The husband of one of the first to leave My Kitchen Rules New Zealand has lifted the lid on some kitchen secrets producers of the show don't want its viewers to see.
On Tuesday night Tauranga-based friends June Lyall and Steph Usmar - dubbed the "Bogan Besties" - were ejected from the show after posting the lowest score in Group One's instant restaurant round.
As New Zealand gets to know Group Two in their instant restaurant round, Craig Lyall has revealed some of the show's secrets, including how production bosses cleared out pantries to ensure brands which weren't show sponsors didn't gain valuable air-time.
"They went through and bagged all that stuff up out of the pantry so it wouldn't be shown, which I found quite funny," he told the Herald on Sunday. "But I do understand the show wants to protect their sponsors."
The desire to protect the show's sponsors was also evident in what New Zealanders saw of the pre-cooking shopping sprees.
Each instant restaurant episode features footage of the respective duos getting ingredients at the supermarket shopping chain which sponsors MKR New Zealand.
"Officially all the groceries came from Countdown but there was occasionally ingredients they needed that Countdown didn't have available that day, so they could [go] to a place of their choice." Lyall said.
But unlike the Australian version of MKR, exposure is not given to those shops.
June and Steph cooked in the Lyall family home, which was dubbed "Winchester Dungeon" for their instant restaurant appearance.
However, Craig Lyall said given the requirements of the show's production team, some teams had to cook in houses owned by friends or relatives.
"Obviously, you need a good kitchen but it's more like having a dining area too, one that's away from the kitchen so they don't want the guests to know what's going on," he said.
"Our house was okay because we had a downstairs room which is the kids' room so we cleared that out and used that [for the dining area] which was ideal. [But] as I understand, [some of] the other contestants had to borrow houses."
He said the show provided contestants "about $500" to give their instant restaurant a make-over.
June and Steph spent the money on "table dressings, some nice black napkins, cool napkin rings and a set of white plates, nice wine glasses".
"I think we borrowed the cutlery off a friend," he said.
"You have to set up the dining room but the film crew come on the day and they might change things around ... add a few props here and there."
Craig Lyall also spoke of the show's dreaded door bell, which rings ominously to signal the arrival of dinner guests and the judges.
Producers place a mock bell box near the front door for those houses that don't have a door bell.
The first-ever champions of My Kitchen Rules New Zealand will win $100,000. But unsuccessful contestants will get only a set of cutting knives.
"Bogan Besties" June Lyall and Steph Usmar believe they were first to get the chop because of personality clashes.
"I thought it would be more of a cooking competition not a personalities game which was quite disappointing. For goodness' sake, we got a 17 from the contestants - we got dicked," Lyall told the Herald on Sunday.
The two mothers - who have seven children between them - met 15 years ago when Usmar was working at the Papamoa Tavern, and have been close friends since.
They felt the standard of cooking in the competition was average except for the fish entree cooked by their arch rivals Neena and Belinda, the "Modern Day Hippies".
But Lyall said they were less than impressed with Neena and Belinda's approach towards them, including reprimanding them for burping.
"Actually, that peeved me off a bit because I am not ashamed of burping - it's natural and it's actually a compliment. I did say 'pardon me' but I had the mic on so the burp came out extra loud," she laughed.
"That did upset me when she [Neena] yelled 'You could say pardon me'. Well sorry, honey, I am a lady, and yes I do burp, but hey I am who I am."