“I Was a Bit Of a Clown”: Manu Feildel’s Journey to Becoming a Chef Had an Unexpected Start

Manu Feildel

There’s absolutely no question that Dancing With the Stars celebrity Manu Feildel is a natural-born performer, but did you know he was actually kicked out of school because of it?

“I was a bit of a clown,” he admitted to POPSUGAR Australia. “I wasn’t stupid. I was just uninterested. I couldn’t sit on the chair and listen to geography or history or maths. English and French was so boring to me — which is funny, because as an adult, I’m so hungry to learn things.”

As for his passion for cooking, it runs in the family, in fact, both Feildel’s grandad and great-grandad were pastry chefs and his father a chef.

“When I got kicked out of school, my mother sent me to work with my dad and I just realised how much I enjoyed it!” he said.

“It’s not necessarily something I thought I would be doing when I was a young kid. It just happened because the food was always part of what we enjoyed. There was always fun family gatherings and Mum used to always cook great home meals and on my mum’s side, I have a chocolatier, butchers and cooks — so it’s a long line in my family.”

Now, Feildel has hit the stage one more time, this time making the grand finale of Dancing With the Stars: All Stars, and let’s just say, he thinks it’s “a lot freaking harder” this time around.

“I had just forgotten how many hours we had to train and it’s mentally stressful to remember all of those steps,” he said.

“I’m the lightest I’ve ever been and the fittest I’ve ever been, but it doesn’t mean I’m not still 48-year-old. I’ve got joint issues and pain. It’s inside more than the outside.”

When Feildel won his season in July 2011, it meant a lot more to him than it would if he won now. While at the time he didn’t have his cheer squad — wife Clarissa Weerasena, son Jonte, 16 (from a previous relationship) and six-year-old daughter, Charlee — it was more about his career than a personal victory.

“It wouldn’t mean as much to me [this time around] because 10 years ago I was just starting my TV career,” he admitted. “I was on top of the world! I was happy. It gave me a good push in my career because people were surprised that I could have achieved that.”

He continued: “It’s just fun now. It was a good group of people to dance with and my partner Katrina [Patchett] was fantastic.”

As if he wasn’t busy enough, Feildel has also gone into a partnership with HP Printers who are launching their first-ever ink subscription service, Instant Ink.

And for Feildel, it’s just super convenient.

“I have a 16-year-old son [Jonte] and he always says, ‘Oh Dad, you need to sign that form’. Nine times out of ten, the ink is low. Instant Ink is genius because every time it runs low, you’ve got another one in your letterbox.”

Catch Manu Feildel during the Dancing With the Stars Finale on Sunday, April 25 at 7.30 pm on Channel 7.

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