The Block finale – auction time

Finally, auction time is here. The finale is listed to run from 7-8.30pm, so I reckon in tune in about 8pm and you’ll actually see some bidding.
It will be interesting to see how they go, as one of the last times The Block did houses it was a flop sales-wise. Remember in 2011, when Josh and Jenna’s house was passed in (shortly after he’d proposed to her on TV). Rod and Tania and sisters Amie and Katrina’s places were also passed in, making Polly and Waz winners by default (the Hannah and Clint of that season).
The following year the teams all walked away with decent winnings, including Dan (now Foreman Dan) and Danni and Brad and Lara.

Montage: Flashback to the houses being moved … building work .. reminder Jason is a dick … end montage.
Then they go all poor man’s Top Gear, with aerial shots of a house removal truck facing off against a security van for possession of the reserves in locked suitcases. The suitcases are old because, you know, character homes.
The contestants are called before a panel of Scotty, Shayna, Alice from Domain and some other woman.
Several minutes are spent watching the contestants trawl through old junk in the cases. Before we learn what the reserves are, we get to-camera pieces from everyone saying how high they are.
And, without telling us what they are, it’s time for auction order.
Other chick is a real estate expert with excellent diction who speaks about awk-shun clearance rates. Alice says she think Josh and Elyse should go first due to buyer interest, then Jason and Sarah.
Shayna agrees J and E should go first because the losers from it will then bid on other houses.
Shayna says Ronnie and Georgia’s House has become niche because of the pool. The editors are loving cutting to Georgia’s resting bitch face. So should go third. Sticks and Wombat fourth and Clint and Hannah last – and she reminds them last place has won before (from my memory, Steve and Chantal).
Everyone seems cool without except R & G and S & W both want third spot, under their agents’ advice.

Whatever happened to the old days of jumping into a pool to retrieve a brick which determined the pecking order? Nine must be really worried about non-sales. There is a lot of talk of getting the order right so buyers who miss out will move on and bid on the next property.

They are at an impasse so Ronnie suggests showing the reserves to add to the discussion, but S and W aren’t keen. Even Jason supports Georgia that they should show the reserves. And hell freezes over. R and G step outside for a little rant. It ends with a coin flip and Sticks and Wombat win, getting third spot.

Jason then suggests they all show reserves.
R&G $2.62m
S&W $2.52m
H&C $2.52m
J&E $2.62m
J&S $2.62m
Interesting – I expected the two end houses to be significantly higher. I’m not surprised Georgia was shocked they had reserves on par.

Cue montage of the contestants getting primped for the auction and R&G doing a spontaneous McCafe run. Oh god – how many times do we need to see Jason doing his stupid “make it rain” money mime. It is weird to see Josh with a man bun, while Elyse has grabbed her Nan’s kitchen curtains and turned it into a top. Wombat is the only one not in a suit. Josh is not wearing shoes … what the … Not even a pair of thongs? Isn’t that a safety hazard? Where’s Keith when you need him?

Bidding starts on J&E’s house and they tell Scott there has been interest of up to $3m. Buyer’s agent Frank is there in a spiffy white and navy tartan jacket and he’s bidding. There is steady bidding and Frank seems keen. It passes the $3m mark in what seems a swift fashion, but who knows with the edit.
The other contestants are watching it all from what appears to be Ronnie and Georgia’s studio office, as a pink jumpsuited Shelley narrates.
It goes for $3.067 million to that other buyer’s agent who used to do walkthrough, Greville. $447,000 profit made.

More “make it rain” from Jason. Urgh. Sarah is on trend with her dark green blouse.
Scott reveals the buyer of Josh and Elyse’s house is non other than Melbourne local Hughesy (who was involved in the food-tasting challenge some weeks back).
Shelley is trying to remind us J&S are “Aussie battlers”. J&S’s auctioneer reminds everyone there is no pool or spa, which is a bonus. Buyer’s agent Nicole, another regular, is bidding against Frank on this one. I’m wondering if whoever misses out on this one will then not bother with Sticks and Wombat’s and just hang out for Ronnie and Georgia’s. Nicole gets it for $3.007m. So Josh and Elyse are still winning.

Again, Frank and Nicole are bidding, plus some bloke at the back. They hit $130,000 profit quickly and that’s it.(Bear in mind S&W are not a couple, so it’s not as big a prize when split. Still, much better than previous years where the reserves weren’t even met.) Has Sticks had his teeth whitened or were they always that blinding? Sale price $2.65m to Nicole. I reckon Frank is waiting for R & G’s house. The boys bravely pretend to be delighted. The other contestants – and Shelley – are a bit teary.

Georgia starts in tears – she’s freaking out, What are you worried about, Georgia – you know you’re a sure thing for a future All Stars. Frank loves making the opening bid, doesn’t he? The skinny, dark-haired bloke who was bidding on Sticks and Wombat’s vote casts a bid. We stall fairly early without reaching reserve. Scott tells them to pass it in rather than scrabble for a few thousand dollars, but the agent wants to restart the auction. Scott overrules him and R&G agree. Everyone seems shocked it’s been passed it, especially Nicole and Shelley. Nicole starts arguing with the consumer affairs monitor about the way it abruptly ended but apparently it’s all above board. I’m sure it will sell for a decent price via negotiation. I do feel sorry them. Clint and Hannah must be packing death. The agent comes up to say Frank’s top negotiated offer would give them $105,000 profit. Nicole pops up to see R&G and presents a top offer of $161,000 profit. R&G are fairly pragmatic and take it. Does this mean Frank will buy Clint and Hannah’s house?

It’s a noticeably smaller crowd and again it’s Nicole and Frank. Boring – I wish more people would bid. We stall at $2.5m. Cue sad music. Argh – I can’t watch Clint’s sad eyes. But then it sparks up again and we get the rising crescendo, so you know it’s going to be ok. Frank has it at $2.615m, which is $95,000 profit. Hannah stoically declares she is happy.

And that’s where my recording cuts out. So, as expected, Josh and Elyse sell for top dollar and get the $100,000 winner’s prize. Bit of an anti-climax.

So, who will be watching The Gatwick season?


MasterChef – Thurs, July 7 – auction elimination

The four members of the losing teams from the service challenge now face elimination.
(Sorry, gice – hope to catch up on last night’s service challenge recap at the weekend.)

Poor Intense Matt looks tired but maybe that’s because they are still forcing him to sleep in a bunk bed. We get IM back story about his recent marriage and his food dream. And more footage of Chloe’s beardo hubby and her farm restaurant food dream.
Glowing Elena looks extra glowy today. No back story as yet for her or Mimi. Have we ever seen Mimi back story?
They walk into the MasterChef kitchen and realise it’s the dreaded auction challenge, where they bid minutes of their 120 minutes total cooking time for ingredients: proteins, veg and miscellaneous (sauces, spices etc). They’re not allowed to use the MC herb garden, which will make it harder for whoever misses out on the herbs or spices.
In the past there’s always been one person who plays strategically, bidding on something they don’t want to inflate the price, but it often comes back to bite them.
Thanks to reader Liberty, who recapped all the bids:
Mimi bids 25 minutes for beef
IM bids 35 minutes for duck (after a bidding war with Elena)
Chloe bids 15 minutes for eggs (she wants to do a dessert – shock, horror)
GE gets red mullet for free

Fruit & Veg
Mimi bids 20 minutes root veg
GE bids 20 minutes nightshades
IM bids 5 minutes for alliums (which is stuff like onions, leek, garlic and chives)
Chloe gets citrus for free (oh, dear – are we heading for another lemon curd bombe Alaska?)

GE bids 20 minutes for herbs (outbidding IM)
IM bids 5 minutes for sauces
Chloe bids 5 minutes for spreads
Mimi gets spices for free (she’s done well with beef, root veg and spices and no doubt will go for the beetroot)

Cooking times
Chloe 100 minutes
GE 80 minutes
Mimi 75 minutes
IM 75 minutes

And they’re off
Chloe is off and grabs the honey, citrus, blackberry jam and eggs and there’s a close up of the black heart tatt on her finger as she uses the whisk to create a mousse, even though she doesn’t have a setting agent. Everyone else thinks it’s a risky move. But Chloe has her “I’m ignoring the warnings of experienced chefs” noise-cancelling headphones on and ploughs ahead.
Elena is taking care with her filleting of the delicate fish – it’s her first time using red mullet.
Mimi is doing eye fillet with roasted beetroot, pickled radishes and some jews. She’s using a fennel and mustard rub on her beef.
IM is doing crispy skinned duck breast and braised duck leg with a Chinese-style soz.
It’s a worry GE still doesn’t know what her dish will be, even though she had 20 minutes of watching Chloe cook.
IM has had to use a jar of bought soz to simmer with his duck bones, but he’s happy with the taste… until Other Matt comes over. “You might want to have a little back-up plan,” OM says. Uh oh. Don’t panic, IM – you can do it. Hell, without you being in the challenge tonight I wouldn’t have bothered to Google what “allium” met
How will IM save his soz? Smoke it? Freeze it into a parfait in the red moulds of death? Add it to liquid nitrogen?
After 35 minutes Elena has finished her filleting and creates a charred nightshade soz with chilli, eggplant and tomatoes.
Chloe is getting a lot of talking head time about how flustered she is and how things aren’t working.
Mimi is making charred beetroot leaf butter by blitzing burnt leaves with a butter sauce. When did burning everything get so cool? I’ve been on trend for years without even realising.
IM decides the solution to his soz dilemma is butter – genius!
Oh god – George is doing his “yes, George” thing. Urgh (it’s the same reaction I had upon learning Pauline was back in the Senate).
Another talking head from Chloe about her iffy mousse. The judges head to the fridge for a taste and point out it’s very soft. If only there was some kind of freezing device nearby.
Mimi gives her beef a little squeeze. “How does it feel?” Brett the Protein Man asks her from the gantry.
Elena is deepfrying her red mullet wings and panfrying the fillets in butter – you can see how delicate they are. Her plate looks gorgeous.
Mimi is taking her time to make her beef dish look fancy, topping it with some leftover burnt beetroot leaves. Chloe is having curd dramas and then discovers her mousse has set too much.


IM’s duck two ways with onions and a char sui jus: This whole soz bizzo better be a misdirect. If IM goes and Chloe stays there will be rioting in the streets. Gaz loves the look of the dish. As George dishes up I notice he’s wearing the same bead bracelet as Chloe – do Swisse make healing bracelets?

The judges love the perfectly cooked duck but aren’t keen on the sweet yet salty sauce. OM says IM should have left the soz off.

GE’s red mullet fillets with nightshade sauce and salad: She looks confident. OM says it looks spectacular. Here comes the swelling music of triumph. “Can’t fault it,” says Gaz. “Incredible,” says George. OM says she could win the comp.

Mimi’s eye filet with roast beetroot: She explains the dish as George stick his schnozz in the soz bottle. Her use of beet leaves is on trend. Gaz says the leaves are a bit like a nori sheet. They like it.
Chloe’s honey mousse with orange curd, butter wafer and blackberry sauce: “Is that a mousse, is that an ice cream or is that a parfait?” asks OM, brow furrowing at the rapidly melting quenelle on the plate. “I think it’s a mousse,” says a worried-looking Chloe. Apart from the wafer, they could do with a straw for this dessert. “What a shame,” says Gaz. “That mousse is an absolute disaster.” It froze and then collapsed. And the curd was undercooked.

The judges decide
Elena gets the standout dish award. Gaz says they knew straight away which dish would send its maker home … and Chloe’s gone. George says he’s loved watching her “po-gress” and then does his “yes, George” again. Stop it, already!

Where is she now?
Chloe is launching Bowles Family Sauces, starting with her favourite – butterscotch. She also has plans to open her own bistro.

The announcement
Enough with the teasing … George lifts a cloche and reveals s Sydney tourist trinket and says they are going on a trip. But then OM tops it with his own cloche with a souvenir of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Trent and Elise get to go bizzo class because they won yesterday. Fair enough – Trent needs to the extra elbow room to fit his shoulders in.