My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7
We’re back in Tasmania because no people. Also Ali & Samuel, who are looking more and more like a couple and less and less like “mates”. They may be out to prove they belong in the competition but they’re doing nothing to combat the supposition that Ali loves Samuel & he’s completely oblivious to it.

As they get in the car Samuel lays down the rules: Tonight he’s the head chef, Ali’s the sous chef, and they’re just friends. Riiiiiight. They’re excited about getting out and about to go shopping – there’s too many demons from their last Instant Restaurant they need to exorcise and being out of the house is the best way to start.

NO. JARS. They’re cooking South American because nobody knows what that is.

Well, Manu knows what it is, so he explains what they are (though he does make it sound more like a sexual aid than a dessert – one and the same for the French?). Nastassia is understandably nervous: after all, Ali & Samuel are organised for one thing and are unlikely to deliver main course at 1am like she did.

Pete is an expert on ceviche. He loves it. LOVES it. It, for some reason, reminds him of a distant land full of almonds and hyper-oxygenated water.

As Ali & Samuel drive back from the Fishmongers, Ali reflects on the Angry Asian Lesbians. “I think Ashlee is just horrid, & that other one – who let the dogs out?!” she didn’t say (but we all wish she did). Instead there are platitudes as to whom she thinks is more outspoken. As in bitch.

Their menu looks to be quite the South American challenge…

Entree – Pink Ling and Abalone Ceviche.
Main – Beef Fillet with cacao and chilli harissa and broad bean salad.
Dessert – Churros with chocolate and avocado dipping sauce.

Cue Ashlee & Lispy calling the other contestants a pack of bitches and Angela & Melina ready to bring it.

Ali & Samuel are oblivious to this rising tension – all they can focus on is Samuel dropping everything. The meat, the fish, his pants… everything. Manu declares in passing that harissa is not a thing and voids Ali & Samuel’s main instantly. Pete thinks it’s “unique and interesting”, which is chef code for “I hate it and them because I didn’t think of it first and I hope they fail.”

For some reason Samuel is explaining to Ali what cacao is. Shouldn’t she know by now? Cue bad steak puns.

The last thing Samuel wants for his abalone is to be a rubbery seafood that falls on the floor. Too late.

No jars in sight, Samuel is making the chilli paste for the entree himself. Ali is still standing in the corner Blair Witch Project style. The paste will be a 5-bell paste, meaning your testicles will ring like 5 bells when you taste it.

Now Samuel is filleting the Ling. The Geelong Football Club write a very stern letter. Samuel then slices his finger and bleeds on the fillet. Five minutes to go and their guests are arriving. Hopefully they’ve set up their Instant Restaurant as it’s “frock up” time.

The battle lines are drawn by all the contestants when BING BONG a rocket explodes. Stupid Last Resort promos.

The queuing at the door aside (it looks like a line into a gas chamber, when the door opens it’s cheers and tears, just for Samuel’s hat. Kieran naturally wants it BAD. Angela & Melina, having missed the Instant Restaurant, love it. Their nemeses, Ashlee & Lispy, hate it.

There’s very definite “groups”: Ashlee & Sophia vs everyone else. Melina’s curious to see how the night unfolds. Pete & Manu arrive not knowing any of the tension at the table already. BING BONG. They’ll know shortly.

Samuel makes a big noise of this being “Wonderland 2.0”. If he ever used technology he’d know that’s not a good thing. There’s questions all around the table on the menu – Dan wants EVERY BLOODY THING IN A SAUSAGE. Kieran has hat envy, sausage envy, breast envy and penis envy.

There’s a warning regarding the entree paste and the chilli heat which is greeted with relish by some and fear by everyone else. Ashlee & Lispy don’t eat “fresh” fish. The 5 Spice Girls are living up to their namesakes.

Dan’s looking forward to the entree because he’s never tried abalone before but he has a sneaking suspicion that it’d taste better in sausage form. Lispy reveals her biggest fear was being served raw fish in this competition. SHE HAS A WEAKNESS – CAPITALISE, REMAINING TEAMS! RIP OUT HER DARK, TAINTED HEART!!!

Entree plated and served with a smile, Ali & Samuel stand expectant as Pete & Manu slurp and wince and chew through the plate. Lispy can tell just by looking at the dish it isn’t gonna be good. She also caught her reflection in a spoon and so could have been confused.

Manu’s confused too. He’s not sure how to twist his response so that it starts as a misdirection and then ends in a compliment. He tries and it’s a bit ham-fisted, but it works – the sigh sold it. He loved ALL of it. A great combination of hit/sweet (though that is because Ashlee is within arm’s reach). Pete reinforces the hit of chilli and thought it was good but felt the onion was cut too thick. The judges are expectant now that the rest of the menu will be at this high level.

Celebrating their entree success Ali & Samuel kiss passionately and we can see Samuel’s tail wagging.

The guests taste. Dan thinks the entree needs to be in a sausage; Angela thinks it’s the best she’s had so far; & Ashlee feels it’s quite average.

Samuel proposes to Ali while prepping the main but she mishears him and is too busy watching Samuel cook again. They’re concerned about the over-cooked steak while the tension is simmering at the table.

Angela calls out the Angry Asian Lesbians for “pretending to pretend”. Dan & Steph know it’s time to get out as Lispy arcs up at the Italian Mamas and their comments about the young gatecrashers being cold and rude. “That’s your perception,” offers Lispy. The real problem is they don’t know how to argue and so says a lot of words that make no sense.

“I hope everyone’s having a nice time at the table,” says Ali, innocently.

Melina tries to back-handedly sort out the conflict when the Cougar jumps in to complain as well. Ashlee & Lispy refuse to listen and instead pretend to sleep. Melina’s proud of Angela speaking out about the girl’s attitudes. The girls don’t understand it and feel victimised. Bob Carr is called in to negotiate an unsettled peace so that an ad break can take place.

In the kitchen Ali & Samuel are narrating what might be going on at the table. How little they know (well, except for everything a producer has told them about the dog fight taking place in their Instant Restaurant).

Manu can sense the tension in the room – he’s a sensitive guy. “What we need to turn this night around is a good meal from Ali & Samuel,” offers Pete, only now just walking back into the room. Coward.

As the steaks sizzle their last, Ali & Samuel plate the main. The steaks are declared medium-rare and rested, a lot like the entire Australian eleven this past summer. Bean salad is added to appease Warney, & the harissa smears are schmeared. Main is scherved.

Dan thinks it’s just “steak, salad & sauce” and would look better on his sausage. Nastassia thinks it looks classier than it is. Samuel’s just proud of the dish, but Ali’s out to prove they can do better than the first round entirely thanks to her not cooking a damn thing.

Pete gets straight to the point – it’s amazing. They’re amazing. EVERYONE IS AMAZING. Lacing the harissa with ecstasy was a genius move. Pete goes around and hugs everyone at the table. Manu is more reserved but agrees with Pete – it’s great. He questions a Fine Cotton style debacle as these two can’t be the same people that cooked with curry paste out of a jar “a few weeks ago”. “It was just full of smiles for me,” says Manu.

Samuel gets all teary as the praise sinks in. HE DIDN’T FAIL! He’s so proud of himself. Angela is so proud of him being proud of himself. Nastassia is proud of Angela being proud of Samuel being proud of himself. There’s so much pride the gay community is gathering out the front to celebrate with him.

Not complaints from the adults at the table. “Finally it’s like we’ve got some competition,” offers Ashlee. Dan is pleased and doesn’t mention his sausage once. Angela admits to having sex with a pig in mud. It’s a shared experience.

Meanwhile, the kitchen is going down to churro town. Ali actually prepares something – two batches of batter while Samuel makes one and it’s shithouse. He starts again and still can’t get it right. NOTHING IS GOING RIGHT. A second batch is binned and the sous chef determines they’ll push on with the two they have.

Nastassia proffers her love for deep-fried goodness every time, but the Cougar expects the chocolate avocado dipping sauce will be a disaster. Samuel seems pretty pleased with what he’s making and yet it works so well. The tester turd complete but it’s still doughy in the centre so he reduces the oil temp (BECAUSE THAT’LL HELP!).

Ali turns the heat up in the kitchen by announcing that they’re failing with their dessert as the dipping sauce sets. Also by causally unbuttoning her blouse to her navel. They can’t seem to get anything right.

The sauces are banged in the oven in a water bath while they try to fix the churro situation. Finally it works so production begins (while the sauce is ignored). The pile of turds sit casually on paper towels draining while everything is plated. Ali & Samuel are ready. They’re confident. They’re proud.

Judgement is swift and brutal. “This dessert isn’t the type of dish I was expecting to find,” says Pete. “It’s risky and bold and nothing like you two. I love it.” Pete’s all for the metaphors and he’s sold on Ali & Samuel and think they’ll be a great couple. Manu just wants more. MORE!

Samuel admits the only reason dessert works was because of Ali. She blushes and does up her blouse.

The Cougar doesn’t like the dipping sauce. Angela loves it, and Nastassia now is concerned she’s gonna get punished in the comp. Ashlee is unimpressed: “It’s just fried donut. It’s just churros.” She seems to have a hard time reconciling what the menu says and what is delivered, particularly when it matches.

The guests now get to pass judgement on their peers – what they’ve been waiting on all night:

Angela & Melina – 7.  (A: “I was in heaven.”)
Dan & Steph – 8. (D: “The steak needed a little bit of seasoning.”)
Ashlee & Sophia – 7. (S: “It wasn’t, like, epic or anything.”)
Kieran & Nastassia – 7.
Lisa & Stefano – 4. (L: “The abalone was quite tough.”)

Guest total = 33/50. Holy shit the Cougar has revealed her stripes. Full survival mode in play by her now. It’s clear the judges will deliver Ali & Samuel great scores, so nothing comes down to the final score – they’ll smash the top spot for this one. The reality of the game kicks in for the team knowing the scores they got.

P Entree – 8; M Entree – 9. (P: “I love the texture of the abalone contrasting the Ling.”)
P Main – 10; M Main – 9. (M: “The steak was spot on for all of us – great dish.”)
P Dessert – 10; M Dessert – 9.

Grand Total = 88/110. That has to be what’s known as a COMPLETE SMACKDOWN and we were well overdue (Pete pretty liberal with his 10’s though). The Cougar disagrees; she does not abide. Ali & Samuel’s response was pretty good – they seemed genuinely pleased. Tomorrow night it’s the Cougar & Stefano’s turn… and if we’ve anything to remember from last time, it’ll be horrible. Delightful!