My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7


With Thomas & Carla bearing their claws while Emma & Andrew offer up an inedible main, there’s no question this competition is about to get interesting all over again – starting tonight with soldier mates David & Scott trying to get everyone’s attention. (Geddit? Soldiers… Attention… Shut up. What do you know?)

Here we are in Townsville again, looking as picture postcard as the day they took the establishing shot. The narrator’s using words like “penultimate” so you just know a show’s getting cocky when they do that. Scott announces that even though David outranks him at work, he’s the boss today. Tony Danza casually walks through the background with a quizzical look on his face. “The boys really didn’t live up to their potential last time,” Pete & Manu remind us in unison (although only one was actually speaking), “They ended up serving a pretty disappointing main – but they managed to redeem themselves with an amazing dessert.”

Enough of you two, David & Scott need to get into it and “knock off those bloody Kiwis”. David scribbles “saran gas – NZ” on his shopping list for some reason, and they’re off to the pub. Grog acquired, the boys are into the food shopping and Scott shares that the menu is taken strongly from his wife’s influence – she’s a Thai chef. “If I muck this up, not only have I let David down, but I’ve not done my wife or her family heritage any justice at all,” he says.

Digging through the supermarket chiller cabinet, D&S reveal their menu for the evening –
Entree – Thai Noodle Rolls; Main – Thai Lamb Green Curry; Dessert – Coconut Parfait. Manu wants to see the sweet chilli sauce home made, with a good balance of home and made in it. Pete’s really excited about the Thai inclusions, hoping for it to be authentic. Thomas & Carla have determined D&S are the “first class students” of MKR, while they class themselves as “the bad kids up the back of the bus, probably mucking around”. Meanwhile Emma & Andrew are depending on someone else’s failure to ensure they make it through this round, and “that’s a tough thing to wish for,” says Andrew. Better than than wishing you were Thomas & Carla. Ew.

With their instant restaurant prepared in record time – hanging camouflage nets doesn’t take that long – the boys are straight into preparation. Scott’s running entree and main, whilst David is running dessert. Knowing the anglaise needs to be done ASAP and into the fridge, David’s right on it. Scott is busy chopping the one billion ingredients he’ll need for the main and entree, and after preparing his home made sweet chilli sauce he gets David to try it. After David replaces his eyeballs which have melted from tasting the SWEET chilli sauce, they both agree it needs a touch more sugar and it’ll be right to go. Or that it could be used for enemy interrogation the way it is.

"Right This is enough for Manu..."

David’s on fire and has now prepared the ginger brandy snap baskets for the dessert, so he’s free to help Scott who’s working on the green curry paste. “I think I’ve blitzed 100-150 chillies for this paste,” says Scott, coughing as he removes the chillies from the machine with the fumes overwhelming him. David’s finishes the parfait anglaise and then whacks it in the freezer, announcing “We’re good to go, GTG, Golf Tango Golf”. This must mean he’s ready.

The boys are ready and discussing the green curry paste when BONG BONG, the guests are here. Simon & Meg think David & Scott look nice and relaxed; Peter & Gary think they’re not giving anything away; Emma & Andrew can’t whistle. With everyone seated in their instant restaurant “Digger’s Rest”, the boys are back in the kitchen to continue preparing whilst their guests note how perky Thomas & Carla are now they aren’t on the bottom of the leaderboard. Emma’s disappointed, and Andrew notes that some people who are going to get through aren’t necessarily playing fair. It would seem, in Thomas & Carla’s world, that giving an alternate team a dodgy score just because you want to beat them = “strategy”. Everytime they justify their scoring method, they call it strategy. Team Tas’ Megan sees Thomas & Carla as “bottom feeders” and gives them her best smokey eyes death stare.

Scott’s making the Thai noodle roll insides so that he and David can prepare the entree on time. “There’s three of us getting judged up there tonight,” says Scott. “There’s David, myself and my wife, because I’m cooking this recipe the way she taught it to me.” The amount of pressure Scott’s placing on himself you’d think it’s off to the divorce courts if he screws this up. They’re tasting and seasoning and then it’s GTG. BONG BONG – it’s the judges. The boys are keen to show the judges they’ve listened and learned across the competition, and with that David produces a sauce from his sleeve and pours it all over Manu. “Enough sauce for ya?!” David laughs. Manu laughs with him. They embrace. It’s a special moment.

Pete shares again he’s really excited about the Thai inspired menu, noting Scott’s love affair with Thailand. What, no military puns tonight, Pete?! In explaining the menu Scott advises the sweet chilli sauce is quite spicy, which makes Gary a bit nervous because he’s a chilli wimp. Or a flaming homosexual. SOMEthing to do with not liking chilli. Emma starts asking for chilli on the side, which leads five others to ask for the same. Scott’s worried how people will react. Gary’s also concerned about the green curry main as, without tasting it, it’ll be something he doesn’t like. Carla’s already offering a Macca’s run on the way home. She’s such a little trooper.

David microwaves the noodles for the entree to start making the spring rolls, and David’s now working on the curry for main. Scott notes the green curry has got some chilli in it (note: understatement of the CENTURY), but perseveres hoping everyone will accept and acknowledge he’s remaining true to the culture he’s representing in the dish. Good luck with that. At the table there’s a discussion about tofu and it’s best use as a replacement for nothing tasty. “I’ve never had tofu presented to me in a way that was tasty,” says Peter. Everyone’s predicting a problem with the sweet chilli sauce… but there is no way they are ready for what they’re about to taste.

Mamma said knock you out...

In the kitchen the meat is committed to the curry pot for main, and David’s struggling with the entree as the noodle sheets dry out and crack on the plate before they’ve even served them. Scott offers to help but David shoo’s him away, telling him it’s a one man job. They didn’t predict this would happen and so it’s all hands to panic stations. In the chaos, Scott forgets that Emma, Peter, Gary & Thomas asked for their “sweet” chilli sauce on the side and how he has only three without the dressing on them. “Someone’s going to get chilli on their rolls like it or not.

Pete loves the presentation of the entree. Gary has a look and smell and thinks the sauce might be OK, but he can’t tell until he tastes. Ever the gentlemen, the boys present Emma with the rolls with sweet chilli on because, she says, “I’m likely to be less harsh than the others.” Scott’s nervous, mainly because he can’t remember if the NZ team got the saran gas sprayed rolls. Pete tells the boys the sauce is fantastic and it looked great – just what he was looking for. Manu liked it to: “The chilli really woke me up; sweet, I’m not sure, but hot for sure.” Manu’s expecting to sweat the whole night, which causes eyes to flash and grins to form on at least five other contestants around the table. Scott tells Manu the green curry is about the same heat as the sweet chilli sauce – alerting Peter & Gary to the likely need for a hamburger on the way home. For powder puffs, they’re the puffiest.

The boys are back in the kitchen and soaking up the plaudits from the judges and finishing the main. The guests are into their entree and everyone’s complaining about the chilli sauce. “Far, far, far too hot for me,” whispers Gary. “It’s certainly hot but that’s just the way I like it,” says Megan, casting a sideways glance at Manu. “It’s definitely a competition dish.” Gary’s a little more direct: “Much, much, much too hot for me… and did I mention that I’m not that fond of seafood?”

Scott announces NOW that he’s out of his comfort zone cooking a curry for this many people, but he’s confident everything is OK – but PHEW, she’s hot! Andrew loves a Thai green curry, but he hopes they’ve put a lamb shoulder in there, “something with a bit of fat in it”. Gary naturally is horrified at the prospect of the main being as hot as the entree sauce. Scott’s fiddling with the curry but knows he needs to stop messing with it. “It’s hot, but that’s how it’s meant to be,” says Scott matter of factly.

Scott offers that Thai green curry is the new fish and chips, and instantly sends his Thai restaurant chain into bankruptcy. Pete thinks it looks OK, but notes the kaffir lime leave garnish is a little chunky – just how he likes his French judges. Pete starts his judgement by asking what protein (doesn’t anyone use meat anymore!?) he normally cooks it with. “Normally chicken; this is the first time I’ve used lamb,” says Scott. “Why?” asks Pete. “Do what you know – this would have been fantastic with chicken, but the flavours are still great.” Pete also comments that on a Richter scale of heat this is a 10, and he would have preferred an 8. Everyone else looks like they would have wanted a 4. Manu notes there’s a hell of a lot of chilli in the main, but it’s easier to deal with in the curry and with rice. It’s too hot for his liking. “I don’t apologise for it,” says Scott, “But I do apologise it wasn’t a smart competition dish. Screw you all AND the horses you rode in on.”

"All we need now is a miracle."

People start eating, meanwhile David & Scott are busy setting up a M*A*S*H unit in their backyard to deal with the casualties. “This is probably responsible for nine out of ten people spontaneously combusting,” says Emma, bursting into flames. Thomas leans over to ask Andrew if it’s a little bit bland in between the shovelfuls he’s stuffing in his mouth. As Thomas melts of his chair everyone makes light of his predicament.

Given their success of their last dessert, D&S are hard at work prepping the parfait to bring home their menu strong sans chilli. David’s worried about the parfait being set, but all Scott can say is “GTG!”. The chilli has finally made it’s way to his brain stem and he’s descending into the “chilli madness”. The parfait is ROCK SOLID – “Surprisingly,” says David, “After six hours in the freezer(!)”. It turns out of the moulds perfectly and the boys deliver their final dish, hoping it’s going to be spot on.

Again Pete loves the presentation: “I think this is gonna be a GREAT dessert.” The boys note how hard the judges are finding it to get through the parfait. Whispered concerns are met with judgement. “The dish is visually appealing,” says Pete, “But that’s where it stops. It just tastes like cream.” Manu’s not impressed either – that it’s icy is a sign there’s no sugar and it’s not good enough. Hardly anybody finished the dessert notes Thomas and he starts in on Andrew, telling him to vote “strategically” – i.e. zero. On hearing this, Andrew starts to wonder what Thomas scored he and Emma. “I think that yours was better,” whispers Thomas to Andrew, rubbing his leg under the table. “If we compensate for the judges, it’ll come close.”

People, you have your new bitch goddess.

Andrew humoured Thomas by listening to him: “I know you’re just trying to make yourself feel better for doing something like that.” He’s got Thomas’s number, and he doesn’t like being associated with Thomas’s “foul stench”. “Tom, you probably stooped a little bit lower than your lavender cheesecake.” At least Andrew will be able to leave the Digger’s Rest with his head held high, and the inevitable horse’s head waiting for him in his hotel room bed.

It’t time for everyone to pass judgement on the Thai bombshell menu of David & Scott. Team NZ – 6; Team Qld 2 – 4; Team Tas – 6; Team Vic – 5; Team WA – (“a regrettable”) 3. “Despite what Thomas would think, this score is based on the food and not strategy,” offers Andrew. Total score 24/50. Pete and Manu scored:
P Entree – 9; M Entree – 8
P Main – 6; M Main – 6
P Dessert – 1; M Dessert – 2 (“There’s not much to criticise because there wasn’t any flavour there.”)
Overall score: 56/110
All those promotional shots of David & Scott with fire extinguishers weren’t just making fun of their cooking ability – they were referring to the heat of their food. The guys didn’t see the score coming, but it slides them into third. Andrew notes he and Emma need a miracle to stay in the game from here… so off we all toddle to the Gold Coast for Peter & Gary’s return instant restaurant. AND THEY’RE COOKING A ROAST!!!