My Kitchen Rules – Mon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7
Tonight it’s Instant Restaurant #3 in Perth with Josh & Andi. They love cooking together… if by “together” you mean Andi makes it up and Josh is anally retentive when it comes to following rules. Oh, and they have actual friends too, though if you were to ask them you’d get a blank stare and some mumbling about how “nobody really has friends, just acquaintances you regularly hang out with”.
At the shops Andi realises they need to buy everything so they’re prepared, but Josh reminds her they have a menu they’re working to that includes Moroccan Chicken with couscous for their main. “But we’ll need all the couscous,” insists Andi. Josh gives her a knowing look and shakes his head with smirk like they’ve been there before. They’re the original odd couple.
Manu thinks their menu sounds quite beautiful when sung to him by Kate Miller-Heidke. Pete is expecting lots of exotic and strong flavours, including some organic water.
Andi is thrown by the fact that the usual couscous they cook with isn’t available so they have to get something else. Josh is concerned but positive. Andi wants more limes “just because”. Josh is positively concerned. Mick thinks that Josh has Andi’s thumbprint squarely on his forehead. Craig says something but no one pays any attention.
After a quick visit to a butcher well out of their way, J&A return home in time to unpack and rush into setting up their Instant Restaurant “Black Champagne” (in a sarcastic way). There’s lots of candles, antique books, and a man sitting in the corner writing break-up poetry to his imaginary girlfriend. “We want people to get to know us for who we are,” says Andi.
Lisa is expecting big things, but is ready to be disappointed.
With two and a half hours left to prep, J&A swing into preparing what seems to be a fairly pedestrian menu:
Entree – Dukkah Crusted Lamb with radish tzatziki
Main – Moroccan Chcicken with harissa and vegetable couscous
Dessert – Chocolate Fondant with coffee creme anglaise
Andi picks a task at random and whacks a bunch of brazil nuts on a tray to roast. This is awesome except they don’t need that many and they need hazelnuts instead. “It’s a combination of Miss Winging It and Mr Recipe,” Andi laughs. Josh is too busy to talk as he’s compensating for Andi’s inability to see anything to completion already.
“If I wanna chuck a bit of this and a bit of that in, I will,” says Andi, pouring dishwasher soap in the dukkah mix. She’s got the cutest little double chin in profile.
Josh has managed to ruin the chicken for the main already as he’s added too much tumeric – not so bad normally except you only get to add it once to the meat. Josh did an Andi and can’t remember what he added so Andi tries to fix it by adding flavours they don’t normally add with the hope it’ll probably fix it. Maybe.
Moving from one disaster to the next Josh is making the anglaise for the dessert and while it looks to be mostly successful we won’t know until later. Andi’s made the harissa and it tastes nothing like it normally does – right now it’s more of an Effie.They’re primping and prettying themselves as the doorbell rings… this is a great sign that the wheels are falling off already. Meanwhile everyone is waiting at the front door while allows Jessie & Biswa to start whining about what may have gone wrong. “They don’t look good, which is good for us,” says Jake to Elle.
Everyone else seems to be impressed though Jake thinks their country-meets-chic – “ca-chic” – decor leaves a lot to be desired. After all he’s a young man with discerning tastes and little care for anyone else’s feelings.
J&A misinterpret everyone’s good vibes as a sign they’re going well. How wrong they are.
The lamb production line kicks in and it’s at that moment Andi realises that not working to a recipe will leave her high and dry with her dukkah mix. “Should we just serve one?” Andi asks Josh in a panic. BING BONG – Pete & Manu are here.
There’s no explanation as to what “Black Champagne” means, so Jake & Elle think the menu doesn’t match the decor. Jessie & Biswa think it’s a ‘play it safe’ menu. The kitchen reveals the dukkah crisis has reached fever pitch. Will guests only get one or two?
Manu asks Stefano what he’s expecting of the entree. “Something something something” is what Jessie & Biswa hear but that’s all they need to rabbit on about how lovely Stefano is.
The plating for the entree done (everyone only gets one cutlet!) you can hear the level of underwhelmedness from the other contestants – it’s not enough and they’ve not even tasted it. “There’s a fine line between entree, appetiser and me not giving a shit,” says Jake. Craig aka David Brent thanks them insincerely for delivering the meal.
Mick’s upset – only one cutlet and he’s hungry, and the pomergranate jewels make him think the plate has acne. Jake’s been transported to the “koh-fey club”.
Despite the small serving, Pete thinks Josh is a clever dick. DISH, sorry, it’s a clever dish. He’s really impressed and thinks it’s a great start. Manu, on the other hand, isn’t happy because one isn’t enough. It’s good and the portion is too light. He also says something about the pomegranate but it’s too hard to hear as we’re all lost in his eyes.
As the others tuck in, Jessie & Biswa remind us again they’re the “Spice Girls” and complain about something, while Jake has some biting remark about the tzatziki that just reminds us that he’s gonna “nail it” at some point – perhaps he already has in the tzatziki.
Hopes buoyed by their successful entree, J&A are straight into the vegie prep for the main. Andi’s cooking “intuitively” again and Josh is onto cooking the now nuclear over-tumeric-ed chicken. There’s jokes about breasts and Stefano and Manu and everyone titters politely because they men have accents. Jessie & Biswa continue to shower themselves in glory by revealing they don’t like everything.Andi’s wasted three packets of couscous and now has only one packet left which she promptly ruins. They know they can’t serve their main without one of the key elements. In the restaurant Lisa is ready to stab Jessie & Biswa in the eye for their intentional flirting with her boyfriend.
The chicken’s in the pan and it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near successful. They plate (noting the harissa doesn’t smell like what it should – no tasting) and deliver, noting that “a little variation on the main is served” and everyone can tell instantly the couscous is missing. THE COUSCOUS IS MISSING! WHO WILL THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!?
Pete & Manu masticate their meal with raised brows and puzzled faces. Manu wants to know what happened with the couscous. “I added too much water,” offers Andi, and Manu reminds them they should always have a plan B and have a spare packet. “I had a few,” mumbles Andi. It’s become a moment on Dr Phil’s couscous special.
J&A are reminded that everyone – EVERYONE – is looking forward to dessert now.
Pete aims squarely at the chicken death-by-tumeric – there was just too much on the meat and it ruins the flavour. Jessie makes a scene just in smelling the capsicum as if you’d think she was allergic to nuts and had just eaten a snickers bar. Craig Brent smiles and sees the opportunity to put he and Kerrie in a better position at the end of the day (after all, he’s sick of missionary and she’s not very creative).
The hipsters regroup and prepare to start dessert. But they can’t find the dessert. Cue 10 minute search. They find it, then they go looking for the icing sugar (“We bought it at the sponsor’s supermarket”) and Josh is dispatched to the car to see if they left it there. He races off in the wrong direction down the street.
At the table the talk has turned to dessert expectations. These dinner parties turn on a knife edge, so to cut the tension Pete & Manu ask around the table what they hope for the final dish. “I just hope it’s not a cake,” says Jessie. “I just hope that there’s no chocolate,” says Biswa.
Jake loves chocolate like he loves being bitchy. “I hope they have more luck with it than they did with the couscous,” he offers. The rest of the table erupt with cat-calls and labels of “Jake the snake”. Just as well they read my recap from Monday.
No icing sugar in the car, but Andi has found a small amount in the cupboard. Never fear, flour and cocoa will more than make up for the shortfall! “Maybe this whole winging it thing is starting to pay off?!” she gloats. They panic about the fondants rising, then move to the panic around amount of anglaise they don’t have.
They grab the fondants out of the oven and they look… sad and flat. Jake notes their presentation is “As bland as their personality.” Elle laughs. A fist flies in from stage left and takes them both out. At least Matt is a little positive and suggests something they could have done.
Pete’s fondant was overcooked. It tasted great but it was a little bit over. Manu questions if this was how it was supposed to look – icing sugar aside, it was a great fondant. A beautiful dessert with a little more presentation and he thinks they’d have it nailed. So much hope offered by the judges, and so little support given J&A by their fellow contestants.Manu notes Biswa has inhaled her fondant and questions her love (or lack thereof) of chocolate. She offers her mind has been changed by this dish, and not just on chocolate as she gives Kerrie a knowing wink.
As with all reality competitions, it comes time for the judging to take place by those least skilled to do so…
Kerrie & Craig – 7.
Jessie & Biswa – 6.
Lisa & Stefano – 6.
Jake & Elle – 5. (“The main was all over the place.”)
Mick & Matt – 5. (“I like the flavour in the lamb, there just wasn’t enough.”)
Guest total = 29/50. “We’re all walking away looking for a pizza or something and that’s not normally what happens after a restaurant night,” says Mick, who is the only one that can be believed given his straight-forward, non-gameplaying attitude. J&A are happy with that (it’s gotta be as good as they can expect). But it’s not over until the overly-skinny-Australian-chef-who-loves-activated-almonds sings. But first a recap for the television impaired.
P Entree – 9; M Entree – 8. (M – “I just wish I had two cutlets.”)
P Main – 4; M Main – 3. (M – “The vegetables were plonked on the plate with no love.”)
P Dessert – 7; M Dessert – 8.
Grand Total = 68/110. At this point you’d have to start thinking either the judges are getting a whole other meal presented to them or the other contestants are delivering overly harsh critiques. Kerrie’s pretty pleased that they’re ahead of them and, to be fair, who can blame her. You’d hate to be behind the hipsters on the leaderboard after that debacle.
Next week it’s all about Jessie & Biswa. They’ve talked a lot of smack so it’s time to put up or shut up or shut the hell up. There’s dancing, spicing and crying and it’s everything we’d hoped for. Delicious!
You described the cooks’ emotions beautifully. ‘In the restaurant Lisa is ready to stab Jessie & Biswa in the eye for their intentional flirting with her boyfriend’ – I noticed that as well! I am looking forward to reading your recap after Jessie and Biswah get to display their flair in the kitchen. ‘He also says something about the pomegranate but it’s too hard to hear as we’re all lost in his eyes’ what a chuckle. I wonder how many times Pete and Manu have practised their body language together (good cop bad cop). Great reading.