MKR the Rivals Meet The Teams

Ahead of its launch next week we take a closer look at the teams competing for the My Kitchen Rules title this year.

For the first time in MKR history, it’s Chef vs Chef and House vs House, as five favourite teams go head-to-head with five new teams in the fiercest competition yet. The Fans will live together and represent the House of Colin, while the Faves share quarters and fight for the House of Manu.

House of Manu (Favourites)

 

Dan and Steph Married Couple Season 4 Champions 

One of the series’ most loved teams, Dan, 38, and Steph, 37, were crowned MKR Champions in 2013. Winning the competition completely changed their lives, with the Hervey Bay couple able to achieve their dream of) start a family through IVF, welcoming daughter Emmy four years ago.

They also opened a restaurant, EAT @ Dan and Steph’s and bought a home, while Dan turned his life around losing 85kg through gastric sleeve surgery.

Why did you decide to return to MKR?

Dan: To be asked back is such a privilege.It’s not every day you get another opportunity like this. We want to have another child and prove to everyone that winning My Kitchen Rules wasn’t a fluke first time around. We’re putting ourselves under a great deal of pressure coming back. There’s so much more at stake this time but we’re pumped to show Australia how far we’ve come in the last seven years.

Steph: It’s so hard to leave Emmy back at home but we want to grow our family and keep the doors of our small business open. The business is our life and we work hard at it for Emmy. It’s our family’s future that is so important to us.

How would you describe the food we’ll be seeing from you this time?

Dan: Our dishes will be a lot more refined and plated well. We’ve learnt so much over seven years and we have changed personally and grown as home cooks. We can’t wait to show you the new Dan and Steph.

Steph: Bold unique flavours with a strong focus on presentation.

Jake and Elle QLD | Brother & Sister | Season 4 Grand Finalists

Brother and sister Jake, 27, and Elle, 29, came runners-up to fellow Queenslanders Dan & Steph in the 2013 Grand Final – but there’s no bad blood. MKR opened many doors for the young siblings who came up with the idea of a shipping container market scene in Brisbane which evolved into the popular Eat Street Northshore.

There, their own food stall Jake & Elle’s Kitchen, currently sells over 900 American Italian street food meals a night. Alongside the container business, Jake works in fitness while Elle juggles the demands of a young family.

Why did you decide to return to MKR?
Jake: We’re here for redemption. We’ve gained a lot more experience and we don’t intend to lose again.

Elle: The first experience was such a blast, but we’ve learned a lot and matured a lot in seven years. We have so much more on the line now, our business, being away from my baby boy and my fiancé, so I have more motivation, direction and reasons why I have to do MKR again.

Will your team approach the competition differently this time?
Jake: MKR has evolved into a cooking competition that requires a lot of strategic thinking, so this time around we not only have to cook at our very best but also play the game.”

Elle: Jake and I will stick to our philosophy of saying it how it is and showcasing great food whilst bringing humour to the table.

Jac and Shaz  QLD | Country Cousins | Season 6 Grand Finalists

Country cousins Jac, 47, and Shaz, 48, put Mount Isa on the map when they made the 2015 Grand Final, where they came runners-up to Will & Steve.

Making it that far in the competition and becoming household names came as a complete surprise to the down-to-earth mums-of-three, who even joined other “Legends of the City” on the famous Mount Isa billboard.

Since the show, Jac has rebranded her fashion boutique, while Shaz left her job at the local courthouse to focus on a career in food.

Why did you decide to return to MKR?
Jac: I always said I’d never do MKR again as I know the stress and hard work involved and the time away from family is a killer. But it really is the opportunity of a lifetime, so why not? There’ll be no second place this time around.

Shaz: MKR was an awesome experience that I certainly never expected to be a part of again, so I had to jump at the opportunity when it came along.

How would you describe the food we’ll be seeing from you this time?
Jac: Meals that are full of flavour but simple enough that anyone can recreate them at home.

Shaz: Our food will always be good honest food that tastes great and hopefully this time around we’ll be able to elevate those dishes to an even higher standard.

Roula & Rachel VIC | Best Friends | Season 9 Contestants

Straight-talking besties Roula, 36, and Rachael, 23, are the first to admit they caused some drama in the 2018 season and their food suffered as a result.

The Melbourne friends were eliminated after the first location challenge, with a lack of focus from fighting with each other, and other teams, to blame.

Since the show, Roula has been working as a nanny while Rachael has been focussed on her career in property management and bought her first house. They’ve been training their minds and bodies, and in the kitchen and are ready to show Australia how they’ve evolved as cooks and as people.

Why did you decide to return to MKR?
Roula: It gives me a chance to redeem myself, my food knowledge and my personality. And I know it’s an experience I will never forget.

Rachael: It’s one hundred per cent about redeeming ourselves. Last time we got way too caught up in the table drama and lost ourselves. I want to show the real me and also show we can cook.

How would you describe the food we’ll be seeing from you this time?
Roula: A Contiki tour because we’ll be taking you around the world.

Rachael: Family-oriented, simple food done well.

Sophia and Romel NSW | Tough Critics | Season 4 Contestant/Season 10 Grand Finalist

Two of MKR’s most outspoken competitors have teamed together and these Sydneysiders will do anything to win.

Sophia and her original teammate Ashlee were memorable Season 4 villains in 2013, while Romel and his teammate Ibby were runners-up in MKR’s 10th anniversary season in 2019.

Tough-talking “babe” Sophia went on to compete in the 2013 season of Dancing with the Stars and is now a professional dance teacher and qualified counsellor.

Romel continues to run his photographic studio, as he gets ready to launch an online accessories store and skincare line.

Watch this fiery Asian/Middle Eastern team set the competition alight!

Why did you decide to return to MKR?
Sophia: To win and to showcase some amazing food from my heritage. My parents are extremely good cooks who have taught me some great recipes that I’m excited to share with everyone.

Romel: I had a great experience last season. It really challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I want to give it another crack to see how far I can go this time.

How would you describe the food we’ll be seeing from you this time?
Sophia: Authentic, risky, a little cheeky and bloody good. Just like me!

Romel: I will continue to play on my strengths which are Middle Eastern desserts and exotic ice cream flavours.

Team Colin Fans

Jenni and Louise QLD | Mummy Bloggers

Sunshine Coast BFFs Jenni, 42, and Louise, 39, met in antenatal class 11 years ago when they were both pregnant with their first child.

When a birthing video started to play, they jumped up and left and a firm friendship was forged over their shared sense of humour.

The bubbly pair went on to found the motherhood blog/website, Paging Fun Mums, and with more than 330,000 followers, mummy blogging is now a full-time career for the “social influenzas”.

How would you describe yourself?
Jenni: Fun, vivacious, effervescent, outgoing, sometimes outrageous, loving, caring, supportive, loud.

Louise: Outgoing and friendly.

Why did you enter the competition?
Jenni: We are huge MKR fans and we always wondered what it would be like. We wanted a fun adventure and to show Australia who we are as cooks, friends, mums and bloggers.

Louise: To step out of our comfort zones and have the adventure of a lifetime.

Ben and Vasil VIC | Bartenders

Bartending friends Ben, 27, and Vasil, 28, are entering the competition with their eyes on the prize, but admit they can get easily distracted by “fly honeys”.

The affable pair grew up in New Zealand and met through mutual friends when they moved to Melbourne around the same time eight years ago.

With each of them cooking from a young age, they say they shouldn’t be underestimated as they have flavours on point and a few sneaky tricks up their sleeves.

How would you describe yourself?
Ben: Fun, vibrant and outgoing. I’m hard to offend and love a beer out with the boys.

Vasil: Happy, positive, incredibly intelligent, sophisticated, adventurous and an absolute legend.

Why did you enter the competition?
Ben: A new challenge and a chance to push myself.

Vasil: It was a great idea at the time.

Sue Ann, and Sylvia VIC | Childhood Friends

Childhood friends Sue Ann, 56, and Sylvia, 52, first met as kids in their hometown of Alor Star in Malaysia.

Many years later they reconnected in Melbourne and now the fabulous friends share a passion for their culture, cooking and karaoke!

Outgoing mother-of-two Sue Ann, who works for World Vision, loves breaking out into song and being the centre of attention.

Commercial accountant Sylvia is happy to support her best friend live out her MKR dream.

How would you describe yourself?
Sue Ann: A bubbly, friendly, kind-hearted, honest and hardworking individual who loves to be a caretaker of others, especially my friends and family. I approach everything I do with a positive mindset and love to make others laugh and smile.

Sylvia: I am bubbly, fun, a positive thinker, very organised, disciplined and independent.

Why did you enter the competition?
Sue Ann: MKR gives me the platform to share my passion for Malaysian food and my mother’s dishes. I am also excited to experiment with new ideas and learn from the judges and other contestants.

Sylvia: I’m here for Sue Ann as she wanted to change up her life. At the same time, I have nothing to lose, so why not come on and have some fun?

Kerry and Kaylene WA/QLD | Ex-Army Sisters

Although they live on opposite sides of the country, sisters Kerry, 34, and Kaylene, 29, are very close.

Having both previously served in the Australian Army, Sergeant Kerry and Corporal Kaylene believe they have the mental and physical toughness to win MKR.

Married mum-of-two Kerry, who is still an active reservist, says they’re going to put Australia on a plate, sharing the types of dishes they enjoy cooking at home for friends and family.

Kaylene, now a student, says when it comes to the competition “if somebody takes on one of us, they will one hundred per cent be taking on both of us.”

How would you describe yourself?
Kerry: I am a straightforward, happy-go-lucky person. I try and look for the positive in every situation. I like to have a joke and am very down to earth. I feel free when I am near the ocean.

Kaylene: Bubbly, caring and always wanting to help others. I have the biggest heart and can get a bit emotional.

Why did you enter the competition?
Kerry: I rang Kaylene and said “Sis, I think we should apply” – she didn’t hesitate for one second.

Kaylene: My sister called one night with the idea and I was like “Hell yes!”

Mark & LaurenVIC | Poker Playing Siblings

Born and raised in New Zealand, siblings Mark, 40, and Lauren, 35, have always been huge fans of MKR.

Now based in Melbourne, the competitive duo are ready to learn, grow, evolve and win – you can bet on it!

Mark is a professional poker player who competes at the casino, at home and with friends. And just like in poker, his strategy is to “read the table, identify threats and if worse comes to worst turn on the charm offensive”.

Lauren says that while she comes across as sweet and innocent, she’s not and as a team they’re going to be unstoppable.

How would you describe yourself?
Mark: Balanced, thoughtful, proactive.

Lauren: Friendly, sassy, sweet and caring.

Why did you enter the competition?
Mark: Because it would be a wonderful bonding experience for two siblings that have spent little time together as adults. As well as proving how strong a blood bond is.

Lauren: I’ve just always believed I’d do well on MKR and I didn’t want to not do it when I had the chance and regret it when I was older.

MKR: THE RIVALS starts on Sunday, February 2nd at 7pm on Seven.