These days, it's hard to imagine "paleo Pete" as anything other than a fiercely controversial figure.
The celebrity chef Pete Evans has become synonymous with long, rambling social media rants, paranoid conspiracy theories and spouting what's been deemed dangerous health advice by a number of medical professionals.
With his lucrative My Kitchen Rules gig off the table after a decade working with Seven, and a vicious public response every time he so much as opens his mouth, it's easy to forget how the once prime time TV darling's career began.
Especially following a bizarre segment on 60 Minutes last week, in which he aired fringe views on 5G technology, vaccinations and coronavirus and expressed an eerie concern for his safety, news.com.au reports.
"I could I could very easily disappear....If I disappear in a weird freakin' accident, it wasn't an accident, OK?" he said.
His puzzling paranoia sparked reactions of disbelief from viewers — but it certainly wasn't the first time the star has been widely ridiculed on social media.
Having worked in the food industry since the mid-90s, Evans was once known for being at the helm of Sydney restaurant Hugos with the "best pizza in the world" with his brother.
A career dotted with regular MasterChef appearances and cookbooks fit for bestseller lists and family kitchen shelves followed.
When he joined the judging panel on My Kitchen Rules in 2010, his profile exploded, and he became a household name.
Now — other than causing regular social media storms — his following exists mainly in the alternative medicine world.
So when did things start to turn?
Two words seemingly hurled the controversial figure down his fall from grace – written in something as innocuous as a Sunday paper's "day on a plate".
When Evans listed "activated almonds" as part of his daily food intake, the public reaction was swift and brutal, with ridicule pouring forth for "paleo Pete".
2012 – IN A NUTSHELL
Evans became the butt of hundreds of Twitter jokes for his "My Day on a Plate" food diary in a November 2012 Sunday Age magazine, in which he claimed to start the day with "alkalised water" and "sprouted millet".
But it was Evans' mention of "activated almonds" — raw almonds soaked in water — that really captured the masses, with the hashtag #activatedalmonds quickly trending.
"Has anyone thought of ASKING the almonds if they'd like to be activated first? #activatedalmonds," one Twitter user mocked.
"Went to eat a snack but my almonds are just sitting there, lifeless. What to do now? #activatedalmonds," another posted.
To refresh your memory, here's Evans' "Day on a Plate" that caused such a stir eight years ago:
7am: Two glasses of alkalised water with apple cider vinegar, then a smoothie of alkalised water, organic spirulina, activated almonds, maca, blueberries, stevia, coconut keffir and two organic, free-range eggs.
8.30am: Sprouted millet, sorghum, chia and buckwheat bread with liver pate, avocado, cultured vegetables plus ginger and licorice root tea.
12.30pm: Fresh fish, sauteed kale and broccoli, spinach and avocado salad, cultured vegies.
3pm: Activated almonds, coconut chips, cacao nibs, plus green tea.
6.30pm: Emu meatballs, sauteed vegetables, cultured vegetables plus a cup of ginger and licorice root tea.
2014 – FLUORIDE FIXATION
While innocent enough, the diet revelation set the public's eyes rolling whenever Evans' name was mentioned.
Two years on from the quirky piece, the controversy surrounding Evans' alternative diet and lifestyle really started to build.
In December 2014, Evans travelled to Western Australia to meet with the group Fluoride Free, which campaigns to remove fluoride from drinking water.
"This is definitely something that I am passionate about because I am a father and I care about future generations and where we're headed," he said at the time.
He had previously commented that he didn't "touch" tap water and instead relied on fluoride and chlorine-free alternatives.
Evans' support of the group sparked concern in the medical community, with the Australian Medical Association's branch in WA asking that he "butt out".
"It's always disappointing when people use their celebrity in a way that is not useful to society," then AMA WA president Dr Michael Gannon said.
"In cases like this, when people are simply wrong, we ask that they butt out of the debate.
"Water fluoridation is something that has the full backing of the Australian Dental Association and the AMA. It's cheap, it's proven to be beneficial, and data repeatedly proves that it is effective in reducing cavities in children."
2015 – BUBBA YUM YUM
While his prominence in the alternative medicine community was steadily growing throughout 2014, it wasn't until 2015 that Pete's claims surrounding his "caveman" diet really caused a stir.
He claimed — with very little medical evidence — that following the paleo route could help shrink tumours, lead to cancer remissions, assist in treating autism and stop asthma. He also appeared to imply that it could minimise the risk or symptoms of "mental illness, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease".
But it was his cookbook for babies that really thrust his views into the spotlight.
Publisher Pan Macmillan delayed the release of Bubba Yum Yum: The paleo way after medical professionals raised the alarm over a broth that was described as a replacement for baby formula.
"In my view, there's a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead," Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, told TIME magazine.
The formula was found to contain 10 times the safe maximum intake of vitamin A and high levels of other nutrients, with experts fearing parents would use it as an alternative to breast milk or formula.
"That's the really troubling thing – the infant is totally at the whim of their parents when it comes to feeding," Dr Yeatman said. "If the wrong decision is made, they may be seriously affected."
Dr Nikki Stamp went a step further, describing Evans' recipe as "downright dangerous" and "bordering on criminal."
Pan Macmillan dumped the book and Evans and his co-authors, nutritionist Helen Padarin and blogger Charlotte Carr, released it themselves digitally.
Evans, at the time, accused the media of a witch hunt — a claim that he's consistently echoed through the years.
2016 – SUNSCREEN STIR
With controversy now swirling around his unfounded advice, Evans showed no signs of slowing down.
In July 2016, he held a live Facebook Q&A session in which he suggested followers stop wearing sunscreen.
"The silly thing is people put on normal chemical sunscreen then lay out in the sun for hours on end and think that they are safe because they have covered themselves in poisonous chemicals which is a recipe for disaster," he wrote.
The claim that sunscreen is toxic panicked cancer organisations, with Sue Heward from SunSmart telling the media that using sunscreen reduced the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.
"Around 2000 Australians die each year from skin cancer," Ms Heward said.
A month later, Evans told another one of his followers on Facebook that "calcium from dairy can remove the calcium from your bones".
"Most doctors do not know this information," Evans wrote.
2018 – THE MAGIC PILL
In June 2018, Evans made global headlines with the release of a Netflix documentary about the keto diet, which was claimed to be able to help treat autism, asthma and cancer.
The Magic Pill featured a range of case studies purporting to show the benefits of the diet, which is extremely low in carbohydrates but high in fat and protein.
Dr Tony Bartone, head of the Australian Medical Association, said the documentary could be harmful.
"There is some early evidence, and lot of animal models, that (the diet) may have a role in maybe autism, certainly epilepsy – but it is still yet to be fully evaluated," Dr Bartone said.
"A ketogenic diet is not without risk and it really should be performed in conjunction with a medical practitioner.
"A long-term ketogenic diet can be associated with unhealthy weight loss, kidney stones, and in children can lead to nutritional deficiencies and immune system issues."
Evans responded by accusing the AMA of being unduly influenced by external forces.
In December that year, he took to Instagram with a selfie seemingly encouraging people to stare at the sun.
"Every day I love to immerse myself in an experience within the cleansing ocean water as well as a brief gaze into the radiant light of the early rising or late setting sun," Evans wrote.
"These simple, yet powerful practices have got to be two of the best forms of free medicine on the planet for body, mind and spirit."
Doctors responded, warning that looking at the sun could damage the eyes.
2020 – CORONAVIRUS CLAIMS AND ANTI-VAX STANCE
As the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, Evans spruiked a gadget he was selling with claims it could treat COVID-19.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration hit him with fines totalling $25,200 for two breaches over the sale of the devices, which he was flogging for almost $15,000.
In further posts about coronavirus, Evans shared a detailed list which urged people to "look out for" certain code words and implied "mass trials" and "executions" were happening behind closed doors.
It prompted president of the Royal Australian College of GPs Dr Harry Nespolon to urge Evans to seek help.
While he's long insisted he's not an anti-vaxxer, he recently shared a link to a petition to "stop coercion of Australians to be medicated with influenza vaccinations".
"I have been sent so many messages about this subject in the last few days and heard such heartbreaking stories," he wrote.
"If you feel it in your heart to say what you feel, then a petition has been released with federal parliament to stop the mandatory injection for nursing home visitors.
"There are apparently studies linking the flu injection to an increased possibility of other illnesses. Someone may like to produce that evidence if there is any below in the comments?"
Just last month while speaking to Kyle and Jackie O, he was given almost 20 minutes to air his stance on vaccinations in an uninterrupted spiel.
In it, he seemingly weighed into the widespread, debunked fear that vaccines increase the risk of autism in children, while maintaining that he's "not anti-vax" but "pro-choice for medical freedom."
"I have met so many mothers and their children that they have put their hand on their heart to me and said 'Hey Pete, my boy or little girl was a healthy, functioning, beautiful child – and they're still a beautiful child, but something happened'," he said.
SO WHAT'S NEXT FOR EVANS?
The ex-My Kitchen Rules judge is reportedly planning to focus all of his time and energy on rapidly expanding his empire while growing his share of the alternative health market.
He is due to release The Magic Plant, a documentary about medicinal marijuana as a follow up to The Magic Pill on Netflix, and continues to release a series of products from jar simmer sauces to water filters and supplements.
He also has his own podcast, Evolve, which he says takes "an informed look at topics that include nutritional and emotional wellbeing, as well as expanded consciousness".
Despite his years of controversy, with 1.49 million fans on Facebook and 244,000 followers on Instagram, Evans still has a dedicated audience — even without the prime timeslot.