Is Pete Evans going to be on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here?

It’s hard to believe Channel 10 would stoop so low, but rumours are swirling that Pete Evans has been cast on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here.

The new season is being filmed in Queensland this year instead of Africa, due to Covid restrictions.

Will you boycott the show if conspiracy theorist Pete is cast?

You can


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 – 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 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 – Wed, Mar 16

We’re at Sydney Olympic Stadium and finally we get to see cooking from Zana and Plus One, Dads/Mates and the Italians. They have to cook for 200 future Olympians, Paralympians and trainers, so the food has to be tasty and nutritious.
As Jordan, looking foxy in this shirt …

Foxy Jordan, just for you, Windsong.
Foxy Jordan, just for you, Windsong.
… says, the Dads have an advantage here as one is a nutritionist.
The “ather-leets”, as Colin calls them, vote for their fave, who will be safe from the next two eliminations. Pete and Colin will choose the two weakest teams, who will enter a sudden death cook-off, as per last night’s Duck Nutters V Lauren and Carmine. (Where’s Manu? Filming new Campbell’s stock ads? It’s been the Colin and Pete show the last two nights.)
It looks like a hot day but luckily they provide the contestants with hats, so there should be no Survivor-style near death experiences (well, until the atherleets eat the food).

Zana, the germaphobe is not keen on cooking outside because there could be “dust and bacteria flying everywhere”. I don’t think she went camping as a kid. They base their dish on a good protein choice, chicken livers, but given the athletes are all quite young the offal is a worrying choice. Their dish is “Loaded capsicum” with chicken livers and sweet potato chips”. But they are not actually writing the word “liver” on their menu board. Hope no vegetarians take a bite.
Jordan and Anna are doing Sweet potato and buckwheat gnocchi with kale pesto. I’ve never seen buckwheat gnocchi but kale is such an overrated “superfood” and it’s icky. Pete should love this one.
Oh no – both Italians are wearing hats, so I can’t tell which one is Hat and which one is Sans Hat. They are making veal involtini with spinach and polenta sticks. Yum!
The Lovebirds are doing chilli beef on sweet potato with a power salad.
Lauren and Carmine are gym-going types so should know what athletes like. They are doing herb chicken with roast veg quinoa. As Lauren says, they have cooked more than most of the teams there so are used to performing under pressure.
Pete hasn’t even seen the Dads/Mates cook before. They are making Mexican chicken tortilla cups.
The Sisters are bickering and hats off to the editors for playing the Muppet Show theme.

Anyone else know their names are Statler and Waldorf? I didn't until just now.
Anyone else know their names are Statler and Waldorf? I didn’t until just now.

They are making quinoa-crusted chicken with grain salad and coriander dressing. Hope there’s a decent whack of veg in there. They plan it to be a healthy version of a schnitty.
Tarq and Dog, er, Dad are making spiced prawns with peshwari curry and wholemeal roti.
As they cook some athletes train in the background, and the camera only cuts to jiggling hurdler Michelle Jenneke once every segment.
Paige and Rosie are doing dukkah-crusted lamb with pistachio and quinoa salad. They are keen to redeem themselves after the RSL duck with watermelon salad.
Colin comes over to check Mr and Mrs Chops aren’t using jars. They are doing pork fillet with pearl couscous and harissa. Can’t say I’d cook pork for a Pork Ambassador when I was already on his hit list.
Everyone’s getting hot and flustered and the pressure is getting to poor Rosie – luckily Paige has her back and Colin gives her a pep talk.

The Miners are making fish tacos with corn salsa and guacamole. Sounds tasty, simple and good summer food – please don’t stuff it up, boys! The are using a pasta machine to roll their taco dough – hope it’s not too thin.
With 15 minutes to go some teams are in a better place than others. It’s so hot it looks like Zana’s false eyelashes are sticking to her eyebrows. The judges like the sound of Anna and Jordan’s buckwheat gnocchi but not so much Lauren and Carmine’s chicken quinoa.
JP and Nelly are worried their sweet potatoes aren’t cooked. Which is because they chucked them in the oven whole, instead of chopping them in half and wrapping in foil to conduct more heat.

It’s service time and Zana and Plus One have nothing to serve.
Gareth (Man Bun Miner) gets the Duck Nutters Memorial Juss Award from pronouncing tortilla as “tor-till-a”. At least non-Man Bun knows how to say it. The judges like the look of their dish. “That’s a good dish,” says Colin. “I’d pay for that.” I can’t wait to see the lads’ faces when they finally get a good critique.

Tasia and Gracia’s chicken gets the thumbs up for its delicious herby sauce.

Anna and Jordan’s gnocchi is “delicious”, says Pete.

Lauren and Carmine’s chicken is “a bit burnt” says Pete and the pumpkin is still raw. can you imagine Lauren’s reaction if she is sent back to sudden death? She’ll have Carmine fitting the judges with concrete boots.

JP and Nelly’s chilli beef with power salad is a bit heavy for the weather. Pete just likes the salad.

The lamb and quinoa by Rosie and Paige is ok but could be better.

Chris and Cookie’s tortilla cups get respect but could do with more seasoning, says Colin. Pete reckons the athletes will lap it up.

With 15 minutes left of service Zana and Plus One still haven’t plated up a dish. Their sweet potato chips just aren’t cooking. Forget the chips and serve the capsicum at least! Zana is only happy with the livers and bursts into tears. A lovely athlete comes over to give her a buck up.
Mr and Mrs Chops serve tender pork but it’s a bit bland, although Colin says “it’s a good dish”. Redemption for the Chopses!

Finally, the judges taste Zana’s food and Pete says the chips look “sad”. The capsicum isn’t cooked and one poor girl breaks her cutlery trying to saw through it.

The Italians are putting on a show for their waiting customers, singing That’s Amore. “It’s not singing to me at the moment,” says Colin. They think it looks drab and the veal is dry.

Tarq and Dad have done a lot of work to get those elements done, they didn’t back off on the spice and Pete says it’s “rockin'”.

So, are we thinking bottom two Lauren and Zana?
Time for the judges’ critiques and it’s more of what we saw earlier, except Colin ask the Sisters for their coriander sauce recipe – high praise indeed. It was nice to see the Chopses’ relief and Jordan’s reaction to Pete’s praise. The Miners must think they are dreaming when Pete says “nothing to fault”. Good on them.
The team that’s the atherleets’ choice is Anna and Jordan. Yay! That was a tricky dish to pull off.
Sudden death teams are Zana and Plus One and Luciano and Martino. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! This is the point in the competition where those who do well under pressure thrive, even if they are not the best cooks.


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.


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.