Amanda’s MasterChef finale recap

(Thanks to Amanda for her recap – here’s another pic of Heston’s white, white and more white tampon dessert, which I know you are all dying to re-create at the weekend -Admin Juz)

AND it is the Grand Final!

It only took about 150 years, 2 million dishes of mousse, tuile or granita and Matt Preston more and more drawing upon Willie Wonka for his clothing choices.

But first we have to pay our dues – which means about a week of recaps and speeches.
The good news is Sashi seems to have practised his script and thankfully Ben discovered hairspray. Getting out of the cars they stare dramatically at the same logo they have seen for every single episode – but it is clearly that the producers watch way too much “Days of our Lives” and well this is what happens

As they enter, it appears that Matt has decided to pay homage to the stupid berry bubble thing Jess cooked once by wearing one. Meanwhile, George manages to fit in another passive aggressive swipe at Ben, and Khanh is likely trying to figure out how to get his camera time. I also note that Chloe has adopted a new helium-induced cackle. We have the obligatory family scenes play out as I start drinking.
The judges start with their speeches and I will translate for you good people”
Matt: “Ben has learnt more than anyone else”
Translation: “We can’t frickin’ believe we haven’t got you out of this competition as yet”
Khanh decides to give us more expert commentary while just managing to hold back from doing jazz hands.

*sculls wine*

Round one – Starter and main course – They have 90 minutes for a starter and main to “hero” the ingredients. Okay, let me guess – Ben will go seafood and Sashi will do some curry?
Round two – apparently is “MASSIVE!!” (Yeah we know this is a Heston thing)

Finally we find out what they are cooking and in a shocking development, Ben is cooking blue swimmer crab with avocado cream and finger lime and for his main – deep fried whiting with peas, parsley and garlic emulsion. Gary tries to look like he cares and George just states the obvious about the dish needing to be “perfect”.
And Sashi is making sambal prawn with crispy prawn head and herb salad (starter) and fish CURRY with cumin rice.
I know. I am like a wizard but with cleavage.

Once again Ben spends about a month with the crabs and seems to have forgotten he needs to cook the other elements. That sound we all hear in the background is the start of the death knell – we know that this is pretty much why he isn’t going to win. Finally, after a lengthy George and Gary monologue, Ben is finished with the crab and actually cooks stuff. His camera hog wife seems to be auditioning for her own reality show.

At 35 minutes to go George and Gary pretend this isn’t already decided and runs off to the tasting room to get plastered. We see Sashi run around like a maniac and does a voodoo hex towards Ben’s area.
Ben plates his starter and it basically is baby food with what looks like tzatziki with fish food on top. All the contestants bitch that he needs something “crunchy” and the death knell drums ring a bit louder. Sashi is still cooking something and some idiot tells him how much time he has left. Which is good because it isn’t like there isn’t a HUGE CLOCK right in front of him.

Ben moves on to the main and the judges sneer at his starter. Basically they hate it – honestly don’t blame them – it looks pretty crap.
Back to Sashi and suddenly I am reminded why I decided not to have kids. As I wonder why no one has thrown mini Sashi into the blast chiller, his starter is finally plated.
Gary is almost having a food orgasm at any dish that isn’t Ben’s and they eat and rave about his starter.

Fifteen minutes to go and some random person decides to give advice to Ben and Sashi is pretending that he hasn’t already cooked this dish a million times before. Sarah seems to be wearing a toilet roll and gives her “helpful” advice (umm, honeyboo, if you were good enough to give advice you wouldn’t be in losers’ gantry.)
Five minutes to go and Ben hasn’t cooked his whiting. Matt takes time away from brushing his suit to remind Ben that this is meant to be a cooking show and therefore he may need to cook that seafood already. Ben decides to deep fry his fish – everyone scoffs and that death knell is full on orchestral.

Ben has screwed up the fillet after in a result *everyone* saw happening, the batter has stuck to the basket. For some weird reason he says he hopes the judges won’t notice (even though they are right there watching him).
Ben plates his fish, green stuff and peas and Sashi plates up with looks like a Continental rice in a packet. The judges go to the tasting room and Gary is almost skipping with glee at having reason to tear Ben’s dish to shreds. They love Sashi’s dish and it looks like Ben is screwed – basically they hate it – again I can see why, it looks like something *I* would cook and I once burnt water (true story).

The first round is done and basically if there is a chance that Ben will win he needs to do an exceptional dish with firecrackers and get some strippers to serve it to the judges.

And we have the scoring:
For the starter and main, Ben gets a total of 41/60 and Sashi 57/60 and for main
Entree: Ben 6/10 Gary George 7/10 and Matt 7/10. The look on poor Ben’s face is so despondent that it even warms my cold, dead heart – however, George just chooses to twist that knife a bit further.

And the next round: And as per usual it is time to pay tribute to Heston – because his ego isn’t big enough as it is. After about a million ad breaks, dramatic pauses and the middle east peace plan being worked out, we FINALLY get to see the dish.
A floating pillow (exactly like the top hat thingy on Zumbo’s stupid dessert show). Meringue blobs with ice cream inside on the pillow. They are bits of sponge and MOUSSE. Apparently it has about 67 million ingredients in this dish and takes 546 years to cook.

They start this dish and I crack open the tequila. Ben screws up the coconut ice cream – which gives Only 19 the chance to get in front of the camera. After consulting his spirit guides he decides to make half the portion.
Meanwhile we have Gary ad George basically saying Ben is screwed – and Heston telling them both to shut the f*** up. Ben decides to impart the insight that Plato himself would be proud by stating – the insert is basically a filling. Do you feel your chakras lining up? I know I do.

One hour to go and Sashi has done his blobs and Ben is playing in the freezer. To keep any semblance that this isn’t already over, Sashi has screwed up his “insert” and the camera pans to Jess, who finally figures out what feta is.
Finally they finish their blobs and because this dish isn’t wanky enough, they have to plate up on the damn pillow.

First is Sashi and George was about to remind Heston that he is Only 19 before realising it is the wrong script and gets back on track. They taste with what looks like overgrown baby food spoons. It is Ben’s turn to give tribute to Heston and all but genuflect before serving on the stupid pillow. George serves the food and looks a bit lost without his tweezers.

After scoring, Ben’s total is 77
And in a result that surprises no one – Sashi wins and now I need to get more wine.



MasterChef finale 2017

Well, here we are again. Seems like only last week we watched in horror as Intense Matt’s egg thingy unglued itself before our eyes, leaving an also deserving Glowing Elena to take out the MasterChef title.
Who would you like to win and who do you think will actually win?

MasterChef finale starts on Ten at 7.30pm and is supposed to finish at 10pm. So if you start watching around 7.50pm you may avoid the faff and flashbacks.
Oh, and vote in the new poll for tonight’s winner.

We start with a flashback to the first day of the Top 24, and of course we get zoom ins on Eloise and Tamara.
We’re reminded the winner gets a monthly column in delicious. mag and $250,000 towards their “food dream”. I’m not even sure what the food dreams of Ben and Diana are, but no doubt we’ll find out tonight.
Ben and Diana (or Di-zey to her fellow contestants) arrive in their crisp chef whites and Ben has a sharp new do, while Dizer’s pontytail is extra swishy. At least George is not wearing a hideous jacket tonight. Matt, however, is dressed for a funeral in one of his long coats in black, with a double breasted black waistcoat and a silver cravat for bling.
There are heartfelt speeches about achieving your dreams, yadda yadda …
Come on – can we just get to the challenge, please! Or at least an ad break; I want to heat up my leftover rhubarb crumble to give me sustenance for this ordeal.

Every mystery box they’ve ever been set is lined up in front of them. They get their pick. Cool idea and it reminds me of how much I’ve forgotten – even the ones made of chocolate. Diana is actually considering Peter Gilmore’s box, with the abalone, which freaked out a lot of contestants.

Ben goes back to the begging and chooses Glowing Elena’s mystery box, which was the first of the season. And Diana – because she is not scared of abalone – picks Gilmore’s box, partially because she gets to use the garden as well (Ben does not). They can’t use the pantry.

Last time Diana cooked from this mystery box I noted in the recap: “Diana’s braised abalone is next and even Gary has to praise her broth.” It bodes well.
Diana is making a green juice from Chinese broccoli and nasturtium leaves – this could be the hot new thing at Boost tomorrow. The judges love it when people do new stuff, a la Ben and his tulip bulbs.
Ben is making lemon myrtle ice cream (bingo!!!) with candied cucumbers and 50 other elements.
Uh oh – he slices his finger deeply and you can tell he’s gutted. It’s so deep he’s actually dripping blood on the floor.

In a nice change, we get a voice over from Benita – perhaps because she is wearing an eye-catching leopard print kaftan.
Ben carries on cooking like the machine he is but the blood starts dripping through the bandage and all over his apron. Poor bugger. He is having trouble getting his shortbread crumb cooked because of the delays – isn’t that what almost cost him a spot the other day? He has to quenelle ice cream without being able to grip the container properly, in case blood starts pouring over his ice cream.

Diana’s dish has that modern cheffy plating and the judges are impressed by its looks, especially when she pours the green juice around the abalone.

Gaz says it’s “absolutely delicious” and the green juice showed confidence. Man, Gaz was such a latecomer to the Dizey train but now he’s all aboard and full steam ahead. They all adore it.

After a bit of ribbing about his slightly flawed quenelle, Matt wants more goat’s cheese mousse but Gary thinks the balance was fine. They like the lemon myrtle flavour and the cucumber and George even polished off his plate.
Ben: Gary 9, George 9, Matt 8. 26/30
Diana: (She will get stronger scores) And it’s three 10s, amid much whooping from the gantry. 30/30.

Matt says there are no rules: they can cook whatever they like in 75 minutes, using the pantry and the garden. They must make three plates of food.

Ben is sticking with the pumpkin theme, doing butternut three ways with a Dutch spiced biscuit and coffee and cardamom ice cream.
Dizey is coating prawns in oatmeal – interesting! – with a salad. It’s a dish drawing on her Malaysian heritage.
Uh oh – Ben has tipped coffee granules into his ice cream churner. Karlie is worriedly whispering up on the pantry and I agree with her concern – why didn’t he dissolve them in hot water first? Could make for a weird sandy texture.
Gary pops over to Dizey’s bench to loom over her shoulder as she takes her prawns out of the fryer. Just what she needs. She decides her prawns aren’t crunchy enough – although Gary just gives her one of George’s dead-eyed stares – so she adds Panko breadcrumbs to the oatmeal mix and is happy with the texture.


They love it but want even more sauce. Gaz says it could be a signature dish for her.
Diana is killing it!

George likes the plating (the ice cream has a lovely gloss to it) and they love the balance of flavours. Again, George says he should open an ice cream shop. He lives in Queensland so it could indeed be a goer. And Karlie and I were wrong about the coffee – it worked well.

Diana: Gary 9, George 9, Matt 9. Running total: 57/60
Ben: Gary 9, Matt is next with 9 so George must give it a 10 – yep. Running total: 54/60.

And here come the tears. Awww – Ben’s kids sprint to him. Diana is bawling at the sight of the lady I presume is her mum, who she hoped would fly in from Malaysia. On the balconey Pete the crane driver is practically howling. I love it.

Diana hasn’t seen her mum for a year. Ben’s son, Phoenix is adorable and his Oma (Nanna) has also come along. He must have been very young when his daughter was born, as she looks to be in her early teens. I thought he had three kids? Am I miscounting?
Kirsten Tibballs from Savour School – the one who set the mystery box challenge that was a chocolate box – is back with the final challenge. (By the way, that mystery box challenge was won by Weepy Pete when he made the coconut-looking dome.)
The judges reveal the dish they have to recreate and it looks like a still life. At first I worry they have to recreate everything from the pine cones to the display platter, but it’s just the fruit: a mandarin, Granny Smith and a pear.

They are all differently flavoured, with many layers inside. The stalks of the pear and apple are 100 per cent couveture chocolate.
Kirsten tells them the pear is the easiest one. For the apple they have to make their own mould out of sugar starch and won’t know if it’s worked until the end of the process.

I really hope this is not going to be one of those impossible challenges where we see them freaking out for six hours – yes, six hours!! – and serving up misshapen fruit.
I would say Ben has the edge because he’s more of a dessert man but Diana is better at keeping her composure.
It must be impossible to read a recipe properly when everyone is screaming up on the gantry. She obviously gets her focus from her mum. Up on the gantry a bloke (Dizey’s partner, I think?) tries to engage Mum in some producer prompted banter but she shuts her down with a “I’m concentrating”. Good one, Mum.
Ben is freaking out a bit and his Calvados catches fire, which we know is wrong because Diana mentioned it earlier. The producers send Kirsten over straight away to tip him off, as they don’t want to spend six hours filming someone when the audience knows all along their dish is a failure.
Diana mentions how important it is to dissolve the sugar and we see Ben scraping undissolved sugar into his bowl. Kirsten is there again to ask: “Why are you doing that?” Oh dear – chill, Ben! Although, showing you so flustered at the start means you will probably triumph in the end. A pep talk from George and an “I love you” from his son puts Ben back on track.
Diana juices her mandarins by hand; Ben uses the juicer. The edit doesn’t tell us who is right.
Oops – Diana’s liquid centre thingy has failed because she still had undissolved sugar crystals in the pan. A pity Kirsten wasn’t there to alert Diana to the problem as she did with Ben, albeit for a more serious issue.
Diana decides to remake it.
Ben’s liquid centre has also failed – that’s the one he remade twice. Urgh – I hate it when a dish is so hard even talented cooks can’t get them right.
Ben has run out of ingredients so ditches the element and poor Diana’s second attempt has also failed.
MasterChef needs to go back to the finale being people cooking food I’d want to eat in a restaurant, not some kind of Dessert Ninja Warrior designed to break people. Makes me miss Great British Bake Off even more. I really don’t want to watch a talented cook like Diana crying quietly in the corner over sugar gel.
Finally they both get their fruit on the platter but Diana’s pear stem breaks at the last minute.
Time for hugs all round. And tears. Pleaase, can we rehydrate poor Ben and Diana and get them a coffee and a snack. Ben’s comforting of Diana as she crouches weeping behind the oven ends in somewhat hysterical laughter from both of them.

And we still have 20 minutes to go here in SA! Although 10 minutes of that will be ads.

Diana is first. Her mandarin looks pretty good but the apple is a bit squished and the pear overripe looking. Her decision to remake the sugar thingy cost her time to get the perfect presentation, but Matt sticks up for her ballsy move to keep trying.
They have trouble cutting the mandarin due to the thickness of the choc but the other two look pretty impressive inside.
Kirsten says “she’s got the flavours perfect”. Gary misses the liquid centre thingy and the mandarin wasn’t quite citrussy enough. (Is that because she didn’t use the juicer? Hope they tell us.)

Ben’s fruit is more polished looking – not as good as Kirsten’s, but good. George praises him for comforting Diana, when really you’d have to be a heartless bastard not to. The inside of his mandarin looks better than Diana’s and they love the taste. It and his chocolate stems are “outstanding”. Kirsten says his double-dipped pear (caused when the pear slipped out of is grasp into the choc coating) has a too thick coating, which makes it too sweet.

Ben: Matt 9, Kirsten 9, Gary 8, George 9. Running total: 89
Diana: Gary 8, George 8, Kirsten 8, Matt 9 (and this must be the score where they film the two endings, because that was the deciding vote, giving her 90 points). Matt really should have given her an eight and made them do a tie-breaker challenge – one of those 10-minute cooks. We’ve never seen that in a final. That score was unfair to Ben.

DIANA WINS! Yay! Although they both did a good job, she has been consistent throughout the comp and so organised. She would be an asset in any professional kitchen.
Ben gets $40,000. Karlie gets $10,000. The same prize money as last year.


House Rules – Sun, July 9 – grand final

Finally – it’s here! The House Rules grand final is on Seven from 7-9pm.
Will it be blond attractive couple or brunette attractive couple?

And the winners are:

Story here.


MKR – it’s the end!

It’s been a three-month slog but finally the end of My Kitchen Rules is nigh. Tonight Amy and Tyson face Valerie and Other Courtney in the grand final.
It seems a given that the brother and sister pairing will win, as they cook Modern Australian cheffy-type food, whereas mum and daughter’s Indian cuisine is delicious but doesn’t have the same impact presentation-wise.
However, they could well achieve success with their own range of sauces or meal kits if Coles jumps on board. Their bottled soz sold out in 24 hours and Coles must have been happy, as they’ve released a second batch of it. Or perhaps a publisher will want to print “Poppy’s book”.

MKR starts at 7.45pm on Seven (the House Rules premiere is before it) and goes until 10pm.
I’ll put up a new poll so you can vote for the winner.***
Here we go … finally, at 8pm.
We rip through the montage of times past and thank god, because it only serves to remind us of how mediocre some teams were.
The teams enters Kitchen HQ and it’s like they’ve stumbled on to the set of Survivor tribal council. There are urns shooting out flames everywhere.
Amy and Ty are in black, which usually means they won’t win. Manu is wearing a snazzy black velvet suit with a diamond pattern. Pete is not wearing his trademark blue. I know it’s a big night, but he looks better in blue.

They are making:
Parmesan and truffle mousse with mushies.
Pea and ham soup
Butter-poached marron with Jerusalem artichoke and rhubarb
Veal, sweetbreads and marron
After Dinner Mint

Mum and Other Court are cooking:
Samosa crisp with chaat
Salmon tikka skewers
Spiced Spanish mackerel with kichdi (Val describes it as an Indian risotto)
Pork vindaloo
Pistachio kulfi

I bought a ham hock today, so bring on the soup, Amy and Tyson – give me some tips! They are using fresh peas from punnets that have already been shelled – never seen that before.
White team’s chaat seems to be chickpeas with some spices. Unless they cooked the chickpeas in a pressure cooker and we didn’t see it, they came from a can. Hmmm. Will the judges give them a hard time, a la the Beardies and Pretzelgate? I’m looking at you, Guy Grossi and Liz Egan (aka The Other One).
I do enjoy Amy stirring her brother and making him call her “Chef”. Nothing beats sibling humour.
An hour in the families arrive and the tears start flowing. Aw, Amy and Ty’s folks are delightfully normal, but it’s the moustache belonging to what seems to be their brother that is mesmerising. It’s been waxed and twisted to peak stiffness. #MyMoustacheRules
Speaking of hashtags, here comes you know who, followed by the other teams.

Amy and Ty are using white truffle, which on sells for $700 for 100g. Regular truffle is only about $200. Amy is running on pure adrenaline.

All the forgettable teams have been grouped together, including the Desperate Housewives of Wollongong, the young chicks and the mild-mannered Asian brothers. That’s enough of you lot – let’s see more of the midwife in the electric blue dress that has vines sprouting from thr neckline, threatening to strangle her.

Entree is served …
Both look good but I reckon that samosa sack could be a bit tricky to eat – will the disc shatter when cut into?
Guy says it’s a “zingy little number”. Manu’s tastebuds are dancing.
Colin says A&T’s mousse packs a flavour punch. Pete loves it but wants something a little crispy for texture.

So, believe it or not, some people are actually watching The Voice while MKR is on. I’m not one of them but there’s a lot of social media chat about this girl, so have a look if you need a musical break. She’s rather good – and only 15!

Back in the kitchen, it’s on to course two and for the judges to visit each team and put the wind up them by mentioning that each is cooking pea soup. “Umm, I’m just going to go and grab some garam masala,” jokes Amy. Have I mentioned how much I like Amy?
Valerie and Other Court have obviously spent a lot of time working out the presentation of their dishes, balancing a mini salmon tikka skewer on a shotglass of soup, with something crunchy on the side for texture. The vibrancy of A&T’s pea soup in the dark bowls is stunning.

Course two is served ….

(Thank god I’m recording this because every ad I fast forward seems to feature the Hashtaggers flogging something).
Colin loves their refinement of peasant-style ingredients. The fried pork back fat is a winner. Pete says it’s faultless.
The Indian-style pea soup is, according to Karen, delicious and pleasant.

Time to cook course three …
Ty tells us how to cook marron and I hope Duck Nutter from last year is watching, given he served uncooked marron last year. OMG – Josh is on the sidelines talking about how to cook marron. MKR editors, are you trying to make me turn over to Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2? That’s how much I want his face to be off my TV screen. And now he is criticising A&T’s choice of a rhubarb accompaniment.
The girls are using finger lime with their mackerel, which is very Mod Oz. But they are having dramas with uncooked fish. That gets resolved but their plating is rushed and they are frazzled. Courtney tears up a bit, as her lovely Dad gives her encouraging thumbs ups from the sidelines.

Course three is served …
Guy says the marron was cooked properly. Liz has never had anything like it and is “thrilled”. The like the rhubarb.
The soz with the mackerel is a knockout, says Pete. Guy wanted less rice, less fish and more soz.

Time for course four …
Have I been pronouncing vindaloo incorrectly for decades? Or is it a regional thing. I haven’t heard “vindar-loo” before.
While the teams cook, see how many of these contestants you can name:

A&T’s dish is, as per usual, very cheffy, using offal and bone marrow. Valerie shows the crowd she has a photo of her late father in her pocket. Oh dear – that started the tears. It’s great that they love him so much and he was obviously a fabulous cook but we’ve seen far too much of this – and the editors are to blame, not Valerie and Courtney. The dead relative edit just annoys viewers.
V&C are happy with their vindaloo soz.

Why is Amy putting the jus on using a spoon? Tip it in a jug! This could be one of those times we hear the old “stress on a plate”. Hopefully it taste great.

Course four is served …
They love the vindaloo and condiments. “Confident”, “superb’.
We get a lingering shot of Pete’s wobbling bone marrow (no, that is not a euphemism). Colin says the dish is chef standard. Karen tops him by saying it’s the best dish she’s eaten in eight years of MKR.

Time for the final course …
All seems well with A&T’s dessert but then Ty gets the shakes as he tries to quenelle the cremeaux and it’s hard to watch.
The kulfi looks good. It can often be too sweet, but V&C are smart to enough to know this and would have balanced their flavours accordingly. The tart berries will help. The processes used are not as complicated in A&T’s dessert but Ty does push teh edge with his flavours sometimes.

The judges taste …
Liz says the After Dinner Mint is faultless. Colin: “This dish made me happy.” (And now I’m popping to the fridge to hunt for chocolate.)

The kulfi dish is playful, says Karen. It’s refreshing. But no-one calls its faultless.

Are we there yet? After two hours of this I’m starting to fade … Surely A&T have won, even if they are wearing black?
It was good at least to have a grand final without a “bad guy” (remember Lauren and Carmine, Chloe and Kelly). And one in which no-one cooked bad food.

The judges speak …
This is usually just a repeat of the chat we hear as they taste. Urgh – we have to sit through the teams being asked about their journeys. Get to the scores!
I’m thinking mostly 9s for the ladies and a mix of 9s and 10s for A&T.

Valerie and Courtney
Karen 9, Guy 9, Colin 8, (yeah, Amy and Tyson have sooo got this), Liz 9, Manu 8, Pete 9. 52/60

Amy and Tyson
Colin 9, Guy 9, Manu 9, Karen 10, Liz 10, Pete 10.

Here comes the glitter confetti. Pity we know they film two alternate endings. Ah, Tyson says some lovely things about his sis and she gives him a loving punch in the arm.

Well done, Amy and Tyson!

(Now, thank god that’s over. Bring on MasterChef!)


Survivor – the end is nigh

We get an extra-long final ep this Thursday, then the reunion so don’t forget to set your recorders longer, if that’s how you are watching.
Thumbs up to Nine for finally getting the programming right. They are fast tracking the show, starting at midday on Go at noon, followed by the hour-long winner reveal reunion at 2pm.
It’s repeated from 7.30-9.30pm, followed by the reunion.
I was dubious about the whole Gen X V Millennial theme but here we are at the end, with three people from each “side” and they are all fairly interesting people. Well, maybe not Bret. You’d think a gay cop from Boston would have made the edit more.
Who do you think will win? And who’s no chance (I’d say Ken, Bret and Hannah, unless she does a Kristie Bennett and kills it in the final challenge and with her jury speech).


Australian Survivor finale

Here we are – finally! It’s the last day of Australian Survivor.
Who do you think will win? And who do you want to win?

Tonight I’m recapping as the program goes along (SA time).
Here we are and – oh my goodness – they are doing the walk of the fallen comrades! Original Survivor hasn’t done this for yonks, because so often the final three is reminiscing about people they never met. And that’s evident tonight, with a lot of “nice girl” and “what a character”. “Ah, Sammy boy,” is all Sam gets (from Lee), who follows it up with “Ah, Matt”. Yep – that was a worthwhile few minutes, although it’s nice to hear the former contestants voices again – and be reminded who some of them were.
Leel and Kristie arrive at the final immnuity challenge and, for drama, JLap meets them atop a cliff that looks like it’s made from volcanic rock, with the odd wave pounding against it to spray them.
He also reveals their loved ones are here, and this move is actually pretty annoying, because in “real” Survivor, loved ones visits are usually held around final six to eight (although not every season). I always shed a tear when the castaways realise their loved one is here and look forward to some noses getting out of joint as, inevitably, only some people get to spend time with their loved one. Usually the challenge winner gets to pick two or three other people and their love ones to accompany them on a reward, or to spend the night back at camp, and this can expose some alliances. Or it can lead to sneaky gameplay, a la Jonny Fairplay and the Dead Grandma Incident (and if you are new to Survivor, you have to YouTube that episode of Survivor: Panama).
But this is Australian Survivor so the loved ones are being brought out at a time when it really makes no difference to the game, other than to dehydrate contestants from crying so much.
Kristie’s dad is here and we know she’s watched Survivor with him since she was a kid, and he says some lovely things and we’re reminded that Kristie won only one reward the whole season, and gave up her letter from home. Lee and El get their sisters (and you have to wonder if anyone whispered “that’s my new squeeze”). We learn Lee once had major back surgery and thought he wouldn’t run or play cricket again, but went on to play professionally. (Sorry – I missed the bit about El because my 4yo woke up briefly).
JLap lays down the immunity challenge rules, which we already know from Survivor Borneo, the season that started it all. Back then, Rudy, Richard Hatch and Wiggles stood with both feet on a stump and leant in to a central pole relatively comfortably (see a pic here), but here the Aussies have to really lean in to it and have each foot on a pole at different height (as in Survivor: Africa). First person to lift their hand from the idol pole is out. In Borneo, Rich deliberately stepped down, knowing he couldn’t outlast the others and trusting that both would pick him as their final two opponent. Wiggles won when Rudy had a brain fade and lifted his hand.
Here the waves are an additional challenge, soaking them regularly. El at least manages to change position by squatting but Lee tells JLap his knees are buggered from sport so he has to stay standing. After 90 minutes in JLap starts with the questions about the pain and Lee’s feet are starting to look a bit purple. Eventually JLap gets sick of getting soaked and goes to sit with the loved ones for a chat.
Kristie’s Dad tells JLap Survivor started at the time of his divorce, so Survivor became an example of triumph through adversity and calling on inner strength for him and his kids. The waves are getting massive as the tide comes in so the trio are drenched, freezing and accidentally swallowing gobfuls of salt water.

Six hours later …
Six hours later they are still going.
“My wrist – I can’t move my wrist. I’m going to have to step down,” says El, screaming as the waves hit again. Finally she does hop down and Doctor JLap comes over to help her to her feet and almost carries her over to hug her sister.
No matter what happens now kudos to Kristie to outlasting an army major in and endurance challenge.
“Lee, you’ve got to let me have this one,” Kristie tells Lee.
“I don’t want to go home,” he replies.
“I will take you … I promise. You ave me an opportunity in this game that I could never have gotten without you. I swear to you, I promise, I will take you. And you know what you will probably beat me … I won’t have the votes,” she cries.
His response: “Keep fighting.”
“You remind me so much of my Dad,” she tells him, thanking him for his support throughout the game, throughout the “crazy”. Now, this is likely true but it is also very good strategy on Kristie’s part, because she knows how much being a role model for his kids is. “I swear on my Dad,” she continues.
“I’m so proud of you,” he tells her. And then he falls hard off the poles.

Kristie wins immunity! Five seconds later she follows, tumbling to the jagged rocks below. “Kristie, are you ok?” JLap asks as they both lie helpless on the rocks.
“Can you get me up, please, because it’s hurting,” she sobs. Her dad picks her up and carries her off. She is both crying and laughing as she shakes on the ground with fatigue and what looks like hypothermia. Don’t they have blankets for them? And water? We do get to see El put an arm around Lee as he apologises for not lasting.
Will Kristie take Lee? I reckon she will. JLap gets dad to come over and put the immunity necklace on his now-crippled daughter, which is a cool moment for the both of them.

Tribal council
I want to see their faces when they see Kristie has the necklace. There are gasps from Matt, Nick is open mouthed and and there’s a whispered “I can’t believe she won” from Flick. Tonight, Kristie is the only one casting a vote but Leel get to put forward lacklustre pitches.
“What you see is what you get with me. I think I’m less likely to get votes off the jury,” El laughs.
Lee says: “We all three of us have been together since day one. It’s up to her – it’s her choice. It’s the first time she can have a decision by herself without any pressure.” God, Lee, you still sound patronising.
And the 22nd person voted out is El. Yep. No surprise there.

Lee and Kristie head back to the beach for one final night and to hone their jury speeches. Kristie should kick Lee’s arse when it comes to conveying emotion and passion for the game – it will come down to whether the jury thinks she fluked it – and whether they are annoyed at Lee for distancing himself from the game for so long.

Day 55
Kristie is delirious with happiness whereas Lee is rather subdued, but he perks up with the final day breakfast arrives and they can eat bacon.
“I’m very happy with how I played the game; good people can win,” Lee tells the camera. Urgh – does this mean Kristie is not a good person by your standards, Lee? This is the girl who gave up her letter from home to someone else. Although, to be fair, I can’t see either of them doing much opponent bashing at final tribal.

Final tribal
“Looks pretty, doesn’t she?” murmurs Lee as a showered El arrives at the jury bench. JLap announces they will do opening statements (which US Survivor ditched a while back, or at the very least started cutting them from the edit).
Lee’s jury pitch is, as expected, about playing a clean and honest game. And unless there was a lot that was cut out, that’s about it from Lee.
Kristie has obviously thought long and hard about her jury speech. “All of you, you thought I was absolutely crazy,” she tells them. Her “move” was successfully gunning for Phoebe, who had flipped on her, and how, despite her name always being mentioned, she outlasted everyone.
“I have had to fight my way through 20 tribal councils. In the end, I was able to get through two whole tribes. Who in Survivor can say that? I can,” she says with conviction.
Well said, Kristie!
Time for jury questions .. El’s is a Dorothy Dixer about what his first “selfless acts” will be. Apparently, looking after his folks, his boys and some unnamed philanthropic works. El’s question is just a criticism of Kristie’s perceived lack of strategy but Kristie responds with some good examples and how her strategy of stepping back and watching them eat each other paid off.
Flick tells Kristie everyone is pissed at her for “not playing the game” and making big moves (because that worked so well for you, Flick). Kristie schools her in the difference between subtle moves and big moves. “You look at the jury and the people who made big moves were voted out straight away afterwards,” Kristie responds and she’s getting the swelling music and nods from the jury.
Brooke asks Lee an awkward question about whether he and El had a secret romance. “There is no romance going on,” he replies, stating they will be good friends. Brooke tells Kristie it seems she let Daddy Lee control her, but Kristie replies it was all part of her masterplan to make others think she could be controlled.
JL goes in hard, telling Lee he is ignorant and arrogant for thinking people who wanted to win were greedy pigs – and reminds him she is an aid worker. Go, JL! Lee does not compute. Lee apologises to her and says he made the comment at tribal councils, which were “not his forte”. (He was worked in the media, previously, though, so he should be more eloquent.)
Kylie basically just gives them a pep talk
Sam accuses Lee of taking advantage of Kristie. Lee mentions Kristie had a rough time in the early days and he supported who through that. “I didn’t force her to do anything; she probably played me as much as I played her.”
And now to Nick, and he gives Kristie a big compliment: “Tonight you have come out balls to the wall and you are literally a different person.”
Nick tells Lee he is hypocrite for playing the “morality” card, and mentions they initially got on, doing “manly things” together.
“And that is not as weird and as Brokeback Mountain as it seems,” Nick jokes. (I love that JLap starts cracking up at this.) Lee says he didn’t realise, coming into the game how impossible it would be to stick to that moral code.
“Kristie, you did my head in. You did a lot of flip flopping … and I think you now that,” Sue says. “Of course,” replies Kristie, saying she was sorry but she had to deflect heat off herself. “Well, you outsmarted me – well done,” concedes Sue.
Matt, a fellow huge Survivor fan, tells Kristie she often appeared panicked and yet at other times was friendly and supportive (is that a reference to her giving him the loved ones letter?), and wonders who is the real Kristie. She admits she had two panic attacks early in the game and didn’t realise until she arrived in Samoa she suffered from anxiety.
That’s it. Kristie has soooo got this. Sure, El will vote Lee but will anyone else? Maybe Flick?

Time to vote
Here comes the crazy loud music. Nick is first and, for dramatic effect, draws a downward stroke that could be the start of an L or a K. Matt does the same – love it. Bet they talked about it beforehand.

We see El votes for Lee – der – and Kylie for Kristie.
At this point the US show would normally cut to a studio several months later, for the big reveal in front of an audience.
JLap is set to read the votes but first announces that their families are here, and it’s lovely seeing Lee sob as he quietly hugs his boys. Asked by JLap what they think about Dad’s beard, the elder replies: “He looks like Obi Wan Kenobi.” Kristie is so happy to introduce her family to JLap.
So here come the votes.
Kristie, Lee (and we know that’s El’s vote because of the smiley face), Kristie, Kristie, Kristie and the winner is Kristie! She collapses screaming and is picked up be her family.

(I can’t be sure but I think they did and MKR and recorded two endings, which is such a shame.)
Well done, Kristie. You absolutely nailed that final tribal.
We get to see how everyone voted.
“I don’t know how you’ve done this, but it’s inspiring, it’s incredible,” says Matt.
“Good on you, but you are still a naughty little girl,” says Sue. The others congratulate her and a smiling Brooke says Kristie’s words changed her vote.

That’s all folks. Well, that was actually a pretty fun end to what at times has been a lacklustre season due to the lack of tribe shakeups.
A reminder the Survivor Family Feud is on Ten, Sunday at 7.30pm (and how strange is it to see Phoebe all dolled up in the promo. A lot of people online wondered why Craig wasn’t selected to take part as he seems such a natural fit for game shows, but on Facebook he messaged fans he’s travelling overseas.
Oh, here’s a fun tweet from JLap:


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?