Maria cooks up a storm

Maria cooks up a storm

Lakes Entrance resident, Maria Kyriakou, has been cooking for 50 years and clearly loves it.

So much so that she decided to compete in the popular SBS television series The Chef’s Line which returns to screens on August 6 at 6pm.

The concept behind the series is for home cooks to compete against restaurant chefs, which is obviously no mean feat.

Maria, who is Australian born, but of Greek heritage, teams up with three other Greek home cooks who pit themselves against chefs from popular Camberwell restaurant, Elyros.

The home cook team, who all share a passion for Greek cuisine, face off against the team from Elyros, run by head chef, Jarrod Smith.

Obviously Maria can’t reveal the results of the show for contractual reasons, but we know she spent two long days filming the series in Sydney.

She features in week 8 of the cooking series when the spotlight turns to Greek cuisine.

Maria, who married Lakes Entrance local, George Kyriakou, in 1971 after meeting him two years earlier while holidaying in Lakes Entrance with her sister, Christina, has always loved cooking.

“I learnt by watching really,” she tells the Post.

Maria, who grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Glenroy said she used to be fascinated watching her grandmother cook as a little girl. “I was always fascinated by her cooking, she used to make such beautiful food,” Maria recalls.

She also credits Ian Hewitson’s cooking show with “teaching me the basics of cooking.”

Maria says she was first contacted by SBS back in April and she underwent a rigorous audition for the show which her husband, George, filmed and were submitted online.

By the end of May, the Kyriakou’s received a phone call saying Maria had been selected for the show.

She then was sent a sheet as to what was expected of her in cooking segment.

“I had four weeks to get it together,” Maria explains.

“My husband kept eating the same thing over and over again,” she laughs.

The recipes were also required to be unique.

Maria then had to submit the four outfits she’d be wearing for the show and she was recently flown from Melbourne to Sydney for filming.

“They were long days,” Maria says.

“We were picked up from the hotel at 6am and filmed all day for two days until 11pm.

“I was so tired by the end of it,” she laughs, “but I loved it other than being exhausted.”

Unfortunately, Maria won’t be in Australia when the SBS show airs.

She and George are headed for the warmer climes of Italy.

“I’ll have to tape it,” she laughs.

The 10-week series of The Chef’s Line started on SBS television on August 6 with Maria’s segment on the week beginning September 24.