While preparing pots of tea and homemade cordial on the set of their The Australian Women's Weekly cover shoot, Jools Topp jokes that she and her twin sister inherited their beloved mother's catering gene. Funnily enough it was Jean, 86, who laid the groundwork for their popular show Topp Country, which saw them pick up the award for Best Presenters at the New Zealand Television Awards late last year.
"We asked mum 'what would you like to see in the cooking show?'" Lynda says. "And she said, 'I'd like to see a little bit of your singing; it's gotta be fun. At the end of the programme, I'd like to be able to cook what you've made.'"
And the clincher? "Nobody should be voted off."
The third season of the cooking series is hitting our screens in February, and it's very popular, because of course it is. It's the Topp Twins. The pair are both equally proud and amused by the celebrity status their 40-year career has garnered them.
It's this universal appeal that makes the pair such perfect hosts for Topp Country. The premise of the show is simple: they travel around New Zealand meeting passionate foodies who are making their own food and/or ingredients. And each time, they make magic. "Our job was just to make that couple feel like they could be great television presenter, because a lot of the time, you walk in there with a camera rolling and everybody just shuts up. So we'd have a cup of tea with them and start chatting like we're old mates," says Jools.
"We really love doing it," Lynda adds. "Because we get to travel around New Zealand and meet some really amazing people – and we get eat some pretty damn good tucker as well!"
In their exclusive interview in this month's The Australian Women's Weekly, the pair discuss their feelings on turning 60 and why they're both busier and stronger than ever. They also exclusively reveal their big plans for 2018, including a full-length Topp Twins movie and Lynda's surprise career change.
Read the full story with the Topp Twins in The Australian Women's Weekly, out now. Topp Country season 3 will air on TVNZ 1 in February. Seasons 1 and 2 are available on TVNZ OnDemand.
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