The Cooks: cast

Rhondda Findleton as Rita

Rhondda Findleton

Rita, now in her forties, is the chef’s chef. An extraordinarily gifted, innovative and passionate cook, she has an almost sensual relationship with food, and can turn the business of cooking into an erotic experience. She is something of a gipsy, having travelled the world learning her craft. Mysterious, smart, sexy, tough, and occasionally very bad tempered, she is also completely hopeless with money.

Rhondda Findleton has earned much praise for her roles in some of Australia’s most critically acclaimed television.

Her work in the ABC series Grass Roots, in which she played the lead role of Karin Schumaker, won her an AFI nomination in 2000 and the following year, she was nominated for Best Actress in a Guest Role for her work in the Nine Network production Stingers. Film credits include Robert Carter’s The Sugar Factory and Love in Limbo, produced by Palm Beach Pictures and Gillian Armstrong’s early work A Decade of Women. She has also worked with some of Australia’s most celebrated theatre directors—among them Michael Gow for the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Broken Glass and Benedict Andrews for Closer.

Kate Atkinson as Ruth

Kate Atkinson

Ruth is in her mid-twenties and from a suburban working class background. She is precociously talented, ferociously driven and ambitious, and has consistently put her work and her career ahead of developing her personal life. Nuggety, stubborn and smart, she is something of a tomboy, and in the romantic stakes, a total babe in the woods. She’s simply “never had time for all that stuff”.

Kate, a graduate of Curtin University, began her television career as Jeannie in The Man from Snowy River, followed by roles in State Coroner and Blue Heelers. She is probably best known for her work in the popular ABC drama SeaChange, in which she played policewoman Karen Miller. Kate’s theatre performances include Away for the Melbourne Theatre Company and Thieving Boy for Playbox. She featured in the Australian film The Hard Word and is in the Austar series Fat Cow Motel as well as the feature Japanese Story, selected to compete in the Cannes Film Festival.

Toby Shmitz as Gabriel

Toby Shmitz

Gabriel is Roberto’s son, born and bred to work in and eventually run Roberto’s restaurant. He is gifted, confident and flashy, has a love life littered with corpses, and is increasingly challenging Roberto’s authority in both the kitchen and the home. His wild boy image is in frequent contrast to his capacity for genuine tenderness, a quality usually revealed only with his young daughter.

Toby Schmitz is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art with an impressive list of theatre credits, including the Sydney Theatre Company productions of Andrew Upton’s The Hanging Man and The School for Scandal (which also starred fellow Temptation cast members Colin Friels and Essie Davis), directed by Judy Davis. Toby has also worked in television series and serial (Water Rats and Home & Away) and is to be seen soon on cinema screens in The Rage in Placid Lake. He is also a talented playwright and won the 2002 STC/SMH Patrick White Playwright Award for his work Lucky, performed by the Australian Theatre For Young People early 2002.


Nicholas Brown as Sachin

Nicholas Brown

In his early twenties, Sachin hails from Bangalore, India’s “Silicon Valley”. He has fled an arranged marriage and a future in computers to work in Australia as a cook. He is gentle, honest, perceptive and profoundly moral, but his innocence is spiked by a delightful and occasionally wicked sense of humour. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of food, and secretly cherishes a notion of some day having his own TV cooking show.

Nick is a recent NIDA graduate and lead singer with Sydney band, The Modernists. He has worked with acclaimed theatre directors Barrie Kotsky in the Olympic Arts Festival’s There is No Need to Wake Up and Jim Sharman in Berlin to Broadway—A Musical Voyage. His television credits include guest roles on the SBS series Life Support, the ABC TV variety program McFeast Live, drama series Heartbreak High and a guest role in TEN’s White Collar Blue.

Emma Lung as Carmelita

Emma Lung

At only twenty, Carmelita is the “baby” of the group. She comes from Argentina, where her parents run a popular steakhouse in Buenos Aires. Flamboyant, irreverent, passionate and sexy, Carmelita knows one heck of a lot about life and loves a party. Although young, she is mature enough to recognise that in Sachin she has found the love of her life.

Emma Lung studied at the Newtown School of the Performing Arts, and later graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan. Since her return to Australia, she has featured in two of Benedict Andrews’ plays for the Sydney Theatre Company—Attempts on Her Life in 2000 and Life is a Dream in 2002. She is also among the cast of Alex Proyas’ movie, Garage Days. Emma will soon be seen in the upcoming feature film Peaches also written by Sue Smith.

Colin Friels as Roberto

Colin Friels

Australian born of Italian parents, Roberto, now 50ish, has been in the restaurant trade all his life. He is a perfectionist, tyrannical, cunning, manipulative, and a total egomaniac that cannot tolerate competition. Thrice married, his capacity for love often outweighs his capacity for fidelity. He is also extremely funny and in his own peculiar way, immensely lovable.

Colin Friels is one of Australia’s most respected actors and best loved performers.

Since graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1976, Colin has brought many memorable roles to television, film and the theatre. One of his best known roles was as Frank Holloway in the Nine Network TV series Water Rats, for which he won numerous Logie and People’s Choice Awards. Colin also stars in Network Ten’s movie for television franchise Blackjack. His film work includes the title role in Malcolm earning him an AFI Award in 1986. A long association with the Sydney Theatre Company has produced lead roles in such critically acclaimed productions as Copenhagen (2002), The School for Scandal (2001) and Macbeth (1999)