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29 August 2017 - Opportunity International Australia is launching its Great Australian Curry fundraising campaign with a taste-bud tantalising curry cook-off between My Kitchen Rules finalists, Valerie and Courtney Ferdinands and sporting greats, Stephanie Rice and Michael Kasprowicz. Valerie and Courtney have put out the challenge to Michael and Stephanie to bring their best ‘A’ game to the competition, which will be held at INDRIYA, a new contemporary Indian fusion restaurant in Brisbane, on Thursday 14 September 2017.
Opportunity Chief Executive Officer, Robert Dunn, says he wants both teams to win at the cook-off, which is building up a head of competitive steam ahead of the event. “I’ve seen the challenges both teams have already put out to each other as they prepare for what looks like a closely fought competition. I guess this is sure to happen when you bring sporting champions and MKR finalists together. It’ll be great to see their competitive spirits behind the burners!”
The Great Australian Curry is an annual fundraising campaign where Opportunity invites families across Australia to cook up a curry, invite family and friends and raise funds to help families living in poverty. Opportunity uses the funds to provide families in India, Indonesia and the Philippines with small loans to build businesses, earn regular incomes and free themselves from poverty.
MKR finalist Valerie Ferdinands, whose parents migrated from India when she was young, has been honing her curry-making skills since she was a small child, when her father taught her to cook spicy Anglo-Indian curries, delicious side-dishes and chutneys. “Curry is becoming a staple in Aussie homes. It’s one of my family’s favourite cuisines and I love cooking for my family and friends at home. It’s really a great way of bringing everyone together.
“The Great Australian Curry is a powerful way of getting the message out to people about Opportunity and the way it helps families to break the cycle of poverty. Too many people in India live in poverty and struggle to feed their kids – we want to help!
“We loved sharing recipes on MKR and we’re so excited to support the Great Australian Curry! I can’t wait to take on Stephanie and Michael at the launch event, which is shaping up to be a hotly contested competition.
“In the same way that my father and I developed a strong relationship through cooking, I’ve developed a beautiful connection with my daughter Courtney, who competed in MKR with me. Courtney is practising her curry-making skills to make sure she wins the cook-off.”
Courtney Ferdinands is excited about the launch event at INDRIYA and warned Stephanie and Michael to: “Make sure you have a fire extinguisher, because we’re bringing the heat!” She invited Aussies to “round up your tribe” and join her at the launch event in Brisbane for an evening of rollicking fun.
Courtney believes the Great Australian Curry has great resonance for her family because of her mother’s cultural heritage and that it’s a great fit. “From a very early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of giving back to the community and less fortunate, so sharing a delicious spicy curry with friends and family, while at the same time giving back to families and women living in poverty, is a wonderful thing to do, and all for a great cause.”
Courtney’s sister Ella is also participating in the launch event at INDRIYA, but rather than cooking up a storm in the kitchen, she’ll be singing with the soulful voice she’s renowned for. Ella is building a reputation as a highly sought-after jazz vocalist.
“Besides my love of music,” says Ella, “I’m also an educator. Education is the key to empowering children, especially girls, to feel free and confident. What an awesome job Opportunity does to facilitate the education of children living in poverty. These kids are going to school and university. That’s something I back 100 per cent.”
“At the Great Australian Curry cook-off, I’ll perform laid-back, acoustic jams. I'm sure everyone will have a great night. I'm excited to get behind this extraordinary event,” she added.
Triple Olympic gold medallist, Stephanie Rice, is also looking forward to competing in Opportunity’s curry cook-off this year. “Last year I was somehow taken down by Michael Kasprowicz. It must have been rigged! So, this year I’ve been finetuning my curry-cooking skills.
“I love curry. It’s absolutely one of my all-time favourite meals – especially because I’m regularly in India, and it has by far the best tasting curries. On my last trip to India, I participated in a curry-cook-off too, so I’m feeling very confident for this year’s Great Australian Curry launch event and can’t wait to get behind this amazing cause. It’s an honour to support Opportunity and the work it does in giving families a hand up and better opportunity in life.”
After his many visits to India for both sport and business, former Australian test cricketer Michael Kasprowicz, has developed a taste for Southern Indian-style prawn curries and any vegetarian dish containing eggplant. Last year, Michael won the curry cook-off and he’s determined to retain his title this year.
Speaking of his excitement about the event, Michael says: “The curry cook-off will lead to greater awareness of India’s poverty and the way Opportunity is working with families in India to work their way out of poverty, with hope, dignity and purpose.”
Owner of INDRIYA, Nita Tailor, is looking forward to hosting the Great Australian Curry cook-off. Located in the heart of Brisbane, INDRIYA is headed up by well-known celebrity chef Eugene Lee. “At INDRIYA, we’re about celebrating the flavour, versatility, colour, texture and provenance of food and we’re excited to be delivering a culinary adventure that will help to raise much needed funds for families in need,” said Nita.
Opportunity thanks Silver Chef, a key partner for the Great Australian Curry cook-off.
GREAT AUSTRALIAN CURRY COOK-OFF
DATE: Thursday 14 September 2017
TIME: 6.30pm to 9:30pm
VENUE: INDRIYA – 106 Leichhardt St, Spring Hill, QLD
About Opportunity International Australia
Opportunity International Australia enables you to invest in a mother living in poverty so that she can use a small loan to buy an item like a sewing machine and build a small business. For a family in a developing country who can’t afford the basics, a gift as small as $70 can be life changing. With this hand up, a mother can put food on the table, send her children to school and transform her family’s future for generations. Mothers want what is best for their children, and as businesses become successful (98% of Opportunity’s loans are repaid), your help means they can make their dreams for their children come true. For more information, visit www.opportunity.org.au
Media and Communications Manager
Opportunity International Australia
0408 256 381