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February 25, 2021

MKR winners in Byron

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Screen shot of Alex & Emily from MKR – taken at The Bolt Hole Byron Bay.

By Vivienne Pearson

Winners of Sunday night’s Grand Final of My Kitchen Rules (that’s ‘MKR’ to those in the know), Alex and Emily, have been billed throughout the series as being from the Gold Coast. 

The truth is that they are now Byron based, having moved to the area after filming wrapped in December. The pair, who won the Grand Final by cooking a five-course meal for 20 people, moved in order to join the team at The Bolt Hole, an upstairs cocktail bar and whiskey bar in Byron Bay.

This plan was in motion before the couple were selected for the show. ‘They were worth waiting for,’ laughs Chris Mills (aka Millsy), owner of The Bolt Hole, of having to put plans on hold owing to filming commitments. He is also having to do without them a fair bit at the moment. ‘They are getting pulled all over the country for interviews,’ he says.

Alex and Emily have become known in the competition for their in-the-heat-of-the-kitchen conflict, especially over speed of preparation and plating up of meals. Food-wise, they are best known for liberally dosing as many dishes as possible with alcohol! 

Given Alex’s career as a drinks consultant, it is unsurprising that most of these efforts have won over the judges, including their stand-out Grand Final dessert, ‘Penicillin’, a play on the cocktail of the same name, consisting of lemon parfait served with ginger jelly, ginger crumb, whiskey caramel and, very theatrically, pouring a shot of whisky over dry ice. 

The Bolt Hole have been playing it cool about their increasingly well-known team members, though Millsy admits to having gone from hardly ever watching TV to being addicted to the show. As for Alex and Emily, when I spoke with them in March, said that they had been keeping one eye on the screenings while focusing on their new jobs. ‘It’s always weird watching yourself on TV,’ says Alex. ‘Working nights, it’s been hard to watch when the rest of Australia does,’ adds Emily.

They certainly watched on Sunday night, glued to the screen more avidly than the show’s biggest fan. For, astoundingly, no-one other than the show producers knew who had won until Sunday night – including Alex and Emily. ‘Two endings were filmed,’ Millsy confirmed. ‘Alex and Emily did not know they had won until last night.’

The winners mentioned during the epic Grand Final (which involved over six hours of actual cooking, let alone the rest of the filming) that they would love to use the prize money to open their own venue. Whether or not that dream is realised down the track, for now, they are happily ensconced at The Bolt Hole. 

The Bolt Hole, upstairs 9 Fletcher Street (beach end), 6 nights from 5pm (closed Tuesday), FB/Insta: @theboltholebyronbay, www.thebolthole.com.au

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