It seems that Manu Feildel was destined to
become a great chef from the moment he
was born – his great grandfather was a pastry
chef, his grandfather and father were chefs,
his cousin is a chef in the United States and
his mother is a great cook. But, as a child,
he saw his future on the stage rather than in
the kitchen, and at 13 years old he joined an
amateur circus school.
By the time he turned 15, Manu had decided that the road to becoming a professional clown was a very long process, so he started as an apprentice in his father’s restaurant. After a year, he progressed to a fine dining restaurant where he finished his apprenticeship.Shortly after, Manu was bitten by the travel bug and he packed his knives and headed for London.
His first job at The Cafe Royal was hard, to say the least, as Manu didn’t speak any English. But his perseverance paid off and, after working at restaurants such as Les As- socies and Café des Amis du Vin, he took up a position as Chef de Partie at the seafood restaurant Livebait and that’s when he says he really began to understand and love the career he had chosen. Manu stayed with Livebait for couple of years, progressing to Sous-Chef and then Head Chef with the nomination of best seafood restaurant in the UK in 1998.
In 1999 Manu flew to Melbourne where he worked at Toofeys for about 6 months before heading north to Sydney. After 6 months with Hugo’s at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach, he opened the kitchen at the new Hugo’s Lounge in Kings Cross. Manu ran the kitchen for about 18 months before he moved to Restau rant VII with its exciting fusion of French and Japanese cuisine (2 Chef’s Hats from Sydney Morning Herald).
In 2004, Tony Bilson approached Manu to open his new venture Bilsons at the Radis son Hotel. In its second year of opening, the restaurant won 2 Chef’s Hats, and in its third year, this accolade had increased to 3 Chef’s Hats. In 2008 Bilson’s won three chefs hats for the third year running.
It seems Manu’s career has turned full circle, as he returns to his roots cooking contempo rary French cuisine. In March 2009 Manu took over his first restaurant in Paddington, Sydney, where he gets to share his passion for modern French Bistro food.
Manu has had a successful first year at L’etoile with his first Chef’s Hat awarded in August, and winning the “Shoot the Chef” competition for the Sydney Good Food Month. In January 2011 Manu opened his 2nd restaurant ‘Aperitif’ in Sydney’s Potts Point with fellow Boy’s Weekend star Miguel Maestre. Manu first appeared on Australia television with TEN’s Ready Steady Cook and was a regular presenter on 9am with David & Kim for two years. In 2010 Manu continues his success as a chef on TV. The beginning of the year saw Manu as co-host and expert judge on Seven’s My Kitchen Rules which was a huge role on prime time television. He will begin filming for the second series in the next few months and is excited about the new home cooks he will judge this time around. A ‘Mothers day Boys Weekend Special’ saw Manu reunited with friends Gary Mehigan, Adrian Richardson and Miguel Maestres and a second series of Boys Weekend is in the pipeline. The series was sold to over 100 countries worldwide. Boys Weekend is a 13 part series which first aired in Australia in early 2009 on the Lifestyle Food Channel. It was also shown on Network Ten on Sunday nights from December 2009.
In addition to his TV commitments Manu has just also released his first cookbook. Manu is very excited about his 1st publication and sharing his many recipes with readers. He is now starting work on his 2nd cookbook to be released in 2012. He also has a regular feature in BBC Good Food magazine and a weekly column in New Idea.