When hip-hop dancers and friends Roula and Rachael signed up for My Kitchen Rules, they were keen to step up to the plate and show Australia what they're made of in the kitchen.
But as season nine of the popular cooking show rolls out, the girls from Victoria say their time in the cooking competition was far from savoury.
"It wasn't what I thought it would be like," Roula, 34, tells TV WEEK. "It was a lot different to cooking at home, because at home you don't have a whole film crew watching you. So it was pretty stressful."
However, it wasn't just the pressure of cooking for seven other teams, as well as judges Pete Evans and Manu Feildel, that Roula and Rachael struggled with.
"I think the other teams were taken aback by how strong my opinions were, that's for sure," Roula reveals.
She adds that she and Rachael clashed with some of their fellow foodies, especially Emma, 38, and Jess, 31.
"There was tension from the very beginning," Roula explains. "I've never walked into a situation where it was kind of like, 'attack, attack, attack'."
In fact, Roula says stepping into the first instant restaurant round was like going into a lion's den. She and Rachael felt targeted by the sassy sisters.
"We were all sitting down and everything was fine," Roula recalls. "I was happy, talking to everyone – and then they kind of jumped down my throat."
"Rachael and I felt very isolated on that table," she admits. "It was like everyone had it in for us."
Just minutes into the first episode, snide remarks were already flying between the two teams. At one point, during a conversation around the dinner table, Jess can be heard saying to Roula, "I'd pick you up out of your chair and throw you out."
Rachael then suggests that Jess and Emma would be better off on The Real Housewives Of Melbourne.
As the youngest contestant on MKR this season, Rachael, 21, says she was shocked by Emma and Jess' behaviour.
"The arguments started from the get-go," Rachael explains. "I didn't expect it and it was just us versus them from the start, which is quite odd. I think Emma and Jess weren't willing to get to know us, which was the issue."
According to Roula and Rachael, the constant arguments got so bad, they both broke down.
"I went home bawling my eyes out," Rachael says. "I was crying to Mum for so long, because it seriously got to me."
Rachael wasn't the only one who felt the pressure. Roula admits she was also brought to tears on several occasions.
"I'm a passionate and emotional person and I don't really cry," she says. "But this definitely pushed some of my buttons. Eventually, I called my boyfriend and I just cried. Then I called by best friend and I cried more. It's just a completely different world."
The tension even took a toll on their friendship too.
"Rachael and I are both strong-minded, so if something doesn't go my way or hers, we're definitely going to voice our opinion," Roula says. "But to be honest, we get over it. We'll have our little tiff and then five minutes later we're OK."
Rachael adds: "We came out [of the experience] stronger."
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