My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7
It’s a unique round as the teams have the chance to get their passports stamped twice, landing now in Tasmania. Megan & Andy are going into this round with high hopes and a very dirty gene pool, but there’s all sorts of conniving & bitchiness strategy in play within the opposing teams. Will Megan & Andy triumph despite their obvious flaws?

After beating Ke$ha to death with her own microphone stand – how annoying is that song?! – it’s time for M&A to go for a relaxing walk along the beach. Megan’s feeling a lot more confident, and Pete & Manu remind us that their time management & ability to follow a recipe was very poor last time. REMEMBER THE EGGS, MEGS! Emma continues to remind us she has the ability to state the bleeding obvious, suggesting M&A will want to improve on their last instant restaurant attempt. You think?!

M&A are playing to Tasmania’s strengths (and Gary’s distaste) by featuring Southern Australian seafood. Entree – Seared Scallops on Pork Crackling; Main – Bouillabaisse; Dessert – Sticky Date Cheesecake (oo-er!). Andy tells the butcher to take the fat off the pork skin as that’ll help it crackle. No, it won’t, and Megan gives him a sideways look suggesting as much. Andy also espouses the marriage of flavours between pork and scallops saying very few people know about how good it tastes. Until now. They set up their instant restaurant “Baggy Green” again, and the clock starts ticking for their three hour prep time.

Megan’s working on dessert, and Andy is working on the Bouillabaisse, singing all the while “Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads, fish heads, fish heads, eat ’em up, YUM!”. The then mumbles something about his “precioussssss” and stands guard over the pot. Manu is expecting great things from the main as the recipe is close to his heart. He pulls his smartphone out of his jacket pocket and shows the recipe on his phone to the camera.

That's an awfully fishy soup

While making the cheesecake Megan suddenly realises she may have forgotten something already, and defers to the recipe: “Add onions and fish heads”. With a puzzled look she realises she’s looking at Andy’s Bouillabaisse recipe and ignores that too. In next to no time the cheesecakes are done and Megan whacks them into the fridge while Andy moans about how Peter & Gary come across as arrogant, always suggesting they’re better than everyone else. Andy proceeds to tell Megan how much better they are than Peter & Gary.

The crackle has been scored and oiled, but doesn’t go in the oven as they rush off to get changed. On returning they’ve minutes so one tray of skin goes in the oven and Megan is worried there’s not gonna be enough stock for 12 people. Andy’s calm. Megan’s not. She checks the oven to see the crackling isn’t uniform and starts panicking further. Megan thinks the crackle looks like it is burning when BONG BONG – the guests arrive.

“Oh my gawd!” exclaims Megan, regressing into her natural bogan state.

Surprise, surprise cricket isn’t one of Thomas’s favourite sports, so he’s turned off the entire experience already. Simon’s finding it hard to be in a room with all the green & gold. Emma & Andrew are just happy to be out of Western Australia. In the kitchen the second batch of crackling is different to the first, when BONG BONG the judges arrive. Pete launches straight into the cricket cliches: “Megan & Andy had a pretty rough innings in their first instant restaurant round…” You can tell this is gonna be a long night already.

Thomas thinks the menu is too simplistic; Peter & Gary note the competition between NZ and Tasmania given the seafood similarity in menu. Andy’s fiddling with the crackling again (really should have left a little bit of fat on that skin, hey Andy?) and burns a few of them under the grill. Gary notes Thomas still has a way to go in building his food knowledge (ME-OW!), so offers him a copy of the cookbook he and Peter are planning to release post their MKR journey. At the table everyone’s joking about how to cook scallops, except for Peter & Gary who don’t engage in such “silliness”. “EVerything’s at stake here, baby,” says Megan as she plates the entree. Methinks she’s forgotten there’s two more dishes to deliver yet.

Crack is whack. When will people learn these simple truths?

Entree is served, and Gary notes that serving the reduction in a chinese spoon is “a bit naff, but everyone seems to be doing it”. No question the crackling is crunchy as that’s all you hear when the judges take a mouthful. Pete offers this is the kind of food he’s been looking for. Manu thought the dish was great and just wanted more of it. M&A are off to finalise mains while the guests discuss entree – Gary thinks it is a difficult dish with the crackling; Scott thinks it’s a great dish. Peter notes Emma & Andrew judge the people rather than the food (read into that what you will).

Finalising the Bouillabaisse Andy notes Manu will be the harshest critic at the table. When Manu asks Scott what he thinks of the impending main, he’s quite frank:

“Manu, this is a blind date with a Frenchman recommended to me by a friend I don’t like.”
Army. Gold.

He explains the “blind date” is he doesn’t know what he’s getting, and the “friend he doesn’t like” is that he doesn’t like soups. Meanwhile, Megan tries “helping” by bunging the mussels in the soup before Andy was ready for them. There’s a near domestic, but that’s averted by Megan trying to dish seafood out of the pot while checking the croutons under the grill – she’s become a one-man dinner-wrecking machine. Cue Manu to the kitchen. He’s worried as it’s called a “bouillabaisse” but that’s not what Andy is preparing. Stupid stickler for cooking culture tradition. After Megan faffs with the plating, it’s time for service. Gary will be so pleased.

Manu starts by making it clear: this is far from a bouillabaisse, and the side is far from a roullie. That said, Andy’s passion for the dish blew Manu away (though that may have been Megan while he was talking with Andy) and he thinks it’s a great dish. Pete raves to the same degree. Andy’s stoked: “I had a little tear in my eye. This is one of the best moments of my life.” Andy doesn’t get out much. As he and Megan return to the kitchen they’re really happy, and ready to deliver a spectacular dessert.

Meanwhile, the mood at the table is mixed. Scott loved it; Peter & Gary think it’s sub-par; Thomas thought it was no more than vegetable soup. David & Scott have stopped listening to Thomas as he’s just negative all the time. Megan’s furiously pretending she can do maths as she prepares the sauce for the cheesecake. She knows it’s gonna be rich, but doesn’t want to deliver too little (also known as the “Paris Hilton measure”).

All the guests are concerned the dessert is gonna be too sweet, while Andy offers the dessert is so good he’s gonna take it to the pool room… which, conveniently, is where the instant restaurant is located. He’s sure it’ll pull 8 or 9 out of 10. With all the pomp and ceremony of a Tasmanian royal wedding, Andy announces: “Dessert is ready n’ that.” Andrew thinks their presentation is pretty fancy; Emma reinforces this is why Andrew is never in charge of plating. Andy’s confident Manu’s gonna like the cheesecake because “there’s heaps of sauce on it and we know how much Manu loves sauce”.

Pete says of the three dishes tonight, dessert is the one he’s enjoyed the least. It’s too much. Manu just shakes his head in disappointment, though the creme fraiche helped freshen the dish (“a good call”). As M&A dissect the judges comments in the kitchen the guests dig in and deliver their first impressions. No one has anything nice to say about it except the ever-positive Scott. David has seemingly become mute the past two episodes.

Judgement! Everyone pretty much loves the first two dishes, but felt dessert was a let down. Team WA 2 – 6; Team Qld 2 – 6; Team Qld 1 – 7; Team Vic – 7; Team NZ – Sucks (6). Total score 32/50. “We’re going into this with high hopes that we could well be leading after tonight,” says Megan. Pete and Manu scored:
P Entree – 9; M Entree – 8 (“The look of the scallop is really important, and you did a great job tonight.”)
P Main – 9; M Main – 8
P Dessert – 4; M Dessert – 5
Overall score: 75/110
Clearly Megan is the weakest link of this team. This places M&A 2 points behind Team NZ, and safe from elimination in this round. Everybody heads into the night, preparing to fly across the country to Team WA 2’s Emma & Andrew who will deliver another fine example of why chemistry and food do not mix.