I am gloriously happy that MasterChef New Zealand and My Kitchen Rules have both finished for another year.
Now don't get me wrong, I watched these two programmes religiously and even recorded them during a week's holiday recently. I think the presentation was superb, the judges all fair and professional (who could not adore "where's ze sauce?" Manu?) and the contestants' knowledge, skill and in many cases, unflappability, were remarkable.
Many of the cooks spoke about food being the centre of their worlds, while one very likeable young woman spoke of being "inspirated" by food. I think we were all inspirated by the two contests and happily relieved when the "baddies" were eliminated and that both were won by seemingly genuine and likeable people.
But, I have been 'jus-ed', 'coulis-ed', 'confit-ed' and finally 'Croquembouched' sufficiently for one year. Bring on the Mainland cheese rolls, Mum's mince on toast and the good old Sunday roast.
It reminds me of the true Southern man, who when asked what sort of coffee he wanted, replied: "I'll have Gregg's please." None of this soy latte, macchiato, ristretto or even flat white carry-on for him.
I'm incredibly impressed by the way the food scene has grown and blossomed in this country - but at times now doesn't it seem we've gone a tad overboard with this poncey grub trend?
We've gone from drizzling olive oil over everything to making our own pasta, using quails' eggs and doing "deconstructions" of regular old-style favourite dishes. I know that I just had to go out and buy the pasta maker I saw on MKR and a pressure cooker and tagine like I saw on the other programme. Kitchen paraphernalia, which is now cluttering our space, probably will be used only very occasionally and then stuck on Trade Me when I'm seduced by other trendy stuff.
It was exciting watching our new MasterChef, Aaron Brunet, make that dish from the menu of George Colombaris' Melbourne restaurant, The Press Club. He incorporated a sous-vide chicken ballotine, crispy brined leg, roast shank and smoked chicken oyster, several vegetables, caramelised creme fraiche, fermented garlic and cauliflower cream. Wow.
And it's exciting knowing we have a group of top Kiwi chefs up there on the international stage and eateries that can compete with the best in the world.
But I think we should look at the dishes on these programmes like the clothes paraded on the catwalks of Paris and Milan. These very talented cooks are demonstrating techniques most of us can only dream about. You're very unlikely to hear your partner calling from the kitchen: "Tonight with our beef snarlers (or snags) we are having caramelised creme fraiche, fermented garlic and cauliflower cream followed by Croquembouche for pudding."
Tonight I'm cooking meat and three vegetables - without even a hint of garlic and definitely no drizzling of olive oil.
Robyn Yousef is an Auckland writer.