Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were dumped on the islands of Fiji where Probst assured us they were in for the same fast-paced, advantage-laden game that last season’s castaways were put through. Ika managed to win the first challenge, locking in their meagre supplies while Taku and Vati had to spend half the first day trying to solve a triangle puzzle. Come day two, Jenny, Drea and Queen Maryanne went on an inter-tribe summit where Jenny’s caution earnt Drea and Maryanne an extra vote each. Things then took a heartbreaking turn as Jeff arrived at the Taku camp to announce that Jackson had to be pulled from the game due to medical reasons.
The tribes reconvened for the first immunity challenge of the season where Ika and Vati were shocked to learn that Jackson had just been medevaced from the game. Given no time to process this tragic turn of event, they jumped straight into the challenge where they would all start out on a platform in the water before racing in a boat and collecting chests along the way. They then would push the chests and boat on a track into the dunes before opening the chests and solving a massive puzzle with the last place finisher going to tribal council and losing their flint. Oh and then Jeff looped them in on the shot in the dark situation which they could each play once, giving them a one in six shot of safety.
Once again, Taku got out to an early lead in the challenge while the others languished in a fight for second place. Well, until Rocksroy dropped Ika’s second chest in the water and they had to lift it back up. Somehow Vati started to close the gap and overtook Taku (and the very ripped Jonathan), getting an early lead on the puzzle. Though puzzles being puzzles, they all managed to work on them at the same time while Ika desperately tried to close the gap. Sadly they proved to be no match for Taku and Vati, who quickly solved their puzzles while Zach had started taking out the pieces Swati had already solved. Though the duo did get a cuddle from Rocksroy, so I say that is kind of a win.
Back at camp Zach quickly apologised for bombing the puzzle, with the tribe reminding him that they win or lose as a team and it is all good. Before they split up to start their scrambling, Tori assured everyone that she does not have an idol and as such, they don’t need to work around that. Tori first caught up with Drea who assured her, the rumour was only about her hunting for an idol not having one before they quickly pivoted to throwing out getting rid of Rocksroy, given he struggled in the challenge. Meanwhile Romeo asked whoever told Tori about the idol rumours to come clean and clear the air before Rocksroy and Swati caught up privately and locked in their votes for Zach.
Drea and Romeo were next to chat with Drea quickly floating Rocks, which annoyed Romeo given the trio are meant to be aligned. Instead, Romeo wanted to take out Tori which made Drea nervous, given she may not even have her vote at tribal after the summit. Zach and Tori were the next duo with both of them openly targeting each other, though denying it before Swati, Romeo and Rocks caught up to potentially get rid of Tori, given Romeo wants to keep Zach around as a skinny shield. Though sadly for him, neither Swati or Rocks seemed interested.
At tribal council Rocksroy spoke about how much harder it is than he ever could have imagined from watching it on the TV. Zach meanwhile was disappointed their shelter wasn’t built in a 90 second montage like you would see on TV, though he was proud of how hard he worked for the tribe. Drea meanwhile was worried about how hard this season would be, though reiterated the importance of having a solid alliance to help navigate things should the worst come to worst. Romeo and Swati agreed that they were nervous and would consider playing their Shot in the Dark if they were on the block. With Swati admitting she would happily cut off her pinky to not be at tribal council.
Zach admitted that it is straight up either him or Tori going home tonight, with Tori talking about how she was trustworthy and getting rid of her would be a bad idea for the tribe. She and Zach argued back and forth about how they went from day one allies to whatever mess they had gotten themselves into. To put an end to the bickering, Jeff sent the tribe off to vote, Zach played his shot in the dark and Drea collected her extra vote. Before Jeff read the votes, Zach revealed his shot in the dark wouldn’t protect him, as the votes piled up on him and sent him out of the game as the second boot.
While Zach was disappointed to be out of the game, he was still feeling giddy from the fact that he had even been given the chance to play. After welcoming him into Loser Lodge, I assured him that in smaller tribes there is nowhere to hide and sometimes, there is just no way to protect yourself in the game. Given I am great at pep talks, that had him feeling great! Or maybe it was the delicious Zach and Cheese Wurtenberger I served up!
I love mac and cheese. I love burgers. AND I love a monstrous hybrid meal, meaning this delight well and truly has my heart. Though given it is a fresh juicy burger with a piping hot mac and cheese puck smacked on top, how could it not.
Zach and Cheese Wurtenberger
2-4 cups mac and cheese, my preference being Rohan Maclaren Cheese for all its truffle glory
1 cup flour
2 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
½ cup vegetable oil
8 rashers streaky bacon
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices American cheese
4 Briocher Bunsberg
⅓ cup Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie
4-6 dill pickles, sliced
Start by making your mac and cheese, packet or your favourite home made recipe, no judgement. Place the final product in a lined baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
Pop the flour in one bowl, the egg is another and the breadcrumbs in a final one. Using a ring mould – or say, an egg ring – cut 4 discs out of the mac and cheese. Dip the pasta discs into the flour, followed by the egg and finally the breadcrumbs, until well coated.
Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat and once hot, fry two discs until golden brown. Repeat the process and transfer to a lined baking sheet and keep warm in a low oven. In the still hot pan, fry the bacon until golden and pop on the same baking sheet to keep warm.
Wipe out the skillet and return to the medium heat – obviously being careful not to burn yourself if it is still hot – and scrunch the beef mince in a large bowl until well combined. Form into 4 discs and season one side of each generously with salt and pepper. Pop that side down into the scorching pan and press down with a spatula to flatten before seasoning the top. Cook the patties for a couple of minutes before flipping, topping with a slice of cheese and cooking for a further couple of minutes.
To assemble, lightly toast the inside of each bun, smear with a little of the chipotle ranch and then line the base with pickles. Follow with the patties, then the bacon and finish with the mac and cheese disc. You could also add tomatoes and lettuce to the mix if you want to make it moderately more healthy, but honestly, why?
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