MKR all-stars Jake and Elle’s bittersweet victory six months on

Another dream crushed by COVID-19: MKR champions reveal their restaurant was forced to close just 10 days before they won Channel Seven’s cooking show

Jake and Elle Harrison won My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals in March.

But the same month their victory aired on TV, the brother and sister team from Brisbane suffered a devastating blow to their business.

Ten days before learning they had won the series, their food stall was forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic – and it remains shut six months later. 

Another dream crushed by COVID-19: MKR champions Jake and Elle Harrison have revealed their restaurant was forced to close just 10 days before they won Seven's cooking show

Another dream crushed by COVID-19: MKR champions Jake and Elle Harrison have revealed their restaurant was forced to close just 10 days before they won Seven’s cooking show 

Jake and Elle filmed their season of MKR last year, but due to a production method that involves shooting multiple endings, they didn’t know they’d actually won until the finale went to air in March – the same month COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

They received their $100,000 prize money – which was significantly less than the $250,000 offered in previous seasons – several weeks later.

The siblings have been part of Brisbane’s unique riverfront shipping container dining and market precinct Eat Street since November 2013. Their stall concept and offerings have changed over the years.

Elle, 29, told Daily Mail Australia: ‘It was definitely a bittersweet win, because everything that comes with winning My Kitchen Rules just didn’t happen for us.’

Bad timing: Jake and Elle filmed their season of MKR last year, but due to a production method that involves shooting multiple endings, they didn't know they'd actually won until the finale went to air in March - the same month COVID-19 was declared a pandemic

Bad timing: Jake and Elle filmed their season of MKR last year, but due to a production method that involves shooting multiple endings, they didn’t know they’d actually won until the finale went to air in March – the same month COVID-19 was declared a pandemic

She said the pandemic meant that Channel Seven’s marketing team was downsized and there weren’t as many press opportunities for them or events to attend.

Amid this media blackout, their business was forced to close.

‘It was just hard. We haven’t done anything… nothing has progressed. Everything’s just been put on hold and we’ve been waiting,’ she said.

Devastated: Ten days before learning they had won the series, their food stall (pictured) was forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic - and it remains shut six months later

Devastated: Ten days before learning they had won the series, their food stall (pictured) was forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic – and it remains shut six months later

In March, Eat Street Northshore forced its vendors to cease operations as they closed the popular outdoor precinct to limit the spread of the virus.

‘We haven’t opened in six months and there’s no sign of reopening again soon,’ Elle said, adding that recent COVID-19 outbreaks interstate have pushed back the scheduled reopening of the precinct.

She explained that their $100,000 cash prize is ‘sitting in the bank waiting to be used on the business when we can reopen’. 

Wise decision: Elle and Jake (pictured during the MKR finale) are saving their $100,000 prize money for when their business eventually reopens

Wise decision: Elle and Jake (pictured during the MKR finale) are saving their $100,000 prize money for when their business eventually reopens

Alternative plans: Eat Street Northshore is trialling a drive-thru dessert festival for the next three weekends during the September school holidays. Jake and Elle will be selling their famous cannoli (pictured)

‘We are very lucky that we get that money to invest in the business,’ she added. 

While the precinct remains closed for the foreseeable future, Eat Street Northshore is trialling a drive-thru dessert festival over the next three weekends during the September school holidays.

Elle is excited to see how the public reacts to the concept, and hopes to provide plenty of delicious treats for the locals once again.

The drive-thru dessert festival will have live DJ performances for the car queue, and there is a drive-thru cinema nearby.

‘I really think it will be amazing… if customers love it, that could be the way Eat Street operates for the next few months. I’m not sure,’ she said. 

Family life: The silver lining for Elle is that not having her usual 70- hour work week has allowed her to become a full-time stay-at-home mother to her four-year-old son, Valentino. Pictured with her husband, Evander Cummins, in 2018

Family life: The silver lining for Elle is that not having her usual 70- hour work week has allowed her to become a full-time stay-at-home mother to her four-year-old son, Valentino. Pictured with her husband, Evander Cummins, in 2018

Elle didn’t wish to disclose how much revenue she’d lost from the closure of her food business, but stressed that it was more than she could have ever imagined. 

‘I don’t even know the numbers, the more you focus on that negative stuff the more it can be a massive problem,’ she said.

‘A lot of the Eat Street vendors thought that six months would be the absolute limit, but the fact that it’s lasted for this long is devastating.’

The silver lining for Elle is that not having her usual 70-hour work week has allowed her to become a full-time stay-at-home mother to her four-year-old son, Valentino.

Eat Street Northshore’s drive-thru dessert festival will run between September 18 to October 4 on Fridays and Saturdays (3-9pm) and Sundays (12-8pm)

Get in quick! Eat Street Northshore's drive-thru dessert festival will run between September 18 to October 4 on Fridays and Saturdays (3-9pm) and Sundays (12-8pm)

Get in quick! Eat Street Northshore’s drive-thru dessert festival will run between September 18 to October 4 on Fridays and Saturdays (3-9pm) and Sundays (12-8pm)

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