Controversial celebrity chef Pete Evans is $800,000-a-year poorer after losing his Channel 7 contract. But his next venture could be even more lucrative.
Celebrity chef Pete Evans and Channel 7 have parted ways, seeing him about $800,000 a year out of pocket.
Don't feel too bad for the now-ex My Kitchen Rules judge – he's now preparing to focus all of his energy on carving himself an ever-bigger piece of a multi-billion-dollar pie.
But Evans' controversial views on health and lifestyle could alienate him from the mainstream audience he has profited from since 2010.
Since his split from Seven was announced, Evans hasn't wasted any time, sharing more than a dozen Instagram posts on everything from the funding of a possible coronavirus vaccine as well as telling his followers to "question everything".
"You can no doubt join the dots as to why many industries and authorities would not like to see this continue, and will do whatever they can to tarnish my name with lies and ridicule," Evans wrote in one post.
In the same caption Evans also thanked his cookbook publisher Plum Books for "standing and staying strong throughout the years".
Evans also posted a snippet from documentary Plandemic, which features disgraced US virologist and anti-vaccination activist Dr Judy Mikovitz.
"Would love to know your thoughts as the person being interviewed has a fascinating story. What is the truth?" Evans asked his Instagram followers.
The documentary claims to reveal the "hidden agenda" behind the coronavirus pandemic: that it is part of an elaborate plan from big pharma and billionaires to enforce globally-mandated vaccinations.
The old adage of all publicity is good publicity might not apply for much longer to Evans, especially in the absence of a big, mainstream vehicle like MKR.
In 2010, his profile exploded, earning fame and fortune, when he became a judge on Seven's hit reality television show, which until its latest season was the top-rating programme on the small screen in Australia.
Evans earned himself top-dollar endorsement deals and contracts for cookbooks that quickly rocketed to the top of bestseller lists.
But in recent years, he has also leveraged his profile to steadily build his own personal lifestyle brand.
Under its banner, he has successfully rolled out a number of paleo diet cook books and food items, as well as an online community with countless devotees.
Evans has also entered the alternative therapies space with his own self-named brand of Pete Evans products.
Now, with several months of his schedule back, Evans is reportedly planning to focus all of his time and energy on rapidly expanding his empire.
And it's a prime time to grow his share of the alternative health market.
In Australia, the complementary medicines industry is worth some $5 billion and has more than doubled in value in the past five years.
Consumer demand for alternative health products and services is soaring, as Aussies embrace the idea of natural treatments for modern ailments.
A 2018 study published in the journal Scientific Reports found 63 per cent of Australians had engaged with some kind of complementary medicine. More than half of respondents used a product of some kind while 36 per cent saw a practitioner.
But the line between complementary medicine, meaning it's taken alongside science-based Western medicine, and alternative medicine, which is sold as a replacement for conventional care, is becoming blurred.
And it's in this space that many of Evans' critics say he's positioned himself, while still making medical claims about the products he's selling.
Evans is known for his paleo advocacy, with a business called The paleo Way offering diet and mentorship services, and a series of cookbooks.
Paleo remains popular as a diet and a lifestyle, and Evans has successfully capitalised on the movement by making himself the face of it.
He has also released a series of products – the typical sort of stuff you'd expect a celebrity chef to flog, like coconut water and simmering sauce among them.
But in recent times, as his profile in the alternative health community grew, he has pivoted into products such as water filters and supplements.
That's expected to continue, especially on the alternative item front, which could threaten his success in branching out from Seven.
"Pete Evans has an increasingly niche audience," advertising guru Dee Madigan, boss of the agency Campaign Edge, told news.com.au.
"And since they're predominantly anti-vaxxers, his audience will probably get even smaller."
He has lost his access into millions of living rooms thanks to MKR, but Evans has a dedicated audience of his own.
There's an enormous social media following – 1.49 million fans on Facebook and 231 followers on Instagram.
He has his own podcast, Evolve, which he said takes "an informed look at topics that include nutritional and emotional wellbeing, as well as expanded consciousness".
And Evans has produced his own small screen series, including The Magic Pill, which was picked up for global distribution by streaming giant Netflix.
His follow-up, The Magic Plant, about medicinal marijuana, is due for release imminently.
And he has significant recognition within the community, but not always for positive reasons.
Evans has repeatedly been the source of controversy and outcry for the better part of six years, for peddling a range of dubious views and regularly earning the ire of doctors and scientists.
He has courted controversy for several years thanks to his endorsement of anti-fluoridation groups, claims that sunscreen is "toxic" and calcium-based food actually strips calcium from the bones.
He landed in hot water over the release of a paleo cookbook for babies, with the inclusion of a replacement for baby formula that doctors warned could be deadly.
Evans has shared testimonials from customers who claimed paleo food had cured a host of ailments, including cancer and autism.
And more recently, he has embraced the anti-vaccination movement by sharing the views of noted conspiracy theorists.