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MKR | Meet the cast of MY KITCHEN RULES AUSTRALIA 2022

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MKR, the most popular cooking show in Australia, will return to its original formula for success with judges Nigella Lawson and Manu Feildel in an exciting new season.

Real people will be cooking real food in their own homes, offering treasured family recipes and love on a plate to the judges and their fellow competitors as the much-loved competition returns.

It will be state vs state as the competition gets back to its roots.

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Nigella Lawson, known as the “Queen of the Kitchen,” is overjoyed to have the opportunity to advocate for home chefs and to be graciously invited into their homes.

“Inviting people into your home and cooking for them is, by its very nature, intimate. I felt so grateful to be the recipient of such personal generosity.

“While the focus was on the food, I loved getting to know the teams and having a bit of a nosy-around in their kitchens. And frankly, sitting around a table with people eating and talking about food is my idea of heaven!”

Original judge, Manu Feildel is excited to be back at the head of the MKR table, and he says that this year’s competition visits cuisines from all over the world.and it was great to see the teams making the most of the locally available ingredients.

“I love it when the contestants showcase their local ingredients. When we were in Western Australia, beautiful fresh marron was on the menu. You just can’t beat the beautiful local produce

The new season of MKR premieres at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 7 on Channel 7 and 7plus.

Group 1

MKR Group 1 contestants 2022 (image - Channel 7)
MKR Group 1 contestants 2022 (image – Channel 7)

Peter & Alice
VIC – Father and daughter

Nothing is off limits for Peter, 56, and Alice, 31, an animated Victorian father and daughter team.

MKR 2022 contestants Peter & Alice (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Peter & Alice (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

While the two don’t always agree, they both believe that there is always room for “one more” at the family dinner table.

After five years of working in the family café, Alice believes it is time for her to spread her wings. Winning MKR would put her one step closer to realising her dream of owning a food truck: Asian small plates with bold flavours and little fuss. Peter, a former banker, wants to open a high tea room that combines his love of baking and entertaining.

What do you associate with cooking and food?

Alice: Food is synonymous with family. Food is synonymous with love. The most wonderful aspect of my upbringing has been spending time with loved ones and sharing food and stories.

Peter: Food represents family, both past and present. It’s a way of bridging generations. I love it when my sister calls to say she just made some of Dad’s biscuits. Making something your mother or grandmother used to make is an extremely effective way of preserving memories.

How would you characterise your team’s dynamic?

Alice: My relationship with my father is tumultuous but hilarious. We have very similar approaches to everything, which is why we frequently butt heads. Because we are both very dramatic, things frequently escalate into epic situations.

Alice and I have always had a rocky relationship. Some say it’s because we’re so similar. With us, it’s always been on or off, hot or cold, with no in-between.

How would you characterise yourself as a chef?

Alice: I’m a natural cook. I don’t use measuring cups or follow recipes. Cookbooks are like thrillers to me, and I add things as I go.

Peter: Disorganized and disorganised! What is your go-to main course? Alice: Risotto with wild rice and mushrooms. Fresh Scottish smoked salmon with beetroot relish, crème fraiche, and homemade oatcakes, according to Peter.

What do you do when you’re not in the kitchen?

Alice enjoys music, singing, and performing in musicals.

Peter: I am passionate about family history and preserving the memory of previous generations for future generations’ knowledge and understanding. I’m an oddball collector, bordering on obsessive. I’ve always collected family heirlooms.

Can you recall the first dish you ever made?

Alice: I had an amazing babysitter named Mavis who would bake with us. I recall helping her make sultana muffins. We began with a toy wooden oven and progressed to the real thing.

Peter: As a child, I frequently prepared breakfast in bed for my parents, but it was always about the presentation rather than the meal. I’d serve tea and toast with the silver teapot, fine china, and linen napkins. Mum must have had a nervous breakdown when she had to get out of bed and face the mess I’d made.

What is your guilty culinary pleasure?

Alice: I adore a doughnut, especially one filled with custard.
Peter: There are far too many to mention.

Kate & Mary
QLD – Fine diners

Close friends and radiation therapists Kate and Mary enjoy throwing dinner parties and long lunches to bring people together over food.

MKR 2022 contestants Kate & Mary (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Kate & Mary (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

They have a strong desire to cook with high-end premium ingredients and prefer no-fuss simple cooking served on share platters.

They don’t believe in wasting time on bad food or being hesitant to offer constructive criticism. One of their favourite pastimes is visiting and reviewing new restaurants!

What do you associate with cooking and food?

Kate: The most joyful human experience is cooking and sharing a meal. It is how I express my love for family and friends, celebrate victories, and create comforting commiserations.

Mary: I get a lot of joy from cooking for family and friends and sharing a meal with them; you could call me a “feeder.” It serves as a form of relaxation, an artistic outlet, and a gift to those I entertain.

What drew you to compete on MKR? Kate: I enjoy cooking. I’m salivating at the prospect of some high-intensity cooking and the opportunity to critique some of my fellow contestants’ dishes.

Mary: I enjoy what I do because it challenges me professionally, mentally, and emotionally, but my true passion is food and everything it represents. Food is a source of nourishment, sharing, creativity, and adventure for me. I enjoy my friendship with Kate and am looking forwards to sharing this adventure with her.

How would you characterise your team’s dynamic?

Kate: At work, Mary and I are the loud and fun people. We strive to bring light and laughter to a profession that can be heavy, stressful, and sad. We’re both quite opinionated and emotional at times, so we need to make each other laugh.

Mary: Despite the fact that Kate and I are almost a generation apart, we appear to be forged from the same stone. We are both loud and outspoken, have a good time, and spend our time on the verge of disaster.

We have a strong interest in food, which dominates the majority of our conversations. I enjoy eating with her because it elevates the dining experience.

What method did you use to learn to cook?

Kate: I learned to cook on my own. My passion for cooking began when I moved to London in my early twenties and became acquainted with the food and restaurant scene.

Mary: My mother taught me the majority of my cooking skills. Food was an important part of our family life, from sharing meals at the table to entertaining friends and extended family. My mother was always at the centre of everything.

Can you recall the first dish you ever made?

Kate: It was a simple version of spaghetti Bolognese, a classic middle-class Australian dish from the 1990s. My mother taught me how to chop onions, brown mince, and cook with tomato paste.

Mary: I’m not sure what it was, but my sister and I prepared a three-course lunch for 20 guests to celebrate my mother’s surprise 50th birthday. My sister was 16 and I was 19. That was our first time cooking for a large group of people.

How would you characterise yourself as a chef?

Kate: It’s a mess, but it’s intuitive. I taste as I go and adjust as needed.

Mary: I prepare simple seasonal dishes that are shared at the table. We have access to amazing ingredients and a diverse range of cuisines in Australia. This is something I’d like to take advantage of.

Ashlee & Mat
WA – Foodie parents

Ashlee, 36, and Mat, 39, from Margaret River, have experience in a variety of cuisines, including Dutch, Asian, and Italian, and will compete in the MKR competition.

MKR 2022 contestants Ashlee & Matt (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Ashlee & Matt (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

Although Ashlee works quickly in the kitchen, and Mat works at a “slightly slower” pace, the couple of 18 years make a strong team, have strong food knowledge, and understand how to balance flavours.

The couple enjoys entertaining, but Ashlee has one unbreakable rule when it comes to visiting friends and family: she plans and prepares all breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.

What drew you to compete on MKR?

Ashlee: I’ve wanted to apply for years but have always been afraid. My family encouraged me, so I thought this would be the year. My kids are such foodies that I feel like they’re judging me every night, so the professionals may as well.

Mat: I wanted to be there for my wife. She’s a fantastic cook, and I think we’ll get along great.

What do you associate with cooking and food?

Everything, Ashlee! My only passion is cooking, and I enjoy cooking for family and friends.
Mat: I enjoy eating.

What is your go-to main course?

Ashlee: I’d serve beetroot carpaccio with herb oil and stracciatella cheese as an entrée.
Tempura Akoya oysters with Szechuan oil, Mat. How would you characterise your team’s dynamic?

Ashlee: We balance each other out because we are the perfect combination of loud and quiet, bossy and chill, fast and slow. I prefer to get things done “right away,” whereas Mat prefers to put things off until later. He enjoys assisting in the kitchen and is a competent cook, but he occasionally adds to my workload by making a mess.

Mat: My wife is the boss. That’s all!

What is your signature dish, and why is it so important to you?

Ashlee’s choice: Asian braised pork belly. It’s fantastic and has stood the test of time. It was served at our wedding, and we gave the spices and recipes to our guests as wedding favours.

Spaghetti bolognaise, Mat. It’s unique because it tastes fantastic and takes me far longer than it should.

Can you recall the first dish you ever made?

Ashlee: I think it was a stir-fry for my mother when I was 12 or 13. I believe my first real dish was a lasagne I made for a dinner party when I was 17 years old.

Mat: It was a stir-fry with chicken and cashews.

How would you characterise yourself as a chef?

Ashlee: Intuitive and clean.
Mat: Methodical and recipe-driven.

Janelle & Monzir
NSW – Dating

Sassy baker Janelle, 27, and partner Monzir, 26, say they have what it takes to
claim the MKR champion title.

MKR 2022 contestants Janelle & Monzir (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Janelle & Monzir (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

With solid teamwork and a winning menu that draws on their blended Turkish/Filipino and Sudanese heritage, winning the competition would be the icing on the cake for this loved-up couple. A dab hand on the BBQ, Monzir loves full-flavoured spice rubs and cooking over coals with his two special ingredients: chilli and peanut butter.

Dubbed by friends as the “Kardashian of cakes”, Janelle runs a successful cake decorating business, has a fine eye for detail and says food presentation must be “perfect.”

How would you describe your team?

Janelle: We are a young couple from Sydney. Our families are quite traditional and we come from two different cultures. We did not tell our families we were dating before coming on MKR. We decided to go on reality TV and announce it to everybody! Subtle is not my thing.

What type of food are you known for?

Janelle: My friends call me the Kim Kardashian of cakes. I own a cake decorating business in Sydney. My favourite thing about cakes is that you start at nothing and end up with something beautiful, special and sweet.

Monzir: BBQ skewers with Sudanese spices. It’s special to me because my dad taught me this dish; it’s a secret family recipe that we enjoy eating as a family.

What does cooking and food mean to you?

Janelle: Food is life. It is the centre of our world and brings us together. It gives us enjoyment and fulfilment. When I’m cooking, I feel like I’m creating something special, fuelling my body with the fruits of life.

How would you describe yourself as a cook?

Janelle: Organic when I’m cooking savoury and structured when I’m baking. I love using leftovers because I hate food wastage. I also love big, bold flavours and I like to ensure I’m eating healthily but also happily.

Monzir: Freestyle and natural. I like to taste as I go and add lots of chilli.

What foods can’t you live without?

Janelle: Pasta, bread, potatoes and rice; essentially all carbs!

Monzir: Chicken and pasta.

How did you learn to cook?

Janelle: I grew up in a household where food is a love language. We are a big fat Turkish family and we all love food. I learned from my grandma (nene) and my mum. Aunties and family members would also come over to make bread, olive oil and sweets, and I would join in.

Monzir: My mum and dad taught me. I always watched my mum in the kitchen.

Arrnott & Fuzz
NSW – Fashionista friends

Besties and co-workers Arrnott, 44, and Fuzz, 34, call themselves the “fabulous Fijians” and were drawn together by their love of cooking, food and creativity.

MKR 2022 contestants Arrnott & Faraz (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Arrnott & Faraz (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

Fashion stylist Fuzz and designer Arrnott both love making people feel good in their own skin and say food is their love language.

Growing up surrounded by big families who all loved to eat, Arrnott and Fuzz learned to cook from much-loved family members. Both are excited to showcase their Fijian heritage, serving a slice of tropical paradise through punchy flavours, colours and textures.

Why did you want to compete on MKR?

Arrnott: I don’t think many people know much about Fijian food, so we’d love to introduce them to it. We love cooking seafood because it’s in our DNA.

Fuzz: I’m doing this for my culture and to tell the story of my people.

How would you describe yourself as a cook?

Arrnott: Creative, instinctual and orderly.

Fuzz: I am an instinctual cook. I don’t do measurements or weigh things. I just throw things in and feel things out as I go.

What does cooking and food mean to you?

Arrnott: Food means family, friendship, celebration, and comfort. Food is at the centre of all our gatherings, and our entire families get involved in preparing food. Food is a shared experience and holds memories.

Fuzz: Food is at the centre whenever we gather, whether to celebrate or commiserate. It’s how we express love.

How would you describe your team dynamic?

Arrnott: We are creative partners and best mates, but we also bicker like family. It can be a funny energy!

Fuzz: We are very close friends with similar cultural identities. In many ways, we overlap, and in others, we clash. The clashes are funny.

How would you describe your personality?

Arrnott: Quirky, creative, shy and caring.

Fuzz: I have been described as eccentric, which is fair. I am highly passionate and committed to my beliefs. I am loyal until you cross me. Also, all I want to do in life is laugh. Humour is everything, and most people would agree that I don’t take life too seriously.

What are your top tips for stress-free entertaining?

Arrnott: Plan. Be organised. Prep ahead of time to make so you’re not stuck in the kitchen. Create a menu with seasonal produce; it’s cheaper and the produce tastes better.
Remember, it’s food, not brain surgery. Have fun and your guests will enjoy themselves.

Fuzz: Don’t complicate your menu. Create a meal designed for sharing because this also creates and enforces community. Remember that when you have people over to your home,
they are there for you. Put your food on, pour yourself a martini and have a good time!

Steven & Frena
NSW – Engaged

South Australian lovebirds Steven, 31, and Frena, 25, believe their rock-solid relationship is one of their biggest strengths in the MKR competition. Growing up between Singapore and Malaysia, Frena loves Chinese, Indonesian and Javanese flavours and has been finding her way around the kitchen since she was five.

MKR 2022 contestants Steven & Frena (image - Channel 7 and 7 Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Steven & Frena (image – Channel 7 and 7 Plus)

Fiancé Steven was born in Australia to British parents and experienced a childhood filled with his gran’s roast dinners. In the kitchen, the couple work as one making their curry pastes, condiments and pasta from scratch. A win in the competition would kick-start their dream of opening a Malaysian street cafe in Adelaide.

What does cooking and food mean to you?

Frena: Food has always been a big part of my life; I have Singaporean and Malaysian heritage. I memorise textures and tastes when travelling to be able to recreate those experiences and moments. Food is also a love language for me. I appreciate that I have fed family and friends and provided a sense of home and comfort through food.

Steven: Food is creativity and passion. It is about indulging in your senses; if it doesn’t work, you can always try again.

Why did you want to compete on MKR?

Frena: I have buried this dream for a very long time, but now I have found my person in Steven and we are a team. We’re best friends, and he’s made me believe I can achieve anything. As a teenager watching MKR in Malaysia, I never thought my skills would match up, but having a supportive partner means a lot.

How do you spend your time out of the kitchen?

Frena: We are a chilled and laidback couple who love a good laugh. We enjoy the simplicity of life, including long walks and travel. We’re planning a Southeast Asian trip with cooking classes to improve our cooking skills and recreate the dishes when we return home.

How would you describe your team dynamic?

Frena: We are yin and yang. We are so different from each other, but that’s what works. Early in our relationship, we made a pact to work together as a team in the kitchen; I cook, and Steven manages the prep.

How did you learn to cook?

Frena: During Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, my mum and dad would cook together in the kitchen. I’d always admired their dynamic, hoping to have the same one day, and now I do. I love being in the kitchen with Steven.

Steven: Gran and Pa took care of me as a child and would make me scones from scratch. Their comfort and love are what made me who I am today. Having afternoon tea with them after school is one of my favourite memories.

Group 2

MKR Group 2 contestants 2022 (image - Channel 7)
MKR Group 2 contestants 2022 (image – Channel 7)

Che & David
WA – Chilli mates

Western Australian mates Che, 43, and David, 35, love chilli. Che owns an award-winning hot sauce company and David is revered in the competitive chilli-eating world.

MKR 2022 contestants Che & David (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Che & David (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

The pair met on the chilli scene and quickly bonded over all things chilli and cooking. They describe their entertaining style as relaxed but say teams would be making a big mistake if they underestimated their skill in the kitchen just because they’re “chilli heads.”

What does cooking and food mean to you?

Che: It is my whole world. As a coeliac with two coeliac children, I have had to learn how to cook. I love to make all meals gluten-free to show people that you can make gluten-free food taste good. I like to entertain, host dinners and make people happy with the food I create.

David: Cooking and food mean everything to me. I wind down by cooking when I get home from work. Getting to cook for my family is a bonus.

Why did you want to compete on MKR?

Che: I have always wanted to compete on MKR. I’m ready for a new challenge and David and I love cooking together. We have a good time. I believe we would make Western Australia proud.

David: I love the art of cooking and I’m ready for the next challenge.

How would you describe your team dynamic?

Che: We have weekly dates for drinks and BBQs. Our partners tend to complain as we don’t invite them! We bounce off each other, and we’re both huge street food fans and love cooking.

Dave: We work great as a team. He’s there when I need him. Good mates, banter and good food.

How would you describe yourself as a cook?

Che: Confident and passionate.

David: I must be organised before I cook. Sometimes I even study what I’m cooking. I also like to use the freshest ingredients.

What are your top tips for stress-free entertaining?

Che: Create lists for shopping and prepping. Think your dishes through and make a game plan. Wine also helps!

David: Always be organised beforehand. Make sure you prep a day before and get friends and family to help.

Is there anything you refuse to, or simply can’t, eat?

Che: Nope. I’ll eat anything.

David: I can’t eat offal. I’m one to try new things, but my gut says no!
What foods can’t you live without?

Che: Curry. I just love it. Indian or Thai. I just love them.
David: Charcuterie boards are my life.

Rosie & Hayley
QLD – Aunt and niece

Queensland aunty and niece MKR team Rosie, 53, and Hayley, 29, say their relationship has become even closer as they have gotten older. Rosie, a breast cancer survivor, says her diagnosis changed her, instilling an attitude that sees her make the most of every opportunity.

MKR 2022 contestants Rosie & Hayley (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Rosie & Hayley (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

Rosie’s “life’s too short” motto means the pair try not to take themselves too seriously, laugh loud and take chances.

Rosie and Hayley love entertaining friends and family with their casual Italian cooking style. With Rosie’s perfectionism and Hayley’s can-do attitude, this team is set to be a contender.

What do cooking and food mean to you?

Rosie: It brings the family together; it brings people together. You’re sitting, laughing and sharing stories; it’s the bond you can create over a good meal.

Hayley: I love nothing more than when people say I am an amazing cook. I’m sure that’s the main reason I have a boyfriend. But of course, that comes with a love of food. Every snack at our house is so extra it’s Instagramable. And usually tastes delicious.

What’s your go-to entrée for guests?

Rosie: A layered tower of crab meat, avocado, prawns, and chopped tomato with a lime dressing.

Hayley: A bruschetta medley.

Why are you competing on MKR?

Rosie: Being a breast cancer survivor, I’ve found life is too short not to take chances. Doing this takes me out of my safe haven. I love to entertain and create, and I’m at my happiest when I’m doing that.

Hayley: I live for dinner parties and entertaining, so why not do it on national television?

How would you describe your relationship dynamic?

Rosie: We are opposites, Hayley is a fitness freak and I hurt my back just bending down to clean the toilet. But we are both very soft, kind-hearted people who find everything funny.

Hayley: We are the two hungry hippos always sitting at the dessert table pretending we’re there just for the chats. We are both very loving, loyal people who would do anything for anyone. We can count on each other for absolutely everything. Rosie is the firecracker and there’s nothing I love more than laughing at her when she’s angry!

How would you describe yourself as a cook?

Rosie: I cook with love. I cook very leanly. I use only the best ingredients and cook to please others and their bellies! I love cooking comfort food. I’m not a steak and three veg cook.

Hayley: I am usually more interested in how it will look on the plate. If it looks good, my hope is it tastes good.

What is your signature dish and what makes it so special to you?

Rosie: I love a good plate of pasta. With a beautiful homemade simple, fresh tomato sauce with garlic and basil and lots of grated fresh parmesan cheese on top.

Hayley: My signature dish is simple, pasta bolognese. It is a crowd favourite; my friends beg me to make it. It is my grandma’s recipe and makes me proud to be able to cook something from my culture and do it justice.

Leanne & Milena
VIC – Italian sisters

Italian sisters Leanne, 50, and Milena, 52, are best friends. The fiery pair learned to cook from their mother, who was constantly in the kitchen cooking for her eight children.

MKR 2022 contestants Leanne & Milena (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Leanne & Milena (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

The team describe their cooking style as “easy” Italian, saying it only takes a few ingredients to make a great-tasting plate. The sisters, who make their own salami, pancetta, olives and pasta, decided to compete on MKR to put their beloved mum’s food on the map.

How would you describe your personality?

Leanne: Everyone says it’s boring if Leanne isn’t at the party or gathering! I’m very friendly, caring and most of all, I love to enjoy life!

Milena: Fun, happy, kind and I love to enjoy life. I’m very loyal and have a great sense of humour.

How would you describe your team dynamic?

Leanne: We are inseparable; we’re incredibly close. Our father brainwashed us to believe that blood is thicker than water, so watch out if anyone comes for us!

How did you learn to cook?

Leanne: My mother was my teacher. As a child, I learned how to make delicious Italian cuisine and make salamis, sauce, olives, and breads. I lived in Italy for seven years eating the best food. I was always visiting the kitchens of restaurants to watch the chefs. They couldn’t refuse a blonde Australian.

Milena: My mother and sisters are my food inspiration. I do love to use my cookbooks from time to time.

Can you remember the first dish you ever prepared?

Leanne: Yes. It was pasta with meatballs made with my mum.
Milena: It was making bread and pasta with our mama in the wood oven.

How would you describe yourself as a cook?

Leanne: I always get feedback from everyone saying my food is delicious and tastes like mum’s; they always want my recipes. I love to watch cooking shows and have a great memory for remembering recipes without writing them down. I always add a little twist making it my own.

Milena: I’m a wonderful cook and very passionate about great food. I love to cook for family and friends but won’t put a dish out if I don’t think its flavoursome or good enough.

What is your signature dish and what makes it so special to you?

Leanne: I have a few, but my all-time dish is homemade pasta with sausage and rapini.

Milena: Pasta and broccoli. My family loves it, and it reminds me of being home with my mama.

Is there anything you refuse to, or simply can’t, eat?

Leanne: Tripe. I cook it for the family but just can’t eat it.

Milena: Offal. Ewww!

Matt & KT
VIC – Best friends

Victorian best friends, Matt, 36, and KT, 33, met at a friend’s 18th birthday party and say they’re more like siblings.

MKR 2022 contestants Matt & KT (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Matt & KT (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

Matt grew up a proud Yamaji man from the Gascoyne region in Western Australia with a nose-to-tail food philosophy. Matt and KT are passionate about using Australian native ingredients and transporting their guests to the Australian Outback during their MKR instant restaurant.

They dream of opening their own native cooking store, offering hard-to-find native ingredients and products.

What does cooking and food mean to you?

Matt: I would say that the main thing that KT and I have in common is our love for food.

KT: I love how food brings people together, creates memories and brings back old ones. Cooking food I would normally enjoy with my family and friends makes me feel closer to home, especially during lockdown when we couldn’t see each other.

How would you describe your personality?

Matt: I am a very direct, passionate person who loves to laugh. I don’t take life too seriously and I don’t have a mean bone in my body. I’m compassionate and always determined to be the best.

KT: I am loyal, genuine, independent and love to laugh.

How did you learn to cook?

Matt: I was self-taught. My mum worked three jobs simultaneously to provide for my sister and me, so she was rarely home. I learned to cook from my sister, aunties, uncles and grandma.

KT: I learned to cook by watching my mum. I didn’t start cooking myself until I moved out of home, but I defi-nitely get my inspiration from my mum and she’s the first person I call for advice.

Can you remember the first dish you ever prepared?

Matt: The first dish I made was with my grandmother, Alice. She taught me how to make a trifle; it was the best I’ve ever eaten in my life. There is something about food that is made with love from someone you admire and respect.

KT: The first dish I ever made was spaghetti bolognese with my mum. She always made the best spaghetti and I was determined to make it just as good. Nothing fancy but it’s definitely evolved over the years.

How would you describe yourself as a cook?

Matt: I am a great cook. I can make anything, but I am messy in the kitchen and around the dinner table. My food is traditional Aboriginal food, but I modernise it. It’s the way of the future for our Country!

KT: I love experimenting with different flavours and transforming recipes to make them my own. I love fresh, vibrant ingredients that look as beautiful on the plate as they taste. My background and favourite cuisine is Italian, so I love coming up with new ways of transforming traditional Italian dishes, more recently using Native Australian ingredients.

Is there anything you refuse to, or simply can’t, eat?

Matt: I cannot do natural oysters and mangoes for some reason. Even though I’ve grown up around them my whole life, I just can’t love them. Sorry!

KT: Brussels sprouts.

Nicky & Jose
SA – Spanish foodies

Fitness fanatics Nicky, 46, and Jose, 51, live life to the max. They met on a dancefloor six years ago and have been together since.

MKR 2022 contestants Nicky & Jose (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Nicky & Jose (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

They are not married or engaged but share a matching tattoo. Jose is Spanish and grew up around Spanish food, which has been a constant theme in his life with his parents owning a restaurant and both his grandparents training and working as chefs.

What does cooking and food mean to you?

Nicky: Cooking means everything to me. As a child my dream was to open a cafe. I’ve been working in hospitality since I was 15. I work in the same café where I started as a teenager.

Jose: Food has always played a big part in my family, but since meeting Nicky, I have learned much more about cooking. Cooking now gives me so much joy.

Why did you want to compete on MKR?

Nicky: We love to cook and host dinner parties, meet new people and enjoy experiencing new dishes.

Jose: MKR is a bucket list item for Nicky and me. I love having new challenges thrown at me and working together to develop new ideas under pressure.

How would you describe your relationship dynamic?

Nicky: I’m Polish and German, and Jose is Spanish. As they say, opposites attract. I’m the alpha; he has a very calm and easy-going attitude. I am very loud and I find it hard to sit still.

Jose: We are opposite in many ways, but it works for us. Nicky is an energiser bunny, very loud and not scared to voice her opinion. I tend to keep things private. She is the alpha in our relationship, but I love that as she keeps me on my toes.

How did you learn to cook?

Nicky: I am self-taught and started expressing my love through my cooking. I love feeding people and making them happy.

Jose: Watching my grandparents at the family restaurant.

How would you describe yourself as a cook?

Nicky: I wouldn’t say I am the world’s best cook, but I am dedicated and love food.

Jose: I’m not overly talented, but I put my love into every dish.

What is your signature dish and what makes it so special to you?

Nicky: Morning glory Pad Thai. I love cooking Thai food.
Jose: Paella. It epitomises Spain’s flavours, colours and passion.

What are your top tips for stress-free entertaining?

Nicky: Cook what you love and keep it simple. Also, drink red wine!

Jose: Good friends, good food, good wine and even better music.

Sophie & Katherine
NSW – Posh friends

Business partners and great friends Sophie, 53, and Katherine, 55, met 18 years ago on a camping trip and love to cook and laugh together over a wine or two.

MKR 2022 contestants Sophie & Katherine (image - Channel 7 and 7Plus)
MKR 2022 contestants Sophie & Katherine (image – Channel 7 and 7Plus)

The outspoken, fun-loving, entrepreneurial mums own The Dinner Ladies, a successful food service delivering ready-to-eat meals. Both are confident home cooks who
favour nutritious food and showcase fresh ingredients.

They want their instant restaurant to be a warm and inviting space where everyone feels at home.

What does cooking and food mean to you?

Katherine: Food is everything. It’s one of life’s greatest pleasures. Food is how we demonstrate our love for our family and friends. But we also love the process of making food; cooking is always changing and moving with the times, and it gives you the chance to be inventive and artistic too.

Sophie: Cooking and the love of good food is central to the large, close family I grew up in and the family I co-created. My three sisters, 88-year-old mother and I still talk daily about what we’re cooking and eating. Food is an expression of love when we’re together and self-care when we’re alone.

What is your go-to main dish for guests?

Katherine: Brined loin of porchetta with crackling, apple and fennel slaw and parmesan mash.

Sophie: Barbacoa, fresh corn tortillas, lime crema and fermented tomato salsa.
How would you describe your team dynamic?

Katherine: They say that when equal but opposing forces meet, perfect harmony is achieved – and that’s how it is with Sophie and me. We are quite different and disagree with monotonous regularity, but we always find ways to work through our differences. And after all these years, she still makes me laugh almost daily.

Sophie: Dynamic is the right word. It’s a robust, often argumentative meeting of two strong individuals. We know each other so well, it’s like a marriage, but we can still surprise each other.

How did you learn to cook?

Katherine: I’m a completely self-taught cook. I’ve always been interested in good food and curious about how to make it. I had my first three children very quickly and it just wasn’t practical to think about working outside the house, so I spent those years honing my cooking skills.

Sophie: My mum was (and still is at 89) a wonderful cook. We grew many of our vegies and ate widely and adventurously every day. She never explicitly taught us, but you pick up a lot hanging around in the kitchen.

We had a cooked breakfast most days, afternoon tea waiting when we got home from school, and a beauti-ful dinner (tarragon chicken, daube of beef, etc.) every night. For seven of us! I still don’t know how she did it.

How would you describe yourself as a cook?

Katherine: I love to be adventurous and try new things, but when I cook for my family, they always want sim-ple, classic and homely food. As a cook, I adopt a classic peasant style: using simple, economical, in-sea-son ingredients as creatively as possible.

Sophie: Gutsy and flavour-driven. I’m not great at the pretty plate, and increasingly, I am drawn to simplicity. I like generosity, not trying to impress.

Is there anything you refuse to, or simply can’t, eat?

Katherine: I do pride myself on being an adventurous eater, but I’ve never been able to come at 1,000-year-old eggs: they have a black yolk and the white has turned green. Blech.

Sophie: As the daughter of a neurologist, I’m wary of brains. I’m good at extremities, ears, and trotters, but not so much internal offal. I’ll eat it if it’s in front of me, though, and
occasionally order it out just to push myself.

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Kevin Perry
Kevin Perryhttps://tvblackbox.com.au/author-kevin-perry/
Co-Creator and Editor of the TV Blackbox website, Kevin Perry is an experienced media commentator focused on TV Production, Consumer Tech, SVOD & Sports Broadcasting. Media enquiries please Call or Text 0428-275-111

Comments

2 COMMENTS

  1. Just hoping this season of MKR isn’t full of bitchiness and cruel comments. I love the show but can’t watch it when they get nasty and cruel to others.

  2. I know that newspapers have axed proof readers due to the number of errors that appear but today the replay of MKR came on after the 11:30 am 7 NewsI noticed Monzir was driving a left hand drive Toyota and I immediately thought this program must be filmed offshore. When they returned home and parked on the left can see of the road I thought this looks like Sydney.
    Fortunately my television allows you to wind back providing the channel hasn’t changed Janelle gets into the front passenger seat via the front right hand
    door Monzir gets into the drivers seat via the front right hand door.
    The dash camera then shows Monzir driving from the left hand front seat and Janelle sitting in the right hand front passenger seat, do you put this down to careless editing or an attempt to do the viewer’s heads in ?

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