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The Team

Our host, Sofie Formica, is joined each week by 4KQ radio personality Laurel Edwards, Alastair McLeod, Jillian Whiting, Liz Cantor and Damien Anthony Rossi.

Sofie Formica - Host

Sofie FormicaThe Great South East host, Sofie Formica began her television career at the age of 14 and hasn't looked back since.  Her resume boasts appearances on Wombat, Saturday Disney, Now You See It (as Australia's first female gameshow host), Just Kidding, Home and Away, and she was an original member of The Great Outdoors

In 1995, Sofie moved to Los Angeles and worked as a reporter on Extra, a national entertainment magazine show.  During this time Sofie interviewed many Hollywood celebrities including Bruce Willis, Meg Ryan, Nicole Kidman and the cast of Friends.

With her profile rising, in 1999 Sofie was hand-picked by Oprah Winfrey and appeared in a 13 part series Oprah Goes Online.

Since that time, Sofie has taken a hiatus, returning to Australia with her husband Scott to raise their twins, Jack and Jessica and daughter Emily. Sofie returns to the screen as host of The Great South East, and couldn't be happier!

You can catch Sofie each Sunday afternoon on The Great South East.

Laurel Edwards

Laurel Edwards

Laurel Edwards was always destined to be a performer. Born and bred in Brisbane, Laurel started singing and performing while still at school. She was still a student at Balmoral High School when she started working part-time for the Seven Network's popular children's show Wombat as well as participating in Seven Telethons.

From 1987 until 1989 Laurel co-hosted Nine Network's O'kay for Kids with Tony Johnston. She began working in radio as part of the 4KQ Breakfast team in 1992, and has been with the station for over 20 years.

In 1997, Laurel Edwards was a part of the original team that saw the first The Great South East episode go to air, and she has remained an integral part of the show ever since.

In 1996 Laurel married Troy Cassar-Daley, and they and their two children, Clay and Jem, live in Brisbane.

Alastair McLeod

Alastair McLeod

Look past the Irish accent and you'll discover Alastair McLeod is one very proud Australian. The much loved chef and TV personality was born in Belfast and classically trained in Europe but has chosen Brisbane, Queensland as his home.

Alastair has a regular recipe column in the Brisbane News and is a presenter with Channel Seven's Great South East. His Irish brogue is also frequently heard on ABC radio.

His experience in the kitchen is extensive; he's worked at Michelin listed restaurants across the world, such as Roscoff in Belfast, United Kingdom and Da Giovanni in Torino, Italy. He's also worked at La Fregate in Collioure, France and one of Scotland's finest restaurants The Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow. His tenures in Brisbane have included roles as executive chef at the iconic Bretts Wharf as well as the much acclaimed Tank Restaurant and Bar.

More recently, he has launched Al'FreshCo; his own business that provides catering, markets and a product line. The new venture is in keeping with Alastair's ardent support of all things local. He believes the closer you are to the source of your food, the better it will taste and the smaller the carbon footprint you will create

Jillian Whiting

Jillian Whiting

After 18 years behind a news desk, well known newsreader and reporter Jillian Whiting made a massive career leap in 2009 when she joined the Queensland Weekender team. She wanted to see if the rumours were true. Is working on a travel show actually hard work? It took just one trip, to the Granite Belt in the dead of winter, to find the answer. "It's the best job ever!" 

And in 2014 Jillian jumped ship to another of Channel Seven's local programs – the Great South East.

The corporate suits have been replaced by casual clothes, hiking gear and wetsuits, and Jillian has never looked back.

Jillian is also one of the directors at Media Potential a communications training business for those seeking professional communication skills, television presenting skills and help in building a media profile.

There's no question though when it comes to nominating a highlight, Jillian says her biggest success has been balancing a media career and young family. She's married with 2 young daughters, Harper and Josephine.

So what makes her ideal weekend in the south east? "Just point me to the nearest beach. The girls adore the ocean... and when they're happy, so am I"

Liz Cantor

Liz CantorAfter a whirl wind year in 2005 which saw Liz beat 12 other contestants to win Channel 7's reality show "The Mole", the self confessed water baby has become a favourite on both Creek to Coast and The Great South East.

At 16 Liz moved with her family from west of Brisbane to Sunshine Beach, Noosa. This saw her say goodbye to her obsession for horse riding and focus on her surfing. Both her father and brother are surfers and Liz was introduced to the ocean before she could walk. She gained a sponsorship from Billabong and was a competitive surfer on the Australian Junior Series for five years.

During this time Liz also found a part time job as a surf judge, and became the first female judge on a World Circuit Tour level. Through her surfing Liz traveled to Fiji, Tahiti, The Maldives, Hawaii and Europe.

Liz still tries to surf everyday, but after competing a Bachelor of Communications at Griffith University her gift of the gab, love for writing and strong interest in Media and Journalism saw her follow a different path.

These days when Liz isn't working for Creek to Coast or The Great South East, she loves to escape for a weekend of camping and surfing.

Liz lives for adventure and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty!

Damien Anthony Rossi

Damien Anthony RossiIf it's happening in Southeast Queensland Damien Anthony Rossi knows about it and he should given his role as the socials writer for The Sunday Mail newspaper and 4BC radio's entertainment and events reporter. Though he may still have his US accent, Damien considers himself a fair dinkum Aussie, having been a resident of Brisbane since 1992 and becoming an Australian citizen in 1998. Originally from showbiz and entertainment industry hub Los Angeles, Damien moved to Brisbane as a Casting Director working on such television shows as Fire and Medivac before establishing his Milton-based casting consultancy Rossi Casting Group in 1995. In 2003 Damien made the switch to being in front of the camera co-hosting Saturday morning entertainment show, FMVTV followed by Gold Coast luxury lifestyle show, Prestige Living. Damien is also a sought after MC and compere for major events and festivals in Queensland and since 1995 has hosted his now-iconic annual Academy Awards event, Rossi's Oscars, which has raised thousands of dollars for cancer research and charities. Given his roles with The Sunday Mail and 4BC, Damien frequents several events a week whether it be concerts, festivals, film premieres or opening nights at the theatre – and loves it all. It is with a passion for all things entertainment that Damien provides viewers with a preview of the hottest upcoming shows and events in the Great South East as well as interviews with visiting Australian and international celebrities.


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