My Kitchen Rules New Zealand addicts, the wait is over. The long-awaited 2018 season of MKR NZ is here, kicking off on TVNZ 2 from Sunday October 7.
Celebrity chefs Pete Evans and Manu Feildel will once again be at the judging table. They'll be traveling the length and breadth of New Zealand to meet six new and dynamic teams of home cooks ready to battle it out for $100,000 in TV's most hotly contested cooking competition.
So who are this season's teams? Let us introduce you to Sindy and Roger from Tauranga, May and Enna from Auckland, Jacqui and Nic who are also from Auckland, Liam and Eden from New Plymouth, Pat and Wilz from Whakatane and Jess and Cindy from Dunedin:
Partners in love and business Sindy, 35, and Roger, 42, met through work three years ago. A little flirting at the coffee machine led to these lovebirds becoming inseparable and now they run their own construction business.
Originally from South Africa, Sindy reckons she won Roger over with her great flavours and use of herbs and spices. The couple love to cook together, with Roger saying, "We complement each other in everything we do."
Sindy is confident they can win. "We plan to win, we practiced to win and we have hoped and prayed to win."
The couple will be showcasing their "AfroKiwi" cuisine on MKR, blending their heritages to create cuisine that they hope will impress.
May, 24, and Enna, 29, are cousins but say they're so close they feel more like sisters. These cousins spend time together every day and say they wouldn't have it any other way.
In Chinese culture, food and cooking is a way to bring family together, and some of the girls' best memories centre around the dinner table.
Enna's late dad was a chef and taught her how to cook Cantonese food, although together the girls enjoy experimenting with and creating Western-Asian fusion dishes, representing who Enna and May are: first generation Kiwi Asians.
Both Enna and May have worked alongside their families in takeaway shops, but they won't be serving up your typical fast food fare in MKR.
Liam, 46, and Eden, 21, are a father-and-daughter duo. Not everyone would choose to cook with their parent but Eden says her dad is her best friend and she knew they would have "a hoot of a time" on the show. She reckons her dad will also help keep her level-headed in the kitchen.
What sets this duo apart from the rest of the teams is their hunter-gatherer approach to cooking. They love to fish and hunt together, and have also embraced the concept of creating food made with raw ingredients.
While it was plumber Liam who taught Eden how to cook, Eden reckons she's the boss in the kitchen now. Combining an "old-school" approach with "young and fresh" ideas they could be the ones to watch in this competition.
Pat, 31, and Wilz, 29, make up the second set of cousins in the show and promise to be this season's life and soul of the party. With love and laughter at the core of everything they do, Pat, a father of four, and Wilz, a home carer, will be serving up restaurant-quality meals that offer an innovative take on traditional Māori cuisine true to the East Coast.
This duo is all about using seasonal produce, and they believe that Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) provides everything people should be eating. The cousins hope to show others that cooking is not a chore but a fun, uplifting experience.
Husband-and-wife team Jacqui, 31, and Nic, 43, met nine years ago at a dental conference and now run a successful dental company together. Jacqui is the general manager while Nic is the head dentist. The oral hygiene-conscious couple share a blended brood of five kids.
With a shared taste for the finer things in life you're most likely to find this couple, during any downtime they manage to get, at beautiful restaurants or holidaying in luxurious destinations.
Nic confesses that Jacqui is the love of his life, while Jacqui says Nic makes her laugh and always seems to know what she is thinking.
Foodie friends Jess, 32, and Cindy, 36, are not on My Kitchen Rules New Zealand to make friends, they're here to win. Losing is not an option, with the motto in Cindy's house being, "If you're not first, you're last".
The two women met two years ago when Jess and her family moved in to the neighbourhood. They're both married to dairy farmers and their children attend the same school, so it wasn't long before real estate licensee Jess and mortgage & insurance broker Cindy began spending every weekend together, either at the rugby club or at a dinner party or school event.
Both women call it how they see it and are not afraid to tell it how it is. They can't wait to have Pete and Manu taste their dishes - and we can't wait to see them in action.
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