MKR – yet another round but at least Colin is judging

Hooray – tonight on My Kitchen Rules we finally get Colin Fassnidge at the head of the table, along with new recruit Darren Robertson.
Just a pity we have to sit through yet another round of instant restaurants. I’m already as tired as Colin is in this Instagram post from today.


MKR grand finale

Quick – get the Haterade out of the fridge, gice. It’s SA’s Lauren and Carmine versus Vic’s Tasia and Gracia cooking off for the title of MKR 2016 winner and – dare I say it – two fiddy kay!
How many previous winners can you name? Here’s a list:
Season 1 Veronica & Shadi, Qld
2 Sammy & Bella, NSW
3 Leigh & Jennifer, SA (beating Nic & Rocco)
4 Dan & Steph, Qld
5 Bree & Jessica, SA (beating Chloe & Kelly)
6 Will & Steve, NSW

Here we go … it’s highlights from the past three months of MKR (THREE BLOODY MONTHS! What am I doing with my life?) set to inspirational music, yadda yadda.
The finalists pull up at Kitchen HQ, L&C are in bad guy black, Sisters in innocent white, as we hear voiceovers about their dreams and determination, they walk inside and – oops – someone forgot to pay the power bill.

Is this a Survivor Tribal Council/MKR crossover episode?
Is this a Survivor Tribal Council/MKR crossover episode?

Phew – someone found the light switch but no doubt there will be another 10 mins of chat before anyone sets foot in the kitchen.
Pete and Manu arrive and sadly there’s no purple velvet in sight. Manu and Tasia and Gracia talk about making families proud; Pete and L&C talk about being fighters.
They have to serve a five-course menu, producing 100 plates, with the first course served in two hours.
Carmine says their menu plan is to start light and “end on a nice heavy dessert”. Who on earth wants to end a five-course meal with a heavy dessert? Their first course is beef carpaccio with porcini cream

Carmine and Lauren’s menu
Beef carpaccio with porcini cream (Yum – let’s hope it’s more successful than Jordan’s oyster cream last night. Smart move picking something that doesn’t require much cooking. Will we get a “respect the produce” comment here?
Milk-braised pork belly with scallop and apple
Saffron linguine with butter-poached bug tail (pasta and seafood – their deadly combo)
Beef sirloin madeira jus and mushrooms (guessing they will go the sous vide again here as it’s been so successful for them)
Chocolate, cherry and coconut

The Sisters say they are serving spicy dishes but will cool everything down with dessert.
Seared scallop betel leaves
Chicken ribs with chilli and sweet soy
Grilled king prawns with balado and quail egg (Google says balado is chilli sauce)
Crispy skin duck with green chilli sambal
Pandan pudding with coconut and kaffir lime ice cream
Yum, yum, yum! I want it all.

In the C&L kitchen Lauren is making the tomato and saffron sauce for the linguine and BINGO – she drops the “two-fiddy kay”. Dreadful gangsta talk aside, she and Carmine are a good team in the kitchen – much better than most couples we’ve seen compete. Remember Dee and poor whatsisname? candlconfess
On the other side, Gracia is in charge of all the sauces – she’s been the soz champion of the series.

With an hour of prep to go the families arrive.

How gorgeous are the Sisters' parents.
How gorgeous are the Sisters’ parents.
Carmine's folks
Carmine’s folks
Lauren's parents
Lauren’s parents

And then it’s the turn of the eliminated contestants.

Why can't they just dress Jordan in a nice Pete Evans-style suit?
Why can’t they just dress Jordan in a nice Pete Evans-style suit?
Gareth definitely got Jess's stylist.
Gareth definitely got Jess’s stylist.
Hat and Sans Hat - don't you know they are trying to cook!
Hat and Sans Hat – don’t you know they are trying to cook!
Of course they'll put Zana on Lauren's sideline, trying to perpetuate the non-existent rivalry.
Of course they’ll put Zana on Lauren’s sideline, trying to perpetuate the non-existent rivalry.
Why is JP dressed like a 10 year old nerd at a science fair?
Why is JP dressed like a 10 year old nerd at a science fair?
Ducking in.
Ducking in.
This outfit!
This outfit!
We miss you, Rosie and Paige.
We miss you, Rosie and Paige.
Dee still has him in her clutches.
Dee still has him in her clutches.

Oh – is that it? No Cops, no Stepsies, no Tarq and Dad, no Cookie and Chris, no Cougar and Cub (but they are Splitsville so fair enough) – who else are we missing?

The Sisters have to cook 60 scallops, which is tough – even ole Duck Nut Nev knows that. Carmine is slicing his carpaccio and the thickness looks a little inconsistent.
Oh, hang on – just got a glimpse of Mr Chops and Chris in the crowd, so they just didn’t get their own grand entrance. You’d think the Chopses would warrant a frame just to see what he’s wearing.
The teams start to plate up the first course and the girls’ betel leaves look so glossy and inviting. Carmine is giving his beef a remedial massage to smush the dressing in.

I know some of you will be shuddering at the lack of gloves.
I know some of you will be shuddering at the lack of gloves.

Time to chew the first course

The judges think the carpaccio is a well-executed classic and a good way to ease into a five-course meal. Zana wants more flavour.
Guy sounds excited by the “bang” the scallops have started the Sisters’ menu with, while the Fass planned to pace himself with food tonight but ended up cleaning his plate. “They’re nailing it,” he says. The other contestants agree it’s delish.
So, round 1 to the Sisters.

Second course
Lauren gets on to dessert, the cryptically named Chocolate, cherry and coconut. No, it’s not a Cherry Ripe (my fave choc bar) but includes a cherry sorbet (ah, remember back when the Miners redeemed themselves with a chocolate dome and cherry sorbet – it seems so long ago).
The Sisters are doing fried chicken with, as Manu says “200 chillis” in the sauce.

Crank up the heat, girls.
Crank up the heat, girls.
Sounds amazeballs. Carmine has got the trusty machine out to sous vide their sirloin, as it’s served them well so far.
We cut to a confessional of the girls saying they want to open their own restaurant. I’m thinking food truck would work better for them.
Lauren is confident her pork belly dish will be great, but her crackle has not worked at all. Travesty. She chucks the pork skin in the pan. I would have slice it off and chucked it under the griller, but she must have discussed the possibility of this happening with their cooking teacher. The skin looks bubbly but they’re waiting for the judges to let us know if it’s worked. There’s a lot of talk about whether deep-fried chicken ribs are grand final worthy, so of course they will be.
Is Zana worried about the looming seafood pasta course?
Is Zana worried about the looming seafood pasta course?

Time to chew second course

There’s a lot of crunching so the judges are happy. Fass thinks it’s a very well-balanced dish.

“They’re doing some clever things in the kitchen here,” says karen. “This is spot on for me.” Liz says the chicken is a great balance of sweetness, acidity and heat, but Fass thinks it’s a little hot.

Third course
The girls are trying to recreate the flavours of a childhood dish they ate from a hawker stall in Indonesia. Watching them cook makes me so glad an Indonesian cafe opened in my neighbourhood last week. They’re fancying things up by adding quail eggs. The quail industry must lurve when it’s MKR and MasterChef season so they can quadruple their usual sales.

Can you imagine a fiddlier job than peeling quail eggs?
Can you imagine a fiddlier job than peeling quail eggs? Poor Gracia.

L&C appear to be rushing, or at least that what it looks like in the edit. Carmine is the one keeping a cool head.
Back from the ad (and Karen flogging Swisse) we get Nev again providing the quail egg commentary. Of all people!
While plating up Lauren finds a bug that’s under, so back in the pan it goes. She’s swearing as she plates up, burning her fingers. She’s frantically yelling at Carmine.
Plating done and the Sisters’ dish looks appetising, but I’m wondering what happened to the soz for C&L’s pasta. The teams are ecstatic to have got the course out, but perhaps that’s more because this is when they get a break in filming, as the finale is usually filmed over two days.

Time to chew third course

Guy says it was perfectly executed. Karen: “This is a wow dish.”

We get the fake out of the judges wincing over the chilli and drinking water, but they all love it. “This dish is just singing off the plate,” says Fass. “It really wakes you up.” The gooey quail egg offsets the chilli heat.
Over to cooking expert Nev for cliched commentary: “This could go either way. It’s gonna be close.”

Fourth course
Carmine is in charge of this dish while Lauren concentrates on dessert, which includes tempering chocolate for a tonne of moulds. Risky. The Sisters are cooking their duck breast but Curly Laura is worried they don’t have much time. From the sidelines, Carmine’s mum is yelling at Lauren to crack the whip and she sounds a lot like her daughter in law. They try and build up tension over whether the steak will be cooked properly, but, der, that’s the whole point of the sous vide – if the temperature is right you cannot stuff it up.
Over in the other kitchen we finally hear some of the Sisters’ trademark bickering, much to the delight of the crowd.

We haven't laughed this hard since scoring the Stepsies.
We haven’t laughed this hard since scoring the Stepsies.

Carmine is shaking as he spoons the sauce on to the plate. I’m worried the girls’ duck will bleed over the plate.

Time to chew fourth course

Liz is happy with the crispy skin and lack of fat. Karen says the flavours are “outstanding”.

Karen reserves most of her praise for the meat. Manu loves the jus. Pete says the dish was “faultless.”
Curly Laura gets to say the compulsory cliche: “It’s going to come down to dessert.”

Fifth course (dessert … are we there yet?)
The girls are adding a lot of salt to their tapioca, and the judges loved the saltiness in their original instant restaurant. The other teams not so much. Tasia: “Lauren has been known as the queen of dessert …. I know she’s going to make a fancy thing for her dessert but we’re just going to try our best.” Aww, they’re so cute. I even like them when they are arguing over the number of raspberries to use in their dish and Tasia mutters: “Fine, I’ll give you frickin’ five.”
Lauren is doing a take on a cherry ripe, with six elements to the dish: choc dough, choc cake, cherry sorbet, cherry compote, coconut macaron and coconut biscuit crumb. Lauren’s choc domes are turning out well, although the choc looks a little less shiny than it should. Lauren is happy with her plating up, as it’s “bitchin'”.
Plating of the final dish done, the crowd goes wild (after a producer pokes them with a hot cattle prod). crowdwild

Time to chew fifth course

Fass thinks it’s a great finish and they were smart to calm the flavours down after the chilli punch. Karen: “Sublime”. Manu loves the arse-cream.

Liz says they’ve built to a decadent dessert and there’s a lot of work in it. Guy thinks they brought out the big guns.
And, of course, we have to cut to Jess just so they can wring one more “I don’t eat chocolate” out of her.

Judges’ comments and scoring
We didn’t hear a single negative throughout the judging (come on, judges – there must have been one or two things you’d like tweaked), but I’m thinking the Sisters have got this for their creativity and complex flavours. L&C have obviously been practising super hard and have improved in leaps and bounds, whereas the Sisters were contenders from early on.
First, more of the chat we got at the start about how awesome both teams are.
L&C are judged first. Guy gives their linguine a “mamma mia” and it’s all praisey and very serious, until Fass says: “Can I tell you, I still have a nightmare about opening a bag of pasta.”

Yep, you're going to be the seafood pasta in a bag people for the next few years.
Yep, you’re going to be the seafood pasta in a bag people for the next few years.

But he’s happy about the linguine pasta: “That’s one of the best pasta dishes I’ve seen.” More praise from everyone.
T&G’s turn … You can tell Karen really loves their flavours – she’s much more passionate in her critique, dropping words like “ballsy” and “sexy”. Fass loved the sauce from their prawn dish: “Guys, you don’t need 250 grand – you open a sauce factory and you’d be loaded.”
Liz 9; Fass 8; Karen 8 (and at this point we know the Sisters have won, because they’ll get some 10s); Guy 8; Manu 9, Pete 9. Total 51/60
Karen 9; Guy 9; Fass 9; Liz 10; Manu 10; Pete 10.

Lauren and Carmine are gracious in defeat: “There’s no other team we’d want to share this experience with. We love you guys.”
Well, that’s finally over. The Sisters won. The people are happy the “bad guys” were defeated while the producers are happy Lauren relished her TV smack talk role. All is right with the world. happydays
So, see you for MasterChef?


MKR – Mon, Apr 11 – Lauren V Chopses

It’s Lauren and Carmine versus Eve and Jason (better known as Mr and Mrs Chops). And for what is likely to be his final night in Kitchen HQ, the stylists have dressed Mr Chops in a shirt even more hideous than those that have come before him. It’s possible he could self combust if the studio lights hit the offending polyester garment at the wrong angle.

The horror.
The horror.
And Lauren continues to oblige the producers with some trash talk while the Chopses are bemused by this whole reality TV lark.
Manu wardrobe update: He’s back in the purple velvet, which is a letdown after his chef blacks last night at Fass’s restaurant.

Chopses’ menu
Entree: Choux gnocchi with spring vegies and roast tomato sauce
Main: Lamb cutlets with parsnip puree, mushrooms and jus
Dessert: Lemon cheesecake with citrus curd and pepita crumb
Mmmm, sounds tasty but not very “cheffy”, especially the main.

Gangsta Lauren’s menu
Entree: Toretellini in brodo
Main:Beef brisket with mushy peas and roasted bone marrow
Dessert: Apple crumble tart with cinnamon ice cream.
Another broth? They’ve had great success with it in the past and are on rinse and repeat. As Zana comments: “By the 10th time you’d probably nail it.”
Lauren is determined to win: “I want to stick it to all those people who said I couldn’t do anything with my life. Stuff youse.” Where did she grow up? Detroit, in the trailer next to Eminem?
On the sidelines, contenders Anna and Jordan say there’s no need to mess with the perfection that is traditional gnocchi. Meanwhile, Lauren is working on her broth: “It’s gonna be amaze.” She has a dig at Chopses for their usage of jar shortcuts.
And the award for the first person to talk about treating produce with respect is Zana, in regards to the brisket. (This could make a good drinking game: One shot when the word respect is used; a sip for the word soz; two sips every time Lauren does her gangsta accent …)
Eve is trying to show the judges she has learnt new skills and is doing a good job of frenching her lamb racks. So Chops channels the spirit of Tarq’s Dad and quips: “No-one frenches like you, baby.” But – as predicted by Jordan – Chops has put too much cheese in his gnocchi choux and it ain’t working. He needs to chuck it but he won’t listen to the missus and doggedly keeps trying to make it work.
Carmine is working on the pasta while Lauren preps dessert, doing the double whisk, double saucepan thing. Credit where it’s due – she’s a fast worker. And Carmine’s tortellini look pretty.
Chops has cut the carrots too small and again is not listening to the Missus when she says they need bigger chunks. And then he uses tongs to one by one take out roasted cherry tomatoes from the oven tray. If I was Eve I’d throw a slotted soon at his head.
Lauren is seasoning her broth and chucks a bucket of salt in it. Chops is happy with his gnocchi but Anna and Jordan reckon he’s overcrowded the pan and won’t get the caramelisation he needs. Plus it’s a teeny serve.
Time to taste

Fass says the dish looks clumsy but it has good flavour. Guy says the pasta needs to be worked more. However, the seasoning is apparently spot on. But what does Zana think? “Whoa – that is some bad flavours in the mouth, mate.”

As suspected, it’s a fail and the gnocchi aren’t at all pillowy. Fass: “You’d have a crick in your neck if you slept on one of those pillows.” The sauce is nice but the judges note there is nothing spring like about the vegies they used. But what does Zana think? “I wouldn’t pay for either of these in a restaurant.”

How does Zana keep a straight face in court?
How does Zana keep a straight face in court?

On to mains
Lauren is checking on her soz and it’s too salty, so she adds sugar – to jus! Zana and I are both horrified. Now it’s too sweet, so she adds the packet stock.
Mrs Chops is also working on her soz, but there doesn’t appear to be much of it. Chops is trimming the beans and he’s so painfully slow the editors play Baby Elephant Walk in the background. Over to Jordan: “That turtle that beat the hare would easily beat Jason.”
Over in the other kitchen Carmine is having bone marrow trouble because his oven was set to grill. This happens all the time on MKR – wouldn’t you think teams would check each other’s oven setting ability for each course? At least the brisket looks lovely and tender.
Mrs Chops carves up her lamb racks and they look perfectly pink. Carmine chopping brisket and is adding even more salt to the meat. Chops is taking forevs to puree the parsnip and it’s the first thing that needs to go on the plate. Missus rolls the cutlets in fresh herbs for a vibrant dash of green.
The brisket goes on the plate and Curly Laura is worried at the lack of soz. When will MKR contestants learn the soz is crucial.

Time to taste

Everything is cooked well but the judges agree with Karen, who wants to see more “razzamatazz”. And thanks, Karen, for putting this old jingle back in my head:

Everyone loves it but they wanted more sauce. Fass: “This is my type of food.” Pete says both mains were very strong, which is not at all the impression I got. But what does Zana think? “I actually prefer Eve and Jason’s dish.”

On to dessert
Most of the dessert prep is already done, so Chopses are doing their lemon curd and crumb (which includes fennel seed – hmm, not sure about this. Rosemary would be more likely). However Lauren is yet to get her tart shells in the oven. And instead of trimming the tarts individually she’s trying to do a whole row at once with a strip of pastry and failing dismally. Just cut the pastry into squares, place it in the tin and then roll that pin over to trim, Lauren. She’s freaking out, but unless it’s a complete disaster they’re safe anyway. Lauren’s fired up, so she spits out: “Screw all those people that be drinking that Hatorade.” Yes … Seriously. Finally she gets the tart shells done but in the rush she breaks one getting it out of the tin. Chopses are actually plating up without it being a mad rush, but Missus isn’t happy with the consistency of her cheesecake mousse quenelles. Again, Chops is using tongs to laboriously put single items on a plate, this time strawberries. Dude, put a glove on, use your hand and save yourself five minutes! Their deconstructed cheesecake looks ok but if it was MasterChef there’d at least be some microherbs on there and a tuille.
Carmine and Lauren are in a world of pain getting their tarts on the plate but it all pans out in the end.

Time to taste

Everyone thinks it doesn’t look like much but it tastes great, and it’s the strongest dish out of their three courses.

Urgh – it’s that thing where we have to wait until the final critique to hear what they thought, so it’s probably good.

The verdict
Chopses: Comments are more of the same.
Guy 5, Karen 6, Liz 6, Fass 6, Pete 6, Manu 6. Total 35/60
Lauren and Carmine: Karen says the dessert was very simple, with only two elements: “They were impeccable.” But the highest praise comes from straight talker Fass: “In four years here I’ve only had one dessert as good and that was in the grand final. For me that was a 10 out of 10.”
Guy 8, Karen 8, Liz 7, Fass 8 (which elicits a *bleep* to the heavens from Carmine), Pete 8, Manu 7. Total 46

Goodbye, Eve and Jason. Yes, you weren’t the best cooks in the world and you embrace dreadful facial hair, but you were real people on a reality TV show and you never tried to speak gangsta or use the word “Hatorade”.
So tomorrow night another team will go and we’ll learn who the Final Five are (any Battlestar Galactica fans out there? No? Moving on, then.) We’re left with Anna and Jordan, Curlies, Sisters, Lauren and Carmine, Dads and Zana and Plus One. You’d think the first three teams are safe, although someone could always drop a tray or decide to serve seafood pasta in a bag.


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.


MKR – Mon, Apr 4 Chops V Tarq and Dad

Surely Tarq and Dad have got this in the bag, despite the promo trying to make us think they’re having (another) shocker. Make sure you vote in our new Logies poll.

Tarq and Dad are making:

Entree: Thai prawn bisque with prawn toast
Main: Sesame-crusted tuna with homemade soba noodles
Dessert: Indian rice pudding with stone fruit compote
They are skipping all over Asia there but it sounds delish – is dessert too simple, perhaps?

Chopses (Eve and Jason) are doing:

Entree: Seared scallops with cauliflower and miso
Main: Sri Lankan beef curry with toor dal
Dessert:  Spiced pears in butterscotch sauce with yoghurt sorbet
Curry should be lovely but the menu doesn’t really flow.

Mr Chops is getting on with the sorbet and continues his history of bad things happening when he touches lemon juice. This time it’s a real lemon, rather than a squeezy bottle, and he adds it to the dairy too early and creates instant curds. Down the sink it goes and it’s time to start again.

Over at the other kitchen, Tarq and Dad are prepping like mad and both manage to cut themselves. It’s blue bandaids galore. They are back on track quickly and speeding through a lot of work (who else wanted prawn toast when they saw Dad prepping that), while Chopses are on cruise control. They know their entree is simple but it will be “perfect”. Chops is not very good at chopping cauliflower – he looks slow as a wet week.  Ooh – maybe the shock from the promo is that they don’t get a dish up?

Finally Eve gets on to cooking the scallops and dons a yellow glove on one hand to handle them, then proceed to touch them with her ungloved hand. But it’s taking ages, so Chops goes over to help and notes some appear to be raw in the middle.

It’s plating up time and Dad is feeling the burn – he’s sweating bullets into the prawn bisque. Doesn’t Manu have a velvet jacket lying around he can use to wipe his brow? dadsweat 
Both dishes look good but the prawn bisque is the one I want a big bowl of. What a relief to see them in control after the schemozzle of last night.

Time to chew …
Guy likes the way the scallops are cooked. Karen thinks the dressing needs more acid. Pete says they should have bammed up the miso.
Liz likes the toast and bisque’s depth of flavour and Guy agrees it’s a great teaser for the rest of the night. Fass thinks they could have added flavour with lime leaf or Vietnamese mint.

Time for mains …

Dad Mike gets on to the soba noodle dough while Tarq crusts the huge slab of tuna. Chopses’ curry is coming along but I don’t understand why they didn’t start it in a pressure cooker and then reduce the sauce later on the stove. Mr Chops makes a ginger cake for dessert and is only just prepping pears for poaching. Pears always take ages, but it will help that he’s halved them. The onlookers are impressed with Dad’s soba noodle-making technique, and noodle expert Jordan is called upon to let us know Dad’s doing a good job.

Token Jordan shot for Windsong.
Token Jordan shot for Windsong.

I’d happily eat that daal but it’s looking quite mushy. As Anna comments, Tarq’s rice pudding is strange as they’ve precooked the rice. The wheels are starting to come off a little – they put the slab of tuna in a pan that’s too small, and in taking it out lose some of their sesame crust. They sort themselves out but Lauren and Carmine are worried they are serving the tuna as one big slice, rather than pretty cubes, as is usual. Chopses are rushing to fill their many bowls of condiments and sides. All credit to them for their support of each other and their apparent joy at what they produced.
Time to chew …

Liz loves the tuna slab and Fass again disagrees, saying the raw to seared ratio is out of whack: “I think it’s a good dish but it’s a clumsy dish.” Fass think the curry is braised well but he and Guy say the daal is too mushy. Karen, however, likes the texture and Manu is Team Karen.

Dessert time …
Chops is making some butterscotch sauce and Curly Sis is worried the dessert will be super sweet. At least they have yoghurt sorbet to balance it. I don’t know why he went to the effort of poaching the pears in spiced liquor if he was going to chuck them in the sweet sauce anyway. Tarq’s rice puddings are looking awful – so awful they make giant turd quenelles from it. Have they never eaten a rice pudding before? They’ve certainly stepped off the gas for dessert. And then we finally get the “shock” moment, when this happens:

Going ...
Going …
Going ...
Going …
Gone (nice floor cam, MKR)
Gone (nice floor cam, MKR)

They’ve lost five of their 12 pudding quenelles, but this could be a blessing in disguise as now they’ll have to use less of the stodgy-looking rice. Oh no – here’s the real disaster – they have leftover pudding and just quenelle some more.
Chopses are plating up their slabs of cake and feel sudden death has brought out the best in them – who’d have thunk it.

Are those chops growing before our eyes?
Are those chops growing before our eyes?
The charcoal plates were a good choice to make their brown elements look classier.

Time to chew …

Guy thinks Chopses’ dessert is not too sweet but Manu and the others disagree. The judges think the cake is dry and Fass says the butterscotch needed more butter. The judges taste the rice pudding and …. urgh … we don’t get to hear the comments. They must be baaaad! Dad and Tarq are on the chopping block.

The judges give their critiques … blah, blah …
Eve and Jason Chops: Guy 7, Liz 7, Karen 7. Fass 6, Pete 7, Manu 7. Total 41/60
Dad and Tarq: Rave reviews and then we get the dessert critique. Pete: “The rice was dry, fellas.” Manu: “I couldn’t really taste any flavours of India, either.” They hated it.
Guy 7, Liz 7, Karen 6. Fass 6, Pete 6, Manu 7. 39/60. Ouch! So Karen and Manu marked them down. If only they’d cooked a traditional rice pudding they would have got 8s. Bye Tarq and bye, Mike- take your lame Dad jokes with you!

The Chopses’ laidback attitude served them well in sudden death and they didn’t overcomplicate matters. I don’t think they’re in it for the long haul but they deserved the win tonight.


MKR – Wed barbecue challenge

It’s the barbecue challenge and we know scandal is brewing for the Chopses. What do we think their shortcut ingredient is? More bottled garlic? Spice mix? Did they forget to slaughter their own cow?

And we’re at the Luddenham Rodeo for a barbecue challenge. It’s in Sydney and on a different netweork, so sadly no sign of Farmer Lance lassooing fillies.
They have to cook for the public with a marinade theme, Zana is scared of dirt (so they’ve dressed her in white), Lauren thinks Zana should get over it, yadda yadda yadda …
Pete’s big reveal: Only four of the eight teams will be safe.
And now Man Bun is out of the comp, the most interesting hairdo award goes to Mitch, aka Curly Bro.

Let's hope he's not a tax evader, also.
Let’s hope he’s not a tax evader, also.

Zana and Plus One are doing Eye Fillet Kebabs with rosemary potatoes and spicy ajvar (Plus One pronounces it ay-var). It’s a capsicum relish.
Lauren and Carmine are making Jamaican jerk chicken with rice and pineapple relish and she’s holding back on the chilli. How can you do jerk chicken without heat?
Anna and Jordan are doing homemade Sicilian sausage with focaccia and tomato relish. So a snag sanger with soz. Again they are showing their technical ability, making their own snags.
Laura and Mitch are going out on a limb with bush spice kangaroo with tortillas. Curly Sis is using a tonne of native spices – looks like someone’s been reading a lot of Jock Zonfrillo recipes. Kangaroo can be tricky to cook.
Straight off their sudden death win, Rosie and Paige plan to crank out pomegranate-glazed lamb cutlets with harissa pumpkin. Lamb is always popular with a crowd but they usually don’t do well in these off-site challenges, just like Zana.
The Dads are cooking BBQ scotch fillet with smoky potato salad. Yum – sounds delish but I hope their potatoes cook through on the barbie.
Dad and Tarq are doing Argentinian spatchcock, loaded sweet potato and chimichurri (which is a fabulous sauce of fresh herbs). Wonder how the rodeo crowd will react to spatchcock?
The Chopses are another team using chicken but they are using the whole bird. It’s bourbon chicken, slaw and jalapeno poppers. And Mr Chops whips out the bottle of lemon squeeze for the marinade, so that’s what all the fuss will be about. Seriously, guys – buy a bag of lemons, chop ’em in half and squeeze ’em. You’ve already been busted once. Fass comes over to berate them and Chopses’ defence is he needed a litre of juice for his 21 chooks. Yeah, if you were at your house, Chops, but not on tellie.
Squeezy scandal.
Squeezy scandal.

Eve is saying anything to get rid of Fass and afterwards whispers to Jason: “Why didn’t you hide it.”
Jordan is making sausages to the tune of Kid Rock’s Cowboy when Fass comes over to stir up trouble, questioning whether Anna’s focaccia will rise in time and whether they are meeting the brief of a marinade. At the next table over, Paige can’t believe Jordan is taking on Fass, but it looks the cheeky chap has got away with it. A media career beckons.
Watching Zana trying to fry potatoes on the barbie is hilarious. There’s much oww-ing and oh-ing.
Barbecueing in a tank top is not a good move.
Barbecueing in a tank top is not a good move.

“I need to go and have the longest bath ever known to human beings. Put some bleach on me and detergent,” she jokes. Surely Montenegran people barbecue? They’re big meat lovers.
We cut to Lauren doing the world’s worst Southern accent in a bit to build up this supposed Zana V Lauren feud, which I’m sure Zana knows nothing about.
Both the Dads and Tarq are doing chimichurri sauce – I was going to pick Tarq as the winner until he added honey to his.
Carmine and Chops are both having trouble with uncooked chicken, while Rosie and Paige are confident in their flavours and aren’t freaking out for once. It looks like the Chopses are in the most trouble when service starts.

Time for the judges to chew …

Pete looks excited to be tucking into this one. Both judges think it’s a winner.

The judges think it’s a bit bland and not all the spuds are cooked. Fass: “You don’t give an Irishman raw potatoes.”

They like the look of this chimi but say it’s oddly sweet (yes – called it!). “It’s not a great dish,” says Pete.

“The whole dish is screaming mediocre,” says Pete. There’s no spice and the rice isn’t properly cooked.

The judges appreciate all the work that went into this.

Pete likes the spicy relish and tender beef. “It’s not the worst,” says Fass.

Chopses finally get some food out but say the chicken has no marinade flavour. The slaw is limp; the poppers are the best bit.

All we hear from the judges is Fass’s “good, hey?”, so they’ve probably won.
To the strains of Black Keys’ Lonely Boy we get the last rush of food pushing, and Chopses still have dishes sitting on their table.

The judges’ verdict
Pete gives Anna and Jordan mad props again for their teamwork, a combination of her experience and his youthful twists. Curly Sis is chuffed to hear Fass say: “It takes balls to do that.” And that is why we love him on MKR. His pairing with Pete seems a more comfy one than the Pete-Manu screen presence. The Dads won the chimi-off. The lamb was Fass’s dish of the day and Pete says it was exceptional. Good to see the girls happy again.

I’m thinking the breakdown will be:
Anna and Jordan
Paige and Rosie
Zana and Gianni

Tarq and Dad
Lauren and Carmine



MKR returns Easter Monday

It’s movie challenge night and the teams have to create a dinner box for 300 families, consisting of a star dish and some sides. So I’m expecting ads for KFC in the breaks, offering a similar product.
Tasia and Gracia look scared when they hear 300, but it’s not like they have to cook 300 actual portions of their food.
Paige is back after her hand surgery and I can’t see a bandage.
And in the next scene she’s driving the car to Coles, so that fish fin injury can’t have been too serious, even if they did have a break between filming (although later she does mention she’s having trouble carrying things).
Lauren and Carmine get to sit this one out because they won with the fisherfolks’ hearts with their straightforward salmon dish at the seafood challenge.
Are we missing JP and Snow White? Not on your Nelly. We spend a good minute promoting whatever car brand that is and the show is now called My Car With a Reversing Camera Rules.
Sisters are cooking Korean fried chicken with miso corn and cabbage salad. Yum – winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Jordan and Anna are doing Mama’s homemade pies with mash and peas. Anna is making not one but two pastries. Shortcrust is a quickie but puff is tough – these guys sure do like to challenge themselves. They are a world away from some of the others in the comp.
Mr and Mrs Chops and Zana and Plus One are first ones back to the warehouse, so they’ll have the longest cooking time. Chopses are cooking lamb rogan josh with pilaf rice and chapati.
Zana and Gianni are also doing lamb – always a crowd fave: Lamb souvlaki with lemon potatoes and Greek salad. We know from the ads they struggle with time management, yet they have chosen a dish that has a long cooking time.
Curlies are making katsu chicken bento box with pork dumplings. They’ll be battling the Sisters for title of tastiest fried chicken, but I’m not sure if another meat element is a good idea.
There’s more lamb on the menu, with the Dads doing lamb kofta with quinoa and pomegranate salad and haloumi (aka tastiest fried cheese in the world). It should be quick for them to make and sounds like something the grownups will love – just don’t think the kids will go for it. They could just eat the meat, since it’s on a stick.
Finally the boys arrive and get on to their cola ribs with onion rings and slaw. I hope they have enough time for their ribs to cook properly. It has a similar vibe to the tortilla they did well with at the Rio challenge, so they may live to fight another day.
Tarq and Dad are making chilli con carne with blackened corn and iceberg wedge salad.
Rosie and Paige are making pulled pork burgers with chicken bites and chips. Again, not sure about the two proteins in one dish.

The judges are watching the action and Fass is particularly excited by the thought of Anna and Jordan’s pies.

"I loike poies."
“I loike poies.”

Any Ben and Holly fans out there (if you have young kids you’ll know what I mean). He reminded me of the gnome.

Pete is excited by the Sister’s Korean Fried Chicken. They are wisely slashing their drumsticks to help them cook evenly, so there should be no raw chicken disaster tonight. The girls are doing their bickering thing. “Concentrate on your mayo; don’t screw it up,” says Tasia. Or is it Gracia?
Zana is having potato dramas; they’ve stuck to the tray and seem to be swimming in liquid. They do not do well at these away from the kitchen challenges.

"Not happy, Jan."
“Not happy, Jan.”

Fass pops over to spook the Miners and implies to Paige her planned method of cooking chips is rubbish, so you know there is trouble ahead.

The families start to arrive and it looks like it’s going to be a fun night for them. They’ve brought eskies with them, so hopefully there’s some backup food in there for if they get a dud dish.
Service starts and the Sisters’ dish looks delish. Anna and Jordan’s pies aren’t ready and Zana is, as always, not ready to serve. “I feel like I’m cursed with the outdoor kitchens,” she tells Confessional.

Time for the judges to taste …

They love this one, which comes with toasted cheese soldiers for dipping.

This gets the thumbs up and Fass notes a lot of work has gone into it. Good on you, Chopses – you started off shakily but are reaching new heights every challenge.

The Dads get the thumbs down for their bland koftas but the salad is tasty.
Tasia and Gracia are having trouble keeping up with the demand for their chicken, so the Miners kindly let them use their deep fryers. Aw, good on you, boys. You’re still learning to cook but someone sure raised you well.

Pete and Fass tear into the Sisters’ chook and they are loving it. I want a bucket delivered to my house. Fass: “I’m not going to talk; I’m just going to eat.”

Mitch and Laura (aka Curlies) rice is overcooked – which they know – but as a whole the dish is “flavour plus”. They’ still looking solid to make final four.
Oops – there’s no pic of Paige and Rosie’s pork sliders and nuggets, but you’re not missing much. As expected, the chips are no good (soggy) and Pete says the nuggets are all batter. The pulled pork burger is dry. Oh dear – no doubt the girls have had a few sleepless nights since Paige injured herself, and this is the result. They are definitely in danger.

The lamb is a bit dry and underseasoned (the second most often uttered phrase on MKR, after “where’s the soz?”) and the Greek salad doesn’t seem to be dressed. The pita bread is good, at least. These guys need to work on their time management.

The Miners cop a caning for the sweetness of their ribs and their weird honey dressing. “That is a shocker of a dressing,” says Fass.

Pete's not happy, Jan, either.
Pete’s not happy, Jan, either.

We see the judges taste the pies and then just get Pete saying: “I’ve got three teams jockeying for bottom place and we need to pick two.”
Editors, is this meant to make us think the pies are bad? Because it’s obvious they are fabulous. Pete’s bottom three would have to be Paige and Rosie, Zana and the Miners. I think the Dads will be safe because they had other tasty elements.

It’s back to Kitchen HQ for the judging lowdown. We already know most of it. Curlies are stoked to hear Pete describe their tonkatsu sauce as “a revelation”. Zana’s dish was mediocre, and she knows it.
And now to the pie praise: “Mama did well. She knocked it out of the park,” says Fass. They did amazingly well to make the two pastries, chicken and leek filling, peas and cabbage, mash and their own tomato sauce. They have yet to put a foot wrong.

And People’s Choice goes to … no surprise: Tasia and Gracia. They are stunned.
And off to Sudden Death are … Rosie and Paige and Alex and Gareth. Not a surprise – Zana is lucky she makes awesome bread.
Poor Miners, but they absolutely deserved it.

So, sudden death tomorrow and the Wednesday synopsis is: A quintessential family favourite, the Australian Rodeo is the backdrop for today’s challenge. Teams must focus on creating an unforgettable marinade that’s full of flavour for their BBQ based dish.
Sounds an awful lot like a barbie challenge they did for MasterChef last year.


MKR, Mon, March 14 – the one where they cook at the Rissole

Here come the contestants in their casual gear but with kitchen clogs on and – yay – Colin Fassnidge is back, keeping Pete Evans company (reminder – Zana and Plus One, Dads/Besties and Italians get to sit this one out for being the top scorers of their rounds). Who did you forget was still in the comp?

The Fass announces they will be cooking a family bouffay for members of the public at an arsehole club (gotta love that Irish accent – we usually call it the Rissole, but I get puzzled looks from SA friends when I do that). They’ll be cooking for 100 RSL diners who will pay what they think the meal is worth.
Dish of the day winners gets to skate past two eliminations – a worthy prize. They’ll be working as two groups and chaos ensues as they have to pick their own teams. Lauren and Carmine are particularly torn but end up with Duck Nutters and the crew from the Nutters’ restaurant round.
It’s off to Coles to the tune of Barnsey and INXS’s version of Good Times.

So the Black team is Duck Nutters, JP and Nelly, Miners, Laurine and Carmine and the Sisters, and they choose the theme Mediterranean because it covers so many cuisines (well, except the Sisters, but they’re overruled).
The White team is Curlies, Tarq and Dad, Rosie and Paige, Anna and Jordan and Mr and Mrs Chops, who choose Asian, which would be my pick. The stronger cooks of the comp are in this team, and no real drama queens, so they should do well.

White buffet:
Curlies: Red Chicken Curry with red rice and a pickle (and good on her for buying up all the fresh chilli – better to be oversupplied)
Chops: Vietnamese Prawn Salad (will be quick once they shell the prawns)
Dad and Tarq: Roasted pork belly
Rosie and Paige: Five Spice Duck
Anna and Jordan: Satay beef with homemade egg noodles (ooh – brave decision on the noodles)

So, no desserts? Perhaps they had to be mains. Hope the punters at least get a crack at an all-you-can-eat ice cream machine afterwards with some diced jelly.

Black buffet:
Duck Nutters: Crumbed prawns with Mediterranean salsa (Kell’s right – everyone goes for prawns at a buffet)
JP and Nelly (who seem to be the team leaders): Chicken shish kebab with harissa pumpkin (that’s a lot of skewers to thread)
Miners: Filo cups with salsa and grilled peach (sounds weird, guys)
Laurine and Carmine: Spinach and ricotto rotolo
Sisters: Moroccan Lamb Stew (do they have time to do a stew, even in the pressure cooker?)

The black team are so chillaxed they are having a singalong (but Lauren and Carmine aren’t joining in – not that we get to see anyway). It’s a tight squeeze in the kitchens – let’s hope they’ve considered who will need what cooking equipment once service starts.

Mr Chops is defending his use of ginger and garlic from a jar (and, yes, I have those in my fridge for when I’m pushed for time, but you are on a cooking show, guys). He and the missus are laboriously prepping prawns.

It’s all a bit frantic because there are so many bloody teams. The Fass is worried that Rosie and Paige’s duck will be tough, given the tight timeframe. Jordan is madly rolling egg noodles and, if they work, the judges will definitely be impressed. Pete is worried Duck Nutters won’t finish prawn prep in time, but Nelly jumps in to help. Lauren and Carmine debate whether there is enough salt in their dish – given they were criticised for bland polenta last round, they should be upping the salt.
Uh oh – the sisters didn’t properly close one of the pressure cookers. Nelly is looking stressed. Go have a herbal tea, Nelly.
The teams start doing their blackboards and we learn a) Tarq’s Dad has lovely writing and b) Nelly can’t spell rotolo or crumbed. Or Mediterranean. Aargh – it hurts my eyes. Plus, why doesn’t it say Lauren’s Amazeballs Rotolo?

Oh dear.
Oh dear.

Mike and Tarq have a chuckle at the errors. Glad at least one of the teams can spell.

The judges are worried the Miners’ filo cups will go soggy, sitting on the buffet. The Sisters have to cook rice the old-school way, in a pot. “We can’t be the Asians who can’t cook rice,” the younger one says. I’m with them – a rice cooker gives a reliable result and so less messy to clean.
Mr and Mrs Chops have finally finished peeling their 160 prawns and Chops gets onto his jar-based salad – coincidentally just as the judges walk over. The Fass ain’t impressed. I hadn’t realised they’d bought bottled lime juice, too.
As predicted by The Fass, the Besties are having trouble with their duck – it won’t shred easily.
Luckily the Sisters’ Asian cred is saved as their rice works.

With 15 minutes ago, Curlies “need a fresh mouth” to check their curry isn’t too spicy and Rosie gives it the thumbs up. Everyone is frantically plating up. Jordan helps the Besties plate up and no-one has enough room to move. If only they’d been allowed to use both side of the bench.
Time’s up and everything’s sitting there on the bench, going cold away from the heat lamps. It’s time to serve and we see it’s filmed at North Ryde RSL in Sydney.

Time for the White Team judging …
Mrs Chops is doing a good job chatting with the public as Chops lurks in the background. The judges are a bit underwhelmed by the flavours.

Curlies’ curry get the thumbs up from the judges for the spice, seasoning and texture. “I would go back for seconds,” says Colin.

Rosie and Paige’s duck is a bit dry, even with the watermelon, and the judges can’t taste the meat.

Dad and Tarq’s pork belly looks lovely and colourful, thanks to the red cabbage, but there’s not much crunch to the belly and Pete doesn’t like the cabbage. Colin knows they can do better. They’ll be safe.

Jordan is the ultimate salesman for his homemade egg noodles and that should win them a few extra bucks from the public.
“I commend them because I’d written this dish off,” says The Fass, saying the noodles worked but some of the meat was overcooked.

And the Black team …
JP and Nelly’s chook kebabs are moist, says the judges, and they like the harissa pumpkin. As one customer rockin a mad beard sans mo opines: “It’s not a bad feed.”
The judges try Duck Nutters’ crumbed prawns and bemoan the lack of soz. Pete says the chorizo is the star of the dish, and the prawns aren’t crunchy.
Carmine and Lauren’s rotolo looks pretty but it’s hard for a veg dish to win these kind of public-voted competitions, Colin is glad not to be at risk of food poisoning from this pasta. The judges like it.

The line for the White Team’s buffet is long, so Gareth (Man Bun) goes over to try and entice the crowd to skip queues and ends up the target of some young women.
The judges try his filo cup (while the girls want to cop a feel) and discover there’s hardly any filling.
Time for the Sisters’ lamb stew and Colin likes it the texture and spicing. Pete: “Amazing.”

Now it’s time for the public to pay what they think the buffet was worth and, as usual, everyone low balls, given modern RSLs aren’t as cheap as they used to be. One delighted customer says: “Four out of the five dishes were superb, so $12.”
Another woman who looks a character reckons $5 is generous, so the producers take her name and number as a potential 2017 villain.

The judges give their official critique and praise the White Team for an enticing menu. Jordan wins the judges over by interjecting when Pete questions the wisdom of making their own noodles because the guests couldn’t tell the difference between bought and homemade: “Yeah, I told every single one,” Jordan says, to much laughter.
Fass has a crack at the Chopses and, fair enough. Rosie and Paige look knackered and Pete’s “bitterly disappointed” hurts. The Curlies are stoked to hear Pete say their curry was “sensational” and that Colin “couldn’t fault it”.
Mike and Tarq get a mixed review while JP and Nelly get the “it tasted a lot better than it looked”. The Miners make the fatal mistake of not tasting the food and telling the judges they didn’t taste the food. Oh, boys, you’re nice lads but it’s obvious you’re not going far, just like the Chopses.
Carmine and Lauren look anxious and are delighted with Colin’s: “When I tasted your dish, it was bang on.”
Nev is disappointed with the criticism and Kell is as impassive as usual.
Tasia and Gracia are packing it so are relived to hear Pete thinks they nailed it. Colin tells the other teams they are a threat because they did so well outside their comfort sign. Yeah, nice one, Colin, putting a target on their back.
Mitch and Laura get the win and are safe from the next two eliminations and their team is also safe. Yay. Chops have had a lucky escape.
Nelly and JP are devo and crying in the confessional. It must have been a very long day. All members of the Black team will cook for their lives tomorrow.

The first sudden death cook off tomorrow night will be judged by Curtis Stone – does this mean they’ve pinched Marco Pierre White’s prodigal son from MasterChef? The other teams get to judge, too, so it will be interesting to see how much weight their scores are given.
Which means Zana’s back on TV tomorrow, if not in the kitchen.


MKR – Tues, March 1

Welcome to Autumn, everyone. It’s Dee Day and she’s let poor hubby Harry Potter out from under the stairs to help in the kitchen. Bet he wishes he knew the Avada Kedavra curse ….
Sadly this is the last night The Khoo will be on MKR. Nooooo ….

Unfortunately I can’t watch til after 10pm, so have at it with the comments.

Here we go …

Look how happily married we are. For reals.
Look how happily married we are. For reals.

Dee and downtrodden Harry Potter husband (please, can someone please save him from his cupboard under the stairs and send him off to Hogwarts) head off to the shops with 7 hr 30 mins on the clock. So that’s 4 hrs 30 mins to shop and decorate, which seems a long time – are all the nearby Coles stores not pretty enough for TV?

In the car they get the background music of the novelty song, Macarena, because Dee is, you know, Spanish, and that’s the all they had on file. Remember this?

This was 20 years ago - feeling old yet?
This was 20 years ago – feeling old yet?

Dee is coaching Tim on how to say the names of their Spanish dishes, but I don’t hold out much hope given he’s one of those people who says “pronunciation” as “pro-nounce-iation”.
The menu
Entree: Lentijas – Spanish lentil soup with chorizo (sounds not very technical – it’s no twice-baked souffle)
Main: Albondigas Patatas Bravas – Spanish meatballs with potatoes and spicy sauce (I’ve only had these as two separate tapas – not togetether)
Dessert: Flan de Huevo (Spanish creme caramel)

And here’s our last-ever shot of The Khoo and The Fass – or do we call them by their celeb couple name Khoonidge or Fassoo – critiqueing the menu.

Look at us, in new outfits and pretending we don't film all these bits on one day.
Look at us, in new outfits and pretending we don’t film all these bits on one day.

In Coles, we learn Dee has written her shopping list course by course, rather than food groupings, so there will be a lot of time wasted running back and forth. That’s ok; it’s not like there’s a clock counting down or anything.
Harry Potter wipes his schnozz on the veg and this is a bigger crime than last night’s egg shaking.
Who's ever heard of a schnozzberry?
Who’s ever heard of a schnozzberry?

Sure, sniff away but don’t leave boogers on veg you have not paid for. Plus, they are supermarket tomatoes – if they had any tomatoey scent you’d fall over in shock.
After two hours in Coles and with still more shopping to do, Dee concedes she stuffed up the shopping list. Do you reckon she normally does online shopping and never sets foot in a real supermarket?
Finally home, they rush through the setting up of their travel-themed restaurant but still get into the kitchen way behind, with 2:28 on the clock. Tim gets cracking on the dessert as it needs time to set. His caramel looks pale, but maybe that’s the Spanish way.
Dee is micromanaging him, but in their confessional – with Dee within knifing distance – he tells the camera he loves being told what to do. But he’s blinking H-E-L-P in Morse code.
Modest Dee gets out the flour: “Bread. I make it every day. To me, it’s really easy. I’m pretty confiedent it’s going to be perfect.” So, we know something goes wrong with the bread.
And then it gets worse – she says she has changed the soup recipe from the traditional way she and her mum have always cooked. Normally she fries the chorizo first but she just chucks them in whole. Yeah, skip the frying, Dee, why would you want to add amazing flavour and texture to your dish? Might as well just chuck in some cocktail franks instead.
She goes to make the second batch of bread – the one Harry Potter started – and it’s not working and she instantly gets super whiny and oh this is going to get so much worse as the night goes on. And it does within two seconds when she sees her sauteeing onions are slightly brown. Instead of picking out the few browned ones she has a total tantie. Can Jessica come back instead – all is forgiven!
Then the tears start.
My four-year-old has more self control.
My four-year-old has more self control.

Tim attempts to calm her down and she gets it together, only to realise she forgot to put the ham hock in the soup. Those lentils are going to be flavourless mush by the time that ham gets boiling.
Then she points out he’s left the sticker on a lemon that’s been sliced for drinks – let’s hope Lauren gets that one. She gets increasingly cranky that he’s making sangria when the kitchen looks like this:
This is all Tim's fault; none of this mess is Dee's. Not even the lentils and veg which are from her soup.
This is all Tim’s fault; none of this mess is Dee’s. Not even the lentils and veg which are from her soup.

And then this happens:
Tim's wishing he could drink the whole bottle.
Tim’s wishing he could drink the whole bottle.

And he splashes wine an inch away from their precious flans.
We’re only 25 minutes already in and theirs already been more drama and tension than the whole of last night’s episode.
The guests arrive and I was wrong: Channel 7 has one other Spanish song in its music library. It’s Bamboleo, by The Gypsy Kings. And here are the judges, looking schmick, as per usual, and they get the cool kids music of Goldfrapp We Are Glitter.
Last time Rachel arrives at an MKR house.
Last time Rachel arrives at an MKR house.

The guests peruse the menus and they are done in a cool airline-ticket style, but it’s all in Spanish – no translation – which is pretentious.
Back in the kitchen, Dee’s soup just needs one more thing: cumin powder. And what have they bought? Coriander powder. Fail! Again, it’s all Harry Potter’s fault even though they went shopping together.
"Anywhere but my face, Deeze."
“Anywhere but my face, Deeze.”

This is where frying off the chorizo would have helped, both to impart flavour and look more appetising on top of the soup.

It’s chew o’clock …
The Fass was happy with the hearty, peasant-style look of the dish, but that was it. The lentils weren’t cooked, the onion was raw, the chorizo wasn’t caramelised, there wasn’t enough flavour: “What I got was not very good.” The Khoo says it’s obvious they had trouble in the kitchen. Yep, her name is Dee.
She tears up and Lauren can’t hide her disgust, thinking she’s going for the sympathy vote. The only nice thing the guests can say is they liked the bread, so Lauren – who’s on the bottom of the leaderboard – is happy again.
Back in the kitchen they get to work on the meatballs and Harry Potter is tasked with toasting the homemade bread for crumbs in the oven. And burns the bread. And not in a gourmet “ash is cool” kind of way.
At least they have a back-up packet of breadcrumbs. Dee then gives hubby the complicated task of rolling meatballs.
It’s taking them ages – the guests are very restless – and, foolishly, Dee has made hubby wait til the rolling is done until they start browning meatballs, even they can only fit a few in the pan at a time.
And the ones he has done are raw in the middle. She’s a very supportive wife: “Just cook them! You’re pissing me off.”
Run away, Harry – don’t let the Dementor get you!
Why don’t they chuck them in the oven to finish off? They are plating up and it looks awful. Apparently they had a different vision for the dish, but it would be hard to make it look pretty, even if it was well cooked.

Chew time … and The Fass is disappointed with the blahness of the dish: “You didn’t give me Spain. I didn’t travel nowhere.” Not only are the meatballs uncooked, the sauce is, too. The Khoo gives them cooking tips for next time and says the aioli – which is easy to make, but then Lisa had to do hers four times – is good. The potatoes should have been par-boiled before deep frying to get them crunchy. She tries to buck them up: “Show me a cracker of a dessert.”
Carmine and Lauren are dancing on the inside.
Dad No. 1, who has nibbled the edge of one meatball, sums it up when he says: “If we had been able to eat them, I reckon they might have been enjoyable, actually.”
Carmine and Lauren aren’t as used to being tactful. “I would say they are going home already,” he tells the table, which is just the sort of comment to make people want to boot you from the comp.

Back in the kitchen they know they’ve screwed up, but at least their dessert is mostly done. The creme caramels slide out of the ramekins pretty well, and the two slightly bodgy ones are headed for Carmine and Lauren. The caramel looks super pale, and the side garnish of three raspberries and two whole, giant mint leaves is weird. Why not serve the dessert on dark plates for contrast, with some kind of crumb and perhaps a tuille to scoop with? Yes, that would be beyond their abilities but they could have done something else to fancy it up.

Time for the judges to masticate …
The Khoo liked the plating but says the caramel was under. The Fass agrees but found the garnish “pedestrian”.
Hazel loves the flan and it’s generally well received, although no-one seems to have touched their mint leaves, perhaps because they’d need a knife to cut them.
Just before scoring time, Lauren is winning friends: “I hate to think that, if I had cried my eyes out, that would have saved me. I’m not going to put on tears just because I want to win votes.”
Time for the team scores but, oh, that’s right, we have to go back to HQ for the reveal. They need to beat Carmine and Lauren’s 51 and if everyone scores fairly, Dee and hubby will get the boot for having two inedible dishes.

Judges: Entree Khoo 3, Fass 2; Main Khoo 2, Fass 2; Dessert Khoo 6, Fass 6. The guest teams gave a combined score of 11/50, for a total of 32.
Bye bye, Dee, and – sniff – bye, Rachel Khoo. Please come back next year for more than four eps.
The other teams file back in, 15 in total. As with last year, the bottom two teams will go another round with Pete and Manu. At the end, two teams will get the boot. So it’s out of The Ducks Nutters, The Miners, The Cops, The Stepsies, Carmine and Lauren and SA Besties Rosie and Paige. From the promos, MKR is relying on Lauren to stir the pot.