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My Kitchen Rules

Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays | TV2

Gianni & Zana

Newlyweds Gianni, 27, and Zana, 24, don't do things by halves. 

About to open their own law firm in Melbourne, these high achievers have the MKR title in their sight. And they aim to win it while educating viewers on traditional Montenegrin food.

What do you love most about each other?
Zana: I think the biggest thing is how he is with kids, that's what made me fall in love with him quickly. The kids gravitate towards him.

Gianni: I love that Zana is so grounded, so honest. When people first meet her they might be a bit taken aback at first, but then they just fall in love with her too because what you see is what you get. I love that about her.

Describe your relationship.
Zana: Although we have similar cultural values and we respect each other, we're very different personalities. He's very quiet, relaxed and nothing stresses him out. I'm so the opposite; I'm a stress head, I just have very high expectations and I'm very vocal and honest and I say it how it is. Gianni calms me. He's actually changed my personality a lot.

Gianni: I like to think I'm pretty laid back. She pushes me. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be doing this now even though I love to cook; I just wouldn't have taken that step.

How do your cultural backgrounds impact your cooking?
Zana: Most of our food is based around what we were taught from our grandparents, so it's a lot of heritage.

Gianni: And they are the things that drew us together too; we both have a big respect for our grandparents and our heritage. Our cultures, even though they are different parts of Europe (Zana: Montenegro; Gianni: Italy), they are very similar.

Zana: The closest person to me was always my grandmother and as soon as I met Gianni's nona she became my best friend as well. So that's how we fell in love, based on our love for our grandparents.

Do your families bond a lot over food?
Zana: Yes, especially in the Montenegrin culture because they are very poor so they don't buy gifts. It's the biggest sign of respect to cook for someone in our culture.

What does cooking mean to you?
Gianni: For me, cooking is relaxing. Not many men in my family or my culture would cook. For me, it is relaxing but I’m very methodical. I need recipes, but she'll just whip things together.

Zana: I feel with my wooden spoon and hands, they determine what I need so we balance each other very well.

Are you head chef Zana?
Zana: We work very well in the kitchen together. It's bizarre because when we're in real life, I’m definitely the stronger personality. I'm the boss clearly. But in the kitchen, it's a little bit different. You've got to be smart and know when to be the boss.

What ingredients do you use regularly?
Zana: We cook with a lot of offal. We cook peasant food. It's technical but simple ingredients. And it's very cheap, you can literally cook for under $10 for a family.

Favourite kitchen gadget?
Zana: We're very basic. We use my grandmother’s long rolling stick pin for most of our stuff and a wooden spoon. That's all we need. I don't like using gadgets for cooking.

You’re both lawyers. Have you always been high achievers?
Zana: We are very high achievers. Ever since primary school I wanted to be captain of everything. I always worked so hard. I was naturally not intelligent. I struggled when I went to high school; I was very behind in school and worked my butt off. My Careers Counsellor told my mum I wouldn't be capable of achieving the scores to become a lawyer and that's when I put my head down and didn't stop studying. I'm the type of person that if I say I'm going to do something, I'll do it no matter what.

Gianni: I was the opposite. My parents are always like, "If you tried you could actually go places." I was happy with what I was achieving.

What are your other interests?
Gianni: I play Futsal (indoor soccer).

Zana: Fitness, shopping, fashion, cars. We love cars.

Gianni: I’ve got a 911 Porsche.

Zana: I’ve got the new Range Rover Evoke. It’s a real mum car though so I need to start popping out munchkins!