Plate of Origin starts … soonish?

No airdate yet for Seven’s new cooking show, Plate of Origin.

It’s hosted by Manu Feildel (always happy to see him minus Pete Evans), Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston.

Plate looks like MasterChef meets MKR meets Family Food Fight and says it aims to highlight the cuisine of the different cultures living in Australia (something FFF did pretty well). However, for a show about diversity, note the hosts are three middle-aged white men.


MKR 2017 premiere

Paleo Pete and the Frenchman are back tonight. How far in until we hear the phrase “raze the barn”?. Will Manu still be donning his purple velvet smoking jacket? Will Pete have turned up the spray tan setting to Maximum Trump?
It’s on Seven from 7.30-9pm and the same time slot Tuesday and Wednesday, so they are going with the looong episodes again to allow for maximum advertising opportunities.
Chat away – but don’t look if you don’t want to get spoiled.


The teams arrive at Kitchen HQ which looks exactly the same. Manu is wearing a shiny grey suit, which is a bit disappointing, while Pete is sticking with his traditional blue.

Manu hopes they can prove they are the best “ho kooks” in the country.
Cut to a montage of people crying, saying yuck and bitching about each other. So, same old, same old.
First to cook are the Tasmanian couple Damo and Caz. The annoying voiceover man refers to them as sweethearts – guess they don’t want to use the phrase “lovebirds” after the JP/Nellie/Zumbo love triangle. They have two young boys and live in Burnie in what looks like a gorgeous old weatherboard aka production rental.
Manu is “lacking” the menu – which is a good thing, apparently.
Entree: Truffle and cauli soup
Main: Steak with duck fat spuds and bearnaise soz
Dessert: Apple crumble cheesecake
Because they live in Tassie they can get truffles straight from the soz. Bet Henry the farmer is just delighted to hear the edit play Salt n Pepa’s What a Man over footage of him walking. No, he won’t get teased at all down the pub on Friday.

After a visit to the truffle farmers and the butcher they are forced to go to Coles for allegedly Tasmanian apples. No way have they been in cold storage for months.
Damo and Caz have chosen a music theme for their instant restaurant so deck it out like a mini Hard Rock Cafe.

They are an hour late getting into the kitchen and start with the cheesecake and bread for the soup but don’t appear to get much done before the guests arrive. Everyone looks quite young – is MKR doing a Millennials V Gen X theme a la Survivor? Oh no, there’s a token over-50 pair ringing the doorbell who appear to be an older version of past finalists Jac and Shaz from Mt Isa.
Damo has mentioned he likes country music, so the edit plays When I Come Around by Green Day, that well-known country band.

Karen and Ros from Victoria are BFF midwives and are the Aussie characters of the season, game enough to let MKR film them doing hilarious things in the gym.
Amy and Tyson are a Queensland brother and sister and are the token villains. His profession is Uber driver and being a chef is his dream. What a shame the hours for Uber driving just would clash so much with studying commercial cookery at Tafe.
David and Betty are besties from Western Sydney and she is a “social media influencer”. Yes, that’s a job. Just as Tegan on I’m a Celeb is a “brand ambassador”. Hopefully we get some awesome Asian flavours from them but I fear she’s been headhunted for her look.
Tim and Kyle are the SA best mates. They have beards and seem pretty chilled. Brown beard is a bartender and red beard is an ad sales guy whose dad is a chef.
They’ve been seated next to the pretty Perth girls so they can do a flirty edit. Bek is a vet and Ash is a dental nurse. Bek (the not pale one) gets Nelly Furtado’s Man Eater as her background music.

Yippee – Manu is back where he belongs, wearing purple velvet, and Pete is in a black tux. Cue edit of women swooning over Manu. Remember back when MKR started and Pete was the hot one? Before all that other stuff happened.
In the kitchen the word crusty has been mentioned in relation to the bread at least five times, so it could be doughy. And, uh oh – a chat with Manu reveals they have never cooked with fresh truffle before. Noooooo! Classic MKR mistake, using unfamiliar ingredients just because they sound fancy.

The cauli soup with truffle is presented nicely but, well, it is just soup. Last year the cop BFFs were slammed for their stodgy pea and ham soup, although the texture of this looks good.
(AD BREAK: Anyone else see the promo for Bride and Prejudice, which follows MKR? I don’t think I need to watch an hour of someone’s heart breaking because his parents are homophobic assholes, but if anyone else watches it, let us know what it’s like.)
Manu freaks the couple out by making Damo get the grater and truffle so he can get a soup that tastes like truffle. Pete quite likes it.
The villains are whispering criticisms. Tyson has rehearsed his monotone critique and emotionless stares well.

It rubs the lotion on its skin ...
It rubs the lotion on its skin …

Yep, definite Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs vibe
Yep, definite Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs vibe

There’s an exchange over how to cook a steak, much flirting and talk of Tinder. Serial killer Tyson does not have any social media presence which, apparently, makes him a bad person.
In the kitchen, there appears to be some cooking going on. Who’d have thunk it? Damo has foolishly piled all the cooked steaks together and wrapped them in foil to stew away, so they won’t be medium rare.

The steaks are served and Manu’s if definitely at least medium, if not medium to well. Pete says they’ve cut the potatoes too thinly and they lack seasoning. The steak is over but the soz was great.
Brown beard woofs his down and flirty blonde and several others hand over their leftovers to him. So they food must have been served in a timely fashion, as no-one’s starving.
Erk, this episode is draaagging on … why does MKR insist on stretching the instant restaurants out to 90 minutes? (Yeah, I know: ad revenue! Speaking of which – ok, we get it. Social Media Influencer Betty’s mum is blind. That’s not good but enough, already!)
Tyson is doing his deadpan criticism and it’s getting brown beard’s goat, which is why they’ve been cast in the same round.

Back in the kitchen they Caz is making stewed rhubarb, which I whipped up a few days so I’m hoping she goes well. Tyson is right: A slab of cheesecake isn’t that flash a dessert for a cooking comp but remember how well the Ducks Nutters did with their cheesecake last year, so it could score highly. Although Damo could be marked down for his woeful music-themed puns.

It’s very simple on the plate and the base looks thick (sorry, MKR hasn’t posted food pix on Twitter yet). Manu likes it in general but says it’s too dense from sitting in the fridge too long. “I found this not pleasurable to eat,” says Pete. He liked the rhubarb and the crumble, but not the heaviness of the cheesecake part.
The guests are rather kind – except the villains, who are actually more restrained than baddies in the past but we’re getting dramatic music so we know how evil they are.
So there we go: two okay meals and a stodgy dessert. Damo and Kaz seem nice but not strong cooks. They could hang around a while, though.

Beardies: 5
Flirties: 5
Midwives: 6
Serial killers: 6 (note Beardies scored more harshly than the “baddies”)
Bestie and tatts: 6
Total 28/50

Entree: Manu 7 (but you had to great more truffle on it, Manu!) Pete 8
Main: Manu 6, Pete 5
Dessert: (This could get ugly) Pete 3, Manu 5 (again, generous).

Total: 62

There’s a “surprise elimination twist” yet to be revealed, so who knows if they are safe. That score could go either way. Tomorrow night it’s BFFs David and Betty’s turn.


Pete and Manu head to NZ MKR

The Seven Network has announced it’s making the upcoming series of New Zealand MKR (which already had two local seasons) and is shipping Manu and Pete Evans over to replace the current judges.
I feel a bit sorry for any Kiwi chefs, having to put up with imported judges.
NZ must have really good bone broth to attract Pete.

For zees soot I giff you zero points. Pete's soot gets nine points.
For zees soot I giff you zero points. Pete’s soot gets nine points.

Here’s the media release from Seven, which includes some interesting ratings info:

The Seven Network – Australia’s most-watched broadcast television platform and a key business of Seven
West Media, one of Australia’s leading integrated media and content creation companies – today announced
the next step in its long-term strategy in the development and creation of market-leading content in
international markets.
Building on the international recognition of Seven’s created and produced My Kitchen Rules, the company
today confirmed that Television New Zealand has signed Seven to create and produce My Kitchen Rules
for the New Zealand market.
My Kitchen Rules will be produced for TVNZ by Seven Productions New Zealand. The New Zealand version
will be hosted by Manu Feildel and Pete Evans. My Kitchen Rules – created, developed and produced by
Seven Productions – dominates the Australian television landscape as the most-watched programme on
television over the past five years.
Today’s signing with TVNZ builds on Seven’s agreement to create and produce My Kitchen Rules for FOX
in the United States and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, and joins Serbia, Russia, Denmark, Belgium,
Canada, Norway and Lithuania with “local” versions of the Seven format. In addition, the Australian version
of My Kitchen Rules is seen in more than 150 territories around the world.
Commenting, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Seven West Media, Tim Worner, said:
“We are very excited with this latest development for My Kitchen Rules. We are also delighted about our
expanding presence in international markets. We are making significant progress with Seven Productions
along with our two joint venture businesses – 7 Wonder and 7 Beyond – and our strategic investment in Slim
Film + Television in securing significant commissions. There is an increasing international demand for our
ideas, and our owned and created content and concepts.”
Commenting, Therese Hegarty, Seven’s Director of Content Distribution and Rights said: “We are now creating
more content than at any time in our history. We are expanding our presence in international content production
with the formation of new international production companies. The success of these new businesses in garnering
key commissions over the past twelve months, and the expanding presence of Seven Productions underline a
key part of our strategy for today and in the future: the expansion of our leadership in the production of content.”
About My Kitchen Rules
 Now in its seventh season, My Kitchen Rules currently stands as 2016’s most watched programme
in total viewers and key demographics. This year, the original cooking competition format developed
by Seven, averaged 2.33 million viewers.
 This year’s My Kitchen Rules – Winner delivers a metropolitan and combined audience of
2.757 million. My Kitchen Rules – Winner dominates all audiences with a 63% share in total viewers,
a 72% share in 16-39s, a 68% share in 18-49s and a 67% share in 25-54s.
 This year’s My Kitchen Rules – Grand Final delivers a metropolitan and combined audience
of 2.576 million. My Kitchen Rules – Grand Final dominates all audiences with a 52% share
in total viewers, a 65% share in 16-39s, a 61% share in 18-49s and a 59% share in 25-54s.
 Across the entire 2016 series, 13.8 million Australians watched all or part of My Kitchen Rules
(9.2 million Australians in the major metropolitan markets). My Kitchen Rules is Australia’s
most-watched regular series for total viewers, 16-39s, 18-49s and 25-54s in 2016.
 For this current season’s final, My Kitchen Rules delivered 1.8 million minutes (live streaming and video
on demand) viewing, with 88,000 streams. Across the entire series, 105 million minutes of My Kitchen
Rules were viewed on live streaming and video on demand across a total of 4.8 million streams. My
Kitchen Rules dominated on social video. Across the entire series, My Kitchen Rules delivered in social
reach with a 56 million global social reach and 15.2 million social video views.
Source: Oztam Data, Seven Analytics, Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics


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 – Thurs – the extra one

It’s first-placed Tasia and Gracia versus fourth-placed Zana and Gianni for tonight’s MKR semi-final.
Zana may be playing it cool now but when it comes to the kitchen the girls have shown a steady hand when it comes to flavours.
Note Lauren and Carmine have been placed on the sidelines of Zana’s kitchen, so they provide totes amazeballs commentary.

Zana and Plus One’s menu
Entree: Beetroot and goat’s cheese ravioli with sage butter
Main: Beef goulash with heirloom carrots and pickles
Dessert: Krempita with vanilla-poached figs
Google says krempita is vanilla slice. Never seen snot blocks on the MKR menu before. The entree sounds lovely, but is goulash really a semi-finals dish?

Sisters’ menu
Entree: Lobster tail with yellow curry sauce and taro chips
Main: Crispy fried barramundi with apple, coriander and tamarind dressing
Dessert: Coconut panna cotta with passionfruit curd and lychee sorbet

This menu has “winners” written all over it.



MKR – Wed – Zana and Plus One cook

Just a quick recap as I watch tonight. I’m thinking Zana and Gianni will be safe and it will be bye bye, Curlies. And remember there is more MKR tomorrow night.
And I reckon the weird thing Manu was holding up is a picked clean fish skeleton (totally stolen from my friend) and again they’ve tweaked the edit to amp up the drama. MKR lurves a good fake out.

Just got off a olane? As if.
Just got off a plane? As if.

Adriatic seafood stew
Sardines with capers, olives and bread (yep – this is totally what Manu is holding up)

What eez eet?
What eez eet?

Burek cigars with figs and goat’s cheese (yum!)
Spiced lamb loin with chestnut puree and mushroom tart (doesn’t sound like their usual traditional fare)
Nondaja’s tespixhe with citrus salad (Zana says it’s a semolina cake/biscuit with syrup and is “an acquired taste”. So, risky.)
Black Mountain chocolate molten lava cake

Zana is making filo pastry for both mains. That’s a huge job – and a huge risk.
The guests arrive to the strains of Rita Ora’s Poison (let’s hope that’s not a sign of things to come).
I can hear you all cringing as Lauren says: “These peeps are totes cashed up.”
Everyone’s dressed like they are going to a wedding and some of it’s not pretty (as per MKR stylist tradition).



Aspiring magician
Aspiring magician

Early 90s dress which makes her look abut 40
Early 90s dress which makes her look about 40
Zana and Gianni seem to be under control with their prep, but I pity poor Plus One trying to wash dishes and not ruin his crisp white cuffs.
The judges enter to the sound of Boom Clap by Charli XCX and Manu is back in the plum velvet jacket.

In the kitchen Zana is cooking the sardines and Gianni gets out the prawns, so of course we cut to Laura saying she’s not mad keen on seafood. She is right in that it is unusual to have two seafood dishes for entree, but she’s definitely providing the editors with ammo for her new sore loser edit. Still, she’s only 19 and it must be hard to “fail” on national TV, then have to sit through several more instant restaurants through gritted teeth when you know you’re probably going home.
Plus One tries to come the raw prawn but Zana doesn’t trust him and catches them in time. He stands by his call, though.

That's the biggest prawn I've ever seen.
That’s the biggest prawn I’ve ever seen.

Foolishly they did not get any spare seafood so can’t taste one. Why oh why does this still happen? MKR is paying – buy a bucketful of prawns!

Time to chew

Pete laboriously peels his mega prawn and for a germaphobe it seems Zana is happy to ingest prawn poo because it’s “traditional”.
Manu loves sardines and, yes, that was a sardine skeleton he held up. But he thinks the dish lacked salt, which horrifies Zana given it had olives and capers in the sauce. However, they have been criticised for their lack of seasoning in the past.
Pete gets a bit aggro at them serving such a messy seafood dish when everyone is so dressed up. Surely if they’d modernised it they’d be bagged out for messing with tradition. This smacks of them trying to ramp up the tension to make a Laura V Zana cliffhanger. He says they should have cleaned the prawn and it lacked salt. “Apart from that it’s a smashing dish.” The seafood was cooked well (good one, Plus One). Zana wilts under the criticism.

Back in the kitchen
They’re organised with their mains but they do look more like entrees and – filo pastry making aside – rather simple. Before we know it it’s …

Time to chew

Pete, who had the burek cigars, says his burek was dry. The textures didn’t work and it was “average”.

Zana'a freaking out.
Zana’a freaking out.

Luckily, Manu “can’t fault” his lamb and chestnut dish.

Back in the kitchen, it’s on to dessert. Zana is happy with her squeegie dish (apologies to any Montenegran readers) and brushes off Plus One’s concern that the mascarpone is bland. He’s ready to tip out his molten lava caka AKA chocolate fondant, which must be the most troublesome dessert for cooking shows – perhaps after ice cream and panna cotta. It looks good but a cake, some ice cream and a coulis is a bit basic compared with some other team’s efforts.

Time to chew

Pete had the choc cake and says it was moist and rich, while not super lava-like. “This, is a great dessert. Strongest dish of the night for me.” Go Plus One!
Manu doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings because he knows it’s her grandma’s recipe “but I didn’t really enjoy it”. Ouch. He says it’s all rather savoury tasting (and, yes, Plus One was right on the mascarpone). Zana is totes devo.
The other teams who got the squeegee are looking longingly at the lava cake. Anna says it’s like cardboard.

We’re back in Kitchen HQ for the scoring, but first a reminder of the scores thus far. leaderboard

Entree Manu (sardines) 8; Pete (seafood stew) 8
Main Manu (lamb with chesnut) 10; Pete (burek) 5
Dessert Manu (squeegee) 3; Pete (choc cake) 9
Total 43/60
Teams: 28/40 Total: 71

This woman could do Pantene commercials.
This woman could do Pantene commercials.
Laura (who again they’ve applied make up to like she is 50, not 19) tears up, wishing she’d done MasterChef instead. Perhaps they’ll open a farm kitchen at their folks’ place. bye

Tomorrow night:S It’s the semi finals, with the Sisters V Zana and Plus One. Surely the Sisters will ace it, although they’ve never been in sudden death, so that’s a disadvantage. We know from the ad some cracker dishes are served up and the Fass sing’s someone’s praises, so it must really be good.


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 – Sun – The Return

Connoisseur Cafe Grande Ice Cream? Check. Master 4 in bed after getting up at frigging 4.30am? Check. Mr Juz in another room watching old West Wings? Check. Ok, let’s do this, MKR.

Four teams are in Sudden Death tonight: the Dads, Tarq and Dad, Lauren and Carmine and Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy aka Chopses. You’d have to think it will be the Chopses going, with Lauren no doubt saved by the skin of her teeth thanks to the number of times they’ve been in the bottom and have cooked under pressure.
Oh, but hang on, here we have Pete and Manu (Manu in a plum velvet jacket with black satin lapels this time) saying that, just kidding, it’s not sudden death after all. MKR loves a fakeout. Instead, the two suckiest teams from tonight will go to sudden death tomorrow night (Mon) and only then will a team go home. Geez, they are stretching this season out longer than Zana’s eyelashes.
And there’s another shakeup: two teams will cook mains and two dessert. Pete and Manu pick one loser and some new critics will pick the other. OMG – it’s the past contestants! What a shock … Lauren seems particularly excited.

"This is the best day of my life," she says. Carmine can't decide whether she is taking the mickey.
“This is the best day of my life,” she says. Carmine can’t decide whether she is taking the mickey.

And the so-called Hall of Famers are: Will and Steve (nice British lads who won last year), Cowboy Robert and Lynzey, Ash and Camilla (and how cute is it to see Mama Anna so thrilled to see them and what sounds like Jordan exclaiming “my favourite”), Catty Sophia (FYI her partner’s name was Ashlee and I swear I hear Jordan say “love her”), “Princess” Jen (who won in 2012 and now has her own line of curry pastes), Chloe and Kelly (this was filmed before they got sacked from their WA restaurant review gig – and Zana says: “Good luck cooking for them – you think I’m bad!”), twins Helena and Vicky, Carly and Tresne (holding hands this time round – yay), original Curlies Angela and Melina (Ash’s do still has them beat), SA’s Nic and Rocco and Dan and Steph.

Will got the pick of the suits this year - Steve's not the pretty one, for once.
Will got the pick of the suits this year – Steve’s not the pretty one, for once.

Carly has been hitting the gym hard.
Carly has been hitting the gym hard.

How can they possibly have a Hall of Fame without the Captain and the gay villain dude?
How can they possibly have a Hall of Fame without the Captain and the gay villain dude?

We get to see Dan and Steph’s baby, conceived via IVF paid for with the money they won from MKR.

Has Chops been feeding the baby Lemon Squeeze?
Has Chops been feeding the baby Lemon Squeeze?

Time to choose who cooks what. Dessert is Chops and Dads, Main Lauren and Carmine and Tarq and Dad. So Tarq and Dad are safe. Just do a fab seafood curry, guys. Mrs Chops did a good stout and chocolate pudding in her instant restaurant, while the Dads did a choc mousse with a number of elements.
The mains people cook first and we see them run into the pantry ala MasterChef for their ingredients. But unlike MasterChef, they would have planned their dishes in advance.
Lauren is making quail with mushroom and thyme broth. So we have to sit through an hour of Carmine deboning quail, just like Paige the other day? They did do well with their seafood broth at their redemption kitchen cook – remember Manu asking for a doggy bag? Carmine already looks knackered and Lauren sounds like she’s had 10 short blacks.
Tarq and Dad are making pan-seared duck breast with Thai curry sauce and pineapple fried rice. What the heck is Thai curry sauce? Can’t we get a proper name for it? Let’s see what Thai cooking specialist Jen thinks of this one. The guys know their curries, so no doubt it will be good. And it’s been a while since we’ve seen a decent rice so let’s hope it works.
Dad adds a tonne of tamarind paste to the soz (why aren’t they using dried pulp – Fass would not approve) so they then have to rebalance the soz.
On the sidelines, Sophie is perplexed about the pineapple and red onion rice: “Rice is rice; why are you trying to pimp up rice?”
Lauren has made her stock in the pressure cooker (no Campbell’s tonight) and uses her bare hands on the boiling muslin to wring out the liquid. Ouch! Use a saucepan or something to press it down, silly girl.
Carmine is finally on to the quail and has to cook 40 breasts and 40 legs, which is tricky given they have different cooking times. The other team seems to have cooked 16 duck breasts – well, not cooked, per se, as they are too pink in the middle. This is the first time we’ve seen pressure getting to Tarq, whereas Lauren seems energised by it and having the Hall of Famers there.
It’s time to plate and Tarq is chucking the rice on with his bare hands. Why not just serve it in a bowl? Carmine is worried some of his quail is browner than others.

Time to chew …
The returnees like the depth of flavour of Lauren’s broth but some of the quail breast was dry. On to the curry and Ash is alarmed: “Is that raw?” Jen thinks the curry is very limey and even Carly is struggling to find something nice to say: “Our rice was pretty crunchy and the duck was blue and the sauce wasn’t very nice.” Sophia thinks the sauce wasn’t “that bad” but the duck “was probably once of the worst things I’ve put in my mouth … like a rat had died in a shoe”. Ash gives a great reaction shot:

Zana's contortions aren't a patch on Ash.
Zana’s contortions aren’t a patch on Ash.

So, Dad and Tarq cracked under the pressure and they’re a cert for sudden death. I’m 0/1 at this point.

On to dessert …
Dads Cookie and Chris are doing a dessert taco. Smart not to give more info, in case you stuff up an element and can’t serve it. They’re pulling a Heston and doing sweet food that looks savoury, with strawberry soz for tomato soz, a taco tuile and chocolate soil “mince.” Risky.
The Chopses are doing crepes with pickled orange and candied walnuts. Sounds far simpler but someone will have to teach them how to squeeze and juice citrus. Actually, Mr Chops is doing a nice job of the orange segmenting, but he’s nervous: “I’d be quicker if I wasn’t shaking so much.” Mrs Chops aka Eve knows it’s simple, so it has to be perfect.
Manu and Pete are intrigued by the dessert taco. Manu: “I think it’s a dish with a lot of humour in it.” Pete: “Let’s hope it doesn’t taste funny.” Cookie reminds us they have never cooked for Manu before. Then he adds green food colouring to choux paste to create the “lettuce” component of their taco. Surprised they didn’t use pandan.
Eve has a whole lotta crepes to cook and Ash and Camilla, who cooked a lot of French-style food in their season, worry they are cooking crepes for Manu.
The Dads make their chocolate soil out of what looks like a dry cake mix with chocolate, pecans and chilli. Carly and Tresne pop in to their kitchen space (totally unprompted of course, to do one of their “circle of empowerment things”, which involves chucking a bit of flour at them). The Dads tolerate this “lucky” spell, which immediately backfires on them when this happens:


Yep, Cookie drops the hot tray and crumbs go everywhere, but most land on the bench. Just scrape it up, boys. And they do.
Does glammed-up Tresne stand by her actions? “The circle of empowerment … to be fair we didn’t really win the competition,” she laughs.
Over on the other side the Chopses have gone a bit loopy and facial hair lover Eve is looking forward to touching Cowboy Robert’s mo later on. The onlookers think they are too chilled.
The Dads are rushing back and forth from the oven, draping delicate tuiles over rolling pins to form the taco shape. It’s going to be hard to fill them without breaking them. This could be a lot of work for something that doesn’t taste great. The green choux puffs come out of the oven and the SA Besties and Zana aren’t sure about them, with Zana implying they look llike ogre poos: “They look like they came out of Shrek.”

Zana called it.
Zana called it.

Nice to see someone in the comp who can still furrow her brow. Remember Lisa of the botoxed forehead?
Nice to see someone in the comp who can still furrow her brow. Remember Lisa of the botoxed forehead?

The Chopses are plating up and it looks nice – but will the judges like the pickled oranges? Dads have made the mistake of not chilling their strawberry “salsa” and the hot liquid is making the tuiles unfurl. At least the grated white chocolate resembles cheese. It’s the sort of dish you would order off a menu just to see what it’s like.
Time to chew …
Everyone digs in to the taco. Ash: “The taco is rando. It’s just the most bizarre thing. I really credit the boys for their creativity, but it’s too much to take in.” The Hall of Famers think the Dads did a heap of work and showed technique, but it wasn’t a cohesive dish. And the Shrek poo lettuce was weird.
And then it’s crepe time. Rocco: “Crepes are a bit rubbery.” The sourness of the pickled orange surprises some:

Jen's face when she realised she would be paired with Sophia for the confessionals.
Jen’s face when she realised she would be paired with Sophia for the confessionals.

Will thinks it’s too simple, Camilla thinks the crepes were too dense. Cowboy Robert sums it up: “Well, maybe they haven’t done enough here, whereas the other guys have done too much.”
Sophia thinks the Chops’s friends need to be more straight up with their critique of their cooking: “I would love to never ever see it again.” Am I right in thinking none of Chloe and Kelly’s comments at the dinner table made the edit? Some last-minute reshuffling there.

The teams learn their fate
I think it will be the curry versus the crepes.
Mike and Tarq: Poor Tarq is gutted by the comments about the undercooked duck and the acidity of the sauce.
Lauren and Carmine: Manu says deboning quail before you cook is a waste of time – just cook it and then chop it up. The SA couple is stoked to hear the feedback on the broth.
Eve and Jason: Pete says the idea of pickling the oranges was interesting but they played it safe and fell short.
Chris and Cookie: “I’ve seen a lot on My Kitchen Rules but I’ve never seen anything like that … I love to see people pushing the boundaries,” Pete says. “I think you’ve just tried to hard,” says Manu. “It looked cool – for kids.”
The returnees pick Mike and Tarq for sudden death and the judges dob in the Chopses. Mike and Tarq should have this in the bag if they can keep a cool head.

The preview for tomorrow night gives us no idea what they are cooking, but we know Mike and Tarq each cut themselves and something else bad happens, because we get these reaction shots:

What do you reckon it is? I’ll take a punt on Dad Mike burning himself on a hot pan and dropping it on the floor.


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 – Tues, Mar 15 – the one where a watched pot never boils

I love that every phrase out of Lauren’s mouth is the way I speak to Mr Juz sarcastically: “totes unfair”, “amazeballs”, “devo” … I’m just waiting for her to drop a “whatevs”.
And here she is, “devo” that she was on the losing Black team from the Rissole challenge, despite getting a good critique from Pete and Colin.
At least she gets to be in the presence of the real Curtis Stone and not just the cardboard cutout they have at Coles.
And their cooking challenge? To produce a “fresh banquet” using seasonal produce. So, no bottled lemon juice?
Pete explains the rules: the judges pick the worst dish and its makers will cook against a team selected by the guest teams.
Cut to shocked Zana face and Lauren freaking out.

There's a camera guy whose only job is to get Zana reaction shots. He's a busy bloke.
There’s a camera guy whose only job is to get Zana reaction shots. He’s a busy bloke.

They have 60 minutes – not long at all given they have to find their way around the pantry and kitchen.

The dishes are:
Asian omelette with soft-shell crab and citrus glaze. Does an omelette need a glaze? Is it more a dressing? At least the crab component sounds more complex than their pathetic filo cup effort.
Duck Nutters: Pepper steak on mushroom with feta salad. Sounds boring and not much work for 60 minutes, even allowing for resting time. And Nev is peeling the mushrooms. Why??
Laurine and Carmine: Mushroom ragu with crispy polenta. Better bam up the salt in the polenta, gice.
Sisters Tasia and Gracia: Crispy Pork Cakes with apple and pear slaw and sweet chilli sauce. And I know that sauce won’t come out of a bottle – looking at you, Mr and Mrs Chops.
JP and Nelly: Who knows what they are making. I’m too busy hurling after he tells her he needs to marinate the steak and her response is “I love you”. Apparently it’s Beef tostada with guac and mango salsa. Some decent technique required there.

The Miners are burning their mini omelettes – turn down the heat, Man Bun! And just make big omelettes and slice them up.
Pete is impressed by the Lovebirds’ energy but worried the others are looking stressed.
Hooray – the Miners decide to make a big omelette.
With 22 minutes ticked away it seems Duck Nutters have yet to put their mushies in the oven. This is what happens when you stupidly peel mushrooms. What have they been doing all this time? Seasoned and browned some beef and made a herb butter?
Carmine and Lauren reckon their polenta has heaps of cheese and seasoning so she starts cooking their (unpeeled) mushies.
The Sisters have made quite large pork “meatloaves”, in effect, to steam. Smaller ones would cook more quickly.
Over at the Lovebirds’ station Nelly reckons the fumes from the deep fryer hurt her eyes so JP has to come rescue the damsel in distress. Urgh. And why are they using whisks to hold down their tostadas? Metal whisks + boiling oil = accident waiting to happen.
Cut to Duck Nutters and the watery mushies look like rubbish and Kell feels the same, but as usual her face is so impassive we can’t tell what’s going on. She walks off to the wing with a “sorry, babe” and someone from the medical team comes over. Kell says she’s nauseous. Always a good thing to hear a cook say before you have to eat their food. The clock now shows 20 minutes to go. Nev carries on on his own and gets a Miner to taste his beef.
But the Miners have their own problems, one of which is their omelettes look overcooked and they do little cookie cutter circles out of it. Nooo! Just do big slices and fold them, boys!
Carmine and Laurine are stuffing up their polenta discs – they are sticking to the deep fryer. On the sidelines Zana says they’ve cut the discs too thinly. Her mushroom ragu looks very thin.
Nev is frantically plating up on his own – luckily he picked a simple dish.
All of the dishes look like they will be quite tricky to eat without a giant bib.
The judging
Lauren is confident they have a “crackin'” dish. Manu says it’s not a good-looking dish but the polenta is well seasoned. And Curtis backs up Zana’s call on the thin polenta. Some guests’ polenta is falling apart an Zana says the mushies have been stewed.

Curtis says Duck Nutters cooked the beef well. Manu thinks the feta and raw capsicum don’t really go and it’s underseasoned. (Unfortunately MKR’s Twitter account posted pix of several dishes that were not from tonight’s show – Kell and Nev’s supposed dish appeared to be seared tuna nestled in a pastry cup) – so I’m missing quite a few I don’t have time to get screengrabs for. If they rectify it I will update pix tomorrow.)
The Miners’ omelette is “too eggy”, says Curtis, but he likes the crab.

The Lovebirds’ tostada gets the thumbs up but Curtis would like less mango.
The Sisters’ pork dish inspires Pete to utter one of my pet hate phrases: “It’s quite a unique dish.” Pete, it’s unique, or not – there’s no quite unique. He says all the elements have flavour. Curtis: “If my local dumpling truck sold this I’d go there again and again.” But Manu thinks the sauce is too sweet, and Mrs Chops agrees.
The safe teams are handed scorecards.

Zanas thinking face.
Zanas thinking face.

Winners and Losers
It’s time for the critique and we learn Kell is feeling better. Otherwise, we don’t hear much new. The Sisters get the highest praise and Curtis says they are his faves. These girls are improving in leaps and bounds after a mediocre instant restaurant. Pete says Duck Nutters are in sudden death. The teams’ pick is Carmine and Lauren.
Lauren clearly thinks they’re being picked on but as Jordan tells the confessional: “Their dish was one of the worst. You deserve to be there Lauren.”

Sudden death
Oh, we’re doing sudden death tonight? This is taking forever. And there seem to be even more ads than usual.
They have 90 minutes to produce a salvation dish and Carmine and Lauren will surely win.
Duck Nutters: Crispy skin barramundi with puttanesca sauce. Sounds simple.
Beef ragu with fettucine. More ragu! More pasta! At least do a differently shaped pasta.

Chief Nut says he is going to top the fish with the sauce, which will ruin any crispy skin. Hopefully he changes his mind and puts the sauce underneath. Nev is freaking out under the pressure and massacring the barra, cutting it into different sizes. I noticed Kell wearing gloves in the previous round. Is that because they are worried she might have something contagious? The Miners show support with “Come on, Mum and Dad.” One of the Italianos throws Lauren a token cheer but it falls on deaf ears. Carmine puts his concreter muscles to use cranking out the pasta dough. Lauren comes out of the zone for a bit of banter with her fellow Italians.
Duck Nutters are cruising and Nev chargrills the eggplant but doesn’t want to it in the oven “too soon”. I see raw eggplant in his future.
With 22 minutes to go Lauren and Carmine’s pasta water is not yet hot. Put it in smaller pots, guys. Did you fill it from the hot tap to start with? They decide to split it into smaller pots – yay.
A watched pot never boils – especially when the watchers are your MKR rivals. They chuck the pasta in anyway so they can get something on the plate.
Plating up is a mad dash and while Carmine and Lauren’s looks sloppy it looks more enticing and they showed more skill.



Time to chew …
Curtis has flown the coop so it’s just Pete and Manu at the lords of the manor table, looking down at the peasant cook.
Laurine and Carmine lie and say they like their pasta “very al dente”.

Pete says the pasta was cooked well and the sauce had decent flavour given the short-cooking time. Manu agrees the plate showed signs of stress.
The eggplant was undercooked – picked it – but the fish had crispy skin.
Manu reckons it was “thees close”. Surely technique will win out?
And it does. Bye, bye Duck Nutters. Kell finally shows some emotion. Manu thanks them for teaching him the phrase “the ducks’ nuts”.

Tomorrow night: An Olympic-sized challenge and everyone has to cook.