The bubbly TV personality transformed the low-rating show, which was originally hosted by chef Nick Stratford, into a commercial success, with the program nominated for three Logies during his tenure.
But in 2011, Everett was given the boot and replaced by comedian Colin Lane.
There were whispers Everett was “difficult” to work with, that he clashed with some of the TV chefs and that he thought he was bigger than the show.
Speaking to news.com.au, Everett responded to all those rumours and set the record straight about what really went on behind the scenes of Ready Steady Cook.
Let’s begin with how you landed the role as host of Ready Steady Cook. You started out on TV as a designer on Changing Rooms and then Channel 10 came knocking. They asked for your help to try to fix Ready Steady Cook, which at that stage was being hosted by Stratford. What happened next?
I watched two minutes of it and thought, ‘This is the most boring show!’ Channel 10 rang me back and said, ‘What did you think?’
I said, ‘I couldn’t watch it. It’s so boring’. They asked me to watch it again and tell them what I would do with it. I gave them two full pages of what I would do and how I would make it better.
Channel 10 was obviously impressed and hired you to replace Stratford as the host. But some of the chefs on the show, including Manu Feildel and George Calombaris, took a while to warm to you?
I don’t think a lot of them liked me very much, to be honest, in the first season. They didn’t like the familiarity of me.
With Manu, when I came in I couldn’t understand a word he used to say. Seriously, not a word. At one point during the show I joked (after Manu spoke), ‘Thank you so much for that, Manu, we’ll now be putting up subtitles’. He scowled at me. He was ropeable that I was sending him up as a French person.
I later said, ‘Look, since I’ve been here, all I hear from audience members is that they don’t understand anything you’re saying’.
I said, ‘Please trust me. I would never be rude to you or anyone. Just let me play with you’. Manu was a bit slow to trust me, but he’s such a character and eventually he started playing back.
The show gained a loyal following with you as host from 2006 until Christmas 2010 when you were sacked. How did that happen?
There are different stories but you can only tell your side of the story. I was at the airport about to leave on a trip and I got a phone call from Rory Callaghan (who was the chief executive officer of Southern Star Productions at the time) saying that I think I’m greater than the show. I had no idea what that meant. I think it meant I thought I was so indispensable and that they couldn’t do the show without me.
I said, ‘I am a large part of the show, but I just want the best for the show’.
I said, ‘If my ego was so great and I was greedy I would have asked for a pay rise’, which I hadn’t had in three years, even with the great ratings we had.
He said, ‘While you’re away, we’re going to interview new people for the show’.
I said, ‘It’s your show, do what you like. But people are very loyal and this show has a real following. I’m not paid a lot of money compared to the revenue. If you don’t like me, that doesn’t really matter either’.
I just said, ‘I don’t think you should do it’.
He said he’ll do what he wants and he added, ‘Ring me when you get back’.
I thought, ‘I’ll never ring. If they want me, they’ll ring’.
After the phone call (from Callaghan) I turned to my friend and said, ‘I think I’ve just been sacked!’
How did you feel at the time?
I was a bit bewildered. If something is working, don’t change it, just leave it. It was really hard, really rough. But for whatever reason it happened.
In a 2011 interview with TV Tonight, Callaghan said he fired you because “it was a hard production with him so it was time to move on”.
Which is absolute rubbish. It’s too easy to say someone is difficult to work with.
You were replaced by Colin Lane. Did you watch the show with him as host?
I didn’t watch the show when he was hosting. It was too painful, too hard. I’m strong but not that strong.
Changing Rooms was rebooted earlier this year, albeit not very successfully. Would you like to see Ready Steady Cook brought back to TV?
Lately, I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s been a real resurgence and people have been saying that they’d love for the show to come back. I think it would be fabulous.
I don’t know how the dynamics would be, but I keep in touch with most of the chefs, and they’d be more than thrilled to do it.
They’re trying new TV shows all the time that don’t seem to last — I wonder why they wouldn’t just go, ‘We’ve done this show, we know it works, let’s just do it and shut up’.
It’s a different management now at Channel 10, and I hear they’re very good people.
What are you up to nowadays?
I’m slowly walking to the social security office (laughs). I haven’t walked in the door yet. It’s been a bit tough financially. When you’re not getting an income and you’re just using what you’ve got, it’s very dire, let me tell you.
It worries me too. I don’t have an agent. I’m not the best at seeking work. I don’t want to annoy anyone I know in the industry and ask if there are any jobs going.
I’m not doing very much. I do a little bit of charity here and there but not very much else at all. I feel I still have a lot to offer and I want to offer it.