MKR grand finale

Quick – get the Haterade out of the fridge, gice. It’s SA’s Lauren and Carmine versus Vic’s Tasia and Gracia cooking off for the title of MKR 2016 winner and – dare I say it – two fiddy kay!
How many previous winners can you name? Here’s a list:
Season 1 Veronica & Shadi, Qld
2 Sammy & Bella, NSW
3 Leigh & Jennifer, SA (beating Nic & Rocco)
4 Dan & Steph, Qld
5 Bree & Jessica, SA (beating Chloe & Kelly)
6 Will & Steve, NSW

Here we go … it’s highlights from the past three months of MKR (THREE BLOODY MONTHS! What am I doing with my life?) set to inspirational music, yadda yadda.
The finalists pull up at Kitchen HQ, L&C are in bad guy black, Sisters in innocent white, as we hear voiceovers about their dreams and determination, they walk inside and – oops – someone forgot to pay the power bill.

Is this a Survivor Tribal Council/MKR crossover episode?

Is this a Survivor Tribal Council/MKR crossover episode?

Phew – someone found the light switch but no doubt there will be another 10 mins of chat before anyone sets foot in the kitchen.
Pete and Manu arrive and sadly there’s no purple velvet in sight. Manu and Tasia and Gracia talk about making families proud; Pete and L&C talk about being fighters.
They have to serve a five-course menu, producing 100 plates, with the first course served in two hours.
Carmine says their menu plan is to start light and “end on a nice heavy dessert”. Who on earth wants to end a five-course meal with a heavy dessert? Their first course is beef carpaccio with porcini cream

Carmine and Lauren’s menu
Beef carpaccio with porcini cream (Yum – let’s hope it’s more successful than Jordan’s oyster cream last night. Smart move picking something that doesn’t require much cooking. Will we get a “respect the produce” comment here?
Milk-braised pork belly with scallop and apple
Saffron linguine with butter-poached bug tail (pasta and seafood – their deadly combo)
Beef sirloin madeira jus and mushrooms (guessing they will go the sous vide again here as it’s been so successful for them)
Chocolate, cherry and coconut

The Sisters say they are serving spicy dishes but will cool everything down with dessert.
Seared scallop betel leaves
Chicken ribs with chilli and sweet soy
Grilled king prawns with balado and quail egg (Google says balado is chilli sauce)
Crispy skin duck with green chilli sambal
Pandan pudding with coconut and kaffir lime ice cream
Yum, yum, yum! I want it all.

In the C&L kitchen Lauren is making the tomato and saffron sauce for the linguine and BINGO – she drops the “two-fiddy kay”. Dreadful gangsta talk aside, she and Carmine are a good team in the kitchen – much better than most couples we’ve seen compete. Remember Dee and poor whatsisname? candlconfess
On the other side, Gracia is in charge of all the sauces – she’s been the soz champion of the series.

With an hour of prep to go the families arrive.

How gorgeous are the Sisters' parents.

How gorgeous are the Sisters’ parents.

Carmine's folks

Carmine’s folks

Lauren's parents

Lauren’s parents

And then it’s the turn of the eliminated contestants.

Why can't they just dress Jordan in a nice Pete Evans-style suit?

Why can’t they just dress Jordan in a nice Pete Evans-style suit?

Gareth definitely got Jess's stylist.

Gareth definitely got Jess’s stylist.

Hat and Sans Hat - don't you know they are trying to cook!

Hat and Sans Hat – don’t you know they are trying to cook!

Of course they'll put Zana on Lauren's sideline, trying to perpetuate the non-existent rivalry.

Of course they’ll put Zana on Lauren’s sideline, trying to perpetuate the non-existent rivalry.

Why is JP dressed like a 10 year old nerd at a science fair?

Why is JP dressed like a 10 year old nerd at a science fair?

Ducking in.

Ducking in.

This outfit!

This outfit!

We miss you, Rosie and Paige.

We miss you, Rosie and Paige.

Dee still has him in her clutches.

Dee still has him in her clutches.

Oh – is that it? No Cops, no Stepsies, no Tarq and Dad, no Cookie and Chris, no Cougar and Cub (but they are Splitsville so fair enough) – who else are we missing?

The Sisters have to cook 60 scallops, which is tough – even ole Duck Nut Nev knows that. Carmine is slicing his carpaccio and the thickness looks a little inconsistent.
Oh, hang on – just got a glimpse of Mr Chops and Chris in the crowd, so they just didn’t get their own grand entrance. You’d think the Chopses would warrant a frame just to see what he’s wearing.
The teams start to plate up the first course and the girls’ betel leaves look so glossy and inviting. Carmine is giving his beef a remedial massage to smush the dressing in.

I know some of you will be shuddering at the lack of gloves.

I know some of you will be shuddering at the lack of gloves.

Time to chew the first course

The judges think the carpaccio is a well-executed classic and a good way to ease into a five-course meal. Zana wants more flavour.
Guy sounds excited by the “bang” the scallops have started the Sisters’ menu with, while the Fass planned to pace himself with food tonight but ended up cleaning his plate. “They’re nailing it,” he says. The other contestants agree it’s delish.
So, round 1 to the Sisters.

Second course
Lauren gets on to dessert, the cryptically named Chocolate, cherry and coconut. No, it’s not a Cherry Ripe (my fave choc bar) but includes a cherry sorbet (ah, remember back when the Miners redeemed themselves with a chocolate dome and cherry sorbet – it seems so long ago).
The Sisters are doing fried chicken with, as Manu says “200 chillis” in the sauce.

Crank up the heat, girls.

Crank up the heat, girls.

Sounds amazeballs. Carmine has got the trusty machine out to sous vide their sirloin, as it’s served them well so far.
We cut to a confessional of the girls saying they want to open their own restaurant. I’m thinking food truck would work better for them.
Lauren is confident her pork belly dish will be great, but her crackle has not worked at all. Travesty. She chucks the pork skin in the pan. I would have slice it off and chucked it under the griller, but she must have discussed the possibility of this happening with their cooking teacher. The skin looks bubbly but they’re waiting for the judges to let us know if it’s worked. There’s a lot of talk about whether deep-fried chicken ribs are grand final worthy, so of course they will be.
Is Zana worried about the looming seafood pasta course?

Is Zana worried about the looming seafood pasta course?

Time to chew second course

There’s a lot of crunching so the judges are happy. Fass thinks it’s a very well-balanced dish.

“They’re doing some clever things in the kitchen here,” says karen. “This is spot on for me.” Liz says the chicken is a great balance of sweetness, acidity and heat, but Fass thinks it’s a little hot.

Third course
The girls are trying to recreate the flavours of a childhood dish they ate from a hawker stall in Indonesia. Watching them cook makes me so glad an Indonesian cafe opened in my neighbourhood last week. They’re fancying things up by adding quail eggs. The quail industry must lurve when it’s MKR and MasterChef season so they can quadruple their usual sales.

Can you imagine a fiddlier job than peeling quail eggs?

Can you imagine a fiddlier job than peeling quail eggs? Poor Gracia.

L&C appear to be rushing, or at least that what it looks like in the edit. Carmine is the one keeping a cool head.
Back from the ad (and Karen flogging Swisse) we get Nev again providing the quail egg commentary. Of all people!
While plating up Lauren finds a bug that’s under, so back in the pan it goes. She’s swearing as she plates up, burning her fingers. She’s frantically yelling at Carmine.
Plating done and the Sisters’ dish looks appetising, but I’m wondering what happened to the soz for C&L’s pasta. The teams are ecstatic to have got the course out, but perhaps that’s more because this is when they get a break in filming, as the finale is usually filmed over two days.

Time to chew third course

Guy says it was perfectly executed. Karen: “This is a wow dish.”

We get the fake out of the judges wincing over the chilli and drinking water, but they all love it. “This dish is just singing off the plate,” says Fass. “It really wakes you up.” The gooey quail egg offsets the chilli heat.
Over to cooking expert Nev for cliched commentary: “This could go either way. It’s gonna be close.”

Fourth course
Carmine is in charge of this dish while Lauren concentrates on dessert, which includes tempering chocolate for a tonne of moulds. Risky. The Sisters are cooking their duck breast but Curly Laura is worried they don’t have much time. From the sidelines, Carmine’s mum is yelling at Lauren to crack the whip and she sounds a lot like her daughter in law. They try and build up tension over whether the steak will be cooked properly, but, der, that’s the whole point of the sous vide – if the temperature is right you cannot stuff it up.
Over in the other kitchen we finally hear some of the Sisters’ trademark bickering, much to the delight of the crowd.

We haven't laughed this hard since scoring the Stepsies.

We haven’t laughed this hard since scoring the Stepsies.

Carmine is shaking as he spoons the sauce on to the plate. I’m worried the girls’ duck will bleed over the plate.

Time to chew fourth course

Liz is happy with the crispy skin and lack of fat. Karen says the flavours are “outstanding”.

Karen reserves most of her praise for the meat. Manu loves the jus. Pete says the dish was “faultless.”
Curly Laura gets to say the compulsory cliche: “It’s going to come down to dessert.”

Fifth course (dessert … are we there yet?)
The girls are adding a lot of salt to their tapioca, and the judges loved the saltiness in their original instant restaurant. The other teams not so much. Tasia: “Lauren has been known as the queen of dessert …. I know she’s going to make a fancy thing for her dessert but we’re just going to try our best.” Aww, they’re so cute. I even like them when they are arguing over the number of raspberries to use in their dish and Tasia mutters: “Fine, I’ll give you frickin’ five.”
Lauren is doing a take on a cherry ripe, with six elements to the dish: choc dough, choc cake, cherry sorbet, cherry compote, coconut macaron and coconut biscuit crumb. Lauren’s choc domes are turning out well, although the choc looks a little less shiny than it should. Lauren is happy with her plating up, as it’s “bitchin'”.
Plating of the final dish done, the crowd goes wild (after a producer pokes them with a hot cattle prod). crowdwild

Time to chew fifth course

Fass thinks it’s a great finish and they were smart to calm the flavours down after the chilli punch. Karen: “Sublime”. Manu loves the arse-cream.

Liz says they’ve built to a decadent dessert and there’s a lot of work in it. Guy thinks they brought out the big guns.
And, of course, we have to cut to Jess just so they can wring one more “I don’t eat chocolate” out of her.

Judges’ comments and scoring
We didn’t hear a single negative throughout the judging (come on, judges – there must have been one or two things you’d like tweaked), but I’m thinking the Sisters have got this for their creativity and complex flavours. L&C have obviously been practising super hard and have improved in leaps and bounds, whereas the Sisters were contenders from early on.
First, more of the chat we got at the start about how awesome both teams are.
L&C are judged first. Guy gives their linguine a “mamma mia” and it’s all praisey and very serious, until Fass says: “Can I tell you, I still have a nightmare about opening a bag of pasta.”

Yep, you're going to be the seafood pasta in a bag people for the next few years.

Yep, you’re going to be the seafood pasta in a bag people for the next few years.

But he’s happy about the linguine pasta: “That’s one of the best pasta dishes I’ve seen.” More praise from everyone.
T&G’s turn … You can tell Karen really loves their flavours – she’s much more passionate in her critique, dropping words like “ballsy” and “sexy”. Fass loved the sauce from their prawn dish: “Guys, you don’t need 250 grand – you open a sauce factory and you’d be loaded.”
Liz 9; Fass 8; Karen 8 (and at this point we know the Sisters have won, because they’ll get some 10s); Guy 8; Manu 9, Pete 9. Total 51/60
Karen 9; Guy 9; Fass 9; Liz 10; Manu 10; Pete 10.


Lauren and Carmine are gracious in defeat: “There’s no other team we’d want to share this experience with. We love you guys.”
Well, that’s finally over. The Sisters won. The people are happy the “bad guys” were defeated while the producers are happy Lauren relished her TV smack talk role. All is right with the world. happydays
So, see you for MasterChef?



  1. Funnily enough, I do have some Gatorade in the fridge tonight :). I prefer that to Powerade, Powerade just tastes funny to me. Anyway. I don’t really want to watch it tonight. I’m almost sure that the sisters will triumph … because it’s unfathomable, to me, that seafood in a bag will be rewarded with two-fiddy-kay (grrrrr).

    Then again, I said that last night, so go figure.

    • I don’t want to watch either ….but then again this could be the greatest ever train wreck seen on MKR. I’d eat a bag of raw seafood before trusting the producers to run a fair fight.

      Cocoa for me. If it gets too bad, I’ll smoke some “kale”

  2. How obvious was it that the other contestants were happy to see the girls but I didn’t see any hugs go C/L’s way from them.

  3. I’ve been watching “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Foxtel movies, tonight (it’s one of my favourite of the Marvel comics movies), and I switched the channel briefly to see what was happening … just in time to catch a comment from Jess, up in the peanut gallery. I *immediately* switched it back to cable.

    I wonder how awkward this was for the cougar and cub (who may have split up by now in the filming process), and is anyone else keeping their eyes out for Tim to hold up a sign saying, “Help me!” at the cameras?

    • I read a No Idea article where Tim and Dee had an epiphany about the state of their relationship after watching themselves. Apparently counselling is the order of the day for them.

  4. Never heard of chicken ribs before. I know they explained it’s wishbone with the meat attached. Is it sold in asian butchers?
    I would have put the pork under the grill for crackle if oven didn’t work.

  5. So the fake out (and it had better bloody be a fake out) is that there is too much chilli in the girls’ cooking. Grrrr
    And the crackling was toughling.

  6. First time we’ve seen Lauren close to losing it. Of course both teams always finish right on time. I just wish they’d quit the whole faux drama “they’re not going to make it”.
    I would prefer the sister’s third course. I thought the Linguine looked a bit dry.

    • But Guy was singing the praises. The critiques are just there to con us to believe that this is going to he very close

  7. I am still preferring each of the girls meals….i do like italian normally. But the girls do such yummy looking food.

    • Same Jewels and not bothered by the heat either.

      But have to say gangsta girl has improved heaps and won’t be hard for judges to figure out who cooked what so a rigged result no matter what happens.

  8. LP and Brussellsprout I was thinking the same thing – they’ve been taught to do a few things well. Whereas the girls seem to have a natural affinity for matching flavours.

  9. I cannot compute a world where two fiddy kay enters the lexicon.
    I cannot.
    Please tell me it’s just the final producer fake out.

  10. i’m a bit worried because L2 fiidy k & C seem to have been given more airtime tonight.
    Or maybe every minute they’re on just seems an eternity.

  11. And we cut to Jess one final time, just so she can remind us that yes, she still doesn’t eat any type of food, so it’s great that she decided to apply to be on a cooking show.


    • Perhaps the producers slipped her an extra $50 to say it.I just wish we’d seen her entire outfit – were there white knee socks to match the fringed cape?

    • Yeah, it seemed like the judges were being slightly more complimentary of the girls’ menu, but then, that might just be wishful thinking on my behalf.

  12. Oh boy it is hard to pick. Please not L&C.
    Lauren takes credit for all the cooking but Carmine did a hell of a lot of really good stuff unfortunately.

  13. Phew.

    All I’m gonna say is, thank goodness.

    Although, the second the judges started giving out 8s for Lauren and Carmine, that’s when I was thinking, no, that means the girls will score higher. And what I really enjoyed was the simplicity of Pete’s final comment. “It was perfect,” and he holds up a “10” card. I’ll give them props, they know how to make those dramatic moments.

    Good work from the Indonesian sisters. Not only were they amazingly talented, but they were so damn likeable. Bless their hearts.

  14. Great work from the sisters and it’s good to see winners that can not only cook but can walk away proud of their behaviour throughout the series.

    • Yeah, they were fiery, but you never got the sense that it was vindictive or nasty. That’s just their personality. And the thing is, they know each other so well that it *works* for them. That loud and fiery back-and-forth, it’s how they keep themselves going in stressful times. From the outside, it looks like they take strength from that. It’s just how they work, and they work well together.

  15. They didn’t mention much about the chocolate Dessert. Lauren is trying to show that she has some techniques. Not sure why you have a dome but you don’t fill it with mousse. Then you cracked the dome and just like eating chocolate.

  16. Phew.
    What fabulous winners. I’d buy their sauces in a heartbeat.
    Even if you skimmed fiddy kay’s food to me across a pool of disinfectant I couldn’t touch it.

  17. On a picky note, Pete grizzled about having to handle food when “dressed up” at Zana and Gianni’s final home restaurant a few nights ago. Tonight I have seen him wolf down two courses cooked by T&G, each requiring FINGERS. No grumpy Pete tonight.

    Well done to Tasia and Gracia for sharing their food and their warm personalities.

    • Your mistake here Cuisinaire is expecting anything even remotely resembling consistency in the judging.

  18. This one’s for you BDD.

    Manu after eating T&G’s dessert, “After eating 4 courses with chilli, I needed some arsecream. It was fontastic. Now I need a leetle room with a jus” (Or something like that).

    • Yes, Manu also has some murky quirks pronouncing “count” .It’s a good thing Gogglebox isn’t in this lounge room.

      It doesn’t surprise that Manu wanted “arse crim”. It gets a laugh every time here. Cheers.

  19. Thank you Juz for all your great recaps throughout the series, they are always entertaining! I don’t know how you find the time 🙂

  20. Well done Isa, well done Gras!!!! I keenly await any sauces you decide to produce.

    The way the judges commented on L&C’s food throughout, I had a baaad feeling for Tas and Gras, esp. when I saw that dome dessert. Just another MKR fake out!!

    Wonder if Lauren’s gonna whoop that boy’s ass for somehow losing the two fiddy kay for them.

    I thought of youse all when Carmine was preparing the carparccio. Took man handling to another level. Lauren, ‘massage that beef!’

  21. Phew, nice one. They really did well since their pretty bad restaurant round. Like Anna and Jordan, they did not fail throughout the competition. It was only at the end that Anna and Jordan fell apart.
    So congrats to the girls. They earned it and I thoroughly enjoyed their bickering. My sister and me do that as well all the time. But we absolutely love each other. 🙂

    PS: It is nearly May and we start to have snow. WTF? 😀

  22. So nice to wake up to good news this morning. I can’t remember a more consistent, high-quality team on this show – they never, ever gave the producers a chance to throw them under the bus.

    L&C’s new cookbook – “Twenty Ways to Pretend You Are Not Serving A Roast Dinner.”

    Big thanks everyone for sharing the Journey, and for all the great laughs reading the recaps. The newspapers should be knocking down your door, Juz.

    • Yeps, but it was to warm for the snow. It’s nearly May and usually we ave about 20 to 25 degrees during that time.^^ Today the sun came out, then a thunderstorm started…

  23. Great result. I was getting a bit worried at one stage as the judges were going on about the heat from the chillies, I thought I hope these chillies don’t lose it for you. Even thought they had the beautiful flavours the heat is a whole other thing but looking back I think that was the only red herring the judges could give us as everything else was perfect on their plates.
    It was a good grand final.
    Thanks so much Juz for coming to the fore with this great new site in time for us to watch MKR and the great job you did throughout.

  24. I was just reading the list of previous winners and Sammy and Bell are really the only ones who do anything on TV. A couple of the others pop up occasionally.

    • What are Sammy and Bell in? I didn’t watch the first couple of seasons, and I don’t think I have heard of them.

      • Sammi and Bella tend to turn up on morning tv quite a bit seems. Horse racing carnivals etc. Worthy winners when the show wasn’t as much as of a food farce as it is today.

        • Fijane, Sammy and Bella were on paddock to plate in one of the series also. They are also on a blog style show on Lifestyle Food. They have a sauce business and a catering business. Their food tends towards Polish etc,

        • That explains it. Only ever watch ABC Breakfast, and I can’t stand horse (or any other animal) racing. And don’t have Pay TV.

  25. Now I’m just gonna miss Jordan. It’s one of those things, you know you’ll have to part eventually, ad put off thinking about the heart-break until it gets here, and alas, today’s the day. I don’t suppose we’ve seen the last of that handsome, charming and confident young man, though. I really hope not 🙂 .

  26. No matter how much 7 tried to dress up the closeness, T&G were romping it home. Sorry how can the same old crap from Lauren and Puppet give them the win.. only thing is they finally figured out how to improve the delivery of it. We had their pasta in a bag but not in a bag this time… her famous mudcake just cut into rounds… sous vide yet again (boy they ride the wave on things they get positive feedback for… though was shocked no tarts), and of course a reduced sauce of some kind.

    Her dessert wasn’t anything special at all… poorly tempered chocolate, poorly made macaron (not glossy and kept it’s peak)…. nothing but a again a sorbet to really cut through the sweetness.

    Really the girls nailed it, the courses flowed well.. started with something zingy and fresh to start the course and finished with a subtle refreshing dessert to cleanse the palate.

    Imagine if the Lauren won… haterade would be a new product on the shelves… next season MKR would have to change the prize money to $249,999 to remove everyone from saying fiddy.

    In the end the biggest highlight of my night was trying to figure out what Karen said to Colin when he stole one of her beetal leaf scallops… the look on her face was sheer contempt and Colin looked like he didn’t give a crap what she said or thought.

    • That’s actually an interesting thought. Do you think the judges secretly hate each other? I mean, they’re chefs, so obviously they’re highly-strung, but I sometimes wonder …

      • I doubt that Karen and Colin are best buddies. They seem to have very different personalities, and she’s a bit of a pretend chef compared to the chefs he mixes with.

        I think the lack of straight-talking and the pretentiousness of the other judges would get on Colin’s nerves sometimes.

        • Karen’s major contribution has been to introduce “unctious” to the national consciousness. Gee, thanks.

          • I first heard Nigella Lawson who I cannot stand using the word “unctuous” some years ago, BDD. Karen obviously decided to inflict the word on us as well.

        • I am not a fan of Karen but I don’t think she is a pretend chef. She does run a restaurant since 2004.

          • Really? I’ve only seen her on Better Homes where she cooks very uninspiring basic dishes.

          • From (worth a look – there’s a great pic of her dressed in her chef gear and she looks so natural and relaxed) : Melbourne chef, restaurateur and food writer Karen Martini has been cooking professionally for more than 20 years. She trained at top restaurant Tansy’s in the early 1990s and has headed restaurant kitchens including the iconic Melbourne Wine Room, white-hot Icebergs Dining Room in Sydney and her current artisan pizza restaurant Mr Wolf, winning countless chefs hats and other plaudits along the way.

            Karen’s kitchen career has been balanced by media commitments, cookbooks and much-loved recipe columns, including a role as food editor of Sunday Life magazine, with the Sunday Age and Sun-Herald newspapers. Since Karen became a mother in 2006 her love of relaxed cooking with fresh, healthy, seasonal produce has intensified.

        • I like to imagine that lots of things get on Colin’s nerves, Colin being Colin, so during the ad break he’s usually downing bottles of hard liquor, just to make it through the episode.

    • Colin nicking the last scallop from Karen’s plate was the night’s highlight for me. I bet she was trying to look dainty & was planning to scoff it the second they were off camera. Nice one Fass.

      A nice ending, T&G were talented and consistent all the way through. I’m not interested in watching a “Most Improved Amateur” competition. So L&C went from hopeless to pretty good at a few things, so what? They should just start with people who are good at it. At least MC attempts to do that.

  27. Yah. Congratulations to Tasia and Gracia for a well deserved win. Now they need to start bottling their sauces and open a restaurant although they probably should go out and get some real restaurant experience first. I hope they do good things with their two fiddy kay.

  28. Feel triumphant, dear Juz! Your recaps were fool of flavour, with just the right amount of generalisation on the outside and juicy on the inside. Done to perfection. Your recaps were way more than the icing on the cake. Without you, it woulda just been a packet mix.

  29. All quiet on the Lauren front…….. thought she’d go on a rampage and cap a few of those peeps drinking the haterade by now.

  30. Thanks, Juz, for your very entertaining and amusing recaps, especially this one, throughout this interminable series. I will be watching MasterChef, so am looking forward to more summaries.

    For more laughs, Juz and others, read Ben Pobjie’s recap of the finale at the SMH. His account of the judges’ descriptions of the food, especially toward the end, had me in tears.

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