Cooking comrades from Sydney Olga (33) and Valeria (26) are on a mission to put the food of their Russian motherland on the map.
"We want to show that Russians don't just drink vodka and fight bears," freelance photographer Valeria says with a smile. "And to prove that Russians aren't really all that bad... not all the time."
Olga, a business consultant, feels that Russian food is really under-represented in Australia. The straight shooters became friends while working together in her former business, a Russian bakery in Newtown.
"To be honest we're not here to make friends," Olga confesses. "If it happens as a collateral I don't mind, however our primary goal is to win the competition so the other teams better watch out."
"Australians are so fricken different to Russians," Valeria comments.
"They're very laidback," Olga interjects.
"Which really to us means lazy," Valeria explains. "We honestly feel that we have the ability to win. We're going to say truth in the face and I'm sorry if that's going to slap you but that's the way it's going to go."
"For me, being critical is saying it can be better. Next time make it better," she continues. "If they can't take it, that's not my problem."
"We come from a competitive nation. We're a nation of winners," Olga shares. "We're confident about our skills. We want to win and we want to win with a bang!"
Food should taste good and look good.
IN THE KITCHEN
As they both have their own style in the kitchen and are quite assertive, they made a pact to respect each other and not to boss each other around. They take lead on the elements they are better at and ask each other for help when needed. They make decisions collectively and respect each other's boundaries. With the basic techniques they prefer to follow the recipes, however when it comes to flavours, they just follow their guts and taste buds.
Olga: Honey Cake was a signature at the Russian bakery I owned. The recipe belonged to my grandmother who passed away 18 months ago. It is very dear to me.
Valeria: Fried chicken. My friends call me the queen of fried chicken so its special to me as it's yummy and pleases my ego.
We have a dream of popularising Russian food. We have not settled on the vehicle yet but it will be something that makes Russian food accessible, perhaps a casual bistro.