Group 1 - Siblings
Cooking became a necessity for Greek Cypriot siblings Helen and Steve after they lost their mother to stomach cancer.
Helen, who was only 16 at the time, was forced to become the woman of the house and look after older brothers Steve and George and their father. “Someone had to take care of the boys,” she says. “I had to grow up really fast and cook for the family.”
Their late mother instilled in them both a love for cooking. In fact, when their parents first immigrated to Australia in the 1960s, they opened a fish and chip shop in the western suburbs of Sydney. “Our passion for cooking pretty much came from our mum,” Helen says. “Mum was an incredible cook. I remember chasing her around the kitchen trying to get her recipes.”
Steve adds: “I always used to watch her cook and try and help her out in the kitchen.”
Learn more about Steve & Helen's upbringing and diverse family life in this in-depth That's Life! interview.
Similarly, Helen, 46, and Steve, 51, have passed their fervor for food onto their respective families. Helen, an online travel manager, has been married for 20 years to husband Andrew and together they have two kids, James, 16, and Isabella, 13. Steve, who works as an electrician by day and wedding DJ by night, and wife of 20 years, Maria, are proud parents to Samuel, 18, Lucas, 16, and Elana, 13.
The Sydney brother and sister duo are so tight their families often holiday and go fishing together. “We’re a loving, close knit family,” Steve says. “We’re inseparable and always helping each other out.”
Helen concurs: “Being Greek, family is really important to us.”
They feel their family connection will prove advantageous in the competition. “We know everything about each other; the good, the bad and the ugly,” Helen says.
Steve adds: “The fact we’re brother and sister will be a huge advantage.”
As for weaknesses, the pair are prone to being emotional and admit their plating needs work. “I might be tough on the outside but I’m a big softie,” Steve admits. “And we just slap food on the plate so we need to work on that.”
Helen, a Jamie Oliver fan, and Steve, who loves Nigella Lawson, specialise in Greek-Mediterranean cuisine. Thanks to their heritage, they’re used to cooking for large groups of people. “There was a couple of hundred at my 50th,” Steve says. “Helen cooked for that and I did the lamb spit roasts.”
Steve coaches a junior soccer team and runs the sports canteen at Saturday games. He dreams of one day opening up his own all-you-can-eat taverna. “I would love my own taverna style café or restaurant where you walk out so bloated after eating so much good food,” he says.
Meanwhile, Helen would love to combine her love of travel with food. “I’d love to run gourmet food tours,” she says. “Take people to the village we’re from in Cyprus. They make things differently to anywhere else in the world.”
Winning would be a dream come true for them. “It would be unbelievable,” Helen says. “To do something like this with my brother makes me a winner already. But if we do win, I’ll be beside myself. I’ve never won anything!”