MERNDA sisters Ashley and Kelly Vola are ready to take the people of Australia on a culinary adventure.
The pair is set to feature on Channel Seven’s upcoming reality cooking TV show Plate of Origin, which will premiere later this month.
The show is billed as the ‘world cup of cooking’ and features 10 teams of two representing different national cuisines in a celebration of the multicultural makeup of Australia and its food scene.
The Vola sisters will represent Cameroon, their country of birth, and will compete against teams representing the cuisines of China, France, Greece, India, Italy, Lebanon, Venezuela, Vietnam and Australia.
Ashley said it had been her ambition to appear on a cooking show for years after previously applying for Channel Seven’s My Kitchen Rules.
She said it was a surreal feeling to see herself on television promotions for the show.
“I applied for My Kitchen Rules a few years ago, but things kept coming up and I couldn’t do it. Then this came up and I jumped into it,” she said.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into, but it sounded exciting so I said, ‘I’m doing it no matter what’.
“Cooking is pretty much my life. If you know me, you know I’m all about food.”
Kelly joked that she had been ‘dragged into’ the experience with Ashley.
“I’ve had work colleagues telling me they saw me on TV,” she said.
“It’s a bit weird. It doesn’t feel real that we’re going to be on a TV show like that.”
The sisters moved to Australia from Cameroon along with their mother and two other siblings in 2005, and quickly settled in the City of Whittlesea, eventually moving to Mernda.
“Mum and us four kids jumped out of the plane and everything we had was in our suitcase,” Ashley said.
“We knew absolutely no one. Mum got a job and we pretty much had to start from scratch.
“Everyone was so friendly and lovely that we made friends in no time, went to school straight away and now Australia is our home.”
Kelly said the pair was excited to showcase the uniqueness of Cameroonian food.
“Cameroonian food is so different from Australian food,” Ashley said.
“It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s bright, it’s filling – it’s comfort food. It’s not light. We don’t do entrees, we just go straight to the main course.
“The most popular thing that Australians might know is plantains, but there are so many other foods such as cassava, yams, foufou and lots of different stews.”
Plate of Origin will feature former MasterChef Australia judges Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan, as well as My Kitchen Rules judge Manu Feildel.
The first five episodes of the show will feature two teams in a head-to-head elimination battle. After the first round the remaining five teams will progress until only one is left standing.
The winning team will earn $100,000.
Channel Seven has not announced a premiere date for the show, but the Review believes it will be later this month.