The Great Food Race Final: Is that pate or parfait?


Fresh, local produce.

From crashing through some crop circles holding eggs, to riding a rickshaw, to spotty green suits, The Great Food Race final screened on TV3 tonight with some serious live television cringe issues.

The format hit the skids in this 13th and final episode where contestants struggled not with the food task, not with the environment but with the under-planned and under-budgeted live studio cookoff.

Two couples, Libby and Elliot and Sara and Danny had to first complete a ravioli making session in the pre-recorded section of the show in order to win an advantage point used somewhere or somehow that I can’t remember now.

Why can’t I remember? Because for most of the show, I watched though venetian blind fingers, like a school girl unable to watch pashing on television. Such was the lack of cohesion and natural dynamism of the hosting, I actually broke out into a brief sweat each time the deafening silence rested heavily across all and sundry, including the studio audience of five.

Let me explain. Have you ever tried to keep a conversation going that died about 89 minutes ago? It was like that. As each couple began their cookoff, they were continually quizzed by either Lorenzo and Leonardo Bresolin or Zoe Marshall. Because the entire show was the cookoff, the judges and host were pretty much right up the contestants’ arse the whole time.

At first it was just pleasantries, and the contestants were happy to repeat their answers to the question:

So what’s going on in this pot

After a while though, it became blindingly obvious that the questions were becoming obstructive, futile and only about filling segments rather than of any real quality for the viewer. Contestants became increasingly flustered by the presence of Zoe, who continued to forget what she had just been told resulting in another round of

So what’s going on in this pot

The contestants were really struggling to comply with the questioning, much like when one is having a casual chat about the merits of purple sage while trying to give birth.

Meanwhile in the studio audience, ejected contestants were interviewed for a merciful break from the kitchen grilling the contestants were getting. They said it was an endurance race, but not like this.

TV3, you had such a great opportunity to present a stunning end to what has been a well-watched show. Shame on you. Nothing in this final show worked. It was a stunted cringe-fest.

And just when you thought it was safe to part your fingers and watch the judging, a sound person decided it would be great to keep the judges’ mic pins on – rather than opt for a handheld device so as to separate the moist food thrusting from the talking. And hey, let’s make them stand for even more awkwardness.

Also, note to cameraman: always divert camera away from cat’s anus mouth of losing female team member.

I cannot see where this format can go from here.
However, since I’m not all just diss and ditch, I suggest that in the next series, the weird situations are axed in favour of challenges that focus on food from the regions of New Zealand, rather than perplexing paddle boarding then cooking a degustation in a muddly ditch.

Zoe is fine for the taped segments but not for the final, unless a bigger studio audience is deployed and she can work the room, asking quirky questions of random guests called Darren and talking with the ‘rejects’ from the previous episodes.

The judges, Bresolins of course, should sit to the side with hand held mikes, and chit chat about the contestants, ask the odd ‘how’s it going’ question of them and make small talk about the food properties, or moustaches or being Italian or anything really.

Queens of the Stone Age should then come on for the half time show.

And finally, the judges should sit down with a few members of the audience and other rejected guests and eat the food.

Without microphones.

Thank you. I’ll invoice you later TV3.

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