My Kitchen Rules NZ - Episode One Recap

So tonight we have the first episode of My Kitchen Rules NZ, screening on TV One, after My Kitchen Rules Australia just completed a ratings-winning season on TV2.

Getting a head start on The Block NZ, and the competing each week on Tuesday and Wednesday for ratings bragging rights, it will be an interesting season for sure.

Whenever NZ takes on an established reality TV format from another country, there are obvious comparisons made about our version quality in comparison. Clearly the budget for MKRNZ will be smaller, but fingers crossed the quality is still up there. You won’t hear a bunch of comparisons from me as I didn’t watch most of My Kitchen Rules Australia this season. I am one of those annoying people who googled the winners before it was even screened in NZ.

But I can’t google the results of tonight’s episode so I might as well recap it!

The ten teams are split into two groups for the instant restaurants. The first five teams are:

  • Dan and Christie (Rockstar and the midwife)
  • June and Steph (Bogan besties)
  • Neena and Belinda (Modern-day hippies)
  • Sam and Dan (Social media BFFs)
  • Tracey and Neil (Beauty and the beast) – ROFL at some of these descriptions from the producers.

The judges are Ben Baley and Gareth Stewart, and you can read more about them here.

We see all the teams at the MKR HQ and we hear about the grand prize of $100000.

The first team cooking in their own instant restaurant is Neena and Belinda from Cambridge. They will serve an entree, main and dessert to the other four teams, and of course the two judges. They are all about healthy food and using food to heal – all that ‘power of the mind’ ra ra ra stuff. Where are their tye-dye shirts haha.

Neena and Belinda’s Menu:

Tonight in their restaurant named Dandelion, they are serving:

  • Entree – Pan-seared Blue Nose with Pumpkin Horopito Puree, Wild Blackberries and Kawakawa crisps
  • Main – Sticky Hawthorn Berry Venison
  • Dessert – White Chocolate and Kahikatea Tart

It is definitely a unique menu, and Neena and Belinda think that it will be a great way to highlight food’s healthy properties

They head off to forage. That is hippy speak for going shopping.  As they take some of the kawakawa and other plants, they say thank you to the plants.  Well that is new. Now it is off to the supermarket to get the rest of their food. Now if I was them I would have gone to New World. Screw the sponsors, I want those Little Shop toys.

Kitchen stuff:

  • They are turning the kawakawa leaves into crisps.
  • Getting the Kahikatea berries prepared takes a lo of
  • The Hawthorn sauce doesn’t taste as it should, so they add some dark chocolate and butter to try to balance the acidity.
  • They make a Japanese fermented tea, kombucha,  to serve to their guests. I am not sure this will be well received!
  • They aren’t sure if their fish is cooked properly because they haven’t cut them all the same size.
  • They are serving the entree on vintage plates, and it looks pretty nice. I am not sure about the flavours, because like most of the other contestants, I haven’t heard of half of the ingredients.
  • The venison is being coated in szechuan pepper, which isn’t on the menu.
  • The venison looks like it is cooked perfectly.
  • The main does look more like a home-cooked dinner compared to a restaurant meal.
  • The tarts look pretty good, I wonder what the kahikatea berries will taste like.
  • The tarts are starting to melt so they need to get them out quickly!
  • BY the time they serve the tarts, the definitely

We spend a bit of time getting to find out about the contestants – pretty much filling us in on the descriptions from above (Bogan Besties, Social Media BFF’s etc).

The contestants are not sure about the menu, especially some of the more foreign ingredients.

They give everyone a warm towel to cleanse them before the meal. The producers have obviously told them to harp up their “hippiness”.

The ad breaks seem to be very long.

The producers have done well with the different persoanlities in the contestants. I wasn’t sure if they would be able to find kiwis who were okay with coming across as nasty, or whether everyone would be a bit too nice.

The Bogans and the Social Media guys provided some entertaining one liners, the hippies are nuts in a good way, and I think Tracey will rub a few up the wrong way. Dan and Christie didn’t get much of a look-in tonight, they seem pretty quite in comparison to the other contestants at this stage.

Judges feedback:
Ben – Fish seared like a restaurant, interesting flavour combination, tartness in berries
Gareth – Presentation really good, flavour combination works, loves the horopito and pumpkin, overall really enjoyed it
Ben – Slightly disappointed, thinks that the szechuan pepper takes like dirt, likes the gravy, beens undercooked, venison a bot overcooked, not a restaurant quality dish
Gareth – Chili and szechuan pepper fight a little bit, venison slightly over, main isn’t as good as the entree
Ben – Hard to eat, good crunch in base, tastes great, new combination for him
Gareth – Flavours are great, interesting dessert
Judges scores:
Ben – 9/10
Gareth – 8/10
Ben – 6/10
Gareth – 7/10
Ben – 7/10
Gareth – 7/10
Team Scores:
  • Dan and Christie (Rockstar and the midwife): 7/10
  • June and Steph (Bogan besties): 7/10
  • Sam and Dan (Social media BFFs): 6/10
  • Tracey and Neil (Beauty and the beast): 7/10
Final Score: 71/100
Quote of the night:
  • I don’t even know what half of this shit is – June (one of the Bogans)


Next up to cook (screening Tuesday night) are Sam and Dan (Social media BFFs)

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  • aaronimpact

    The Social Media guys aren’t fooling anybody. I don’t think I have seen a fairly obvious pair of fruits in my life.

    • roger

      They are saving the news for a Womans Day front cover, mark my words!

  • Deb

    I gave it a go. I really did. But I won’t be tuning in again. Tonight’s contestants would’ve been better described as boring and frumpy country bumpies. The contestants spend far too much time talking. And the whole thing just seems try hard. Maybe they should’ve had a couple of months gap in between the Aus and NZ one.

  • Regan Cunliffe

    I actually quite enjoyed tonights episode. Perhaps it was the use of local native ingredients that even the judges had not tasted before. Best of luck trying to replicate those recipes in your own kitchens…

  • Tania

    I just watched it On Demand and agree it didn’t seem to flow very well … it would’ve been worse stopping for adverts when watching live … I agree that the contestants spent too much talking about what they were doing, and tonight’s were a bit monotonous to listen to … perhaps some of the other couples will be a bit more lively so it will be more enjoyable (I hope). But, hey, someone has to go first and they didn’t score too badly.

    I just looked on Twitter, and was amazed to see the Social Media Buddies (what does that even mean – did they meet on Tinder?) tweeting so much – I thought that was a bit of a no-no while the show was on air? (Loz from The Block last year was probably the first person I was aware of who started responding to peoples’ comments about her online; but the general rule of thumb is that they lie low). Anyhoo, they (Social Media Buddies) come across as know-it-all twats and they looked silly just repeating what the judges said tonight.

    The judges are really nice – they offer fair and constructive criticism and the shorter one seems like he’s done this sort of thing before.