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Colin Hogg: Food race looks good, tastes awful

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Well-dressed hosts bring little and less to the table in cringeworthy final featuring couple that couldn't cook.

Host Zoe Marshall was full of stupid questions, while judges Lorenzo (left) and Leonardo Bresolin seemed mostly interested in stuffing their faces.
Host Zoe Marshall was full of stupid questions, while judges Lorenzo (left) and Leonardo Bresolin seemed mostly interested in stuffing their faces.

Some races end without any real winner - and so it was with TV3's The Great Food Race, which bit its last bite on Sunday night, too long, too drawn out and just too plain silly to really care about, much less care which bright-eyed young couple eventually won.

It had felt a bit like that all those weeks ago with the first show. Though, having skipped much of the epic action in between, I had faintly hoped things might get a little better.

Watching that final 90-minute episode was an arm-bitingly awful experience, a slow-motion array of awkward moments, something so foolish it might have been comedy, but sadly wasn't.

Conceived by Julie Christie, the once-queen of this sort of stuff, The Great Food Race was a bit of a mash-up, setting out to tap into our ongoing obsession with television food shows, but with added action and glamour.

The added action involved having the competing couples running around the place - including China in one episode - chasing various ingredients. In Sunday's final, they were looking for eggs hidden in a cornfield ... as you do.

The glamour involved presenter Zoe Marshall and judges Lorenzo and Leonardo Bresolin - all strikingly attractive, all wildly over-dressed, and all so empty of anything interesting to say I heard myself desperately shouting suggestions at them.

The key element of the final show had two sets of finalists live-to-air in their studio kitchens, slowly disappearing in their own smog as they furiously cooked against the clock and each other.

To make things even more challenging for the poor devils doing the cooking, Marshall insisted on endlessly filling in any possible gaps by chatting to them, waving her cue cards filled with empty questions and handy cliches.

"What's the plan?" she wanted to know.

"There has to be a plan ...

"OK, what are we doing now?

"OK, absolutely.

"What's in this pot?

"Ok, so you're about to boil the pasta.

"OK, you literally have two minutes and 37 seconds left."

And earlier, of course, there had been much talk of an "epic battle" during which "anything can happen" while "the pressure is building in the kitchen".

All this while dressed like New Zealand's last top model. Though Marshall seemed almost understated next to the judges - one as nervous and dark-suited as an undertaker, the other an extravagant opposite with his vast moustache and silly shouty suit.

If the foodie brothers knew much about food it wasn't made awfully obvious. They didn't taste the final dishes so much as actually eat them. And noisily, good grief. They might have the suits, but they didn't have the style, or even the words.

"You've done pretty good with the bread - awesome," one of them said during the final judgment. It might have been the one with the moustache. It hardly matters. He ate two pieces.

The winners, after a very long pause, were Libby and Elliot, which was no surprise, given that their competition, Sara and Danny, in the end seemed barely able to cook at all, things falling apart so badly they turned their ravioli into meatballs.

Which in a way says it all about The Great Food Race.

READ MORE: The not-so-Great Food Race finale

- NZ Herald

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