My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7
After saying goodbye to Mick & Matt last night, the teams felt a deep emptiness. How would they overcome their sorrow at losing their favourite father/son/brother combo? By throwing themselves into an offsite challenge at Taronga Zoo, of course, where the teams will have to prepare lunch for 200 kids AND they have to be delicious and nutritious and basically uninteresting to kids. THIS IS THE BEST!…

Reeling. Gutted. Two words that could not be used to describe how the teams feel as they’re all on a ferry headed to “somewhere”. Samuel supposes they’re going cook for the PM – because, after all, she got her own ferry jetty installed just for this challenge. Dickhead. Craig even attempts to make a joke about meeting Kerrie at the zoo, but by the time he gets to the punchline everyone’s turned away and moved on to other things.

CUB Melina is giving big ups for animals and Elle is ready to sell the land out from under the animals feet. Taronga Zoo won’t know what hit it. Pete welcomes the teams to Targona Zoo. He and Manu have had training on putting extended pauses into the middle of sentences where they really

don’t belong. Joanna’s excited because “if anyone knows how to cook for kids, it’s me”. That’s right, because she’s a mum, she knows how to cook for TWO HUNDRED of the little bastards.

Pete reminds the teams that kids can be really tough critics, especially when they get fed nutritious food. Luke & Scott reckon they have it in the bag, and so does the Sausage King and his Queen. Joanna would be gutted if she and cupcake were sent back to elimination after only surviving last night.

Kerrie & Craig are stuffed already because this challenge involves remembering what it was like to feed little kids and the early-onset Alzheimers is taking it’s toll. “We reckon Luke & Scott have got this in the bag because they’re very nutritious themselves,” says Sam, taking a bite out of Luke’s quadricep.

Given the teams need to deliver a “delicious and nutritious” meal for the kids and their vote plays a part, these menus are already fraught with danger:
Cupcake & Joanna – Chicken drumsticks with corn on the cob
Ashlee & Lispy – Meatball sub with tomato and herb salad
Dan & Steph – “Zooshi” with miso buttered corn
Jake & Elle – Chicken & Cheese Taquitos with mexican rice & guacamole
Kerrie & Craig – “Hungry Caterpillar” lettuce herb balls with lamb skewers and tzatziki
Luke & Scott – Spelt Pasta Bolognese with broccoli smash
Angela & Melina – “Funky Monkey Muffins” with sea salted popcorn
Josh & Andi – “Baboon Beef Burgers” with zucchini fries
Ali & Samuel – Chicken skewers with stir fried vegetables
Sam & Chris – Pork & Vegie Sausage Rolls with oven baked chips & salad

Cupcake is living in a deluded world where she thinks they have this one in the bag. Joanna gets great satisfaction from seeing her kids eat healthy food whenever she takes them out to KFC for dinner. Just the best feeling. Lispy reminds us that the meatballs are the “core element” of their meatball sub. No asian subs here – a real shame as they know Asian subs have better technology but the least legroom of all the undersea warships.

Dan’s sausage moment is calling their sushi “Zooshi”. It makes sense to him. How “delightful”. Jake & Elle figure they’ll be their biggest challenge. At least their food is “funky and hip”.

Manu & Pete deliver their latest scripted interchange with all the skill of a typing platypus. At least Kerrie & Craig are targeting it at the right age group in their meal marketing – or are they? Kerrie’s gotta make some heads before making the bodies and Craig’s just uncomfortable because he’s looking at Kerrie’s balls and thinking “why are hers bigger than mine?”.

Luke & Scott remind us their both personal trainers and so they take off their shirts as this prep is as good as any workout. Luke spells out why spelt pasta is so much better than normal pasta, and it has something to do with his six pack. CUBs Angela & Melina were too busy staring at Luke & Scott to realise they are preparing something that isn’t food, though it was Angela’s favourite when she was a kid.

Cue Ashlee & Lispy’s catty comments about Angela & Melina’s dish. They’ve already worked out their safe just based on their food choice. Also Lispy thinks that kids don’t lie… what a nice magical land she lives in.

Manu pops by to see what the hipsters are preparing and all his fears are allayed when he learns there’s beef in the burger and not baboons. Andi’s particularly proud of her zucchini fries – at least she will be until the kids realise they’ve been duped. Ali & Samuel prefer cooking asian food and Pete knows kids love things on a stick – insert your own gag here.

Joanna hopes that kids eat with their eyes initially. It’s not as messy. Cupcake has learned from experience that though she loves pink, pink chicken could kill. There’s always a downside, I guess.

Sam & Chris are hoping to deliver vegies by stealth – one bite & you’re sold, kiddies! The heat is getting to everyone with the stainless steel benches proving to reflect more heat than absorb it. Fancy that. Josh has finally worked out why the tuckshop ladies were always so angry – it’s because he’s a pain in the arse.

Pete notes that corn has popped up in two dishes this morning, and that one plus one equals two.

“Babez, what sauce are you cooking?”
“None of your business, babez.”
“How are the meatballs, babez?”

The claws are well out between the CUBs and the Angry Asian Lesbians. All Pete and Manu can do is look on and wonder how dense the muffins will be. Luke & Scott are bringing their food back to basics because kid’s taste buds are under developed – that’s not what Joanna thinks (mind you, she’s running well out of time).

Kerrie notes her balls are the best balls she’s ever seen. Craig likes the black balls AND he likes the lettuce balls Kerrie is cooking. Jake & Elle are starting to fight over the amount of chilli in their rice. The new Spice Girls are covering themselves in spicy glory.

15 minutes to go and the kids are called in and the teams start to freak out. It’s like it’s become real. Amidst this Ashlee and Lispy are prepping their meatball subs and are pretty pleased with themselves, until Lispy knocks their tray of meatballs on the ground. Having never fed kids before they write the dropped balls off as now unusable… little do they know what kids really eat. Now the pressure’s on to make more balls. Babez.

Melina’s dressing the muffins so they look like monkeys. Ashlee & Lispy are worried the monkeys look like them on Saturday night with dilated pupils and a severe drug habit.

Elle’s worried about the taquitos – she races over and has managed to burn a couple but most of the others are salvageable. Oh, it’s such a pain to have to walk 20 steps to to check your oven, eh? Samuel’s become superman who can handle a burnt hand and cook seven things at once.

Joanna’s really happy with how the chicken is looking with 5 minutes to go, but on closer inspection it’s not cooked all the way through. “I can’t served pink chicken to kids,” she laments. She thought about it though.

Lots of plating and prep taking place in the dying minutes of the challenge. Steph’s rolling sushi while Joanna feels like rolling over. Jake grabs their second tray of taquitos and tells Elle they have to be served. There’s corners cut and shortcuts shortcut and Kerrie & Craig are not in a good place.

The kids & and the hosts countdown the final 5 seconds and the kids are let loose on the unsuspecting amateur chefs. They’re hungry but seem to have remembered their manners at least. “It’s gonna be epic,” says Jake.

The kids are proving to be indiscriminate in their choices – they’re just grabbing at the prepared meals. Well, most of the meals. Angela & Melina have realised they’ve skewed too young with their “Funky Monkey Muffins” because nobody is picking them up. The Babez are getting lots of customers though.

Manu tries to eat the meatball sub, but can’t get his mouth around it. The bolognese is determined to be to bland by the judges. They do like the “zooshi” though.

There’s a bottleneck at Sam & Chris’s table as the kids are kept waiting for chips – the serves given to the judges are all undercooked. Cupcake & Joanna’s chicken looks to be a winner with the kids AND the judges. Still no love for Angela & Melina. They can’t even hold a kid down and force it down their throat. Manu thinks the muffin is a bit dense, and he doesn’t understand the popcorn.

Ali & Samuel can’t push many of their skewers either. Pete says the presentation is a let down and flavour-wise it doesn’t hit the mark. Jake & Elle’s re-branding as chicken wraps helps with the kids – the judges think it’s not bland but not spicy. Pete & Manu just can’t abide the hungry caterpillar.

There’s rave reviews on the zucchini fries and burgers from Josh & Andi. As the time ticks away there’s all sorts of methods being used to get rid of all the food. Craig even stops talking in the hope it’ll help. Not like anyone was listening anyway.

The kids are sent to vote and with all the teams looking there hope in some camps and complete desperation from others. Add to that the pressure of the announcement of things! Why must competitions be so competitive?!

“Children can be tough critics,” says Manu, “And I’m a kid too.”

The judges already have their favourites:
Jake & Elle’s taquitos were fun, fresh and it proves their quite the force in this competition.
Cupcake & Joanna’s chicken was very nice and the accompaniments made for a great meal.
Ashlee & Lispy’s meatball sub was too big, but the balls tasted fantastic.
Ali & Samuel’s chicken skewers was not the amazing food the judges are used to.
Sam & Chris’s sausage rolls were undercooked and the chips were yuck.
Dan & Steph’s zooshi gets big ticks all round.
Luke & Scott’s bolognese was deemed to be nutritious but not delicious.
Kerrie & Craig’s lamb & lettuce balls didn’t deliver like the judges expected.
Angela & Melina’s muffins were recognised to have skewed too young and “popcorn is not cooking”.
Josh & Andi’s burgers was “absolutely wonderful” according to Pete – the dish of the day from both judges.

Pete decides that he is old enough to be the person who was told “never work with children or animals” – just as well the teams didn’t work with either. Dan’s deluded enough to think the kids loved his “zooshi” the most. Cupcake & Joanna scored the children’s choice and they’re overwhelmed. A reasonable win for big effort. Joanna offers a piece to camera like she’s the coach of Collingwood now.

Manu tells the teams it was a difficult decision to determine which team has been sent into elimination this week. Poor old Ali & Samuel will have to “cook for their lives” in two night’s time after their chicken skewered them. Angela & Melina are sick of only just scraping through. Ashlee & Lispy are disappointed Ali & Samuel are through to elimination as it means it’s not Angela & Melina. Charming.

It’s back to Kitchen HQ for all the other teams to work together to deliver a four course meal. There’s soaring highs and sickening lows… Delicious!