Tasia and Gracia have claimed their place in the 2016 MKR grand final with a convincing 12 point win over opponents Gianni and Zana in the first semi-final.
The sisters who scored 55/60 admitted they were “extremely nervous” having to fight for their lives in the competition for the first time, but when the scores came in it was clear they had nothing to worry about.
“This is the strongest three course menu I’ve ever had in this competition,” said Pete Evans who awarded the duo a perfect 10 for their menu. Manu Feildel and guest judges Colin Fassnidge, Guy Grossi, Karen Martini and Liz Egan agreed, all awarding the sisters a nine for their three courses.
With the $250,000 in prize money firmly in their sights, Gracia said it would be amazing to share a grand final win with her sister. Tasia explained, “since Gracia and I have been young, we’ve wanted to open up our own restaurant”.
“Bringing street food of Indonesia to Australia,” added Gracia. “Winning the title of My Kitchen Rules and also the prize money would mean so much for our future.”
While their MY KITCHEN RULES dream may have ended, Gianni and Zana were gracious in defeat with their score of 43/60. Fighting back tears, Zana said: “To be honest, losing against Tasia and Gracia isn’t so bad because they are such a strong team”.
“My Kitchen Rules has pushed us,” she continued. “We love working hard and we’ve learned so much. MKR has all been about our family and where we got to cook our true traditional recipes.”
The couple agreed MKR had been the “best experience of our lives” and had some parting advice for Tasia and Gracia.
“You deserve to be in the Grand Final, your food is phenomenal,” said Zana as she left Kitchen HQ with her husband.
Both teams started the night with strong entrees. Colin said they were “competition winning dishes” noting a high standard had been set early.
Tasia and Gracia’s lobster tail with yellow curry sauce and taro chips was praised by the judges.
“Wow! What a punchy start to a three course meal,” said Guy. “The lobster’s been cooked superbly, just delicately under in the middle,” added Karen, who said the girls demonstrated great restraint with their sauce which could have overpowered the lobster.
Gianni and Zana started with an entrée of beetroot and goats’ cheese ravioli with sage. Despite an early stumble accidently burning their sauce, the team recovered to plate up an entrée that floored the judges.
“Look at my plate, it’s empty and that’s the highest compliment you can give a cook,” said Colin of the team’s perfectly rolled pasta. Pete agreed: “I have one word to sum up this dish; sensational. Gorgeous to look at and even better to eat.”
For main, Tasia and Gracia served up crispy fried barramundi with apple, coriander and tamarind dressing.
“The fish is crispy and delicious and their sauce is tempered really well,” said Karen. “There’s heat in there, but it’s not overpowering.” Colin agreed saying the fish was in danger of being outshone by the sauce: “The fish is meant to be the star of the show, but for me the sauce and the salad is the star of the show.”
Gianni and Zana’s main of beef goulash with heirloom carrots and pickles received a mix response from the judges. While Liz liked the “hearty, home cooking” feel of the dish, Colin was concerned that it was too rustic for a competition dish.
Karen and Guy questioned whether some of the smoky flavour was actually from being caught on the pot, while Manu took it one step further: “I am disappointed about this dish, it’s not smoky, it’s burnt. I was hoping for a little bit more.”
The judges commended Tasia and Gracia on their dessert of coconut panna cotta with passionfruit curd and lychee sorbet noting they had added just the right amount of gelatine to achieve the sought after ‘wobble’.
“You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to know that that is a perfectly made panna cotta,” said Guy. “It basically just starts to fall apart as soon as you put your spoon into it. The curd is great, and the sorbet goes really well with it.” Manu agreed, saying: “It’s silky and beautiful. I love this dessert.”
While the judges acknowledged the skill in Gianni and Zana’s pastry, they said the presentation and flavour of their krempita with vanilla poached figs dessert had let them down.
“It’s almost something you’d buy from a cake-shop,” said Liz. “Very simple and quite pleasant, but I don’t think pleasant is what they are after.”
On Monday night (April 25 at 7.30pm) Western Australia’s mother and son team, Anna and Jordan (ultimate instant restaurant score of 72) will face off in the second semi-final against South Australian husband and wife, Carmine and Lauren (ultimate instant restaurant score of 77).
Both teams have had a very different journey to this point in the competition. Carmine and Lauren have survived three tense sudden death cook-offs. By contrast, Anna and Jordan have won People’s Choice twice and have never experienced the pressure of a sudden death cook-off.
MY KITCHEN RULES:
Monday, April 25 at 7.30pm Semi-final Two
Tuesday, April 26 at 7.30pm MKR Grand Fina