After two close semi-final cooks, the last two teams standing in My Kitchen Rules's eighth season — siblings Amy and Tyson and mother-daughter pair Valerie and Courtney — represent vastly different cuisines but share a home state. "I've always said, 'Go Queensland,'" Valerie says, "and I think it's a fantastic thing to showcase to the nation. How wonderful is that? We've got the strongest cooks in the grand final, so it's going to be a great battle."
WHO spoke with Amy and Tyson Murr, and Valerie and Courtney Ferdinands, about their impending showdown, airing Sunday, April 30 at 8 PM on Seven.
Q: It's a battle between modern cuisine and family tradition. Is that a fitting end for MKR?
Tyson: I think it's very fitting. I think that's a good cross-section of people who watch the show and Australia in general. There's lots of family cooks out there but also lots of people pushing the boundaries and trying new things that don't have tradition behind them.
Q: What did you think of each other's food?
Courtney: Amy and Tyson are really quirky with their food and had some things up their sleeve that most other teams haven't thought to try before, so I think the quirkiness of it is what set them apart.
Tyson: That fish curry at their ultimate instant restaurant was immaculate. It was the best thing we ate probably the whole competition. It was amazing. I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and I would be happy.
Q: What did you think of them as people?
Valerie: I think that they are a sister-brother team and we are mother and daughter, and that really resonated to me straight away. I love the fact that there's family involved and I love the fact that they're passionate about food. There were no bells and whistles. We love cooking and so do they and I love that about them, and they're really nice people.
Amy: They're beautiful. The whole family is beautiful and Errol is just the cutest man ever, Valerie's husband. They are just a really sweet and supportive team. Throughout the competition, me and Mumma V would have chats and we would think about what's coming up next and we would talk about food and we just bonded. We are still friends now. It's great because we live in Brisbane, so we are able to catch up for a fair bit, so that's really nice.
Q: Valerie and Courtney, you were known for family recipes featuring fragrant curries and delicious spices. Amy and Tyson, you were respected for unique flavour combinations and alcohol-infused desserts. Did you all know you were creating signature food along the way?
Valerie: I think we didn't realise it at the beginning, but Anglo-Indian cuisine is not very familiar to lots of people and certainly wasn't to the judges, so when we cooked certain types of curries, they were very surprised, and we had to explain it to them what it was all about and how to eat it. So that was a great feeling for us to know we were doing something that the judges themselves hadn't had before.
Amy: Yes and no. I think they are the things that we like doing. We like, obviously, putting in booze wherever we can — delicious! Who doesn't like that? And I think we like experimenting with different textures, so for us it's all about the look of the dish but also the texture and the flavour and how people are going to experience it. I think we knew we were going to use some interesting cuts of meat because that's what we find interesting, but I think when you look back on it as a whole, there were some trends that we didn't even realise. They're just things we love doing.
To hear more from the final two teams, including where Tyson is working now and what Courtney would love to do next, pick up the latest issue of WHO on newsstands today.