Skip to content

Special Guests

Maitland Aroma 2019 is please to announce two special celebrity guest hosts, Reece Hignell and Steph de Sousa. 

You can find Reece and Steph hosting the Flavour Stage over the weekend. They will both be doing demonstrations and talking with local chefs as well as attendees.


Reece Hignell is a local Newcastle based cook. Reece has always had a strong passion for food starting from an early age when he would help his Nan bake and sell cakes at the local markets. Over his life he has always experimented with cooking and evolved his style as his ability grew. Now Reece is a confident cake baker and loves making anything sweet.

In 2018 Reece applied for MasterChef Australia, and before he knew it he was a contestant on the show’s 10th (and Logie winning) season. The show has completely changed Reece’s life who left his job in Recruitment to take on full time career in cooking.

Following the season Reece has held a number of pop up restaurants around the country, released a gelato brand with Gelitissimo, undertaken some major brand connections and toured many food fairs.

Now days, Reece has settled back in his home of Newcastle where he frequently holds cooking classes with The Essential Ingredient, Julie’s Place and ATWEA. Reece is also working on releasing his own cake business where he hopes to cater for special events around the Newcastle region.


Steph de Sousa graced our screens on ‘MasterChef’ Series 11 in 2019. Her warm, affectionate motherly personality was infectious. Steph’s cooking is all about wholesome & flavoursome food that brings people together.

Steph very quickly became known for her ability to think under pressure, Matt Preston fondly referred to her as ‘MacGyver’. She impressed the judges immensely throughout the competition, one of their favourites was her beef vindaloo, which they claimed was the best they had ever had.

Inspired by Maggie Beer and Rick Stein, Steph also holds a special place for Stephanie Alexander, her own maiden name. When she’s not cooking, she practices daily yoga and lives by the mantra she once heard from swimming great Kieran Perkins – ‘find what you love, and do it eight hours a day’.