New South Wales – Steve & Helen (Siblings)
Cooking became a necessity for Greek Cypriot siblings Helen and Steve after they lost their mother to stomach cancer.
Helen, 46, is an online travel manager and Steve, 51, works as an electrician by day and wedding DJ by night. Helen says “Being Greek, family is really important to us.” They feel their family connection will prove advantageous in the competition. Steve says “The fact we’re brother and sister will be a huge advantage.”
As for weaknesses, the pair are prone to being emotional and admit their plating needs work. Steve admits. “And we just slap food on the plate so we need to work on that.”
Helen and Steve specialise in Greek-Mediterranean cuisine. Winning would be a dream come true for them. “It would be unbelievable,” Helen says. “To do something like this with my brother makes me a winner already.”
Western Australia – Angela & Justine (Teacher and Truckie)
“Our commonality is food,” Angela says. “We’re chalk and cheese really but in the kitchen we’re a team.”
The Western Australian pair have been mates for nearly 28 years and it’s their trump card in the competition. “We’ve been cooking together for 27 years.”
Angela, 44, is a hospitality lecturer, Justine, 42, twenty two years ago began working in the mines and today she drives a 200 tonne dump truck hauling iron ore.
Much like their personalities, their cooking styles and strengths are completely different. While Angela prefers cooking modern Australian, Justine is more at home with Mediterranean food thanks to her Italian mother.
“We each have weaknesses but we’re able to pick up each other’s slack,”says Angela. “I’m not particularly good at making pastry or pasta but Justine is good at it.”
While Angela learnt to cook at school, Justine’s biggest influence was her Italian grandfather Pepo, who worked as a chef. “The other teams better watch out because we’re in this to win it,” Angela says.
South Australia – Leigh & Jennifer (Florist and Princess)
Leigh, 33, and Jennifer have forged a close bond despite having only met two years ago. Leigh, a florist, met Jennifer, 25, after her teammate’s husband Wayne kept coming into her shop to spoil her with flowers. “I thought this guy has got so many girlfriends,” she says. “But then I found it was just for one girl.” The two met and hit it off straightaway.
The Adelaide pair discovered they shared a passion for food and fashion. Leigh says, “When Jen and I get together the main topics that come up are food…” “Shoes, fashion and makeup,” Jennifer adds.
Jennifer was born and bred in Bangkok, Thailand, and moved to Australia nine years ago. They both enjoy cooking Asian food especially curries and laksa. “I love experimenting with Asian food and Jen has been a huge influence on me in that area of late,” Jennifer says.
“We work very well together in the kitchen and that closeness will see us through.” Plating is also their strength. “Working with flowers is very similar to working with food,” Leigh says. “Presentation is everything.”
But a lack of communication could be their downfall.“We don’t talk enough when we’re cooking,” Leigh says. “We keep our heads down and get the job done.” “We will win because our food is impossible to resist,” Leigh says.
New Zealand – Simon & Meg (Kiwis)
Representing their home country is an honour for newly engaged couple Simon, 47, and Meg, 34. “We love our cooking, we love our country and we’re gonna win this, so watch out Australia!” Simon says.
Meg learnt to cook from her mum and it developed further after having children and then meeting Simon. “When we first met, Simon would cook me something and I’d sit back and think, ‘That’s pretty good but I can do better than that.’ So it went backwards and forwards,” she says.
Describing themselves as an “average suburban couple,” Meg and Simon believe they have what it takes to win. “We complement each other in the kitchen,” Meg says. “We operate really well as a team rather than working as individuals.”
But Meg admits she can be a bit controlling in the kitchen. “I have to know everything that’s going on all the time. Sometimes I don’t let him do something because I think I can do better.” Simon agrees, adding: “Meg does have a bossy side to her which comes out quite a lot. In the kitchen, she’s terrible. She has to take over.”
Simon says “Meg is the most competitive person I’ve ever met in every way. Whether it’s just cooking in the kitchen or out on the sports field, she is always out to win.”
“We work around fresh produce and protein,” Simon says. “We try and have a fish meal a couple of times a week.” Meg adds: “We’ve got beautiful seafood; prawns, snapper, scallops, green lip mussels. We’re so lucky in New Zealand, we can get the best, fresh produce easily.”
Queensland – David & Scott (Solider mates)
Whether they’re out in the field serving their country or cooking in the kitchen, they’re always calm and rarely rattled.“One of the techniques I’ve learnt through the army is to just stop, think and prioritise what needs to be done first in order to get that end result,” David says. Scott adds: “I deal with pressure the same way. You definitely stop and think first before moving forward.”
David, 41, and Scott, 39, met as teenagers when they first joined the army. The pair hit it off straightaway. “We formed a great bond,” David says. Being friends for more than 20 years will be a major weapon for them in the competition. “We’ve never had an argument,”
Desserts and the fact they rarely cook together – their army posts keep them apart for long lengths of time – could be their undoing. “We’ve cooked a steak or two over the barbie but we’ve never been exposed to anything like this where you have to cook under pressure and time constraints,” Scott says.
The boys have something to prove and will enter the competition with all guns blazing. “David and I are here to prove two things,” Scott says. “The first one is army blokes can cook and cook really well. And the second one is that Queensland is undoubtedly the best state to be in.”
Victoria – Thomas & Carla (Just friends)
The Victorian pair – who met at university about eight years ago – describe their friendship as “fairly volatile.” “Carla is definitely assertive and she can be a little hot headed,” Thomas, 25, says. “I can sometimes get a little stressed in the kitchen and Carla can be a little fiery and be a bit of a reactant. That can cause a few dramas. When Carla gets fired up, I just can’t deal with her.”
Carla, 26, adds: “There’s a lot of things that drive me crazy about Tom in the kitchen. He can be a little controlling and he can get quite flustered.” But Carla believes their different personalities balance each other out. “He’s the ying in my yang,” she laughs.
They both share a passion for travel and have eaten their way across the world. Thomas has sampled tarantulas in Cambodia, guinea pig in Peru, grasshoppers in Vietnam and turtle in Thailand. “I’m addicted to travel,” Thomas says. The most adventurous thing Carla has sampled is barbecued chicken hearts in her travels across Europe, Asia and South America.
They’ve entered the competition for the experience and the opportunity to become better cooks. “My Kitchen Rules is definitely our next challenge,” Thomas says. “We’re going to be taking ourselves out of our comfort zones.” Carla adds: “We love to eat, travel and meet new people. This show is the perfect opportunity to do all of that.”