My Kitchen Rules couple Dan and Steph Mulheron have cashed in on the nickname they earned on the reality TV – as the sausage king and queen – with a huge Coles deal.
On their first season of MKR, they created three different flavours of sausages. The blood sausage was loved by the judges, but the duck and blueberry flavour and a fish sausage using flathead fillets, herbs, lemon zest and cream bombed.
“The first MKR when they came to cast us at our home we were cooking for the producers, and they asked if there was something we do that’s a bit different … they spotted sausages and asked if I make sausages,” Dan explained. “So the first season we made sausages, and I was named the sausage man off MKR and having that branded person or character on a show – it’s priceless marketing.”
The chef couple returned to televisions last on year on MKR: The Rivals and were runners up.
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Dan told news.com.au they used the program to get in front of Coles.
“While everyone was out and about partying and thinking they were movie stars, we were building sausages into Coles,” he said.
“While filming with MKR we were discussing the sausage range with SunPork brand and making relationship with Coles while filming, as they were the major sponsor, and every time we were in a Coles I would get the head of the meat department’s number.”
In March 2020, they launched two flavours into Coles stores under SunPork’s Three Aussie Farmers brand: a herby farmhouse sausage with thyme and parsley and a spicy Sicilian sausage with tomato, fennel and a hit of chilli.
“Three weeks before shutdown because of COVID, we had two flavours of sausages hit shelves on March 10 in Coles across Australia and that’s when people started panic buying and we were laughing,” said Dan.
“Our sausage sales were going through the roof and the company who produces for us said, ‘We can’t keep up with demand.’”
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Three new sausage flavours were added to the range late last year – cheesy BBQ, cheesy jalapeno and Louisana style pork.
Steph said the sausages were so popular they were selling 100 tonnes a month across 800 stores nationally.
With Dan having lost a staggering 85kg after gastric band surgery, the couple also saw an opportunity to create a cooking e-book.
“The weight loss surgery market is an untapped market as people aren’t as educated when it comes to cooking and eating and it’s obviously why they got into the position,” said Dan. “Three years post op and my diet is impeccable and I work out every day and I’ve kept all the weight off and I thought if I put my name to weight loss surgery cookbook, it would make me accountable – people won’t buy the book if they see I have put on 20kg.”
The couple produced the book, creating the recipes, cooking them and photographing the dishes all at home, over a two-week period. They have now sold around 5000 books, which include 50 recipes for $18.99.
Their second baby, a restaurant called Eat at Dan and Steph’s, is still being run by them in Hervey Bay, Queensland after opening 2014.
“A big thing is if we didn’t have the exposure from the first MKR, it would have closed up after six months, we had a lot of turnover and we were fortunate enough we could make those mistakes and bounce back,” admitted Dan.
They used this experience to launch a new restaurant in the middle of the pandemic called Black Bear, which has a Canadian inspired menu.
Both Dan and Steph grew up in housing commission but describe themselves now as being in the “best financial position” ever in terms of business.
While no more reality TV is on the cards for the moment, they have big plans for the year. They want to open their third restaurant and continue to expand their sausage range.
They also have sights on another product in Coles – this time vegetable-based – as they are ambassadors for Sweet Potatoes Australia.