Chris & Cookie
Chris and Cookie almost couldn't have met any younger than they did. Their fathers played rugby league together in Newcastle, ensuring a in-built love of sport and a lifelong friendship from birth. Chris, now a sports physiotherapist, and dietician Cookie are both fathers to two. They're looking for the next phase in their careers.
You've been friends a long time...
Cookie: We've been through every major event in our lives together - from our marriages to our kids, everything. We're like family.
What are each other's most annoying habits?
Chris: Cookie likes to talk about himself. I'm trying to think, he's got so many annoying habits.
Cookie: What did Chris say? I just ignore him.
When did you discover your love of cooking?
Chris: We first cooked together for our Year 6 teacher. We went to her house and cooked a meal for her, I don't think any other kids did that.
Cookie: I actually cooked one of the first meals Chris and Dee had when they were going out.
Chris: I've always loved food. I was never the kid who would leave peas on his plate, I just always wanted to eat. Therefore, because you like to eat, you like to cook.
Who taught you to cook?
Chris: Our mothers definitely (they owned a sandwich ship together). But our cooking is very different to their kind of stuff. We're a bit more creative. We are probably a bit self-taught.
Do you do the cooking at home? Are your wives into cooking too?
Cookie: My wife (Louise) will cook, she just doesn't like to, so she's quite happy for me to do it all. I'm quite happy to not have takeaway and just cook, but she sees it as a chore rather than something to love.
Chris: I'll get a phone call or a text at work if Dee's going to cook and it will be like, "What do I do with this?" I'll do the grocery shopping most weeks.
What about the kids? Are they interested in cooking?
Chris: Oh big time. My son (Zac, 17) is doing hospitality for his HSC, and as part of that he had work experience in a restaurant. Then he got a job out of that as a waiter. And my daughter (Emma, 15) is a dish pig in another restaurant. They're both into it, they both love their food.
Cookie: Mine are younger (Gabriella, 7 and Oliver, 5). They still have an interest in it, but they won't see a whole dish out. They'll help a little bit then go onto something else.
What sort of food do you like to cook?
Chris: We describe ourselves as modern Australian.
Cookie: That sums it up I think. We're pretty much generalist, we'll do most cuisines.
Chris: If there's a certain protein, we love a pork belly or a salmon.
Sweet or savoury?
Cookie: Both equal. We both really love getting a nice dessert up, or a nice entree or main. We really like to do something a bit more creative and try to put a spin on things.
Anything you won't eat?
Cookie: We tried pig's intestine the other day and that was disgusting. But we'll have go at most things. Chris will try more offal than me, I'm not big on it. I think there are so many good things to eat, why would you eat offal!
Chris: I'm not big on kale.
Cookie: We're just sort of set against anything that's supposed to be a super food: there's a lot of wankiness around that.
Chris: I play gold regularly. Surf, paddle board, ride my bike, walk the dog, fishing.
Cookie: I run a bit and do some gym stuff, and a lot of time with the kids. Having younger kids, I can't join a gold club at this stage, but we used to play a lot of golf together.
Do you dream of a future in the food industry?
Cookie: We're testing out the waters a bit with this. I think we just want to find out whether it's really in us.
Chris: I've been a physio for 23 years and it's like anything you do, you do it for a really long time and it becomes a bit mundane. So we've talked about it at times, but we're also realists. We know that it's an industry that's hard to make money out of, and a lot of people fail at it.