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My Kitchen Rules

Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays | TV2

Melissa and Paul (South Australia)

Paul and Melissa on My Kitchen Rules

South Australian flatmates Paul Wood and Melissa Heilmann make a formidable team.

After meeting at work five years ago - he's a commercial project officer and she's a senior finance officer - the 27-year-old pair have become inseparable.

"We know each other so insanely well that I can anticipate what Paul is going to do 30 seconds before he does it", Melissa says.

Paul adds, "We've lived together, worked together and travelled together. We have a really tight friendship."

The dynamic duo share a mutual love of food and dinner parties. "I love being able to create things", Paul enthuses.

Melissa agrees: "Working in accounting doesn't allow me to be creative but in the kitchen I can experiment and let my imagination run wild."

Paul's passion for food stems back to his teens, when he had aspirations to become a chef. "My parents wanted me to play football and basketball but all I wanted to do was cook", he remembers. "It was a creative thing. I could get into the cupboard and make whatever I wanted."

Unfortunately, an uninspiring home economics teacher dashed his dreams of a cooking career. "She never had a good thing to say about anybody's food", he says.

But it's all worked out for the best. The decision allowed him to pursue his other passion - architecture - and now he gets to cook for fun.

As for Melissa, her Irish mum Anne is responsible for sparking her interest in cooking. "Some of my earliest memories are helping mum in the kitchen", she says.

"I remember cooking my first roast at the age of nine. As I got older I'd experiment with different salads, trying to sway my mum from her traditional potato salad and coleslaw. I liked new, contemporary and innovative ideas even from a young age."

Specialising in modern Australian cuisine, Paul and Melissa share an affinity for cooking with game meat. "I had a lot of meat issues as a kid", Paul says.

"The way meat was prepared for me as a child completely turned me off. The first time I had perfectly cooked kangaroo was my first introduction back into the red meat world. It didn't have any gristle in it and it was cooked perfectly."

Parties at their Adelaide abode are always fun and often themed. They've hosted everything from Alfred Hitchcock nights to a Mad Hatter's Tea Party and weekly urban dinners, where guests enjoy regional dishes.

Paul boasts, "We rock the kitchen, we know how to throw a great party and we can match our food with fantastic wine."