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After 10 weeks of epic showdowns and delicious dishes, My Kitchen Rules New Zealand has come to an end – with Wanaka pair Chris and Bex walking away with the $100,000 cash prize and the coveted title of 2017 champions.

In a nail-biting end to the series, team Wanaka went head to head in the Grand Final with Christchurch foodie friends Heather and Mitch. A near-faultless menu impressed the judges and saw Chris and Bex come out on top with a final score of 52 out of 60, five points ahead of their opposition.

It was a monumental night and the result came after a marathon cook-off where each team had to plate up four courses: an entrée, a fish dish, a meat dish and a dessert, for family, friends, ex-contestants and VIP judges.

Cooking at the stunning Gusto at the Grand, the competitive duos pulled out all the stops to impress judges Pete Evans and Manu Feildel and a special tasting panel made up of some of the country’s top chefs: Sean Connolly, Nadia Lim, Ray McVinnie and Tom Hishon.

Chris and Bex’s winning menu consisted of a duck salad; blue cod, butter bean and cauliflower croquettes; a main of gnocchi and oxtail ragu; and a dessert of rhubarb and custard.

In a brave and daring move, Chris and Bex opted to retry a dish that didn’t go down well at their first Instant Restaurant. Their gnocchi and oxtail ragu failed to hit the spot first time around, but tonight they got it right and their “redemption” dish was hailed as “perfect” by judge Ray McVinnie and “dish of the day” by judge Sean Connolly.

In a closely fought battle, Heather and Mitch were worthy opponents. Complex flavour combinations and impeccable plating saw them start on a high, but the title soon slipped from their grasp after they delivered a beef fillet main over-powered by onions.

Chris and Bex’s dessert under-delivered and while they finished on a low, Heather left her mark on the competition with a cheesecake that was the lightest Pete and Manu have ever had on MKR. But it wasn’t enough.

Chris and Bex have delivered creative and technically advanced dishes throughout the competition. Having appeared on screen as a married couple, they recently announced their separation but despite the change in their relationship, they are still immensely proud of each other and their win.

Chris and Bex said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be the winners of MKR NZ 2017! It’s been a huge privilege meeting and working with the other contestants, judges and the entire production team. We couldn’t be prouder of each other and look forward to serving up more delicious meals to many other awesome people.”

On missing out on the top spot, Heather and Mitch said: “We feel so proud of making it through to the Grand Final even though we didn’t come away with the win. Congratulations to Chris and Bex, it’s been great cooking against them and they certainly know their way around a kitchen.”

This season of My Kitchen Rules New Zealand has been a huge success, reaching an average of 632,000 viewers each week. *

If you’re passionate about cooking and think you have what it takes to be the next MKR NZ champion, you can still apply for the next season airing in 2018. Applications close Friday 1 December. APPLY NOW at tvnz.co.nz/mkrnz

Facebook: @MKRNZ

* Average daily reach AP 5+. Source: Nielsen TAM, consolidated data