My Kitchen Rules (MKR) immediately comes to mind as a household favourite when it comes to Australian food and cooking shows. After a one-year hiatus, the popular program is returning for its 12th season in 2022 with some big changes but still plenty of drama and delicious dishes. Here is everything we know about this year's season of My Kitchen Rules.
Who Is In The Cast?
The cast of the 2022 season of My Kitchen Rules is gradually being announced after Channel 7 did a casting callout in January, asking home cooks to apply for the show.
Yet again, teams of two (whether that's best friends, a parent and child combo, a couple or siblings) from different states/territories across Australia will go up against each other. The cast and judges will visit each team's home to taste their customised menus.
Peter and Alice
The father-daughter team from Victoria consists of 56-year-old Peter and 31-year-old Alice. We can expect some bickering from them in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean their food will be a disaster.
"That's always how we show we love each other. Food is family. Food is love. Being with loved ones and sharing food and stories is the most wonderful thing about my upbringing," says Alice.
Former banker Peter wants to open a high tea room while Alice dreams of having her own food truck after working at the family cafe for the past five years.
Monzir and Janelle
We can expect a variety of delicious dishes from Monzir, 26, and partner Janelle, 27, — a baker who's been dubbed the 'Kardashian of cakes' by her friends.
The couple proudly draw on their Turkish/Cypriot and Sudanese heritage to create their MKR menus, and we could expect some of their favourites to make the cut including Monzir's beloved full-flavoured spice rubs and Janelle's intricately decorated cakes, of course.
"Everyone is expecting me to make great cakes. I’m going to be sharing my chocolate mud cake with Nigella," says Janelle. "What if no one likes it and I’m just delusional?"
The couple also have another big secret — they didn't tell their loved ones about their relationship before filming began.
"We didn’t actually tell our families that we were dating before coming on MKR," reveals Janelle. "We just decided to go on TV and announce it to everybody!"
Kate and Mary
We're in for some solid drama with these Queensland friends because 38-year-old Kate and 57-year-old Mary like the finer things in life and expect nothing but the absolute best.
There's always a team of home cooks not afraid to speak their mind on MKR, and this pair of health care workers might be the ones to watch this year.
"If I don't like someone's food, I won't be able to hide it," says Mary. "I'm absolutely gagging for some high-intensity cooking and the chance to critique some of my fellow contestants' dishes."
We already know Kate and Mary brand another team's dish as "inedible" this season, so let's see if they uphold their own high standards when they get cooking.
Ashlee and Mat
Ashlee and Matt hail from Margaret River in WA, and are banking on their expertise in Dutch, Asian and Italian cuisine to get them through the competition.
"I have wanted to apply for years but always chickened out," says 36-year-old Ashlee. "My family encouraged me, so I figured this was the year. My kids are such foodies; I feel like they’re judging me every night, so the professionals might as well judge me."
After being together for 18 years, 39-year-old Matt says he wanted to be a part of the reality show to support his wife.
"She is an awesome cook and I think together, we will be great," he says.
Arrnott & Fuzz
Calling themselves the "fabulous Fijians", co-workers and best friends Arrnott and Fuzz are looking forward to showcasing their Fijian heritage on the reality show.
"I don’t think many people know much about Fijian food, so we’d love to introduce them to it," says 44-year-old fashion designer Arrnott. "We love cooking seafood because it’s in our DNA."
"I’m doing this for my culture and to tell the story of my people," adds 34-year-old stylist Fuzz.
Steven and Frena
South Australian couple Steven and Frena may very well be a strong force to reckon with in this competition as they've got some delicious flavours nailed down.
Growing up between Singapore and Malaysia, 25-year-old Frena loves Chinese, Indonesian and Javanese flavours. She and 31-year-old Steven enjoy making their curry pastes, condiments and pasta from scratch and dream of opening a Malaysian street cafe in Adelaide.
Opening up about how she learnt cooking, Frena says: "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."
Update: Steven and Frena were eliminated from MKR on Monday, August 15.
Rosie and Hayley
Aunty and niece team Rosie, 53, and Hayley, 29, say their relationship has become even closer as they have gotten older. Speaking of connection, food is a big part of that for the relatives from Queensland
"It brings the family together; it brings people together," says breast cancer survivor Rosie. "You’re sitting, laughing and sharing stories; it’s the bond you can create over a good meal."
Reflecting on their dynamic as a team, Hayley says, "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!"
Che and David
Che and David have been described as 'Chilli mates' on MKR this year and for a red hot reason! Che owns a hot sauce company and David is revered in the competitive chilli-eating world. Che says that the food is his "whole world."
"As a coeliac with two coeliac children, I have had to learn how to cook," explains the 43-year-old. "I love to make all meals gluten-free to show people that you can make gluten-free food taste good."
Meanwhile David is keen to make sure the team are super prepared when they compete on the show.
"I must be organised before I cook," says the 35-year-old. "Sometimes I even study what I’m cooking. I also like to use the freshest ingredients."
Leanne & Milena
Hailing from Victoria, sisters Leanne and Milena are hoping to bring their A-game and delicious Italian cuisine to My Kitchen Rules.
"My mother was my teacher. As a child, I learned how to make delicious Italian cuisine and make salamis, sauce, olives, and breads," says 50-year-old Leanne.
"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."
Matt and KT
Matt and KT have been best friends after meeting at a friend's 18th birthday, and of course, the main thing they have in common is their love of food.
A proud Yamaji man from the Gascoyne region in Western Australia, Matt is looking forward to sharing his culture through his cooking.
"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!" says the 36-year-old.
"My background and favourite cuisine is Italian," KT adds, "so I love coming up with new ways of transforming traditional Italian dishes, more recently using Native Australian ingredients."
Nicky and Jose
Nicky and Jose met six years ago and while they're not married or engaged, they share a matching tattoo. The South Australian couple will bring a unique mix of food to the table.
"I'm Polish and German, and Jose is Spanish," says 46-year-old Nick. "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."
Sophie and Katherine
Sophie and Katherine are already in the food business, owning The Dinner Ladies — a food service delivering ready-to-eat meals.
The business partners and good friends from NSW say they may disagree at times but then find ways to work through their differences.
"It’s a robust, often argumentative meeting of two strong individuals," says 53-year-old Sophie. "We know each other so well, it’s like a marriage, but we can still surprise each other."
Who Are The Judges?
Manu Feildel and Pete Evans have been the judges of My Kitchen Rules since season 1 in 2010, but this year the judging panel will have a shakeup.
Fret not, the oh-so-charming Feildel will be returning, joined by none other than British cooking royalty, Nigella Lawson.
"Going to restaurants can be a treat, but for me, the true story of food is told through the cooking we do at home. So, to have the chance to champion home cooks and be given the intimate privilege of being invited into people’s homes to eat their food fills me with gratitude and excitement in equal measure!" Lawson says in an official Channel 7 statement supplied to Refinery29 Australia.
“When you think about the food you love, it’s nearly always home cooking," says Lawson. "I’m a home cook and it’s the food that I want to eat. I’ve come 17,000 kilometres to find Australia’s best home cooks!
“I’m so looking forward to working with Manu too. Although he’s a chef and I’m a home cook, the fact is we both just want to eat good food. I feel I’ve got a lot to learn from him, but just know we’ll have a lot of fun in the process. I can't wait!"
Lawson and Preston's involvement comes after controversial television personality and chef Evans' contract with Channel 7 was terminated in 2020.
Colin Fassnidge, who has been a guest judge on MKR over the years, will be returning to do just that. Plus, Curtis Stone is also joining as a guest judge.
There may have been a shakeup as far as judges are concerned, but Feildel promises it's going to be the best season yet.
"I’m very excited to be sitting back at the head of the MKR table and even more thrilled to have the lovely Nigella Lawson at my side," he says.
"As MKR judges, we make the perfect team with our years of experience in professional and home kitchens respectively. And as lovers of delicious food and a fabulous dinner party, I can promise you we’re also going to have a lot of fun. Bring it on!"
What Is The Air Date?
Coming off the back of the Commonwealth Games, My Kitchen Rules premieres on Sunday, August 7 at 7pm on Channel 7 and 7plus, the same day as the premiere of Channel 10's The Masked Singer and Channel 9's The Block: Tree Change. It comes after Channel 7 recently finished airing its other big reality TV offerings, The Voice and Big Brother: Royalty vs New Contenders.
Where Is It Filmed?
My Kitchen Rules is filmed all across Australia because it takes viewers inside the kitchens of everyday Australians. The cast and crew travel to each team's actual home to taste their menus, giving it a much more personalised feel compared to the studio kitchen we see on cooking shows such as MasterChef.
What Is The Prize?
There is a $100,000 cash prize up for grabs, with siblings Jake and Elle Harrison nabbing the large sum when they won the 2020 season.
Remember to keep checking back here as we continue updating the behind-the-scenes details about the 2022 season of My Kitchen Rules.