Fascinating Jobs: Karena and Kasey Bird

Masterchef NZ winners
Karena & Kasey Bird

Fascinating Jobs with Karena and Kasey Bird-Masterchef NZ Duos Winners 2014

We caught up with Karena and Kasey Bird before they hit the The Food Show in Auckland in our Fascinating Jobs series……we can’t wait to see them at the Food Show this year too!

Winners NZ masterchef Kasey and Karena

Kasey & Karena Bird from Masterchef NZ

We are the first ever Masterchef NZ Duos winners.  Since the win on the show,  which was announced on May the 4th this year,  life has definitely changed. Our days are now filled with writing and developing recipes, sourcing ingredients, photo shoots and interviews.  We are currently writing our own cook book,  doing different food demos and hosting our own degustation dinners across the country, writing for The Herald on Sunday and Mana magazine. You can catch us next at the Auckland Food Show where we will be doing demos on Friday the 1st and Saturday the 2nd August at 2.30pm www.foodshow.co.nz and you can keep up to date on what we are up to on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com


1. When you were a kids, what did you think you’d be doing for a living?

Kasey: It is funny I actually really wanted to be a chef growing up, then a fashion merchandiser, then an accountant so it has kind of come full circle

Karena: I didn’t know, I just wanted to be happy.

2. What was the very first job you had?
Kasey: The very first job I had was working in a liquor wholesale when I was 17 years old
Karena: I did the job Kasey did before her when I was 17.

3. What is your comfort meal you love having when you’re home?
Kasey: Mum’s roast chicken and stuffing, it can’t be beat then followed by her apple sponge. YUM!

Karena: I love it when Mum has made a huge pot of boil up and there is fresh white bread and room temperature butter.

4. How hard is it writing a cookbook? And when can we buy a copy?

The writing isn’t too hard. It is everything else that takes time. Recipe testing, organising photo shoots, finding editors etc. We are aiming to get it out mid-year 2015. We are perfectionists so we are making sure everything we put into the book we are 100% satisfied with.

5. What other hobbies are you guys into besides great cooking?

Kasey: I like movies and reading cook books. I quite enjoy doing outdoor activities such as kayaking and nature walks

Karena: I like working out when I get the chance. I like playing volleyball and going to quiz evenings.

6. What is a typical day “in the office” for you two at the moment?

There isn’t a typical day anymore today we are replying to emails, scheduling out our cook book photo shoot, creating recipes and sourcing ingredients for events. Yesterday we were having a tour of the Lewis Road Creamery dairy farm and doing cooking demonstrations. So our days definitely vary and include a lot of travel up and down the country.

7. What so far has been the highlight for you both since winning MasterChef NZ?

Kasey: My highlight has been travelling the country and meeting so many awesome people along the way.
Karena: My highlight so far has been seeing my Mum and Dad on TV.  My family is very private so for them to come out and be on national television means they must be pretty proud of us.

8. If someone was interested in a career in the cooking, where could be a good starting point for them?
Kasey: I think going to a cooking course and getting some experience in a commercial kitchen, this would be the most reliable option of getting a career in cooking. We definitely took the fast track  but there is a lot more risk and it is as though you almost have to play catch up and learn everything really quickly to try and keep up.

Karena: Unless you win a reality cooking show you have to roll up your sleeves and work your way up through a kitchen or enrol in a course and then roll up your sleeves and work your way up through a kitchen. Even though we have won Masterchef we still want to get into as many kitchens as we can and learn from the professionals. There is so much to learn. That is the great thing about food.

9. What do you love to do when your hanging back at home?

Kasey: Just being able to relax and not have to brush my hair or worry about putting on makeup and just chill out with my family around
Karena: I love to spend an entire day cooking. I love when everyone is out of the house and I can be creative and take my time and cook whatever I want and have to time pressures. Or I like to get takeaways and watch TV.

10. What is one of the hardest parts to doing what you are doing?
Kasey: I think the hardest thing for me has been not having as much time to have time out for myself, we are constantly surrounded by people every day so it can be quiet taxing if you aren’t able to find the time just to a breather by yourself.

Karena: One of the hardest parts about what I am doing now is not having enough time to cook for nothing. I miss cooking everyday.

11. What do you do to keep you balanced between work and life? What gets you through tough times?

Kasey: I think spending time with my boyfriend or friends always help. Just making the time to catch a movie or go out for a nice meal is definitely a life saver for me when everything seems like it is piling up.

Karena: At the moment I don’t think my life is very balanced. The bonus is that I actually enjoy what I am doing. I would rather be busy doing this than having some spare time but being in a job I didn’t love.

13. Name someone who inspires you? Someone who maybe helps you keep you doing what you do? Or they are just simply someone you think rocks at life!!
Kasey: To be completely honest and a bit cliché it would have to be my parents, they are definitely a driving force for me to work really hard. They have given everything they have to my sisters and me to make sure we had an awesome upbringing so I would love to give back to them in huge way someday.

Karena: Anyone who lives in our cal de sac or on a hill I can see from my house.

Masterchef NZ winners

Karena & Kasey Bird

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