Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars: meet the cast

14 food and drink entrepreneurs are competing for a $250,000 prize and a year's worth of mentoring.

These 14 contestants made the cut in the debut episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars.

One winning entrepreneur from both Gordon Ramsay & Janin Allis’ teams will take home a cash prize of $250,000 investment each, as well as a one year mentorship program from either Gordon or Janine as their investor.

Team Gordon

45 years old
Perth, WA
Product: Bunsters Hot Sauces
Renae is a larger-than-life personality and founder of a company that sells hot sauces and alcohol. Her most buzzworthy sauce, “Shit The Bed”, is exported globally and has become the #1 best selling hot sauce on Amazon USA multiple times. With a background in television journalism, Renae saw a gap in the market for fresh, high quality ingredient- based hot sauces. The brand is loved by the media and has received a lot of traction, with a crowdfunding campaign pre-selling 18,000 bottles of sauce and a shipping container of products selling out in America within six months. In addition to her hot sauces, Renae has created a milder version to expand her client base, as well as a range of canned cocktails. With a focus on creating a good time for her customers, she injects her signature sense of humour into everything she produces. Renae’s products are currently sold direct to consumer via her website and a select number of independent retailers. While she faces challenges in attracting new customers and has a difficult time with subscriptions, her dedication to quality and passion for her products shines through in every aspect of the business.

57 years old
Geelong, VIC
Product: The Smoked Egg Company
Julie is the founder of The Smoked Egg Company, a business that has developed a unique process to smoke raw eggs, killing bacteria and extending their shelf life up to six months. The business has discovered an Australia-first innovation and a world-first product: smoked eggs using a natural non-thermal food preservation technique reinventing fresh eggs. Holding a patent on the process, Julie has been developing this technique for seven years and is emotionally invested in the opportunity to disrupt the egg industry. She works in conjunction with Coles supermarkets and has licensing agreements overseas, allowing smoked eggs to be produced worldwide. Although there are still many challenges to face, Julie is passionate about the potential of her product and dedicated to the growth of The Smoked Egg Company. She hopes that her determination will show people that innovation is possible for anyone, regardless of age or gender.

43 years old
St Leonards, VIC
Product: Blak Brews
Troy is an Indigenous man with a background in hospitality. He is the owner of Blak Brews, a 100% First Nations black-owned and operated business that offers ethically sourced, premium tea. Blak Brews takes pride in using high-quality native ingredients and now offers six products, including two types of black tea, earl grey, and English breakfast. Troy’s wife played an instrumental role in product creation, speaking to a tea master about using native ingredients. The company’s coffee truck, which also sells delicious bush tucker, has been a hit at festivals and events. Despite only launching at the end of 2022, Troy has made significant progress in establishing his brand and selling products through the Blak Brews website. While he has stockists, he hopes to engage other entities, such as airports and large-scale organisations. His goal is to expand the business and the product range and work with a large supermarket chain. Despite facing challenges along the way, Troy remains optimistic about the future of Blak Brews and his ability to bring Indigenous culture to a wider audience.

28 years old
Melbourne, VIC
Product: Umami Papi
Ethan is the founder of Umami Papi, a modern take on traditional chilli oil. It offers the complete experience of flavour, packed with the perfect balance of taste, aroma, texture and spice. Ethan launched Umami Papi in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown. Despite having a degree in accounting, his passion for cooking and food drives him. In his first year of business, the company rented a commercial kitchen, garnered positive media attention, and secured dozens of independent stockists. Yong’s determination saw him travelling around to restaurants, convincing them to buy and use his products. The approach worked, with Umami Papi now sporting 300 stockists, including Coles, along with its own production facility. Yong has a strong team and community behind his brand, but he has ambitious goals of sharing his product with the world and going global. The business is also looking to expand with new products, such as a chilli mayo. Umami is a Japanese word that means amazing flavour, which sees Young translate his business name to “flavour daddy”. Welcome to the Umami party!

40 years old
Pt Turton, SA
Product: MXTology
Aaron is the mastermind behind MXTology, an innovative concept that makes cocktails in a bag. With a loud and vibrant personality, Aaron’s unique idea could take the bar scene by storm, allowing drinks to sell quicker while providing a more sustainable option than glass. Despite MXTology being at the pre-launch stage, Aaron has already established himself in the industry, and his quality and attention to detail are evident in every product. He is proud of the six cocktails he has created, which required a lot of labour, but the results are worth it. Aaron isn’t new to the world of entrepreneurship. Besides MXTology, he runs a florist and pontoon business. He is known to be a driven and witty guy who is keen on achieving his goals. His focus right now is pushing MXTology into festivals, pubs and clubs.

35 years old
Melbourne, VIC
Product: Bodega Deli
Pia is a talented chef and entrepreneur who has made a name for herself in food and hospitality. Born in Adelaide and raised in Melbourne, Pia has been passionate about food since she was 18 years old. Moving to New York City with the goal of working at Mission Chinese, she got a job as sous chef at the restaurant within two months and went on to spend several years working in a multitude of well-known eateries, including Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn. When COVID hit, Pia returned to Australia and completed an apprenticeship at Movida Next Door. At the same time she created and launched Bodega Deli Pantry Food Stores, which offers a range of products such as hot sauce, Japanese curry, hot honey, and chunky chilli oil. The brand has received significant recognition, with products sold in more than 20 stores including Meat Smith, Kioma, and IGA Brunswick. In addition to running her business, Pia has been working as Madonna’s personal chef for the past six months. She is hoping to expand her business globally and is looking to outsource production if she wins the competition. Her ultimate dream is to build a self-sustainable farm and restaurant, but for now, she is focusing on growing her business and continuing to impress her clients with her culinary skills.

27 years old
Sydney, NSW
Product: Plant-based baklava
Christiana is the founder and owner of a micro-business, Ard, that specialises in plant-based baklava. Her delicious and unique take on classic pastry has become a hit amongst vegans and non-vegans alike. Christiana’s baklava is made with a sweet pastry and doused with cashews, making it a perfect combination of crunchy and sweet. She has always been passionate about veganism and decided to create a dessert that could be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their dietary restrictions. Despite being trained in the legal and IT fields, Christiana has found her true passion in the world of vegan baking. She currently sells her products through pop-up events and markets and is confident she has the skills and determination to take her business global.

Team Janine

36 years old
Abbotsford, VIC
Product: Good-Edi (Edible Coffee Cups)
Catherine is one half of Good-Edi, a business aimed at revolutionising the takeaway cup market by making them edible. Alongside Aniyo Rahebi, the duo’s product addresses the environmental impact caused by the disposal of one billion coffee cups used in Australia alone each year. The cups are made of biscuit dough and coated with a heat-resistant layer of sugar, making them both edible and sustainable. The cups have a shelf life of two weeks and can contain hot beverages that last for 30 minutes and cold beverages for eight hours. Good-Edi developed more than 250 prototypes to perfect their product. After securing initial funding, Catherine and Aniyo obtained a production space and a baking machine. Good-Edi’s first order came from the production team of a Chris Hemsworth movie. The cups are now available in 80 outlets and more than 150,000 have been sold. Despite being relatively new in the market, the buzz surrounding the Good-Edi mission has created high demand for the product. In turn, Catherine and Aniyo’s success is rapidly rising.

28 years old
Bondi, NSW
Product: Seoul Tonic
Sophie is the founder of Seoul Tonic, an innovative product that has been making a splash in the hangover relief beverage market. Sophie decided to launch her product after discovering the benefits of Korean pears and oriental raisins in stopping hangovers. When consumed prior to drinking alcohol, Seoul Tonic utilises fruit enzymes which assist in breaking up alcohol in the body. With its slick packaging and unique offering, Seoul Tonic was launched in November 2022 and is now available through 80 retailers. Having invested her own money to kick-start the business, Sophie is now seeking working capital to scale her product and take it to the next level. A charismatic and impressive businesswoman, she is determined to succeed in the competitive hangover relief beverage market. With her drive, enthusiasm and impressive track record, nothing will stop Sophie from taking Seoul Tonic to new heights.

32 years old
Perth, WA
Product: Kommunity Brew
Mason has been in the health drinks industry since the age of 23. Coming from a family of successful business owners, Mason has a natural flair for entrepreneurship and has used his skill set to create Kommunity Brewing. As someone who does not drink alcohol himself, he saw a gap in the market for BBQ and event-friendly health drinks, which led him to create a range of beverages suitable for all Australians. His product range includes kombucha, fruit juice, iced tea and more, all of which fall into the “good for you” category. Mason’s new product, Hi-Def, is targeted at athletes and those seeking hydration without the added sugar and nasty additives found in traditional sports drinks. Kommunity Brewing has grown significantly since humble beginnings in a 10 sq m space, and is now operating in a 700 sq m facility. With the sports drinks market expanding, there is plenty of room for another successful product. Mason is currently targeting Coles as a major stockist in the UAE, where research has shown a high demand for clean, natural products. He is open to additional investors and confident that his new product will be game changing.

33 years old
Sydney, NSW
Product: Miss Sina (Vegan Bakery)
Miss Sina is a well-established bakery with two locations in Sydney, run by founder Sina. The bakery produces everything in house at their Marrickville and Surry Hills locations, selling products to customers looking for high-quality vegan options. Sina is a passionate businesswoman who works 60-70 hours in the kitchen in addition to administrative tasks. Her partner Jacques handles business development and top executive duties, and has helped the business to poach great talent from other bakeries. Staff are given two days a week to work on creative projects, ensuring a happy and engaged workforce. Despite being profitable, the gluten-free aspect of the business has smaller margins and the team is always looking for ways to improve efficiency. Miss Sina has an impressive zero-waste policy, ensuring that everything is used to its full potential. With an impressive social media following, Sina is looking to expand her business and provide high-quality vegan options to customers across the country.

60 years old
Wamuran, QLD
Product: Little White Goat Cheese
Karen is a passionate goat farmer and artisan cheesemaker. She and her family, who are banana
growers, live on a beautiful farm where they tend to 60 goats. Karen is a true hands-on operator: she milks the goats, makes the cheese and runs the entire operation herself. Her specialty is a unique take on Persian feta. After selling her goat cheese to over 60 restaurants pre-COVID, Karen started exploring the potential of freeze-drying her cheese. This process removes the moisture and condenses the nutrients, enabling the product to be shipped worldwide and sit in the pantry for up to 18 months. Karen was featured on the popular rural affairs program Landline, and received an overwhelming response for orders for her new freeze-dried goat cheese. Karen has now sold thousands of packets. Despite her success, Karen sees the business as a side venture to her passion for animals and her goats. She believes her freeze-dried goat cheese has the potential to become a game-changer in the cheese industry and hopes to bring her expertise to a wider audience.

34 years old
Scarborough, WA
Product: Wolfitbox (Dog Food)
Danny is the founder of a Perth-based subscription dog food business that has already made traction in disrupting an established industry. With the life expectancy of dogs declining, Danny was driven to create a product that could address and rectify this issue. Following extensive research on the dog food market and the options available, he launched Wolfitbox, a product so high in quality that humans can eat it too. The business offers five different recipes made mainly of mince, offal, vegetables, and berries. Additional products such as pet toys are also available. Locally sourced with no nasties or fillers, Wolfitbox has gained hundreds of subscribers and a plethora of five-star reviews. With a growing customer base, a loyal following and a profitable business model, Danny’s passion for providing healthy, high-quality products for dogs is evident in his success.

32 years old
Alexandria, NSW
Product: Rude Boy Doughnuts
Rude Boy Doughnuts is a vegan-style European pastry business founded by Ash, a former cocktail
bar manager, who accidentally started the business during the COVID pandemic. Though not a baker by trade, Ash became dissatisfied with the plant-based doughnuts available in Sydney and decided to create his own. Acquiring the recipe from a friend in Panama, he has been in business for two years, operating out of a ghost kitchen. All of his products are vegan, free of nuts and soy, and the dough is low in sugar. Ash currently sells his products through markets on weekends and via Uber Eats overnight. With high profit margins, he is confident in the business potential. He is seeking investment to acquire more equipment and improve the efficiency of his production. The Rude Boy Doughnuts founder has big plans for expansion, including a 24-hour vegan diner that could possibly become a chain.

7:30pm Tuesday and Wednesday on Nine.

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