My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7

The important 5S's of MKR cooking

Previously, on My Kitchen Rules… Thomas and Carla have proven to be bitches, Simon & Meg have proven they can cook, and Megan & Andy have proven they can be adequate. Tonight, the scienticians from Western Australia are back and this time they’ve a secret weapon: Their 5 S’s… which aren’t so secret any more. Just a hint guys, “Dress” doesn’t start with an S.

It’s a lovely day in Perth, and Emma & Andrew are ready for a big day. “Round three,” she announces, and Andrew looks lovingly if not puzzled at her as it’s only round two. Emma’s decided leaving notes on the fridge is gonna help them succeed where they failed last time, though surely cooking good food would do that too.

Emma’s 5 S’s to success are up: Season, Sauce, Dress, Simple, Smile. It’s a radical departure from their previous plan (Stress, Screw up, Disappoint, Sink, Suffer) but one they’re confident will make all the difference. Pete & Manu reinforce their tips for Emma & Andrew: “If they taste their food, keep it simple, and cook what they know and love, they’ll complete the first steps of our 500 step plan to world domination.”

After Andrew accosts Emma with a bunch of mint while shopping we get to hear about their menu for tonight: Entree – Vietnamese Chicken & Prawn Salad; Main – Twice Cooked Duck with Pork & Prawn Wonton Soup; Dinner – Coconut Rice with Tropical Salsa. Andrew’s happy with the entree because he can get his sister Julienne to prepare most of the vegies. The dressing is most important for Pete and if they can nail it it’ll be an amazing dish. Team Tas’s Megan & Andy note that people will be scoring low to either protect their high scores, or to drag someone down under their low scores. The much vaunted “strategy” component (also known as common sense) starts to rear it’s ugly head.

"This is our moment to shine. By being bitchy."

E&A set up their instant restuarant “Obscura” again, and it’s screams as it’s time to start prep. The now fingerless Andrew offers the promise he made to himself not to cut “any more of my fingers.” As soon as he’s opened his knife pouch, he slices his hand open – he hasn’t even got a knife out yet. Ol’ Stumpy’s back at it again. He can’t even julienne carrots without slicing his hand open! Emma considers taking him out the back and prepping him for the glue factory already. Manu’s major concern is the flavour of the soup – without it, the dish would be a fail. E&A get into wonton production (who let Andrew near a knife again?!), and once they’re ready both of them are happy they’ve made a start on each course in their prep time.

Andrew makes the dressing for the entree, noting there’s noting scientific in it at all. PHEW! No dichloroethylnitrate for the guests tonight. BONG BONG the guests are here. Simon & Meg think the instant restaurant looks lovely; Peter & Gary note there was one real disaster of a dish last time and they’re “not expecting it to be any different this time”. Andrew only trusts Team Tas as they’re second and have no agenda when it comes to voting… where as everyone else might. Or he could just be paranoid.

Discussions about people following Andrew quickly turn to the size of the mint leaves in the entree and the people that followed Andrew when he was shopping for the mint when suddenly BONG BONG, the judges are here. A recap of the 5Ss and they welcome Pete and Manu into their home again. In a sign of things to come, Andrew invites all the guests to “open up their menus and have a look at what you’re in for”. Thomas & Carla note that the menu is solid, and they’re gonna be in trouble. There’s murmurs all around the table about scoring and the food hasn’t even started arriving.

Emma presents a “molecular gastronomy cocktail”, the judges eyes roll, and the special mojitos go down well. “It exploded inside,” laughs Carla, not for the last time tonight. Emma’s assembling the salad while Andrew’s prepping main – and the guests are highly expectant after a great surprise start. Emma’s nervous because she knows what’s riding on this (mainly prawns, looking at the plate), but also their future in the competition. E&A try to read anything into the looks the judges are giving them as they dig into the salad – nothing. Pete’s really impressed with what they’ve done, though their dressing is missing the heat and salt components. Manu liked it a lot, but it didn’t look amazing on the plate, and he also complained about the lack of dressing on the plate – even after Emma dressed it twice. She really missed her third S.

But it's quad-cooked duck...

Megan really liked the entree but struggled with the chopsticks; Thomas starts in with his destabilising tactic by talking down the entree. Andrew’s started cooking the duck breasts as Manu arrives and determines too many cooks spoil the duck as both Emma and Andrew have contrary opinions on how it should be prepared. Back at the table Pete baits Thomas asking him what he thinks of main, and he says it sounds ambitious and doesn’t think they’ll be able to deliver it. Andrew is faffing with the broth while cooking the duck – adding soy, palm sugar, salt – he’s got not idea. He even suggests they thrice cook the duck by finishing it in the oven. “No!” says Amanda, putting her foot down. Not that he listens and bangs the duck in the oven anyway.

Andrew’s busy cooking the wontons and has to be reminded about the duck in the oven. He’s concerned it isn’t cooked enough, though Emma assures him it is. Assembling the dish almost has Emma & Andrew at each other as they race to get everything “just so” while maintaining the integrity of the flavours. Nerves are frayed, but it’s time to serve. Thomas thinks it looks shabby and Andrew’s worried one or two undercooked wontons may have snuck into some plates. Manu thinks the broth has reduced too much and it’s far too salty. Cue sneaky shot of Thomas looking smug. Pete says he hates to say it, but “it’s basically inedible”. “You bloody beauty,” says Thomas rubbing his hands together like a Bond villain. Pete reinforces they have to taste their food at every stage. On returning to the kitchen Andrew tries the broth and he agrees with the judges.

“For me this dish had not one single redeeming feature,” offers Peter.
“Look, if I ordered this in a restaurant I’d be incredibly disappointed and I wouldn’t pay for it,” says Thomas.
Andy notes Thomas & Carla will be looking forward to a failed dessert also to ensure they get off the bottom of the leaderboard. This is the problem with cooking competitions… if it’s not the glass in your soup, it’s the guests at your table.

Salty Pete is Salty.

Emma goes for the rice pudding in the fridge and somehow they’ve managed to get duck blood on it. At least they have enough ingredients to create a second batch, but it’s gonna take time. They get started on the rebuild, but Emma has a sneaking feeling that they should have served dessert already. Tensions are high as they plate as it doesn’t look fantastic, but they serve it anyway (the salsa could have done with some kiwi fruit – there’s no green). Manu loves the coconut rice and the tropical fruits work well together, but overall it’s not good enough. Pete thinks it’s felt a little slapdash – it tasted better than it looked, but it was very average. Never one to miss an opportunity, Thomas & Carla are quite disparaging about the presentation. Who’da thunk it?!

It’s time to hear how this “strategy” is gonna play out. Team Qld 2 – 3; Team NZ – 4; Team Qld 1 – 4; Team Tas – 5; Team Vic – 1. With that, Thomas & Carla anoint themselves as the new bitchy queens for this season of MKR. Total score 17/50. Could have knocked Andrew over with a feather. Carla’s happy that E&A scored that poorly – “We might get through!” Pete and Manu scored:
P Entree – 5; M Entree – 7 (“You missed the mark on the sauce.”)
P Main – 2; M Main – 3
P Dessert – 4; M Dessert – 4
Overall score: 42/110
OH NO! SEVEN POINTS BEHIND THOMAS & CARLA! T&C are all laughs, smiles and celebrations. E&A are pragmatic, and Andrew may have even forgotten about the people who are following him (as now, after a score like that, nobody is). It’s off to Townsville in Queensland next time to see if David & Scott can do better, and see if Pete has worn out his list of military cliches… things are heating up (not just the judging!).