Competitive cooking

Sindy Coetzee and Roger Smith. Photo: Nikki South.

Like most contestants, they lounged on their sofa watching My Kitchen Rules NZ and thought to themselves: “This looks easy, sign us up!”

Couple Sindy Coetzee, 35, and Roger Smith, 42, who have been penned the lovebirds of Papamoa, met through work three years ago and, following some flirting at the coffee machine, became inseparable.

They are one of six teams on this year’s TVNZ 2 cooking show, with Whakatane cousins Pat Salmon, 31, and Wilz Ross, 29, also eyeing up the $100,000 prize money.

Roger says being on MKR has been a huge learning curve for them, and has helped them improve their cooking skills, presentation and the speed that their dishes need to be made.

“We have always loved to cook,” says Roger. “We’re always cooking food for family and bringing around food to our neighbour. But now, since the show, we cook more three course meals.”

Sindy says they decided to sign up on a whim, and before she finished the application, MKR were calling her up saying they wanted them on the show.

“We were watching MKR one day,” she says, “and, at the time, we were like ‘these people can’t even cook, why would they let them on the show?’

“But we really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. Before I had even finished the application, they were calling me up asking me to finish it off, so there was obviously something in there that they liked.”

When you watch MKR on Saturday nights, you might see the word AfroKiwi tossed around.

“It’s basically just a mix between African and Kiwi,” says Roger. “It has nothing to do with afros.

“Sindy is African, and I’m part Maori, so we wanted something that reflected both of our cultures.”

Roger says what’s benefited them the most throughout the competition is how well the pair work together, both in the kitchen and in business.

"We complement each other in everything we do,” he says, “and we know each other’s strengths. We are also very competitive, which is great for the show.”