Good friends Ibby and Romel come to MKR with one massive advantage - Ibby runs several cafes and restaurants in Sydney - but neither of them are about to let THAT little nugget of information slip to their fellow contestants.
WATCH: INTRODUCING MY KITCHEN RULES' PERFECT STRANGERS
“My biggest strength is my experience in hospitality and the fact that I operate cafes and restaurants,” says Ibby, 30. I have a great palate and I know how kitchens run during busy services and I will be using this knowledge through the competition.”
Ibby and Romel, who met seven years ago, hope to showcase their Lebanese and Middle Eastern Backgrounds through their cooking.
“With our Persian and Lebanese backgrounds, we can come up with some very cool menus,” says Ibby.
Romy admits he’s keen to bring a bit of spice to the competition. More outgoing than Ibby, he’s not shy of mugging for the cameras and getting feisty when required.
“Confrontation has never been something I have shied away from,” says Romel, 42, who runs his own modeling and talent agency. “I am not afraid to speak my mind and put people in check should I feel they are overstepping the line.”
Things could get interesting - Ibby admits he’d never watched an episode of MKR before signing up - it was entirely Romel’s idea to apply!
“My family told me I was crazy,” Ibby says. “They encouraged me to watch a couple of episodes so I knew what I was getting myself into, but I just didn’t have the time before I left for the show...
“I watched an episode or two [the night before leaving]. My family was right – I had no idea what I was getting myself into!” he admits. “Watching the show made me more nervous than anything, so I haven’t watched anything since.
“I’ve decided to go into it pretty much blind and to take it as it comes and just be myself. It’s more of an adventure that way anyway.”
Romel, by contrast, is a big fan of the series, and has watched it every year since season one.
“I wouldn’t compare myself to any other contestant at all. I don’t believe MKR has had a contestant like myself in the past seasons,” he admits.
No stranger to “the limelight”, Romel has appeared on The Morning Show, spruiking a service he once offered through his business, that allowed normal people pay to be treated like a celebrity for a day.
“Everyday people would call our agency and hire paparazzi photographers to follow them, calling their names and vying for their attention as they either went out for dinner, a hen’s night, or a day out shopping,” he explains.
Romel clearly identifies with the concept.
“I also love being the centre of attention and dressing in clothes that stand out,” he says. “I find blending in to be bland and boring.”