My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7

That's no way to treat an 80's gaming icon.

Last night Angela & Justine were deemed to be the least impressive, and therefore most qualified to join the jury and judge their peers. Does anyone else see the logic flaw in that? You’re bad so go and nominate who else is bad but slightly better than you as they’re still in the competition. Go figure. But enough! Away to Kitchen HQ where one team is judged to be worse than all the remaining teams! Cook like the wind, old friend…

The teams parade in to meet an already assembled Pete & Manu and the jury. Peter looks at his watch as if to suggest they’re all late and keeping him from his next appointment, then looks down his nose at them all. He was made to be Juror number one. The judges recap how it’s happening, and Carla reminds us she has no issue in dealing with the sizeable serving of power that’s been plated and presented to her as a member of the jury. No issue at all.

The teams are sent to their benches to discover tonight’s key ingredient. On retrieving the parcel from the fridge, everyone else discovers they have a wheel of cheese but David & Scott have instead received 80’s gaming icon Pac-Man. A ghost also scurries from the paper when the Qld boys aren’t looking. Manu tells the teams they’ll have access to all variety of cheese: round, big, small, stinky, soft, watery, bland – but they’ve only got an hour to prepare and present the dish for judgement.

The crush in the storeroom is expected as the teams scurry for ingredients and, for those that know where to look, hope. Some teams have chosen wisely, others have picked any old thing and figured if they add cheese it’d be better (Idiots! That’s bacon!):

Leigh & Princess Jen – Four Cheese Borek with parsnip skordalia
Steve & Helen – Cheese and Spinach Gozleme with Cypriot salad
David & Scott – Seafood Mornay with rough puff pastry
Megan & Andy – Cheese Arancini Balls with tomato relish
Carly & Emily – Four Cheese Ravioli with Basil Pesto
Nic & Rocco – Lemon Curd Cheesecake with Italian meringue

They're working hard to become the "Pasta Kings".

The girls from SA know exactly what they’re doing and hop straight to it – working with a purpose makes all the difference. The NSW siblings are straight into it as well, with Steve additionally crowning himself the ‘Dough King’. My kingdom for a horse to tie him to and send the whacky Cypriot packing. The Qld boys are looking for their pastry to take their dish to another level, so the scaffolding has commenced and David is busy getting clearance from WorkSafe NSW.

“That sauce is looking bloody good, Darl,” offers Megan. Andy’s stressing already because she’s started the arancini mixture and he felt she should have followed a different process. Methinks the ‘Seafood King’ needs to take a step back on this one, as the Dairy Queen is in the house. Not showing a hint of jealousy Meg lectures us all about how hard it is to cook in an elimination and thinks it’s time for the teams that haven’t had a go (Leigh & Princess Jen; David & Scott; Nic & Rocco) to line up tonight. Again, maths was never her strong point. David is having all sorts of problems with his rough puff so Meg may get her wish – he’s pulled it out of the oven and it’s not light at all, it’s buggered. Stuffed rough puff with no fluff.

30 minutes has already scooched by, but Carly & Emily are taking it in their stride. They want to take the ‘Italian Mummas’ crown away from Nic & Rocco who recently deposed them as the ‘Asian Queens’. The boys from SA are happily working away again as pastry chefs, but as Nic tells us “the smallest detail is important so we have to make sure we’ve got everything perfect on that plate”. Even though they’re serving the cheesecake in glasses. Even Manu thinks the boys are hard pressed making a dessert. Rocco decides the freezer is the best place to speed the chilling process for this cheesecakes given they’re fast running out of time.

“It’s all about the cheese, Steve,” says Helen, and he returns her the cheesiest smile he’s got. How I wish he’d said they were going down to Edam town. David & Scott are struggling with 20 minutes to go, but after adding a little more cheese to the mornay, Scott’s happy he’s got it right (drip of cheese sauce on his chin and all). “Come on Scotty Hottie,” says Carla, blowing him a big kiss. “We love youse Carls & Em,” says Thomas. Talk about cheesy, and that’s just from the jury.

Mmm... cheesecake...

Nic & Rocco are feeling the pinch as their Italian meringue is going to take some time to cool, and Peter lectures us on the correct use of the blender and how it doesn’t need the permanent attention that Leigh seems to be giving it. “When you’re in a high pressure situation like this the blender can look after itself,” he says. Leigh’s ears must be burning as she stops to look at he skordalia she’s preparing and then looks away as it continues to mix. Megan is feeling the pressure of she and Andy having eliminated Thomas & Carla and Angela & Justine, expecting some sort of payback to come their way soon. Sooner than she thinks, more likely.

A fast food restaurant chain remind us that just as the contestants have used vine-ripened tomatoes in their cooking tonight, so do they. They may well do, but the contestants aren’t contributing to the obesity epidemic gripping the nation – not yet, anyway. 5 minutes left and the final cooking and plating chaos has begun and it slips by all to quickly. David & Scott have left they’re run far too late and are putting their Mornays under the grill with 40 seconds to go. Time finally expires, and while everyone has plated successfully not everything is cooked thoroughly. “Oh my goodness,” (or words to that effect) expresses David. He notes they didn’t give up because that’s what the Army breeds into them. He also notes that near enough isn’t ever good enough and expects pots and pans duty for the next 12 months on returning to the Corps.

The judges and the jury get their chance to taste the cheesy delights. Megan & Andy’s arancini balls are a success for the judges, but the jury think the blue cheese overpowers it. Carly & Emily’s ravioli is considered to be the best pasta that’s been had in the competition by Pete & Manu, which Thomas & Carla agree with. David & Scott’s mornay is hung, morn and quartered for the inclusion of raw scallops and untoasted breadcrumbs, though the mornay sauce comes in for some compliments. Not that the jury agree.

Leigh & Princess Jen’s borek is considered a beautiful dish by Pete & Manu, though there was maybe too much skordalia. “It tastes like a plate of glue,” says a not-bitter-at-all Angela. Nic & Rocco’s cheesecake get some criticism for uncooked meringue and a lemon curd that’s less sharp than it should be, but it’s a good use of cheese. Angela & Justine agree this is far from Nic & Rocco’s best dessert dish. Steve & Helen’s gozleme is a star – the pastry being light and crispy gets a special mention.

"No, we're not happy with that score..."

The jury cast their lots and Judas is paid off with thirty silver coins. Let no aspersions be cast – while the jury may be couching their scoring in lofty ideals, their comments prove they are playing the bitchy card. It’s no surprise the jury decide Leigh & Princess Jen are considered to have delivered the worst dish tonight, with a piddling score of 13/60. Given the opportunity to speak, Peter takes it and offers: “We, the jury, have found you guilty of not meeting the brief, and of laziness. We feel that one of you is not pulling your weight. Secondly, if you went into a Chinese restaurant you would not get just one spring roll; you would expect a couple on the plate.” I’d like to say I made any part of that up, but can only stand amazed at Peter and his ability to amaze us all with his commentary.

Princess Jen feels the jury have taken the decision too personally now that Leigh is starting to tear up. Pete & Manu decide that David & Scott will face off against the girls from SA – not because they delivered a bad dish, but simply because some elements weren’t great. Princess Jen doesn’t want to cook off against them, so much so she starts crying too. Then Manu starts crying, and once he’s crying it’s a veritable waterfall from the rest of the ladies and Thomas.

David & Scott and Leigh & Princess Jen are given an hour to deliver a signature dish, and they’re off and all racing straight into the storeroom to collect the ingredients they’ll need to stay in this competition. The signature dishes are no surprise:

David & Scott – Lobster with gnocchi and seafood sauce
Leigh & Princess Jen – Mulloway with celeriac puree and beurre rouge


“If we can’t win with this dish, we can’t win with any,” says Scott.
“I don’t want to box against David & Scott, but we have to fight this one out,” says Leigh already punch drunk.

There’s lots of concern over the selection of red wine sauce to go with the seafood the girls have chosen, but they’re confident they can prove everyone wrong today. That or they’ll be proving themselves wrong. Either way, someone’s wrong and it’s not me. The boys bang on their reduction ASAP so that it can simmer down for the first 30 minutes, and even though they admit they normally cook this dish in 90 they’re confident they can accelerate it to 60. Scott likes picking up what David is putting down in a metaphorical sense, and David’s busy picking up after Scott in a literal sense.

“This celeriac is just like my first nose – so ugly, but with some work it becomes quite palatable,” says Princess Jen. She’s busy pin-boning the mulloway fillet without much success, despite Megan shouting from the Peanut Gallery how to do it properly. Normally there’s staff to prepare the fish for the Princess at home anyway. Scott’s worried the gnocchi isn’t cooking properly but David tastes one and assures him it’s ok. After all they have to bung it in the pan to fry off gently anyway. There’s celeriac being sieved and lobster tails being iced, and with 10 minutes to go the guest judges swan in ready to eat one team alive.

“Five minutes to go and we’ve got nothing on the plate,” says Scott. The girls are focusing on their zucchini flower garnish and time is evaporating. Everyone not cooking counts down and both teams have, again, successfully completed their dishes (as far as they’re concerned). But first we need to know what a group of their superiors think.

"I think the flower detracts from the presentation..."

The judges start with the boy’s lobster and they can’t gush enough. If I hear Guy Grossi talk about a sauce having a “depth of flavour” again, someone will find him drowning in a depth of flavour. Liz Egan thinks her lobster was cooked perfectly. Manu thinks the gnocchi could have done with a couple more seconds in the pan. “It’s top quality,” says Pete. The girl’s mulloway is met with ‘mmms’ and comments of about the perfectly cooked fish. Grossi doesn’t like the use of the zucchini flower, but Karen Martini disagrees and a fight breaks out. Tables are upturned and there’s scratching & biting. Did you think Grossi would fight fair?

After the commotion calms down, the teams are summoned and their fate is delivered. “I feel like we’re gonna go home,” says Leigh. “I think it’s gonna be close,” says Scott. Can they both be right?

David & Scott
Guy Grossi – 8 (“Overall, beautiful fragrant prawn sauce.”)
Tobie Puttock – 8
Liz Egan – 8
Karen Martini – 8 (“The lobster was definitely the star of your dish.”)
Manu Feildel – 9 (“The gnocchi needed a little more frying to caramelise them.”)
Pete Evans – 8
Total score – 49/60.

Leigh & Princess Jen
Guy Grossi – 8
Tobie Puttock – 9 (“Each element was executed perfectly.”)
Liz Egan – 8 (“I love celeriac and yours was silky and smooth.”)
Karen Martini – 9
Manu Feildel – 9
Pete Evans – 9 (“You spent a lot of time on presentation tonight – I commend you on that.”)
Total score – 52/60.

At ease, boys. That'll do.

That’s a tough one – two big scores and David & Scott are sent packing and Leigh & Princess Jen are teary as they’re losing friends from the competition. “They are just great Aussie blokes,” says Leigh. Their farewell montage shows two hard-working good guys who’ve had a lot of fun. “We’ll see youse all tomorrow then,” says Scott as he and David leave through the fake front door for the final time.

Tomorrow night, it’s the final elimination this week, which will leave four teams in the competition and very few days left this season. Will the jury play the race card and call “Uno!”? Go fish.