My Kitchen Rules – Here Are The Contestants
The second season My Kitchen Rules will commence the week the Australian Open finishes. This will kick off the ratings season for them and they will be wanting to build on their viewer figures.
This year there is again twelve teams of two from different states, and Tasmainian viewers will be pleased that their state is represented this time. The winner will take home $100,000.
This year’s teams are:
Sammy & Bella (sisters) – this pair look like they could be the eye candy of the series for the male viewer, but I am not sure about their polish cuisine. Really if polish food was any good wouldn’t their be actual Polish restaurants around.
They cook simple and rustic European dishes and think their chicken schnitzel is hard to beat. “We’ve grown up eating it,” Sammy says. “It was the first thing we ate after milk. I like to think I make the best.” They would like to open a catering company.
Bill & Alex (school mates)
The high school friends now share a pad in inner-city Sydney, where entertaining is a priority. “We alternate cooking dinner each night and invite family and friends to partake,” Bill says. “When we first moved in, we set a ground rule that one night a week one of us had to create or trial a new dish with an ingredient of the others choosing.”
The only chink in their armour is desserts. “They’re our weakness,” Alex admits. “We tend to be more main course oriented.”
They would both consider a career in food in the future.
Kane & Lee (housemates) – They moved into together about a year.
They define their cooking style as Asian- fusion with a twist. Growing up with a Chinese mother, Lee borrows heavily from her Asian heritage. But she is also influenced by her boyfriend’s Polish mother. (Is Polish the next big food trend?).
Kane, a Jamie Oliver fan, and Lee, a Maggie Beer admirer, both have big aspirations when it comes to food. “I see myself opening up a restaurant or wine bar or being front of house,” Kane says.
Lee adds: “I want to open a home-style café. I want it to be tapas style; small little dishes of the things I love to create in the kitchen.”
Kelly & Ash (high achievers)
While Kelly, 28, is calm and collected, Ash is known to fire up especially if things aren’t going right. “If anything goes awry, he has a tendency to panic or throw a tantrum and even food!” Kelly says. “Whereas I’ll look at the problem and think of ways to make something great out of the disaster.”
Kelly works as an office manager for an IT company while Ash is a recruitment consultant, but they would like to open a restaurant/wine bar together.
Artie & Johnny (butchers) –
The Sunshine Coast pair believe the fact they’re work colleagues and friends will give them an edge in the competition. “Artie and myself work so well together,” Johnny says. “We know how to get along in a pressure environment.”
Together, they’ve catered for their work Christmas party and functions. “There would have been about 30 people there one year,” Artie says. “That was a big achievement.”
They define their cooking style as relaxed and simple. Artie rates his Mediterranean beef cheeks while Johnny thinks his oxtail casserole is second to none.
Mal & Bec (urban hippies)
This pair could be the ones to beat.
They’ve both worked in hospitality all their lives. Bec, 28, studied it at college while Mal began working at Boticelli’s Italian Restaurant at age 15. “I worked front of house every weekend,” he says. “After schoolies, it was decision time on whether to go to uni, travel or work and earn some money. A big night with the owner saw me emerge in the morning as the new short order cook.”
And Mal hasn’t looked back since, taking turns working front and back of restaurants through the years. They would like to open their own cafe one day.
Donna & Reade (used-car dealers)
Happily-married for over 12 years, Reade romanced Donna with his cooking and his serenading. A born-entertainer, he’s dabbled in stand-up comedy and still sings and plays guitar. “He swept me off my feet,” Donna says. “A friend took Reade to my 30th birthday and we’ve together ever since.”
They still try to keep the romance alive today. “Every week we have one night where we do a special meal without the kids,” Reade says.
The pair are heavily influenced by Mediterranean cooking. “It’s so diverse; that’s our passion,” he says.
They would like to open a B&B in the future.
Ann-Marie & Nick (newlyweds)
They’re passionate about natural, fresh foods, as well as growing their own vegetables and catching their own seafood. “We often go fishing in a mate’s boat and there’s a cook-top on board,” Nick says. “I don’t think anyone has eaten fresher fish than us.”
The pair describe their cooking style as Mediterranean with a rustic edge. Ann-Marie says, “It’s all about the produce.”
Nick adds: “It’s simple and we don’t play around with the food too much.”
Nick works as a shipwright/boat designer while Ann-Marie is a wine export manager.
While they like the idea of opening a pizza/ wine/tapas bar, their wish is to sail the world together sampling food from as many destinations as possible.
Daniela & Stefania (cousins)
he girls often host barbecues for guests in excess of 40 people. Daniela, who runs her own hairdressing/nail salon, doesn’t have to go far to buy her meat. Her husband Federico is a butcher and together they have two children, Rosa, 22, and Giuliano, 19.
Stefania, a high school maths teacher at Kingsway Christian College, has three children with husband Joe : Alexia, 15, Claudia, 13 and Isabella, 11.
While the competition will take them away from their families, their brood will definitely not go hungry. They’ve both stocked their freezers full of fresh, home-made pasta.
If they win My Kitchen Rules, Daniela would love to fly to Tuscany and do a culinary course while Stefania is keen to open up her own patisserie. Daniela says, “But who knows? It’s a big adventure. Where it leads, who knows?”
Kerry & Holly (mother & daughter)
Aged 57, Kerry is this year’s oldest competitor. This experience will hold them in good stead according to Holly. “She is an amazing cook,” she says.
Kerry is a semi-retired teacher while Holly works as a contract specialist for a mining company.
While Holly would love to open a tapas bar or bistro, Kerry is keen to establish a takeaway home-cooking business. “One of my worries when I go shopping is seeing so many families buying frozen food,” she says. “I’d love to have a place that prepared takeaway meals that were nutritiously cooked. It could be a curry, casserole or a roast with vegetables – all ready to go for families who are too time-poor to do it themselves.”
James & Melanie (recently married)
Melanie, 37, was married for 12 years to a chef who dominated their kitchen. “I didn’t cook at all during that time,” she says. “He just did it all. When we split up, I had to start cooking for myself and my two children. I found that not only could I cook, but I was pretty good at it too.
“When I was married I only had four dishes to my name. Now I have hundreds and I realise what fun I missed out on.”
James, a 36-year-old jazz musician, was a notoriously bad eater. Tomato sauce on pasta was about as extravagant as he got. “I’d never had an interest in food until I met Melanie,” he says. “I was like, ‘Can you deep fry that?’ Being a musician, a lot of the eating I did was between one and three in the morning.”
Esther & Ali (cops)
The girls’ cooking style is predominantly Italian with a modern twist. “My favourite dish to cook is my tomato sugo pasta dish,” Esther says. “I serve it with my famous meatballs. It took me months to perfect to be just like my nonna’s. Tossed through fresh pasta, it is unbelievable and people always come back for more.”
Ali meanwhile rates her decadent chocolate mousse torte. “It’s very rich.”
“I’d like to, at some stage, open a café,” Esther says. Ali adds: “Ultimately I’d love to get an apprenticeship in a kitchen. That would be awesome.”
My Kitchen Rules will premiere on Seven in two weeks time.