Group 1 – Kiwis
For the first time in My Kitchen Rules history, a New Zealand team will go head to head with the Aussies.
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. “The Trans-Tasman rivalry is very strong and whenever we see any game against Australia, we really, really want them to lose badly so that translates to everything we do.”
The Auckland pair, who have been together for three years, have five children between them from previous relationships. Their brood comes together every second week and while that could be a recipe for disaster, they take it in their stride. “We’ve got schedules we’ve got to stick to with the kids,” Simon says. “We’ve got full time jobs and we’re running around constantly trying to keep things organised.”
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.
Simon adds: “I’ve always cooked but in the last two-and-a-half years we’ve got interested in sitting down and creating really nice meals for each other. It’s our way of relaxing. We’ve become quite competitive with each other. We’re always trying to out-do each other with meals.”
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.”
Meg, who works a child care director, concedes she is very competitive. “There’s just something in me screaming that we have to win and I have to come first,” she laughs.
Simon adds: “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.”
Like their cooking idol, Kiwi chef Annabel Langbein, they love to cook fresh, seasonal produce particularly seafood. “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.”
Simon, a keen fisherman who works as a sales manager, dreams of opening a café by the sea. “We’d serve fresh fish and seafood,” he says. “At the moment, it’s not a reality with the kids. But if we win My Kitchen Rules, it will certainly help us on our way.”