they share a six-year-old daughter, Charlee.  

Family man: Manu married jewellery store manager Clarissa Weerasena in January 2018, and they share a six-year-old daughter, Charlee

Family man: Manu married jewellery store manager Clarissa Weerasena in January 2018, and they share a six-year-old daughter, Charlee



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