New South Wales
Occupation: Disability Support
While she might be the oldest cook in 2018's MasterChef Australia kitchen, proud mum and nonna Gina will not be letting any of the younger cooks stand in her way, using her wisdom and experience to keep her focused at the bench. She says age is no barrier and looks forward to holding up the trophy at the grand finale.
Gina was born in Benevento, northeast of Naples in Italy, as the youngest of three children and was just a toddler when her family arrived in Australia in search of a better life.
After completing high school Gina embarked in secretarial studies and later moved into retail management. It was 15 years ago when she made her career change into the disability sector.
Away from work there has always been food and Gina says she is driven to elevate her mum’s amazing cooking. Teaching Gina the basics, especially rich pasta dishes with beautiful sauces, her mum is responsible for passing on her knowledge of all of the basics.
A self-described savoury cook, she says her greatest weakness and limitation this season will be second-guessing her decisions.
Supported at home by her partner Gavin, son Kevin and his wife Karlie, and her daughter Ashleigh, Gina says the family have hounded her for her recipes before entering the house, keen to replicate her dishes while she is busy cooking for the judges. Gina says her two-year-old grandson Kash is the love of her life and she loves nothing more than cooking with him on a Saturday morning.
When she is not cooking, Gina loves reading and going to the movies. She dreams of one day writing her own cookbook after a long-awaited trip home to Italy, where she intends to sit down with lots of Italian nonnas to hear their stories and cooking tips.