My Kitchen Rules – Mon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7
It’s an ominous entry for both Peter & Gary and Carly & Emily. The music is serious. The narration is serious. Helen’s face is serious. Manu & Pete’s welcome is so serious no one can understand a word they’re saying. Manu tells both teams they’re about to go “hat to hat in a sudden death cook-off”. At least those english lessons are paying off. Mostly. “And remember, the loser is going home.” Manu starts by asking P&G what they think of their competition. Peter, the shy retiring one, says, “I think they’re going home.” I wish he wouldn’t hide his opinion behind all those niceties. Gary thinks they’ve got a fair fight now up against the girls who would do anything to stay in the competition. Like cook good food. There’s a lot of trash talk between the teams about who is more experienced vs who is faster when Nic pipes up with first two sentences from the footballer’s interview handbook: “The gloves are off, the knives are out.”
“We must not lose,” Peter reminds Gary, who nods dutifully. Pete reminds them they have to have served their entree in one and a half hours and their time starts now. Well, then. You know what I mean. It started when he said so. C&E just want to cook and make their parents proud, and so are going back to basics with a more traditional Asian menu. P&G want to cook their proudly like their parents, delivering a menu straight from the oft-used 1970’s Women’s Weekly cookbook.
Carly & Emily
Entree – Dumplings with Chinese red vinegar and ginger
Main – Steamed Rock Ling with ginger and soy, snow pea leaves and steamed rice
Dessert – Black Rice Pudding with mango & coconut mousse
Peter & Gary
Entree – Cauliflower & Spinach Soup with damper
Main – Kangaroo Stroganoff with garlic mash and sweet roast baby carrots
Dessert – Custard Tartlets with banana foster
The boys, meanwhile, are dragging the chain somewhat with neither of their entree soups on with 60 minutes to go as the girls kick on making their dumplings (but Pete’s concerned they’re not tasting the dumpling filling – that sneaky package of money delivered by P&G to the judges at the start of the show may be the source of this doubt). 45 minutes – KITCHEN REPORT! Only one soup on, one to yet be made and no damper cooking for the boys; it’s dumpling manufacturing central for the girls, though they did attempt to outsource the dumping making which caused all sorts of consternation within the production team. This is soon all forgotten as the guest judges waltz into Kitchen HQ with Tobie Puttock indicating that they’re late because Grossi wanted to do a few laps of Parramatta’s main drag in his Commodore. You can take the boy out of Blacktown…
The girls finally taste their dumpling mix and they seem happy, if not buoyant that they know they’ll do better than the boys. They just know, don’t question it. Stop with the Carly & Emily hating already. The boys are tripping the light fantastic, with Gary focusing on just one element at a time… which would be perfect if they weren’t cooking to a time limit. He’s finished the spinach soup, tastes it, pours in half of the Dead Sea, and is now panicking about the cauliflower soup which he got on late. At least the dampers are ready.
As we come back from the ad, the Peanut Gallery is applauding and cheering like we’re seeing the end of the 100m sprint, yet this marathon hasn’t even made it past the 20 mile mark. 10 minutes to go and Gary is stressing about his cauliflower soup. Still. The girls have their dumplings in the frypan, and they note they have to turn out perfectly. Flick back to the boys and Gary has put the cauliflower soup in the blender very hot, so it’s spitting and busting out the lid making a mess everywhere, making him even more flustered than before (and that’s saying something). The font of all cooking knowledge Andy tells us he knew it was gonna happen, and also that the sky is blue and Manu is French.Soup is being poured and not looking as good as it should; dumplings are being plated and presentation is looking pretty plain. The clock ticks down the final minute and times out – both teams have plated their entrees. “Man that was stressful!” says Carly, high-fiving Emily. Peter & Gary embraced silently, but we can’t see that as this is a PG rated show. Heaven forbid! The teams deliver their entree to the judges, with a warning they have one hour to present their main course while the pontification begins. Liz speaks very highly of Carly & Emily’s dumplings, as do all the judges. “Those dumplings are close to perfection,” says Manu. Peter & Gary’s soup entree fares pretty well – Karen calls them out for living in the seventies (she means the 1970’s, not that Gary is in his seventies) – and Pete notes “it’s not bad, but not without fault”. Tobie starts in with his crazed view that the soup is a nice dish but “is it enough for this level of the competition”. That’s right, the second elimination cook-off brings with it a very high standard for our amateur cooks.
As if she was on Q&A, Meg yells a question to Peter that’s written on a card in front of her, asking him what he’s making. This television “reality” thing is a lark, innit?! The boys have picked up their pace to that of a snail, and with 10 minutes gone Gary is STILL peeling carrots and Peter is working on the custard for the dessert. What stroganoff?! At least Peter finishes by pouring the custard into the raw/not yet blind baked pastry shells. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that. Eventually Gary starts on the Kangaroo Stroganoff while Emily starts steaming her first pot of rice ever. 30 minutes to go.
Finally, we get to the key element in this entire competition – Peter’s garlic mash. He’s only just peeling the spuds now, so he must have some sort of special technique to cook them or a wayback machine with which to gain extra cooking time, as there’s no way he’ll be ready given the pace at… which… he’s… peeling… each… spud. Gary asks Peter how long it will take for the spuds to cook: “about 20 minutes”. The clock ticks over to 22:59, and he’s in all sorts of pain. He puts the equivalent of the gross domestic product of Uganda in potatoes into the boiling pot and is puzzled why the water stops boiling. It’s very puzzling. Manu and Pete are concerned that they’ve never had a team that’s not delivered a dish, but from where Manu’s looking, it’s gonna happen tonight. That’s good sizzle; cue ad break.
The boys are now moving faster than ever, and Manu pops in for a friendly chat to remind them they have to get something on the plate. The potatoes are off and the mash is turning into a disaster. 5 minutes. It’s slop – Peter’s aghast. “I wouldn’t serve this to my worst enemies, even Carly & Emily,” says Peter, deadpan (to Gary’s chortling. Oh the chortling.). The girls are plating with panic and the boys are panic plating – the mash has been cancelled. As the final seconds tick by, you can taste the relief but licking the screen. The girls present their Asian fish looking fresh and clean; the boys present poo, now with added carrots! As Pete directs the teams to present their desserts in 30 minutes, Peter notes that he’s not worried with what they’ve offered as he thinks the girls have offered something that’s too simple.When the judges taste Carly & Emily’s fish, Liz Egan stops to propose to the portion of fish she’s been served. Everyone else thinks it’s OK – Manu notes there could be more heat on the plate. Before they get a chance to try the boy’s Kangaroo Pooganooff(tm), the newly-engaged Liz notes it’s the worst dish they’ve ever seen at the table. “Let’s hope it tastes better than it looks,” says Pete, trying unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh. The looks on the faces at the judging table suggest someone is punching them in the groin as they eat. “People eat with their eyes first, and then move into flavour, and this dish falls down in both areas,” says Karen Martini out our elbow, as clearly she’s some kind of alien – Eating with your eyes first?! How the hell do you hold the spoon? With your nostril? The other judges are less encouraging. “It’s a complete disaster really,” says Manu. “I don’t know what to say, I’m just really disappointed with Peter & Gary.” Tobie looks at Guy and they jump online and start making a Kony-esque video to warn others of the crimes against humanity of Peter & Gary’s main.
Completely oblivious to the carnage that awaits them, mainly because they failed to taste their Pooganoff(tm) as it cooked, Peter & Gary start discussing what the girls may be presenting for dessert and how their offering will immediately be so much better. Naturally.
“There’s only so many times you can make a chocolate brownie, isn’t there Gaz?” says Peter.
“God, you’re a bitch,” laughs Gary.
At least they’re having fun as their ship is sinking around them. I wonder if they’ll notice when the water gets up to their chests?
Gary is waxing lyrical about “bananas foster” when the timer goes off and they get the tarts out of the oven. It’s a priceless moment as Peter looks at them, wondering why the pastry is so thick and why there seems to be barely a dollop of custard in the middle. You can hear the gears clunking in Peter’s head as he tries to work out why he now has to plate up Failets(tm). They push on nonetheless. With 5 minutes to go everyone’s plating, though for the boys it’s more an exercise in camouflage than prettiness. Time up, everything’s complete, and Gary seems pretty deflated. Peter’s still upbeat: “Is it good enough to win? I hope so.” The teams are sent for a break while the desserts are judged.
The Black Rice Pudding from Carly & Emily is considered sensational by Guy Grossi, and sublime by Liz Egan. “Perfection,” says Pete. The Custard Failets(tm) from Peter & Gary don’t go down so well. The egg white has separated in the cooking process and they’ve ended up with scrambled egg tarts. “When it arrived on table it looked clumsy and way too big,” says Liz. Everyone knows this isn’t good for the boys, but Peter remains confident they’ll be sending Carly & Emily home. What a shock he’s about to get.
After a drama-building walk in from both teams, the scores are offered as thus:
Carly & Emily
Guy Grossi – 8 (“Belissimo!”)
Tobie Puttock – 8
Liz Egan – 9
Karen Martini – 8
Manu Feildel – 9
Pete Evans – 9 (“That dessert was one of the best we’ve come across in the competition.”)
Total score – 51/60.
At this stage, the light and bouncy music changes suddenly as the focus turns to the boys:
Peter & Gary
Guy Grossi – 2 (“The stroganoff didn’t really have time to cook into any sort of sauce.”)
Tobie Puttock – 3 (“I was really, really hoping the dessert was gonna come through but it didn’t.”)
Liz Egan – 3
Karen Martini – 3
Manu Feildel – 3
Pete Evans – 3
Total score – 17/60.
With the boys now leaving, we’re treated to a montage of their finer moments and faux pleasantries from the other contestants – “We’ll miss those guys” – all backed by a Lady Gaga soundtrack. I’m not sure what the producers are trying to say, but “Edge of Glory”? Fittingly, the final words are left to Peter:
“Is there anyone who can be as honest as us?” asks Gary.
“Nope,” says Peter.
Hang on, pushy Manu is back. “Teams, it’s time to turn the heat in this competition right up,” he says. They’re all off to Tropical North Queensland, where ever more twists, turns, drama and Thomas await.