Palmy pair cooking with gas on MKR

FEELING THE HEAT: Aaron and Heather Freeman are the only team from Palmerston North competing in TV One's My Kitchen Rules New Zealand.
FEELING THE HEAT: Aaron and Heather Freeman are the only team from Palmerston North competing in TV One's My Kitchen Rules New Zealand.

Palmerston North's Aaron and Heather Freeman have made an impressive start to their My Kitchen Rules campaign, landing the highest score in the competition so far.

Friends and family of the married couple gathered at their Palmerston North home last night to see them cook in the opening episode of the show's second instant restaurant round.

The Freeman's Pacific Rim-inspired three course menu impressed fellow contestants and the tough judging duo of Gareth Stewart and Ben Bayly enough for them to gain an imposing score of 75.

The Freeman's, who named their restaurant Tatou in recognition of their Cook Island and Maori heritage, had an entree that included a raw fish preparation borrowed from Aaron's mother.

He expressed some tough-in-cheek concerns on the show about the danger of having to dodge a barrage of flying jandals should he get the dish wrong.

While his take on the dish received only a lukewarm response from the judges, he confirmed to the Manawatu Standard that the air space at his home last night remained footwear free.

''We hadn't told our family anything. She [mum] had a good laugh. There were a few tough glances across the room.''

The main course of eye fillet was relatively well received but the dessert, which Heather was mostly responsible for, was the knockout dish of the night, scoring nines from both judges.

Aaron may have the loftier food aspirations, wanting to one day operate a food truck business, but he admitted it was Heather who got them over the line last night.

''She does understate herself a lot but she's not just a bystander by any means. She can definitely hold her own in the kitchen.''

The couple may have cooked like seasoned professionals, but they came off looking relaxed and laid back throughout the episode.

Aaron said it felt ''cringe worthy'' thinking about seeing themselves on television.

''It was definitely nervous the time leading up to our episode because we didn't really know how it would be edited, so that was our only concern, but yeah couldn't be happier with it.''

The reaction from the public towards the pair had been positive, he said.

''I've only left the house once today to get the kids some coco pops but we had a few people at the local dairy congratulating us and saying they were proud of the way we went.''

The Freeman's can now rest easy for at least a few episodes as they dine in their fellow contestants' instant restaurants.

- My Kitchen Rules next airs on TV One at 7.30pm on Sunday.

Manawatu Standard