My Kitchen Rules

MKR EXCLUSIVE: Ibby and Romel discuss those claims that the grand final was rigged against them

''We can either be really negative and bitter about it or we could just take the high road and look at what it's given us.''

By Alex Lilly
In the tense grand final of this year's My Kitchen Rules, we watched cricket mates Matt and Luke battle it out with socialites Ibby and Romel for the ultimate prize.
And while Matt and Luke were crowned the 2019 MKR champions, some viewers where shocked by the result and claim that the show was rigged, as Ibby and Romel performed consistently well since their first cook.
In an exclusive chat with this year's runners-up, Now To Love got their perspective on those comments and found out what's next now that the show is done and dusted.
Congratulations guys! How does it feel now that it's all over?
Ibby: It's nice, it's a mixed feeling. It's nice because it's now done and we don't have to worry about anything but we're also going to miss it, being bitches.
Romel: It's a bit of a relief, we finished filming quite a while ago and the closer we got to the grand final, the more it became…it was a head screw basically, trying to work out whether we had won or not.
Ibby and I went into the whole thing especially yesterday at our viewing party knowing there was a chance that we were going to lose. Matt and Luke were great cooks and they progressed really really nicely so for Ibby and I, both of us were having a chat last night and it really does feel as if a weight has been lifted from our shoulders so it's a bit of a relief really.
Ibby and Romel competed in the first all-male MKR grand final cook-off. (Image: Channel Seven)
So it's true you don't find out who wins until the show airs?
Ibby: They film two endings because they don't want the news to leak out. So they film one where we lost and one where we won so we have no idea.
Romel: We heard whispers during filming that they film two endings but it was never confirmed so when they made the announcement, that's when we found out. We walked away from it thinking 'What the f---? We've got to wait until the episode airs?' so it wasn't confirmed but there were definitely two endings.
We had absolutely no idea, but we definitely had a feeling as to which direction it would go. Ibby and I are quite switched on and we analyse everything and speak about everything so we knew where it was going to go but you don't know until the results are read out.
WATCH: My Kitchen Rules myths busted. Post continues...
People have been saying that they think the result was rigged with some even saying it's because of race, what do you guys think of that?
Romel: For me personally, I'd rather not think that way at all to be honest with you. It may have been, it may not have been, I don't know but the one thing I can say is for both of us it was a great experience.
It's definitely opened up a lot of doors for us and boosted our profile so there's a lot of ways that we can look at it. We can either be really negative and bitter about it or we could just take the high road and look at what it's given us. It's given us opportunities we never would've had without the show so I think that's what we're taking away from it.
We can sit here and say was it the Aussies versus the wogs, there are so many ways you can look at it and I think we just want to be really positive about it. If you get caught up in that whole conversation of 'Is it rigged?', it's not going to do anything or change anything.
Both Ibby and I went into the competition and we didn't give it 100 per cent we gave it a million per cent. We were invested, we worked tirelessly, we were up until three or four in the morning practicing and making those dishes over and over. We genuinely could not have pushed ourselves more than we did and for that I'm proud of both of us.
"We didn't give it 100 per cent we gave it a million per cent." (Image: Channel Seven)
It was revealed that you spent almost $30,000 mostly on a kitchen hand to help you out, do you regret spending that much?
Ibby: Not really because we didn't have a choice really. We have our own busy lives, I manage three businesses, Romel manages two. Even though we were doing the competition, we still had a s--- load of work to do to try and get it all done.
Trying to do everything that we do and trying to wash up for hours in the day, we just didn't have the time. And the only way we could've made it to the grand final is by buying some time which is having somebody wash up after us. If you actually think about how long washing up takes when you cook, it's half the time and if you can avoid that process then it's more time for Romel and me to either rest or to focus on our own businesses as well so we didn't have a choice.
Romel: There's various whispers going around that we had hired this and hired that and that we didn't deserve it but it wasn't the case at all, we just had to play smart and that's why we did what we did.
It is still you cooking regardless of how much you've spent so I think Ibby and I work extremely well as a team and we worked well in the kitchen. He had his role, I had my role, we stuck to them and that was the recipe to our success and our success wasn't because we spent almost $30,000, it wasn't that at all it was working as a team.
Ibby and Romel say that their decision to hire a kitchen hand wasn't a choice. (Image: Channel Seven)
You also said that former contestants Veronica and Piper paid for a chef to help them out, is that true?
Ibby: It is and nobody cares about that because obviously they didn't do well, it's only when you do well that everything starts getting used against you.
You could put a million restaurant business owners in Sydney to do this competition and I guarantee you they wouldn't do anywhere near as well as we did. You could hire as many kitchen hands as you want but you don't have the determination and the power and the strong mind and the organisational skills and most of all the determination to really win.
It doesn't matter how much money you invest in it, you're not going to get anywhere. You've still got to use your own brain, you still have to agree on the ingredients, you still have to make sure your recipes are right, you still have to think about your time management. There's a million and one things that people forget about but me and Romel don't want to go back and forth with arguments that's why we avoid it. We know what we've done and we know we haven't done anything bad and we know we gave this competition a million per cent and now that we are second, we still won in our eyes.
"I'm in awe of my partner Ibby and I'm in awe of what we have achieved so I think we did exceptionally well." (Image: Channel Seven)
You guys definitely work well as a team, that's for sure.
Romel: The competition has definitely brought us much closer than when we started. We didn't really know each other when we got in the competition so the fact that we did what we did and got as far as we got whilst getting to know each other during filming, it's a major achievement.
We can confirm it is probably one of the hardest things we've ever done in our whole entire lives. To come this far, honestly I'm in awe of my partner Ibby and I'm in awe of what we have achieved so I think we did exceptionally well.
And what about the other contestants? Do you keep in contact with any of them?
Romel: We're both so busy, we genuinely don't have the time to be keeping in touch with everyone. Andy and Ruby we absolutely love, we adored them from the get-go. Josh and Austin we adore but as far as keeping in touch with everyone, we don't. We've got our lives and we're focusing on our lives and our businesses and that's really it.
Despite forming friendships, Ibby and Romel aren't in contact with any of their former competitors. (Image: Channel Seven)
So what's next for Ibby and Romel?
Romel: For me personally, I came into the show wanting to use it as a platform to launch a career in TV whether it's hosting, presenting, something to do with that, that's where my focus is. I'm working on a couple of TV shows which may or may not happen but that's my future goal.
Ibby: I'd like to continue my career in hospitality but most importantly we're also looking at doing a cookbook. We already started the process.
Romel: We honestly keep getting harassed about when it's coming out so we're definitely working on it and it's Ibby's biggest dream so this is another thing the show has given us. It's given us a platform to allow us to do that.