Excess BaggageMon-Thu 7pm, Ch9.

"This is one of those rare oversized red salmon..."

“Last week on Excess Baggage, it was slaughter in the water.” And in the ratings Kate, thus here we are on GO!, Kate. At least the network is sticking with it – and consequently, here we are in Tasmania.

It’s not a great message being sent to the contestants when they hire an entire school bus to transport the 16 of them to the first challenge. So much for positive mental reinforcement. Brant is loving being back in his home state, and the analysis of the team scores begins from Darryn. “Lisa’s not doing enough, I know she’s not.” What a guy.

The first challenge is to inflate a kayak and paddle to a salmon farm, to catch a fish for dinner. Two birds with one stone. A rolling stone gathers no moss. Papa-papparazzi. Trainer Christian reminds the team that there are only points for the first three teams in this Spirit Challenge (spirit animals on, everyone), so they’ll have a head start in this week’s chance to win $10,000 for charity. Ajay tells anyone who’ll listen how much she loves kayaking – but does she love INFLATABLE kayaking?! The Grey Team have been told they can’t take part in the Endurance Challenge later in the week due to ongoing injuries.

Everyone kits up, and then Christine performs an ancient warrior ritual with Nathan – the life-jacket wearing chest bump. The Purple and Red teams are first in, with Orange close behind. The teams now have to collect their rods from buoys dotted in the river. The best part – paddling in an inflatable kayak is freaking hard. Cue Benny Hill music and fast-motion footage of kayaks paddling in circles. The Grey Team (Brant & John) have worked it out, and so have the Orange Team (Dipper & Lana) though their strategy relies on them paddling backwards. The teams all start to grab their rods, though life is never easy for the Red Team (Darryn & Lisa). It’s developed into a screamfest for them: “Stop bawling your eyes out and shut up.” He really loves you, Lisa.

Brant & John have made it to the fishing pond, closely followed by Dipper & Lana and Ajay & Matt. Darryn & Lisa make it, and Lisa promptly falls into the water. Christian thought Darryn would help her, but he instead tends to their fishing rods. What a guy. Everyone else makes it. With 12,000 salmon in the pen Kate reminds us it won’t be hard to catch a fish, just that landing it will be hard. As will ensuring it lives while the team change into dry boots at the end of the challenge. Brant & John bring it home easily, followed really closely by Ajay & Matt who overtook Dipper & Lana at the last minute. Celebrations abound.

Meanwhile Laurel & Hardy (aka Darryn & Lisa) continue to struggle. The Green Team’s Ben jumps in to help Darryn pull Lisa out of the water. Huzzah for teamwork! Hooray for everything! then tragedy – a team left their rod behind and it was meant to make it to the finish line with the team. The Purple Team has left their rod back at the shoe change. Dipper spoke vocally about the rules and who/what should happen. Controversy abounds. Matt loses his tiny mind at everyone at the threat of losing their second place and gets entirely aggro at Nathan. Thank baby Jesus we have Ajay to narrate Matt’s pain and hurt – no one else shows empathy like Ajay. Sweet, shy and retiring Ajay.

At the points reveal for the Spirit Challenge, Christian reviews the rules with the contestants and says that the Purple Team did everything within the rules, so they still come second. Matt’s stoked, and Dipper’s somewhat gracious in defeat, picking up Matt on forgetting Lana’s name. ME-OW. Are there cracks showing in the steely fun united facade shown by all the teams?! Back on the bus and back to camp ready for another training session with Christian. Dipper & Lana keep up the old-school niggling on the bus over Matt forgetting her name. Back at the house Dipper carves up one of the salmon they caught to have raw, and the chefs of the place they are staying prepared the rest for dinner. Allegedly. Could have been tofu. Who knows these days – it’s not bloody MasterChef?!

Darryn’s starts trying to play nice with Lisa by holding a party in his room for all interested parties. Ajay notes Lisa hugged Darryn, and “Darryn hugged her BACK!”. Matt apologies to the teams the next morning for his outburst yesterday, and everyone’s happy. Except Christian who works their fat arses harder than he has yet in the competition. He’s worried about Nathan, and concerned Brant has been treating it like a holiday (while Brant enjoys a cheeky mojito). Team Green (Gabby & Ben) have really bonded as a team and in working together are really helping each other. Then Kate arrives like the magic scientologist she is and announces tomorrow’s Breakthrough Challenge for three teams is abseiling 140m down the wall of the Gordon Dam. OF COURSE the teams with height issues will be picked, so OF COURSE we need to see who has issues with heights. Finally some sizzle for the coming Endurance Challenge and Gabby drops a bombshell* at the check-in at the end of the week.

*May not actually be a bombshell.

My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7

Could these be scallops of DOOM?!

It’s time for the new Team SA – Nick & Rocco – to step up and show us what they’re made of. Presumably hair and manscaping products. Growing up with Italian heritage, the boys note their mums as important in their love of food and they note their dads as important in being able to hide the food around the house so they don’t end up the size of a house. Racing off to buy ingredients already shows their skill – they’re not at Coles.

Their menu is pretty interesting. Entree – trio of seafood; Main – Signature Roast; Dessert – Gateau Opera. Manu emotes there’s too much to do in the entree and it will be very tough to deliver. Pete is concerned their main is just ‘a roast’, seen one and you’ve seen them all. While the boys shop for the rest of their ingredients Nick is busy looking for hairspray (presumably to use with a lighter to get the BBQ going). Their instant restaurant is “Double Trouble”, with a casino theme. I’m guessing they are planning to double down with Peter and Gary later in the night. While they’ve been out someone’s dropped of a Ferrari in their driveway in error – it doesn’t take the boys long to hide it out the back.

Peter’s got them picked: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they put out. A restaurant quality meal, I mean.”

Their kitchen clock starts ticking, and there’s a flurry of activity in the kitchen. Manu’s handler tells us that he thinks they shouldn’t try the gateau, because it’s very difficult to do properly with a high probability of failure. Group 1 Team SA’s Leigh offers advice to the Group 2 Team: “Don’t f#ck up your dessert like we did.” Nick is trying something intimate with the chicken as he debones it while Rocco is mainlining coffee as he prepares the dessert and explains what a ganache is. We’re so lucky we’ve got experts explaining these things to us.

Team SA’s chicken roast is layered: pork wrapped in bacon wrapped in love wrapped in veal wrapped in the hopes of Port Power in 2012 wrapped in chicken and sewn up ready to go in the oven. The boys then realise they’ve not changed and race off with 9 minutes to prepare – the shortest time they’ve ever taken to get dressed. Ever.

The guests arrive and are understandably wowed by the Ferrari, the boys in suits, and that the boys haven’t burned the kitchen down yet. Team Qld’s Peter is in love with the car, and admits so in front of Gary. Gary pretends to not hear him. The boys welcome their guests with a glass of bubbles and a bad joke about winning the Ferrari, which sucks Sam in immediately. Nick starts prepping the plates for the entree while Rocco rolls the sashimi, and then BONG-BONG Pete & Manu arrive. Everyone mentions the restaurant looks like James Bond – even Manu, thou these are the only legible two words we’ve heard from him this season.

Everyone but Gary thinks the menu looks ambitious; Gary thinks it doesn’t appear so at first glance. He’s so understated. Team SA’s special twist to their mayo is lime cordial (makes note in bogan cookbook), and they’re concerned with their seafood looking right so they start fussing. Prawns in and out, scallops in and out (BINGO! “caramelisation”), and then there’s concern with the chorizo stack. MY GOD boys, work smarter not harder! Do they teach you nothing in your day jobs?! RARGH!!!

Most people are impressed with the attention to detail of the plating, completely overlooking the fact the food is inedible. Scientician Emma feels like an idiot after realising what a potato-string prawn is. That’s some high-quality tertiary education there, Emma. Pete is really impressed with the entree; as, allegedly, is Manu (though I think his scallop isn’t caramelised enough, and he totally zings the lime cordial mayo). Who do Pete and Manu think they are, casting judgement on the food like this?! Sam & Jillian think it’s all for show; all accessories and no cooking skill. Peter & Gary think it was pretty average; Peter acknowledging when asked he thinks he’d have a good shot at doing a better entree.

Nick & Rocco’s are prepping the vegies for the roast, and talk about how important their signature roast is to them. Apparently very important. Slicing it up it looks great. The guests are talking about the suitability for a roast in this competition – surprise surprise Peter and Gary don’t think a roast is suitable enough for the comp. Pete seems unimpressed after visiting the kitchen and learning what the “signature” part is, though Team SA are still excited to deliver it. But who spells rosti as “roschti”? Gary notes after seeing the roast that, “It’s not as hard as people think,” in hushed tones. Pete and Manu surprised it turned out as well as it did. Great success! Manu must clearly be having his period as he’s unimpressed with the jus, and Pete thinks the shaped vegies are a little pre-school. Nick & Rocco dash back into the kitchen, high-fiving each other.

The after dinner discussion focuses on who could offer the best superlative for the meal and the moistness of the meat. Moist. Naturally Team Qld think it wasn’t that good and they in their various superhero outfits could have done better. Prepping dessert requires COFFEE! STAT! It’s clear by the size of the cake they’re gonna have a tonne to keep for later. The gold leaf causes problem by blowing away, promptly solved with chocolate. They present their french dessert to a world renown French chef in a typically italian style. Sam & Jillian fight over which of Team SA they are gonna marry, and then Jillian has a moment that plastic surgeons dream about – she smiles and the audience realises she’s wasted her money.

“Amazing! Fantastic! Wow!” Manu puts down the hand mirror and describes their dessert in the same manner. It’s an impressive dish that earns applause before anyone else has tasted it. In the kitchen Nick comes in for a high ten and Rocco comes in for a hug and there’s nearly a tragedy of Greek proportions, keeping with the mixed European theme for the night.

Judgement! Peter & Gary again offering sage opinions, not rabid fanboyism. Team TAS – 8; Team Vic – 9; Team WA – 9; Team NSW – 9; Team Qld – 8. Total score 43/50. There’s all sorts of faux drama, with narrator man wondering out loud if Team SA could top the leaderboard – with a contestant score like that, there’s no way they can’t. Pete and Manu scored:
P Entree – 8; M Entree – 8
P Main – 8; M Main – 8 (“The jus wasn’t a jus.” If the jus fits.)
P Dessert – 10; M Dessert – 10
Overall score: 95/110
The highest score by any team so far in the competition – across all three seasons. It’s off to Tasmania for Valentine’s Day, and Megan and Andy have their work cut out for them – so Team Vic’s Carly says. There’s lots of room to fall into second place, that’s for sure.