My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7

Stop! Thief!

Stop! Thief!

We’re back for a whole new season of MKR, and if the ads are anything to go by the production team have managed to find a collection of amateur chefs more clueless yet with more bravado than previous years. How could anyone get worse that Bitchy Pete or Princess Jen? We’re gonna have so much fun finding out – cue montage of excited contestants…

So far everyone looks successful at being able to cook, but we’re only seeing 1 second grabs as evidence. “Food is my life” breaks one female voice as a part of the narration. She doesn’t sound very confident. Perhaps her life is falling apart? “At the head of the table are judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans” disembodied voice 1 tells us in the worst French accent since Manu. “Magnifique!” offers Manu in the montage. I take that last statement back – it’s the second worst French accent since Manu.

TEARS ALREADY, and only 40 seconds into the new season. Delightful. The knives are out, the bitchy is in, and the GateCrashers(tm) ready to arrive. Add in a new chef involved in the tastings (he’s just a little opinionated and needs a good wash) and it’s bright, shiny and ready for the taking. Hello My Kitchen Rules season four!

The Spice Girls (Jessie & Biswa) are the first to enter (Oh my gawd!) followed by various other teams we’re introduced to: Sam & Chris love the place, Luke & Scott love their knives, and Jake & Elle love being on TV. Dan & Steph just love seeing Pete & Manu walk out. Poor Jake isn’t the sharpest knife in the block. Neither are Jenna & Joanna, this year’s domestic goddesses. All the contestants are here because they are creative, dedicated and passionate says Manu through a translator.

It’s all about the Instant Restaurants as the lowest scoring teams from each groups will be eliminated. “Don’t hold back,” says Pete, “as you may not get a chance to taste my activated almonds.” Kerrie & Craig (Vic) are childhood sweethearts and they’ve been given the opportunity to be the first team to royally screw everything up.

K&C remind us they are childhood sweethearts by sharing a ride on Craig’s moped. A MOPED. What kind of man is he really? Also they come from Melbourne because TRAM. Then they fight over who chased who starting from when. Kerrie tells us because she’s a year older she’s a cougar, and they live in town. “It is a bit like Packed To The Rafters because that’s what a producer told us to say,” she adds. Their kids are grown up so this is their chance to become grey nomads on Channel 7’s coin.

Craig’s concerned about kicking everyone out so they can prepare their Instant Restaurant, so in true dad fashion he drops a massive fart and the house clears in but a moment. In no time K&C are into their car & heading to the shops – 6 hours 32 minutes to go. Of course it’s straight down to Vic Markets because Victorians are nothing if not parochial.

So parochial, in fact, they’re going to serve up Australia’s endangered species as main – Game Wallaby with Basil Risotto and Caramelised Beetroot. Kerrie expects everyone to turn their nose up to wallaby so they’re off to a great start. As is now custom Pete & Manu cast their critical eye across the menu K&C have prepared:

Entree – Roasted Vegetable Tart Tartin with goats curd and rocquette (rocket?) & pear salad.
Main – Wallaby with basil risotto and caramelised beetroot.
Dessert – Chocolate Jaffa Cake with chocolate candied orange.

Specsavers has a lot to answer for, what with it's two for one deal...

Specsavers has a lot to answer for, what with it’s two for one deal…

“This is the first instant restaurant menu I’ve ever seen,” says Pete, “As normally my assistant looks at them for me. I think you’ll see lots more Wallaby on menus in the future because over the season break I’ve become a soothsayer and can predict these things.”

Manu is concerned about having to read an english menu, and uses the word “polarising” without really knowing what it means.

Craig poo poos all concerns anyone might have because he’s happy to be serving Wallaby. Cue important shot of supermarket sponsor and Craig stealing lollies as he shops. There’s already doubts in his ability as Craig offers that tonight he has to step up so that Kerrie can trust him.

“We’ve got 12 guests arriving in less than four hours, and we’re in the shit already,” says Kerrie, worried they’ll run out of time. It’s a 70’s theme – 1970’s, not Craig & Kerrie’s ages – and they want to emulate what it was like to go to a “nice restaurant” in the 70’s. Like the local Chinese.

Argument of the placing of the cutlery aside, they acknowledge they’ll fight but they still love each other. Craig continues to lower expectations by reminding us that Kerrie is in charge. They spar verbally with each other by saying “tart tartin” a lot, all completely incorrectly.

Manu is concerned about the vegetables in the tart tartin (by the way, it’s capsicuM Kerrie – not capsicun) but that doesn’t phase K&C. Pete reminds us that he’s got a cookbook out and Manu says he’s expecting a visit from ShortCrust the porn star.

Make dessert – check. Make love on the kitchen bench – check. Make wallaby double in size because they’ve not purchased enough – uh-uh. At least Craig did a really good job of the roasted vegies. 12 minutes until the guests get here – PANIC STATIONS!!! Oh here they come…

“It’s very exciting,” says Biswa. “All’s fair in love and game or whatever that is.” If you’re gonna live in Australia at least learn to screw up our colloquialisms properly, love.

Tonight’s guests look to be a motley crew:
Jessie & Biswa (High School Friends – NSW)
Jake & Elle (Brother & Sister – Qld)
Lisa & Stefano (Dating – SA)
Josh & Andi (Dating hipsters – WA)
Mick & Matt (Father & Son – Tas)
The hosts were worried about who was going to be there until they opened the door, but once they did everything was in they relaxed because they knew they were better than all of these guys. *ALL* of them.

The guests enter the Instant Restaruant “Circa ’75” & are overwhelmed with the pot smoke and disco ball lights. Punch all round!

The pastry looks to be a problem for Kerrie already – she wants it to be fluffy and light and tasty, so she does a test blind bake on a portion to see how it turns out. If it’s wrong, they’ll be an hour behind. “Beep!” says Craig, though I’m pretty sure that wasn’t him.

Jessie & Biswa introduce themselves as The Spice Girls(tm) and immediately a flood of lawyers fill the room and speak in concerned tones about breach of intellectual property and brand theft. A settlement is made so that the show can continue with Jessie & Biswa’s introductory package. It’s determined they girls will share be as rude as they can be.

Jessie & Biswa don't like vegetables. They also don't like health.

Jessie & Biswa don’t like vegetables. They also don’t like health.

Jake & Elle get to show off their package (Jake especially when when we see him dancing in tights). Jake says “When it comes to food, I pretty much know it all.” Every single person watching reaches through their screen and punches him in his package. Then there’s all the talk by Jake of them nailing it. “We’re gonna nail it. Nail it. Nail. It. Not to sound over-confident but we’re gonna nail it.”

What part of that didn’t sound over-confident?

Mick & Matt tell us they’re from Tasmania, & to save anyone else delivering all the Tasmanian jokes they offer them all themselves. They even look the same. Same glasses. It’s like young Marty sitting next to old Marty in Back To The Future II.

Jessie & Biswa are already falling over Stefano and his accent and his extremely long package, which features: his love for Lisa (she’s the *real* cougar), hot air balloons, Lisa & Stefano kissing & lots of them cooking (and more kissing).

Andi is in fashion, and Josh wears shirts that are too tight and too small for him. Pfft, hipster. Then we discover Andi is a hispter too. I hope all the contestants got their hipster vaccinations so they don’t catch hipster from these two. It is, in fact, a pretty bland package at that.

Back into pastry central and the test pastry is done – it’s perfect! As soon as K&C start talking about the arrival of Pete & Manu, Pete & Manu arrive. K&C act as if they weren’t expecting them – they do realise they’re on a competitive cooking show these two are judging, right? Pete offers them a packet of Pete Evans organic vegan yet-to-be-activated almonds.

Jessie & Biswa gush uncontrollably at the arrival of Pete & Manu, then fall silent. Josh notes it was probably the only time the girls were silent, and the only time someone with a better manscaped beard than he was in the room.

The menu is revealed on the records in the nameplates, and there’s concern all around. Mick seems to be this year’s eternal optimist, full of positivity. Jake seems to be this year’s freaky bitchy know it all Gen Y slacker (what a combination).

Everyone laughs at Stefano when he mistakes “goat’s cheese” for “goat”. Hahahahahaha look at the funny foreign person who can’t read our language and so forth. Jerks. At least Manu has a chance to bond with someone else who thinks in a language other than English.

K&C are plating the entree and there’s already been one that collapsed, but they recover to serve dish to the waiting hordes (no mention of any delay at this stage). Jessie’s upset from the start as every one of the vegetables on the plate are ones she doesn’t eat. K&C stand at attention at the end of the table and watch Pete & Manu start to dive into their entrees. It’s tense, and Mick says what everyone is thinking: “It’s time for an ad break.”

Pete tells them that for the first dish of the competition he & Manu had high expectations. He’s glad they changed it from what they usually cook as he thinks it’s a knockout dish. Manu’s was a little undercooked (“could have done with another meenute in the oven”) but he thought it was “fantastique” and Kerrie wastes no time in reminding them.

Pete’s really happy to be sitting at this table tonight as opposed to the first table he sat at earlier (he walked into the wrong house and started judging the owners on their chicken parma). The other guests dig in and there’s an array of interesting comments from around the table – mostly complaints from Jessie & Biswa. Lisa notes it. Andi too. When Pete asks Jessie explains she doesn’t like anything that comes out of the ground and doesn’t moo. Mick thinks it might be game on. He also thinks he might need to go to the loo but can’t be sure.

Kerrie finds the gelatine that Craig left in the bag he threw out. Mousse production is well under way and the cake goes back in fridge seemingly successful. It’s time for K&C to move onto cooking everything for main – wallaby, beetroot, leather, assorted nails, etc. The tension in the kitchen rises as Craig continues to undersell everything, and all he’s missing is the heel click and the “Yes, herr Kommandant!” for Kerrie.

Jake continues to win friends and influence people as the guests sit and wait for the main.

Pete enters the kitchen as K&C are fighting over when to cook the risotto, but all he wants to know about is the wallaby. Pete knows they’ve got their work cut out for them in delivering an edible dish. Jessie attempts to impress Pete & Manu with their broad tastes when it comes to meat, and Jake attempts to impress us with his broad tastes when it comes to mean.

The risotto production has commenced and it’s nothing if not argumentative. If music be the food of love then risotto be the food of conflict. Craig’s copping all the abuse from Kerrie while making the basil addition for the risotto, but has realised it’s time to start cooking the wallaby or main will be delivered really late.

Medium-rare wallaby is the key according to Craig, though Kerrie thinks he’s letting them stew. The end result is some over-cooked, some under-cooked, some spot-on, and almost all of them a disgrace to the wallabies that lost their lives for this meal.

Craig tries to mount Kerrie to help her calm down after the tension of preparing the main but she pushes him away and tells him it’s time to plate up. Craig makes the fatal error by putting the cheese on top of the wallaby ensuring they won’t be able to pick out the best plates for the judges.

Plates delivered and all eyes turn to Pete & Manu. “There’s greens, reds, purples… it’s really 70’s, man,” offers Josh. Craig’s worried. Kerrie’s scared. The beetroot has shat itself all over the plate. The wallaby can’t give a rats as it died a couple of days ago. Jake’s feeling very superior. The audience are rolling their eyes as the manufactured tension continues to build.

Manu… loved it. PHEW! The wallaby melted in his mouth and he was really surprised that the flavour combination worked so well. Pete agrees with the flavours – “the herbaciousness of the risotto” (whatever that means) – but his wallaby was overcooked. “It’s such a shame because it could have been a near-perfect dish for me, save for it’s appalling lack of almonds, activated or no.”

K&C return to the kitchen to rejoice and stew over the wrong dish being presented to Pete. Matt really loves really it. Stefano says something about pasta which makes everyone wonder what the hell he was talking about. Jake could only taste “basil, basil, basil”. Andi thinks that children are best seen and not heard. Biswa has two mouthfuls and offers she’s too full, which instantly causes Mick & Matt to question their involvement in life.

The teams start to discuss strategy and who will be their competition in the comp. “Game on, moll,” offers Jake not even comprehending what he just said. Pete asks who thinks they’ll be at the top by the end of the first round – “We don’t mean to brag, but…” starts Jessie, who then giggles flirtatiously. Jake drops his head into his hand, because he was about to say they’d win (which he reminds us in this next piece to camera).

Dessert is prepping in the kitchen and Kerrie is confident that this dessert will be a hit with everyone, because “who doesn’t like chocolate?!”

“I don’t like chocolate, or orange,” says Jessie. Naturally.

“They kicked a goal with the first two dishes, so I’m expecting a great dessert,” says Mick, ever the gracious guest.

The ruler is out in the kitchen as K&C work out exactly how big the portions should be. Three. Four. Three and a half. HOW MANY SEGMENTS SHOULD A CAKE SLICE BE?! “We don’t have a real plan when it comes to dishing up the cake,” says Kerrie. Really? After what we’ve just seen, you think?!

Kerrie believes the mousse cake will be a 10. She also believes George W Bush was the best thing to happen to the United States in years, and that unicorns are available at the local pet store. Plated and ready to go, K&C deliver their dessert to the expectant guests. Some think it looks great, others (OK, Jake) think it’s a too big a portion.

Pete reminds them that on an album there are sometime tracks you don’t like. For him, track three is AN AD BREAK. When we come back track 3 shouldn’t have made the cut. The mousse is too rich, and Manu chimes in that the ratio is wrong – the portion size is too big. No 10 coming for this course. “This feedback is just gut-wrenching,” says Craig, “Because I know Kerrie was really proud of this dish and she’s already had a gobful and her body is rejecting it.”

Stefano hates chocolate and orange together, so when he tastes it and he can barely taste the orange he thinks it’s a brilliant dessert. Jessie & Biswa complain again. Jake & Elle are overly critical again. Josh is gentle with his feedback and Jake thinks it’s all a cover. But for now – judgement!

Mick & Matt – 7.
Josh & Andi – 7 (the dessert knocked it down from an 8).
Jake & Elle – 7 (too much cake).
Lisa & Stefano – 7 (they kiss).
Jessie & Biswa – 5.

Guest total = 33/50. Onto judgement from Pete & Manu… but first, a package recapping tonight for those who are too used to reality TV and have forgotten what happened 20 minutes ago.

P Entree – 8; M Entree – 7. (M – “I think the pastry was undercooked.”)
P Main – 7; M Main – 8.
P Dessert – 4; M Dessert – 5.

Grand Total = 72/110.

K&C don’t think it’s too bad, and after round 1 they’ve scored “solidly in the seventies”. Ugh. If the standard of cooking remains here it’ll be a great competition, but if the standard of puns stays here we’re all in trouble. Tomorrow night we’re off to Tasmania to the home of Mick & Matt where everything in their relationship becomes plain – as does the intentions of the other contestants. Can. Not. Wait.