Maketu. A place Karena and Kasey Bird say will remain home for the rest of their lives.

"The thing about Maketu is it keeps you grounded. It makes you feel normal, when parts of your life feel so surreal," says older sister Karena.

It's been an extraordinary 12 months for the Masterchef NZ winners.

"One day, we will be sitting in Europe at a three Michelin Star restaurant. Two days later we'll be back in Maketu eating Mum's roast chicken and stuffing. That is the contrast. It's like waking up in five star hotels and then waking right across the road from the beach - we really do get the best of both worlds."


Kasey says the pair, who live less than two minutes away from each other, have been travelling the past few months, in preparation for the second season of their travel-cookery show.

"We've been to the United States again, to places in South America, Asia - a bit of everywhere really.

"It's been awesome. I think we have connected with a few more indigenous cultures and seen their traditional food practices. We always get a kick out of learning these traditional ways of cooking, but then how they are using that knowledge in a modern way in restaurants in cities."

Their next stop - a trip to Thailand before returning home for Christmas. But travelling the world hasn't been the only highlight.

"One of my favourite things we've done would be self-publishing our own book. But then from that, winning the best television cookbook across the world at the World Cookbook Awards.

"That was special. It was something we had done ourselves - recipes, pictures were hanging up as the layout in our parents home. So to be recognised for our work, on something that felt quite risky, was a highlight for me," says Kasey.

The sisters say they always aim to be authentic, both in their cooking and in themselves.

"I think for us, we definitely want to open up our own restaurant. The more we travel, we pick up new ideas and particular ways of doing things differently to what is done here in New Zealand - so for us, that is the next big thing," says Kasey.

The cookery queens say they won't slow down because even as master chefs, there is always more to learn.

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