Novocastrians and long-time cricket mates, Matt Gawthrop and Luke Stewart, are yet to come back down to Earth after their impeccable My Kitchen Rules 2019 grand finale win.
“We’re feeling great – it’s just so surreal,” Matt told Newcastle Weekly on Monday after Sunday night’s episode.
The boys, hailing from Lake Macquarie and Maitland, respectively, knocked rivals Ibby and Romel for six with a near-perfect score of 92 out of 100.
They found out they’d won by four points with the rest of Australia on Sunday night, alongside about 200 family and friends at a packed Souths Merewether leagues club.
In the all-male, all-NSW grand finale, the two teams were tasked with serving more than 100 plates to a packed restaurant of family, friends and previously-eliminated competitors, plus, for the first time, 10 judges in celebration of MKR’s 10th anniversary.
Matt and Luke’s winning five-course menu consisted of confit salmon with peas; duck ravioli with wild mushroom; barramundi with roasted fennel; beef cheek with parsnip mash; and, finally, peach bellini for dessert.
It garnered them perfect 10s from three of the judges, with many commenting on the tenderness of the beef cheeks – something Matt said they’d been waiting to cook all season.
As chef Pete Evans remarked, they “saved the best for last”.
The road to being crowned champions wasn’t always a smooth one, with a few missteps early in the season, but Luke added it made the victory all the more sweet.
“I wouldn’t change a thing [about the journey], even from the start; all those dishes led to the win, and you learn more from your bad days,” he said.
With university studies for Matt and a family and a house for Luke, the boys said the “life-changing” $250,000 prizemoney would go a long way toward setting them up for life, but, having figured out that they work so well as a team (not only when a cricket bat is involved), it would be remiss of them not to follow their passion for food in some capacity.
To that end, Matt and Luke will host two dinners at Maitland Regional Art Gallery on Saturday 18 May (sold out) and Saturday 1 June, with more dates to come, potentially in Newcastle.