Two years ago, Maketu sisters Kasey and Karena Bird never would have imagined they would one day win an award at one of the world's biggest cookbook awards or be travelling the world filming a cooking show.

This week the sisters' self-published cookbook, For The Love Of ... , was named Best TV Cookbook at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Yantai, China.

Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times from China yesterday, Kasey said they could never have imagined they would be where they are today.

"Just over two years ago I was studying accounting at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and now I'm in China at a cookbook awards," she said. "Life has definitely changed."


Kasey said hearing their name read out at the ceremony was surreal.

"It's all been a bit of a blur. We were so excited. It was almost like winning MasterChef again. It was such a celebration."

Being among other cookbook creators who have the same passion for food and attending seminars had been an amazing experience, she said.

"We've made lots of awesome friends from Sweden, Ireland, Lithuania - everywhere around the world. It's been really good, the people have been the best part."

The award would not have been possible without the support from their family, their photographer Deborah Aspray and their designer Kate Barraclough, the sisters said.

But the trip to China was not the only travel the pair - who also have a regular cooking column in the Herald on Sunday - had done lately.

They have been filming a 10-part travel cooking show which was due to screen on TV One later this year.

"We haven't spent much time at home in the last few months," Kasey said. "We're really excited to share it. We've had some really amazing experiences."

While the women were excited to be heading home shortly to celebrate with friends and family back in Maketu, they would be getting stuck into their next project as soon as they were back - a second cookbook.

While their first book was based around their upbringing, the next would be different.

"The next one is from MasterChef until now. It's got a lot more international flavour," Kasey said.