Last night, Michael Cainero of North Lakes, Queensland was crowned Network Ten’s Recipe to Riches Winner, with his home-­grown creation, Chunky Pork & Apple Sausages.

Michael’s cinnamon-­infused pork and chunky apple sausages were announced the series winner after achieving the highest commercial success, including selling out in over 500 stores in its first two days on Woolworths shelves.

Woolworths will now commence production of the Chunky Pork & Apple Sausages, due to hit shelves on January 5, 2015.  Battling it out against six other episode winners, Michael walked away with the grand prize of $100,000 and a life changing deal to have his product stocked in Woolworths stores around the country.

Based on the highest sell through percentage on their products, Michael’s Chunky Pork & Apple Sausages came up against Darcy Taylor’s (VIC) Choc Bombs and Sahar Awdi’s (NSW) Tamir Date Cake to take out the title of Australia’s Recipe to Riches Season Two winner.

We asked Michael about his Recipe to Riches experience, and to learn a little more from the contestant’s perspective.  Here’s what he had to say.

1. What made you decide to apply for R2R?
All my friends and family loved the sausages and kept telling me you have to do something with them. So when the second season came up I thought I would give It a crack.

2. Where did you get your recipe inspiration from?
The inspiration for the sausages was my daughter, she has so many allergies and to get sausages that she can have is very hard, so I started to make my own. This particular flavour is one that we developed as a family, triggered by one of our favourite meals being roast pork with baked apple.

3. Have you always experimented with food?
Only in the last couple of years, after Izzie was sick and developed so many allergies we started to make a lot of food ourselves and go back to cooking the traditional way. My wife makes everything from scratch for her in order to meet her dietary needs and it was great to realise there was something I could make for her too. Especially when sausages have ALWAYS been one of her favourite foods!

4. How did it make you feel when you saw your product hit the shelves?
It was such an unbelievable feeling, it felt like a dream to see my sausages on Woolworths shelves. I had to pinch myself just to make sure.

5. Did you have to make much of a variation on your original recipe to customise it for bulk production?
No, the recipe that I make at home is very close to what is on the show.

6. How did you handle the pressure and intensity of having to take your beloved recipe to the masses?
I think I handled the pressure well (besides cutting myself). I love pressure and it gets the best out of me. I really enjoyed the whole process.

7. How challenging was the filming/branding/marketing process?
Filming at first felt a little strange – all these people and cameras pointing at you, but you just had to pretend they were not there and get on with it.
The branding was hard, I really wanted the come up with a name that would really go with the product. As for the marketing, that was a challenge as I am more of a ‘get your hands dirty and work hard’ type of person than a creative thinking type. Luckily I had a great team to help me.

8. Were you aware of how your product was tracking against other products throughout the competition or were you kept in the dark to build up the suspense?
No. I did not know how my product was tracking against the other products. All I knew was that I had a lot of very disappointed friends and family who hadn’t been able to buy my sausages because they sold out so fast in so many Woolworths stores! I had a rough idea how everyone else was doing through social media, but the show generally kept us in the dark.

9. Which product did you think was the biggest threat to you winning?
It would have been Savva’s kebab, I love a great kebab and he’s idea was fantastic and something that is not on the shelves.

10. What does your family think? [ie, kids, parents etc]
They are over the moon and so proud of what I have done. Izzie (my daughter) has gotten a real kick out of the whole process, loving being on TV and seeing Daddy in newspapers/magazines etc. She squeals every time an ad come on for the show and wants to be involved in whatever publicity she can, even helping to hand out samples at a local store. On the way home from the Grand Final she declared she knew Daddy would win the whole time!

11. What are your plans with the prize money?
We all have put our orders in. Izzie wants a big cubby house, my wife Mel wants a Thermo Mix, and I will like a wood fire pizza oven for the back yard. Then a lot will go to the mortgage.

12. What advice would you give to anyone else with a similar dream?
Just give it a go. You never know what could happen and it does not cost anything to try. I gave it a go and it’s unbelievable that my sausages will be available across the country in Woolworths stores.

13. If you had your time again, would you do anything differently?
I have to say I am really happy with the whole thing.

Woolworths will now commence production of the highly popular Chunky Pork & Apple Sausages, which is due to hit shelves on January 5, 2015.

So, tell us! What did you think? Did you try them and did you like them? Who was your favourite?

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