We need to talk about Zana, the Regina George of Australian TV, the reason My Kitchen Rules‘ ratings are through the roof right now, and the person I genuinely believe when she says she’d make a better dictator than any dictator in history.
MKR can probably just pack up and call it a day after this season, because with lawyer-slash-Mean Girl Zana, they’ve found the perfect contestant for the reality cooking competition format. It will never get better than this *.
(* At least until we meet Jessica, who looks like a real piece of work).
Let’s look at some of the My Kitchen Rules boxes that Zana ticks:
– Bottomless reserves of hubris? Check.
– Shameless displays of material wealth? Check.
– Picky eater? Check – don’t come near her with your unwashed lettuce leaves, peasants.
– Recipes passed down from dear old grandma? Check.
– Intense facial expressions? Check.
– Totally superfluous spouse? Check.
– Anne Hathaway-like ability to cry on cue? Check.
– Maniacal control freak tendencies? Big old check.
The other contestants are terrified of Zana. Paleo Pete and Sexy Daddy Bear Manu seem vaguely terrified of Zana. Gianni is rightly terrified of Zana. Even I’m a bit terrified of Zana.
Seriously, you guys. My sink was full of dishes this morning and my actual first thought was oh shit, Zana would NOT approve of this mess. That’s how far Zana has gotten inside my head.
What WILL she do? Serve up Sarah and Monique‘s livers with fava beans and a nice chianti? Team up with Shaynna Blaze for a show called Zana & Shaynna’s Extreme Home Makeover? Run for Prime Minister? Any one seems possible at this point.
Last night, a whopping 1.8 million people tuned in to MKR, to see Gianni and Zana, the last couple to cook in their instant restaurant bracket, strut their stuff.
Seven, of course, ran near-endless promos to hype us all on up the possibility that they might fall flat on their smug, rich faces, and exit the competition, tails between their legs. So how’d it go?
Well, let’s just say that this is the face all of Australia made when we realised that, like so many tin-pot MKR despots before her – cough, Ashlee and Sophia, cough – Zana is also a damn good cook.
Let’s backtrack a tad. As expected, tonight’s episode begins with more courtroom humour than you or your barrister can even handle, given Gianni and Zana’s occupations, which are only mentioned every five seconds or so.
The married lawyers from Melbourne™ are facing JUDGE AND JURY. Will the other contestants hold them in CONTEMPT? What’s the VERDICT going to be? How long before someone raises an OBJECTION to these terrible puns?
To kick things off, Gianni and Zana take the customary trip to the shops, to purchase masses of onions, calf livers, and other things that seem like they might be gross and unpalatable, but – SPOILER ALERT – will turn out to be delicious.
On the way home from, Gianni learns that an MKR production assistant has sabotaged his Porsche, forcing him to pull over to the side of the road because the horn will not stop blowing. Zana makes this face at him for what feels like a full minute.
In the kitchen – oh yeah, this show has kitchen in the title, so we should probably cover this bit – disaster threatens to strike, when Zana overworks the dough for her Albanian Pita entrée, and chucks out two batches before she’s finally satisfied with the third.
The highly-intricate dish, with fifteen thin layers of pastry on top, fifteen more below, filled with cheese, brushed with the tears of tiny angels (probably) and served next to beetroot hummus looks delicious as all fuck.
The first course is brought out to the table, and hearts collectively sink as the other contestants realise Zana and Gianni are quite good at this whole cooking business. Cougar Cheryl realises that she and her cub Matt are definitely going home.
But wait, all may not be well. Sexy Daddy Bear Manu has a taste, then tells Zana “I hate to say it, but I’m devastated …”
“… that I don’t have any more to eat.” Seven actually shoved an entire ad break in-between the beginning and end of that sentence, because that’s how confident they are in MKR at this point. Vive la MKR! Vive la Manu!
Zana happy-cries while the rest of the contestants stare sadly into their beetroot hummus, a theme that will be continued throughout pretty much the rest of this evening.
Gianni and Zana retreat to the kitchen to bask in the glow of their impending victory, and nothing can touch them as they prepare their main of calves’ livers and spicy peppers.
The ominous cloud of black smoke that we’ve been seeing in the ads all week? It’s just some burning beetroot juice at the bottom of the oven. Sorry, folks, that was all a fake-out. Zana’s breadcrumbs are perfect, just like everything Zana touches.
“If you have to introduce calves’ liver to someone who’s never had it, even a kid, this is probably the best recipe you could offer,” says Manu, when mains are served. Zana pretends to be humble as she imagines all the 10s she’s inevitably going to get.
She and Gianni steamroll right on through dessert. The sugared, hazelnut chocolate-filled donuts they serve up look a bit plain (sorry guys), but Pete smiles beatifically at them, while quietly pondering the fact that fluoride is a lie.
As is customary, scores are tallied at the end of the night, but the show is purely going through the motions at this point, because everybody knows Gianni and Zana have romped it to the top of the leaderboard.
Cougar Cheryl and cub Matt, at the very bottom, resigned themselves to defeat long ago, and are very cool-headed and gracious about it when they get the boot, and … I don’t know, you guys, I think I’m going to miss these two crazy kids.
Pardon the obvious joke, but:
You don’t win friends with (ceasar) salad.
WHEW. So that’s it, folks, we’re six instant restaurants down into season seven of MKR, which, at the rate these things tend to go, probably only leaves a few hundred more by the time all the gatecrasher and redemption rounds are done.
Strap in, it’s going to be a wild ride.
Photos: Channel 7.