Karena and Kasey's Kitchen Diplomacy - TV One - 8pm - Sunday

Maketu sisters Kasey and Karena Bird are making a return to television with a new show that will combine New Zealand's cooking culture with that of 10 other countries.

Karena and Kasey's Kitchen Diplomacy will air on TV One at 8pm on Sunday and will showcase the sisters' as they explore cusine in different countries.

The Masterchef New Zealand winners travelled to the Americas, Europe, and Asia as part of the show.

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''We were given diplomatic pass in different countries and met the New Zealand ambassadors and in that country learn about the food and the culture,'' Kasey said.

''We ate street food, at high end restaurants, people's homes. We just immersed ourselves in that place for a week.''

Karena said: ''People showed us dishes passed down through their families that were really close to their hearts. We really wanted to do a good job while still using our own culture, but not wanting to mess with it too much.''

At the end of the week the sisters were required to put to task what they'd learned, combine it with their own cultural cooking, and present a dish at a big public event.

''I think it was almost a bit scarier than Masterchef,'' Karena said.

Learning about other culture's food has given us a big appreciation for what we have in New Zealand and how special this place is, especially the Bay of Plenty and Maketu.


Kasey said it had been a ''crash course'' of infusion cooking.

''Through the week, there was always that bit of pressure in the back of your head,'' she said.

''It's nerve wracking and exciting I guess. It's never really been done before.

''We are looking forward to seeing how everyone enjoys it. It is a new concept. I think the people making the show, they are really excited to bring something different to television.''

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The show comes on the heels of the sisters winning best TV Cookbook at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Yantai, China, earlier this year for their self-published cookbook, For The Love Of ....

''Learning about other cultures' food has given us a big appreciation for what we have in New Zealand and how special this place is, especially the Bay of Plenty and Maketu,'' Kasey said.

The sisters said they still base themselves at Maketu but confess they've probably only spent two weeks there this year in between filming and post production for the televisions show, flying to China to accept their book awards and other career opportunities overseas.

They plan to return to their hometown this weekend.