My Kitchen Rules couple visit the Goulburn Valley

By Madeleine Byron

My Kitchen Rules contestants Mick and Jodie-Anne Barlow have teamed up with Ardmona orchardist Rocky Varapodio to support the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

The couple, which was eliminated from the competition last month, contacted the Goulburn Valley grower after cooking up a storm with the Coles-stocked pink lady apples while on the show.

Mr Varapodio said all the farmers got a kick out of tasting the produce which was nurtured and cooked to perfection.

‘‘I think it’s amazing that Mick and Jodie-Anne have followed us up after meeting them on the program and I think it showed us that there is some people that really care about the produce,’’ he said.

Serving up a baklava desert with honey syrup and stewed apple, Mr Varapodio said the duo kept the apples’ true dignity.

‘‘It was a great experience, we went up there and there was about 60 odd farmers and these guys all cooked ... and the food was very good I might add,’’ he said.

Having featured on the show in past years, Mr Varapodio has never previously formed friendships with competing teams.

‘‘Jodie-Anne called and said that they had this idea about cooking for the Royal Children’s (hospital) appeal with apple slices and I thought that was a great idea because it’s such a wonderful cause,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll be donating the apples and these guys will cook with them and hopefully everyone will enjoy it and hopefully raise lots of money.’’

Reminiscing on their time on the show, the Torrumbarry couple said the farmers challenge was a moment they would always treasure.

‘‘It was about a month ago when I decided I wanted to chase Rocky up and it took me about three weeks to get his contact details, but that was our highlight show that night,’’ Jodie-Anne said.

Mick said although the couple did not win farmers’ choice that night, the chance meeting with Mr Varapodio had meant more.

‘‘We wanted to get the farmers’ choice because it meant a lot to us, it being Australian produce and everything, but in all honesty by these guys coming out the back we won that night,’’ he said.

Preparing to launch a new series called Champagne Food on a Beer Budget, the couple hope to keep in touch with Mr Varapodio and continue to support the farmers.

‘‘We need to make sure the rest of Australia understand how these farmers are putting food on our tables,’’ Jodie-Anne said.

Donating their time for a good cause, the couple will be manning the country board on Friday’s 88th annual Good Friday Appeal, while sharing their love of cooking.

For information about the couple’s plans follow Champagne Food On A Beer Budget on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram or MickJodieAnneAU on Twitter and Instagram.