Manu Feildel won't listen to my pitch.
I'm trying to sell the charming French man an idea about a reality show that's a cross between My Kitchen Rules and The Bachelor, where to earn a single date the women must cook the bachelor a meal, and at the cocktail party they've had to spend hours in the kitchen making finger food before heading off to glam up.
Of course there'd be the usual bitchiness and drama ... Feildel and Osher Gunsberg (surely it's time he hitches up on a food related show?) but Feildel's not having a bar of it.
"Oh, no, no, no ...," he says. "I wouldn't want to be involved in that at all."
He's just glad that, at last, he says, he's involved with a cooking show that's more about the food than the drama.
The last few seasons of MKR were plagued by drama, the ratings fell, and now Feildel has found a new outlet.
Plate of Origin is the latest offering from Seven, it's being sold as they world cup of cooking, a replacement perhaps for the Olympics which were due on our screens about now. Ten teams from across Australia representing some of the greatest food nations cooking from their heart and heritage, transporting the viewer around the globe from the comfort of their lounge room.
Feildel is joined by judges Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston from MasterChef and the three of them have a relaxed and natural rapport.
"I've worked with Gary a few times before, we worked on Ready Steady Cook a long time ago, we've done Boys' Weekend as well 15 years ago," Feildel says.
"That's one thing a lot of people don't realise, we've known each other for a long time, we've worked together in the industry, done charity gigs together, we've always been mates."
If Feildel could travel he said he would visit Lebanon.
"I've never been there so that's where I'd go. I don't have one particular dish that I would like to try, I would want to try absolutely everything. I just love the thought of all the spices, variety of foods and their table manners, I love eating with my hands."
At home he's more likely to cook French, Malaysian and Sri Lankan.
"When cooking French food, dishes range from the simple stews and roasts to amazing fine dining dishes, that I was taught as a professional. My wife is from Malaysia and she has taught me how to cook this cuisine, although I do prefer it when she cooks for me. Some of my favourite dishes are beef rendang, curry laska and otak otak. Sri Lankan, again this is a part of my wife's heritage. We love making delicious hoppers, amazing vegetarian dishes and dry curries."
Feildel says Australia is the perfect nation for this kind of show.
"Australia is such a multicultural country, hence the many cuisines. It comes from many years of immigrants bringing their amazing cuisines here, how lucky are we."
Feildel came to Australia from France 20 years ago.
"It's been an amazing thing watching the Australian food culture develop over the 20 years I've been here," he says.
"I remember arriving 20 years ago thinking there wasn't much to learn here but the food scene in Australia has grown very quickly and I think it's caught up with the rest of the world."
That said, part of him is secretly cheering for the French team, entrepreneurs Austine and Leo.
"And keep an eye out for the team from Cameroon, they came with some stuff we'd never seen before and that's something we chefs enjoy, to discover new cuisines, new flavours, new tastes and techniques, we've seen some great stuff."
The series was shot in Dural, just outside of Sydney, over four weeks before the COVID restrictions came into place and while it's a shorter season than might have been originally anticipated the action runs thick and fast.
Each week two countries compete against each other, serving up one savoury and one sweet dish, for a place in the finals.
- Plate of Origin screens on Prime 7 on Sundays at 7pm and Monday and Tuesday at 7.30pm.