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Summer Reissue: The Final Course – Our Ultimate Come Dine With Me NZ Contestant Power Rankings

After Come Dine With Me limped to an unlamented end, Alex Casey (big fan) and Joseph Moore (official Come Dine With Me NZ joke writer) mercilessly ranked all 40 contestants from the first (and ultimately last) well-seasoned season. 

Story has officially made it to our screens, causing us to forget about Come Dine With Me NZ faster than a cheap pair of scissors slicing through a house arrest bracelet. Never fear, we’re here to finally give it the idiotic send-off that it deservesWhat a season. There were highs (Kelvin doing a shot of chili sauce), there were lows (Dirk’s crushing depression re: his dead cat) and there was a lot of cross-dressing. But something was missing in our coverage. A certain undertaking so immense, and so stupid, that it could have only been done weeks after the show itself finished.

Luckily we have remedied this gaping hole in New Zealand’s mediascape, and have now delivered an in-depth ranking of every single Come Dine With Me NZ contestant from the first season. Contributions were made by either Alex Casey, or ex-Come Dine employee Joseph Moore, who tirelessly watched hours of footage to write jokes for almost every episode. This is one of the stupidest and most time-consuming things we have ever done on the site but, like Come Dine, have a few drinks and you’ll hopefully be laughing at the end of it.

1) Khalid

Khalid’s actions throughout his week were exemplary of what it means to be a Kiwi today. He threw himself into his trifle dessert despite having seemingly never tried custard, jelly OR cake, called everyone by any old name, and made constant claims that each night was “the best party he’s ever been to”. Khalid made us all want to be better people, to embrace those around us and just give life a crack. Today, we are all Khalid. / JM

2) Prabha

If I had to use some modern day lingo to describe Prabha, that lingo would equate unashamedly to a quiet “yas” and a loud “queen”. Prahba described herself as a “naughty Indian”, and walked the walk when she revealed an ENORMOUS nude photo of herself dowsed in body paint and holding some sort of sexy instrument. Not only did she free the nipple, but she called her kebabs “s*** kebabs” and had a calm existential crisis on-camera. Prabha for Prime Minister. / AC

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3) Pete

A Christchurch legend worthy of wizard status. From his toy train set, to his impromptu backyard trampoline one-man Rolling Stones concert (a parallel version of the Rolling Stones where their main song is ‘Moves Like Jagger’ but with the wrong words), to his desire to wear women’s clothes at any given opportunity “just for fun” – Pete was the embodiment of doing what the fuck you want. / JM

4) Eds

History will remember the iconic onscreen friendships that defined an era. Thelma and Louise. Milo and Otis. Eds and Khalid. The young charismatic Maori performer was electric talent throughout his week, clapping like a seal whenever the food came out and dropping the phrase “humble abode” at a genuinely unprecedented rate. I often think about whether or not him and big K stayed in touch. Probably too much. / AC

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5) Kelvin

Spartacus-extra Kelvin might have made the worst dessert of the show (banana flavoured Primo, with bananas, and banana pudding powder – mixed in a blender and strained through a Minion’s trousers, probably). But Kelvin’s genuine charm and relentless footsy-ing saw him develop the first legit Come Dine With Me New Zealand “relationship”. I may not know a lot about cooking, but there’s one thing I do understand. And that’s love. Okay I don’t really understand love, but good on him. / JM

6) Damon

The classic Come Dine larrikin, avid CD collector Damon also liked to stalk his suburban streets dressed as a Stormtrooper. Responsible for wearing a troublesome afro wig, and making heaps of high concept jokes (bringing flour for the host instead of flowers), Damon was our embarrassing national Dad – and I loved every minute of it. Even when he talked about his boner more than once / AC

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7) Cathy

When writing jokes for the show, I had to toe the line between poking light fun at the contestants and genuine cruelty. Cathy was the hardest person to write about, because seemed A LOT LIKE A LEGIT MURDERER. Every day Cathy brought dead animals INTO PEOPLE’S HOUSES, told us that her favourite hobby was “just going into open homes and having a look around”. She also has like nine freezers in her garage full of home-kill (and I imagine all the other open-home viewers). I haven’t too many psychiatrist reports about murderers but I’m pretty sure those are the top signs. / JM

8) Keita

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A bodybuilding tour de force with the greatest bejewelled-bra-and-giant-wings ensemble I’ve seen outside of WoW. Keita brought her all-purpose knife out and started talking to it at the table, and made an amazing impression on her first night (orange bum print on white chair). She left an orange bum print on our hearts and minds for sure. / AC

9) Dirk

A South African born planning assisant, Dirk hosted a “Hollywood” themed dinner, without any evidence that he had any interest in cinema. Or food for that matter. Dirk dressed as Neo from The Matrix, by putting on some sunglasses, donning a Kathmandu polarfleece, and saying some of Morpheus’ lines from The Matrix. Just when we thought he could be fun, during the room-raiding segment they found his cat’s ashes, which lead to the series’ only scene of genuine tears. Heartbreaking television. / JM

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10) Jesse

Young New Zealander of the year goes to Jesse for chomping down on a chilli, hooning down a glass of milk and then spewing it all over the dinner table via his nostrils. Nay, maybe even an O.B.E. Responsible for the best dairy campaign since “got milk?”, I won’t be surprised if Fonterra snap that shit right up. / AC

11) Grayson

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Famous alert! This incredibly symmetrical makeup artist from Auckland has already had plenty of time in the competitive cooking spotlight. After absolutely killing it in the pastel purgatory known as NZ’s Hottest Home Baker, Grayson provided one of the widest arrays of indoor hats ever seen on TV3, second only to Al “cap tycoon” Brown. / AC

12) Ally

This vegan bodybuilder did a decent job of presenting herself as both a vegan and a bodybuilder and not coming across absolutely insane. She didn’t complain as night after night she was made a “special” dessert of some dark chocolate melted onto some fruit (apart from when Khalid assumed custard was vegan with his now classic line “milk, sugar, eggs… I think my vegan guest will like this very much). / JM

13) Kimberley

Kimberly the meat maiden was tremendous TV talent, a mad butcher with very strong burping abilities and even better songwriting skills. Who can forget her classic hit single ‘Meat Meat Meat Meat’? / AC

14) Dale

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Art Green’s blackface inspiration, Dale was a kiwi battler who didn’t let a little bit of extremely dicey face bronzing get in the way of him having a great time. Also a great case for wearing a Hawaiian shirt every night, no matter what the theme or occasion. / AC

15) Charlotte

Charlotte put on a “Southern” themed spread, an excellent theme, but perhaps unfortunate in a week with an actual person from the South. I’ve never been to the southern states, but according to Charlotte it’s bits of chicken with cornflakes on them, and she nailed it. Her entertainment “Getting Photos Taken Of You By Her Boyfriend” was way less creepy than it sounded on paper. / JM

16) Hinemona

“I’m obsessed with eyebrows because I like them” Hinemoa explained as she painstakingly filled in her brows daily to reach the desired level of “fleek”. She worked well in her week as the calming agent, telling people to “calm their farm” from under her perfectly manicured brows. A very fleek contestant. Am I using that right? / AC

17) Louise

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An effervescent Cantabrian who arrived in a technicolour blaze with her very, very, good dog. A big fan of all things Mexican, Louise introduced me to the delicacy known as “soup with some chips on”. For that, I am forever grateful. / AC

18) Jemima

Jemima complained about being too attractive, which I was going to say isn’t something you can complain about, but I guess I haven’t tried it? She gets bonus points for throwing herself blindly into vegan cooking by making spaghetti and falafel – not many people liked it, but everyone who did opened an Italian/Middle Eastern fusion restaurant. / JM

19) Donna

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This drama enthusiast from Christchurch earns tops marks for her “Jamaican accent” she demonstrates in the first episode of the week, which consists of singing a Bob Marley song in a New Zealand accent. She was harshly scored for her entree which consistent of a big wedge of lettuce with cheese and bacon on it. I guess in Christchurch the only acceptable wedges are POTATO wedges served a pub playing the Crusaders (with cheese and bacon on them) / JM

20) Anoushka

All I remember about Anoushka was that she wore a bee costume for some reason, and then hosted a terrifying Eyes Wide Shut-style ritual in her backyard. So many drums. So many masks. Hellish. / AC

21) Ariel

Miss World New Zealand 2014 came on the show to make friends some with people her age, which obviously didn’t happen, so she just walked around in her sash and crown a lot. I mean, I would too tbh.  / AC

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22) Victoria

Victoria is a quite old woman who knew what twerking was, and therefore deserving of ample television time (most of her screen time was flashbacks to the time she admitted she knew what twerking was.) I can’t actually remember much else about her, but good on her for having her finger on the pulse of 2013. / JM

23) Mel

Mel was convinced she was the only person in the world to have ever seen the show Friends, which is something you might expect from a woman who spends most of her time doing yoga on a very small outdoor stage. Was relentlessly pursued by cougar-hungry Jesse, and fought against it until her voice went hoarse. / AC

24) Philby

Philby the sex shop worker loved a strong dose of alcohol and an even stronger dose of innuendo. Sometimes less innuendo, more telling people their food and/or smelt like some variation of dog poop. He got wasted in a trilby and dropped a whole thing of chopped lemons on the floor which cheered me right up. / AC

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25) Brodie

Kooky schoolteacher Brodie was responsible for the most high-concept CGI of the series, where she played all her students in a Nutty Professor: The Klumps style multi-character re-enactment of her classroom. One day I hope to see a Matrix Reloaded homage, feat Dirk’s Neo taking on a clone army of Brodies. Make this happen, TV3! / JM

26) Sarah

Just the loudest person who has ever appeared on national television. Sarah shrieked her way through the first week, hanging off washing lines and yelling “YUM YUM YUM” like a giant coked-up baby. “I’ve got smooth skin like a baby’s bum” she yelled. Maybe she was actually a giant baby in the end? / AC

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27) Tess

Tess’ main personality trait was that she loved England, whether she was actually from there or just a big fan of terrible candy and Guy Ritchie. It wasn’t clear whether her theme was mid-winter Christmas or she had just forgotten to take her decorations down. Also, the theme was “midwinter Christmas”, but it was presented as a British Christmas, so shouldn’t the theme have just been “Christmas?” / JM

28) Monika

The first of many diners to embrace the ancient lost art of the tarot card, Monika was a mystical toilet humour enthusiast who would let no amount of banoffee pie get in the way of her making a baby poop joke. And power to her, as my Mum would say “follow your bliss”. Monika did a lot of rollerskating in her driveway whilst wearing a very curly wig, which made me worry about who is supervising her at-home childcare centre. I’m sure it’s fine. / AC

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29) Natasha

Pigeonholed a little on the show as someone summed up by their love of “shopping” whatever that means, everything comes from shops, Natasha ended up proving excellent foil to the wannabe romantic Kelvin, sassily rejecting his advances, and blatant footsying. Who knows if their reported relationship is still going? If not, there are plenty more fish in the sea! (Or are there? With her prawn entree and salmon main I think she killed them all). / JM

30) Kyle

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This guy had a wild American Psycho vibe. The 28 year-old motorcycle enthusiast spent his free time lifting kettles on his lawn, and from 9-5 could be found managing insurance with a stiff white collar. He alluded to whips at chains which, at the time, seemed rare. It was only later I found out that every man and his dog on Come Dine is into some sort of BDSM, or at the very least has a copy of Fifty Shades under their bed. / AC

31) Monika

One of 3 people to have a crack at making some pork belly in her week. Monika did well to be competitive despite being the constant subject of Jase’s weird innuendo and speculation that she might hook up with Jesse. She kept going on about how she was going to move to America with her $2000, so I guess it’s good she didn’t win, she’d have to learn the harsh lesson that moving to America costs $2500 AT LEAST. / JM

32) Di

A bikie Grandma with a hell of a lot of festive g-strings and even more fish-themed ornaments. For her entertainment, Di hosted a pub quiz featuring a quizmaster that might have actually been Father Time himself. He asked very hard, very boring questions such as “what causes the holes in Swiss cheese?” NOBODY WANTS TO KNOW THAT THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION IS NOT “MICE”. Also, never forget this dark exchange between Di and Nayfe:

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33) Laurel

Laurel was an OG cupcake vendor who absolutely hated cupcakes and had a fully loose understanding of onomatopoeia. My favourite example of laurel-matopoeia was “geek”. I also appreciated Laurel’s comedy barometer, aka that everything was either funnier than a fart or less funny than a fart. She’d previously had a cooking slot on Good Morning, which felt like mild cheating / AC

34) Tony

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Like a disturbing low-fi Kiwi take on Lars and the Real Girl, Tony will never be forgotten as the man who slowly waltzed on his small lawn with a decapitated plastic head wedged unceremoniously onto a broomstick. The only person on earth that would ever proudly describe themselves as a “soup guy”, Tony also wore the first Hugh Hefner getup of many and said “horny” at the dinner table way too many times. / AC

35) Jase

Hospitality teacher Jase seemed to be in the Come Dine universe on an illegal visa, because no way was this the show meant for someone who actually knows about fancy food. Luck would have it that he was put in the same week as one of his ex students Monika, which led to much inappropriate banter about her liking sausages. It got very uncomfortable, and did a lot of tarnishing to his ‘guru’ brand. / AC

36) Tabea

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As a passport holding member of the great German people, and a tofu holding vegetarian, it’s always a tense time for me watching one of us be portrayed on NZ television. Tanks for NOTHING, Tabea. There was no schadenfreude to be had as Tabea spent five nights mislabeling herself as OCD, showing up with cleaning product as a passive-aggressive joke, rubbing Philby’s bald head as another joke, and serving her food on upside placemats… not as a joke. / JM

37) Anita

Anita was all set up for great things: a whacky Mum who loved a bloody laugh and a drink. But throughout her week, a few tense things started to slip out. For example, coining the phrase “glutard” for people that are intolerant, and being absurdly uncomfortable around Grayson’s drag queen. / AC

38) Nayfe

With consisent pacific themed food and entertainment, everyone enjoyed this wanna R&B singers’ turn to cook – despite the entree he really shouldn’t have called “fish ice cream”. However undid all his good by being a bloody sad sack for the rest of the week, barely touching his food and folding his arms aggressively throughout Kimberley’s French Clown entertainment. You’re a grown up, Nayfe, eat your dinner and watch your clown / JM

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39) Anne Marie

Devoted too much time to teasing Khalid about coming to our country and not sampling our local delicacies, all because he hadn’t tried Mexican food before. Ah yes, the infamous New Zealand Burrito. She had a vague air of superiority to her that not even the whackiest of taco costumes could disguise. / AC

40) Lily

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A television villain like none we’ve seen. From day one it was clear that Lily was up to no good, a proud lover of “bland” food, Lily moaned her way through five nights of everyone else trying their bloody hardest, not touching her food for fear that it might have “flavour”, and punishing others in the scoring for making an effort. Her ruthless scores saw her winning the week. We all wanna be a two-thousand-aire so fricken bad, but there are other ways to go about it. You may be cash-rich, Lily, but your heart is deep in overdraft. / JM


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