Kiwis try to rule Aussie cooking show

BY THE RULES: Megan Dangen and Simon Yandall are the only New Zealand couple to appear on My Kitchen Rules.
BY THE RULES: Megan Dangen and Simon Yandall are the only New Zealand couple to appear on My Kitchen Rules.

If you think hosting a dinner party is stressful enough, spare a thought for the contestants of My Kitchen Rules, who have 60 people in their home watching on as they prepared, cooked and served their meals.

For Megan Dangen and Simon Yandall, the only New Zealand couple to appear on the show, the pressure was heightened as those 60 people had travelled from Australia to watch them turn their Auckland home into a restaurant.

"It looks so serene on TV, but it's not," Dangen said. "It was just crazy."

The engaged couple have been constantly stopped by strangers since their faces started appearing on our television screens a couple of weeks ago.

Dedicated fans of the show, they decided to sign up for the third season, which they understood would be based in New Zealand.

"We liked the show and had been watching it for both seasons and then the casting call came up and we thought we could do quite well," Yandall, 47, said.

"We thought it would be filmed in Auckland and we'd get to travel the country and it would be done within a month."

After a series of interviews they received a phone call telling them they had been accepted. The catch was it was always going to be based in Australia.

The next week they had television executives sitting in their lounge and the following week they were on a plane to Australia, the first flight of many to come.

Dangen, 34, took time off from working as a child care centre manager while Yandall had to quit his job in sales so they could uproot their lives to Australia for a few months.

Leaving the five children they have from previous relationships with family in New Zealand, the couple soared around Australia, flying from state to state to have dinner at fellow contestants' homes.

In groups of two, the teammates battle it out by turning their homes into restaurants, where they cook for their fellow contestants and the judges. Each team is judged by their dinner guests, with those with the highest scores making it to the final.

Dangen learnt to cook from her mum and has honed her skills since having children. The couple are particularly fond of seafood and it is Yandall's dream to open a café near the ocean.

Heading into the competition, the pair thought they had what it took to make it to the end. New Zealand viewers will have to keep watching to find out if they did.

My Kitchen Rules screens on TV2 on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Fairfax Media