MKR – Sun, Apr 10 – Fassnidge challenge

It’s time to see how the teams cope in a real kitchen under the scrutiny of our favourite Oirish chef.
Yes, it’s off to 4Fourteen in Surry Hills, NSW, which has lots of happening restaurants.
Here we go …

Cue nervous laughter.
Cue nervous laughter.
The teams arrive at Kitchen HQ and learn they are cooking at a real restaurant and Fass tells them it’s not just any restaurant: “It’s moi restaurant.”
They look equally scared and excited. They have 90 minutes to create a main course worthy of 4Fourteen, which has a nose-to-tail ethos.
Fass’s chefs and restaurant managers will also be tasting the food. And the winner will not only get bragging rights; their dish goes on to his regular menu. That’s the equivalent of getting a spread in Elle magazine in Australia’s Next Top Model.
Laura's a tad excited.
Laura’s a tad excited.
Losers will go to sudden death and then Fass drops the bombshell that he won’t even set foot in the kitchen. Surely he’ll be yelling at them from the pass at some point, otherwise that would be no fun.
It’s not a huge place so they’ve split the teams into two shifts.
Love the open kitchen and the green lights.
Love the open kitchen and the green lights.
Jordan and Anna are focused and determined to win – apparently Anna has dreamt of being a chef for decades. They haven’t put a foot wrong thus far.
Here's a pic just for Windong so she can swoon over Jordan in  chef's whites.
Here’s a pic just for Windsong so she can swoon over Jordan in chef’s whites.
They have taken heed of Colin Fassnidge’s warning to not waste any food – let’s see who forgets and suffers the wrath of The Fass.
The menus of shift one
Anna and Jordan: Charred harissa octopus with duck fat potatoes and kale
Zana and Plus One: Salt-baked rainbow trout with sauce vierge and heirloom tomatoes.
Mr and Mrs Chops: Lamb liver and onions with crispy black pudding and sweet potato (sounds heavy – is there anything to provide freshness on the plate?)
(Remember, Dads aren’t cooking tonight as they won the Coles magazine challenge with their peri-peri chicken.)
Plus One is peeling blanched tomatoes ever so slowly – did he forget to cut crosses in the bottom? Zana is doing a Marco Pierre White and thinks if she repeatedly tells him to work faster he will become more technically competent. Manu pops into the kitchen to make everyone even more nervous.
So much better now than in the velvet smoking jackets.
So much better now than in the velvet smoking jackets.
Mr Chops is feeling confident, which means we should be worried for him – I really hope they don’t overcook the liver.
Gianni and Zana are serving a herb sorbet with their fish, which sounds intriguing. They’re pushed for time but I guess the restaurant has a blast chiller.
The judges like the sound of the Chopses’ dish, but are worried about Jordan’s call to serve the occy in a sea of kale and apple soup, and worried about how much work Zana and Plus One have to do. Luckily Zana is a machine at multitasking.
Anna has a lot going on.
Anna has a lot going on.

No Lemon Squeeze on Colin's kitchen.
No Lemon Squeeze on Colin’s kitchen.
Anna takes the occy out of the pressure cooker and is worried it’s a bit over, while Zana reckons her trout is perfect. Jordan is not happy with his unbalanced kale juice – Jordan, it’s not the balance, it’s the fact you decided to use the devil’s vegetable in your dish.
Fass’s staff arrives and it’s almost time to serve. Zana and Plus One are way behind, so Manu steps in to organise their bench space.
Manu to the rescue.
Manu to the rescue.
Everyone’s panicking and the Chopses are just chucking stuff on the plate. It ain’t pretty and Eve knows it: “Jase, that’s a bloody doh’s breakfast.”
Jordan is adding the kale juice even though he’s not sure about it. It will either be a triumph or a disaster.
Note Colin got a waistcoat again, because that's what Oirishmen wear, apparently.
Note Colin got a waistcoat again, because that’s what Oirishmen wear, apparently.

Let the tasting begin.

As suspected the liver is overcooked. Fass likes that they used offal but it’s an old-fashioned fish. Manu says it’s missing finesse.

Everyone likes the balance of the harissa heat and kale juice and the occy is delish. Fass: “There’s nothing on this dish I’d change.” Manu suggests thickening the juice to a more soz-like consistency. The staff reckon it would sell.

The fish is cooked well, but the sorbet puzzles everyone. Manu thinks the dish would be easier to eat with trout fillets so diners don’t have to dodge the bones.
So, Anna and Jordan are in the lead thus far.

Menus of shift two
Sisters: Pan-roasted duck with turnips, apple and miso
Carmine and Lauren: Balsamic-glazed pork ribs with parsnip puree and red cabbage pickle
Curlies: Sous vide lamb with crispy brains and caramelised onion puree (sounds like a winner already)

This kind of challenge is right up the Curlies’ alley, and the Sisters should do well also. The Curlies have chosen a challenging dish, while Lauren is doing, umm, balsamic ribs. Sounds like something I’d cook at home – not pay for at a restaurant. And she’s doing her dreadful gangsta accent again. Ick.
Manu pretends to stir the Sisters by questioning their use of miso, but they point out Fass already uses it on his menu. Gracia has a brain malfunction and freaks out that the oven is too hot, but luckily Tasia knows the difference between Fahrenheit and celsius.

But later Tasia keeps calling turnips “tulips”, so perhaps their ditziness is genetic. Just as well they can cook – they’ve smartly done a test duck breast so they can test the strength of the commercial oven.
Curly Laura is making a rosemary ash to coat the cooked lamb – it’s ambitious stuff. Burnt rosemary is rather bitter but she usually knows what she’s doing.
Lauren is feeling the pressure of her pressure cooker not working, but luckily Carmine is keeping a cool head.
The judges think the ribs could be too sweet and cooking duck is tricky but Fass is keen on the lamb dish: “You had me at brains. Very cheffy but can they pull it off?”
The other teams are doing well not to be rattled by the Sisters’ screeching. Fass reminds Pete he once hired a past contestant who still works for him. But they don’t name names for some reason. (Thanks, Google – it was Drasko! Ah, that’s right – the ADD-type guy with the talented cook wife. Still, if Fass’s kept him on so long he must be doing ok.) The judges are worried the Curlies are juggling too many elements and that the Sisters’ miso soz won’t taste right.
Speaking of soz, Curlies have forgotten to make their stock into a jus, so with what appears to be five minutes to go Mitch chucks some in a pan and cranks it. Manu pops by to give advice on how to plate efficiently and in the process calls Laura “darling”. She’ll get a job out of this from someone, no matter how much further she goes. If Drasko can get a job in a kitchen, it should be a cinch for Laura. Lauren and Carmine are also having soz trouble – they haven’t made enough. Curlies’ jus isn’t working so they ditch it and add more mint sauce.
Time to taste

Everyone loves the lamb and Fass is super impressed, even though he thinks it needed the jus: “It’s like finals week cooking.”

Pete loves the cabbage but Fass thinks it’s the best thing on the plate. The ribs are a bit dry and flavourless – they needed heaps more glaze. One of the floor staff points out 4Fourteen already serves a rib and pickled cabbage dish. Didn’t the teams get to peruse the menu beforehand? Maybe not.

“It’s a playful dish,” says Pete, who then points out it would be easy to serve in the restaurant. The woman who appears to be Fass’s head chef wouldn’t change a thing and thinks the customers would love it.
So is it between the occy and the duck, because Curlies’ dish is too labour intensive for kitchen service? Bottom two must be Lauren and Chopses.
Time for judging
Pete is in raptures over Jordan’s kale juice: “It made the dish.” Chopses cop the overdone liver critique on the chin – they aren’t delusional like some past contestants. The other comments are more of what we’ve heard already, although they are harsher on Zana in order to build up this fake rivalry with Lauren. And the winning team, who get their dish added to the 4Fourteen menu, is …

Next on the menu: stunned mullets.
Next on the menu: stunned mullets.
They also get an advantage is the next challenge.
And the bottom two teams are … Chopses and Lauren and Carmine. No surprise there. Zana’s dish was waaaay more complicated than pork ribs and tasted good.

What do you think Anna and Jordan’s advantage will be? More time to cook? If this was MasterChef they’d get to choose the ingredient everyone would cook with, but MKR doesn’t like to freestyle it.

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brain dead dave

Colin must have been well plied with whiskey when allowing these contestants into his (for the time being) successful restaurant. There’s only so far he can push the luck of the Irish.


I’m just really annoyed that teams I found far more likeable and interesting are now gone, while Chops/Red and Lauren/Carmine are still frickin’ here.

OTOH, Jordan in sweats is just as handsome as in a flamingo-themed safari suit.


Same here, I still think the Italian guys should still be in the competition and really…both teams could be cheerfully eliminated tonight in my opinion!!!!


Isn’t Chops doing a simple dish. Not much prep in that dish

brain dead dave

Chops going for liver….typical.Hope he overcooks it.


The judges didn’t seem to like it very much.

Meanwhile, the Curlies are channeling the ghost of Fiasco by sous vide-ing some lamb brains.

brain dead dave

Chops didn’t let me down. Over cooked .


Those liver were sliced so thin. It will cook with the hot sauce over it


I will be interested to see if Colin enforces any food-handling hygiene rules in his restaurant’s kitchen. If he is wandering around while they are cooking, a good place to start would be a hat or net over his own always greasy-looking hair.

brain dead dave

Pass on the trout after Zana and Gian have had dirty hands and band aids all over it.

brain dead dave

Carmine is actually using tongs. It’s a miracle!

Hell hath no fury like a stressed turtle.


I quite liked the brown-haired chef on Manu’s side of the table. Can he come back and do some more episodes? But the young male chef on Colin’s side of the table … when he said he disagreed with something Colin said, you know, my first thought was Colin turning to him instantly and saying, “You’re fired.”


Aren’t you supposed to soak liver in milk before cooking?
Surprised to see the state of “tidy Zana’s” bench. The trout looks nice though, as does the octopus.


Why are so many Obsessed (with a capital ‘O’) with kale?


Superfood of the moment. I’m not a fan.


I love kale. I prefer the flat leaves to the curly one. The reason I like kale is that they stay crunchy in salad and also after stir fry.

I have drank enough kale juice in the past few years to last a lifetime. Now I just use spinach in my smoothies.

Now my chooks love kale!


Chooks and ducks have been fed kale for donkey’s years.


Dna magazine somehow appeared in a feed, pics of Jordan for certain ladies☺


How naive/stupid of Lauren & Carmine to cook a dish so similar to one on the menu? But an inferior one nonetheless.

brain dead dave

Should have gone for Turtle Soup , so Lauren could have snarled , “This is me on a plate”


Lauren and Carmine cook by formula. A piece of meat, a puree, and a pickled something. Their repertoire is very limited.


“Here’s a pic just for Windsong so she can swoon over Jordan in chef’s whites.”

I love that you’re taking care of me, Juz :).

brain dead dave

On the other hand, Chops in chef’s whites ( even though clutching a real lemon) is just plain wrong.

Loving that even Lauren is calling Chops Chops. Chops is going to get the chop.


And Chops got the cheek to say their food philosophy is same as Colin!! Yeah, no wastage as they use ingredients from jars and bottles.

brain dead dave

Here’s where the philosophies differ:

Colin ~ Top to Tail

Chops ~ Flop to Fail.


Well, at least he got the real lemon part right. Holding an actual lemon was probably a novelty.

Still, tomorrow night, I think the odds are good that Chops and Red will be leaving the kitchen … but whoever loses, we all win.


Agree Windsong – “at this stage of the competition” when only the “best of the best” remain losing anyone who might conceivably add drama (i.e.Lauren/Zana fake competition) will not be permitted! I think we all lose as we will be forced to have a whole staged confrontation. . . I feel nauseous at the prospect – as nauseous as if I’d just eaten a Chops the Ripper dish.


Anna and Jordan deserved to win last night, not only for last night’s meal but for consistency throughout. Good on them.
Chops definitely deserve to be in cook-off tonight with Lauren and Carmine, those two standout losers.
Lauren does tend to cook easy meals, not that they think so.
And Chops’s need to go home been there way beyond their use by date.


Way, way too much Lauren screen time last night.

And a huge disconnect between the tasting comments of Zana’s fish and the evaluation given at the end. Obviously they wanted to give Lauren the impression that she had a chance of avoiding sudden death. How deluded was she that “Zana and Gianni got a really bad review”.

brain dead dave

The promo is all about Lauren, too. She’s “in trouble” but we know she’ll win.

Lauren is not amazeballs at all, Ch 7. Fail.

Rubbish cook off. MAFS looks good.


Not to increase my creepiness factor, but I did just find Jordan’s instagram account. He’s definitely driven by his passions (going by some of the photo captions). Apparently he earned a degree and got a corporate job but didn’t like it very much at all, which was probably one of the driving decisions to apply for MKR.

He also seems to be fond of shirtless selfies, so there’s that, at least. (but there was a selfie attending this year’s Mardi Gra, which just bummed me out more than anything, but that’s my problem, not his, so eh)


Looking through the comments, apparently he has more than a few admirers amongst the general viewing public. I don’t blame them, heheh.

brain dead dave

Ha ha , Lauren’s making tortellini tonight. Best eva. Nonna said a so. Thatsa notta competition a dish.

Amazeballs Turtleinni. Hope they’re as hard as Carmine’s concrete.


She is the best in pasta!!


We’ve been cracking too many jokes about Jordan, ’cause for a second there, I thought you were about say that they would be as hard as something else belonging to Carmine … 😉


I generally feel pretty neutral about Anna and Jordan, but it was a very well deserved win last night. Best part was Colin encouraging Anna to train as a chef. Loved his “never too late…” comment.

There’s a perception that cheffing is a young person’s job, only for people with no other life responsibilities. I love that Anna might take on her “dream” now. Always fantastic to see people who are no longer school leavers coming back to something that really fires them up.

I’m passionate about this after seeing my Mum getting her HSC at the age of 45, then completing most of a university degree while struggling with cancer.


Sometimes I feel as if I am watching the Cooking with Lauren show. She certainly gets a lot of airtime compared to the other contestants.
Chops vs LC….wouldn’t miss either of these teams. I think the Chops will be eliminated but, even if LC mess up, the powers that be might want to keep them around because of Lauren’s “star” status or perhaps one of the producers found a horse’s head in their bed.


Was an interseting challenge last night… so not cooking for real guests… point of exercise? Could’ve easily have rented some industrial equipment and plopped it in HQ and brought in Colins staff to eat…. don’t know the benefit of doing it in Colin’s restaurant.

Another groundhog day moment.
Lauren… pre-challenge.. “We’re going to nail it!”
Lauren… during-challenge.. “We’re making a real complicated dish with lots of components (not really) , I’m a bit stressed”
Lauren… during plating… “Our dish is amazeballs, definitely going to win this”
Puppet… end of challenge.. “We nailed it”
Lauren… end of challenge.. “Nailed it, We got this, is Amazeballs”
Lauren… post critique… “We know we’re the best, and we’re better cooks than what we showed today… just had a bad day in the kitchen. Get ready for the comeback kids”

Anna and Jordan did quite well… don’t see the amazing love for Jordan as I think he’s starting to show a huge smart-arse, evil side to his personality… and also Anna’s eyebrows freak me out and they accentuate her real small beady eyes (keep picturing her as the witch from Hansel and Gretel).

I hope Lauren goes tonight, and that 7 are trying to play jedi mind tricks with us with the promo.

I also having a hunch that the shrieking sisters make it to the final for some reason.


You know, when I was watching last night, I was thinking the same thing about Lauren and her puppet. It’s always the same thing with them. “We nailed it, it’s amaze-balls … oh wait, it’s not? Well, we’re awesome cooks and we deserve another chance to show it!” It’s like, sweety, MKR’s seasons last for decades. You have ample time to show that you’re a decent cook … and so far, you haven’t.

As for Jordan, it’s both love and a little bit of lust :). I’m not seeing this evil, snarky side of his personality, but a few people have mentioned it, so clearly my bias is getting in the way. Having said that, he’s 22, and he knows how damn clever he is. I’m gonna forgive him for that. Mostly, he seems like a good guy.

Bruiser Brody

how could you possibly forget how they’re “going to smash it” – sometimes even “out of the park” if the stakes are higher!

Seems same could be said of the Judges comments now aka TV Cooking JudgeSpeak:
“loved the acidity”
“had a real pop/ bang to it”
“nailed the balance”
“oi want ta sorce to be drupping doon me arms!”
but Fass took it too far last nite – with the beaten-to-death “meat has to be falling off the bone”…. he was talking about the ribs!!?? the only one where the meat should NOT be falling off the bone (or else they’d call it “meat”!)

Chops seems like very reasonable people, ie most similar to real people I know in the world… ie not great reality tv 🙂


I agree about the Chops – very normal, friendly sort of people. I’ve never heard them say anything bad about any of the other teams. Pity that they are really out of their depth with he cooking. And I don’t like that better teams have been sacrificed to them.


Hewho, you stole the post right off my keyboard. Two things I wanted to say: Anna has obviously been to the Laurina School of Abnormal Eyebrows, and sometimes Jordan is a little arrogant. I can forgive Jordan because often the next grab shows him saying something humble. Maybe he’s just on the cusp of growing out of the self-centred teens and will be all good when he grows up.


Also if there was ever going to be a night to have rigged the Zana and Lauren cook-off it was last night.. for a moment before they announced Red Chops was the first team I started to feel a Zana and Lauren set was going to be called.

Also as Lauren and Puppet have no friends (or friend that hate them as per No Idea), they just havn’t had the benefit of any honest critique from friends that their cooking really is average.


Same with Mrs Chops saying there is so many components to her dish. Crumbed blood pudding, some liver, sweet potatoes, mayo and some sauce. Really difficult I think.


I nearly wanted to turn off when Colin said he wouldn’t be setting foot in his kitchen. Thank goodness he only meant he would stand outside and look over the bench!

An ep without Colin is a waste of good viewing time.

brain dead dave

C’mon Chops. You can do it! Keep the dream alive!