Tonight, Sydney couple Janelle and Monzir realised their dream of winning MKR, taking out the crown with a score of 27/30 in a fiercely fought battle with only two points separating them from Kate and Mary.
Heading into the competition, Janelle and Monzir were underdogs, but they wowed Manu Feildel, Curtis Stone and Colin Fassnidge with their four-course menu served to contestants, family, and friends at Kitchen HQ.
Janelle couldn’t believe it: “We won, we actually won! It doesn’t matter where you came from, you can achieve anything you want. There is no limit. This means everything to us.”
Monzir gave a shout-out to his mum, who was watching from the audience: “Thank you, mum, for teaching me everything and thank you for your support.”
The judges were in awe of the team’s authentic menu which paid homage to their heritage. Colin described it as “ballsy and delicious”, while Curtis said it was “full of heart and soul”.
With a score of 25/30, Queensland’s Kate and Mary were buoyant after their performance. “We are proud of what we have achieved. I think we did the very best we could,” said Kate on their place in the competition.
Each team had to cook four courses totalling 100 plates of food for the Grand Final, racing against the Kitchen HQ clock to win the championship title and $100,000 prize money.
Janelle and Monzir plated up an entrée of Grilled Adana with Cacik, Sumac and Onion Salad with Bazlama.
The aromas of the entrée immediately enticed Manu: “The smell only was so inviting, and the spice was absolutely delicious. It was a brilliant start.”
Kate and Mary served Scampi with Smoky Chilli Oil, Gazpacho and Fennel Salad for their entrée. Colin said the team’s scampi was grilled to “perfection”. Manu agreed but said he would have liked more bite in the gazpacho.
Janelle and Monzir presented Kataifi Prawn with Haloumi and Watermelon Salad for their seafood dish.
Colin said their prawns were cooked perfectly: “That prawn was cooked superbly. The texture. The sweetness. It was just the main luxury item on that plate.”
“I loved that you left the head on and I just dipped it into the sauce. It was so good,” said Curtis.
For their seafood course, Kate and Mary opted for a Crispy Skin Salmon with Fragrant Thai Sauce and Flatbread.
Colin applauded their salmon but was even more impressed with the Thai sauce, saying it was one of his “stand-outs” this year. Manu commended the team for the “perfect” crisp on their fish.
Janelle and Monzir called upon Monzir’s mum’s recipe for Sudanese Beef and Orka Stew for their main and it did not fail.
“Monzir and mum, you should both be very proud. It was delicious. I think it’s the dish of the night for me,” said Manu. “The meat was cooked with a little bit of bite and to be able to grab it with a beautiful flat little pancake. It was really good.”
Kate and Mary presented a main of Lamb Grain and Salsa Verde.
Curtis said it was a lovely dish and the rack very successful, despite not being rested longer. Colin said it was a very classical dish done well. He loved the texture of the grains and way the team reduced the sauce to soak into the dish.
For the final course, dessert, Janelle and Monzir presented Baklava with Kaymak Ice Cream and Candied Walnuts.
Curtis said: “The Baklava tasted great but was a little dry. But then I ate it with the ice cream, which was sensational.”
Colin said it was a very clever dessert with a beautiful combination of savoury and sweet flavours.
Kate and Mary plated up a Lemon Tart with Thyme Infused Labneh and Candied Lemon for their dessert.
Manu said the flavour of the lemon curd was perfect, but the labneh had too much thyme flavour.