My Kitchen RulesMon-Thu 7:30pm, Ch7
It’s a whole different game now, people. The Instant Restaurants – GONE. Lisa & Stefano, Lisa & Candice, Jessie & Biswa – GONE. Self respect – GONE. Tonight all the remaining teams go head to head to cook or something… WHO CARES as long as someone cries (note extended intro). This is the BEST…

Kitchen HQ. Everyone’s back. Nobody knows where Sam is from and it’s getting on everyone’s nerves. All three Gatecrasher teams have made it through. The lion is laying down with the lamb.

Pete announces the teams have made it to the second phase of the competition and they’re stunned. Who’dve thunk it?! They’ll be challenged, scared and intimidated, and that’s just from the make-up demands of the 5 Spice Girls.

The teams that won their rounds score a special treat – they’re safe from the next elimination (or something – I mean really… who can understand what the hell Manu says under that well manicured beard?). Ali & Samuel can’t believe it. The Tasmanian brothers reckon it’s awesome. No one knows who the other team are as they all sit out. Oh, that’s right, it’s the Bondi Boys.

This test will see all the remaining teams cooking for 50 people, using their kitchens. This includes some of the tiniest apartments in Australia. Obviously this is a challenge where they’ll be cooking for asylum seekers in one of their camps to highlight the plight they face. No? Wow – talk about your opportunity missed.

Jake & Elle interpret the “tiniest apartments in Australia” to mean a 3 bedroom house.

The teams will be cooking for a block party, with only 90 minutes to prepare their meals. Think fresh, think summer, think WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU MEANT TO PREPARE?! No double ups; five teams cooking mains and four teams cooking dessert. For fifty people. Yeah, good luck with that.

The teams have to work out who’s cooking what by some bizarre form of leadership challenge, not unlike how Gillard came into power. They’ve chosen sides and it looks like this:

Kerrie & Craig
Kieran & Nastassia
Josh & Andi
Angela & Melina
Sam & Chris

Ashlee & Lispy
Snake & Elle
Dan & Steph
Cupcake & Joanna

So, it’s gonna be pretty unmanageable to keep up with who does what tonight unless they crash and burn or are awesome. Hang on for the ride.

Joanna tells us everything Manu just said – the winner is safe; the weakest got to the first sudden death cook-off. Dan does’t want to face it so we know he’s gonna be there.

Mains teams go to cook while Desserts teams get to set up – but this after a 15 min shopping spree. There’s all sorts of justifications for what they’re picking up. “I reckon this is gonna blow their mind,” says Nastassia picking up some kitty litter.

There’s a short debate between Kerrie & Craig and Angela & Melina over who is cooking Lamb for main course – they both want to, and only one team can. Kerrie’s adamant; as are the Italian Mamas. TENSION PLUS ONE. Kerrie insists so the Mamas make their change and get on with life.

Mains teams arrive to their assigned apartments while Angela stereotypes the yet un-met occupants. Lots of concerns over how small the kitchens might be. Sam & Chris arrive and are underwhelmed at the space but confident they’ll smash it (the meal, not the room).

Kerrie now wishes it was 30 years ago when she and Craig were 30 kilos lighter, given their small space. The Mamas are happy, and Andi is stoked there’s a bed for her and Josh to have a moment on while they cook.

Craig keeps talking but it’s all “blah blah blah”. Kerrie’s convinced everyone needs to know how good KEEN-WAH is, emphasising the pronunciation. The Mamas are pushing on with their “I can’t believe it’s not Lamb” dish and again berate Kerrie & Craig for stealing their main ingredient.

The two teams dishes:
Kerrie & Craig – Lamb on quinoa fattoush with flatbread. (Wanna-be hipsters.)
Angela & Melina – Baharat Beef with sweet potato mash and mint yoghurt sauce. (Wanna-be Patsy & Edina.)

SHUT UP CRAIG. Then there’s the pepper incident which has to be Craig’s fault. It’s all good and bad news for K&C. Then the Mamas complain about their grills – you know, a tradesman and their tools and all that. Angela’s stressed because the grill is “boiling the meat on the outside”. DEATH LOOKS PLUS ONE.

Desserts teams arrive to set up the party space. “We love it, it’s totally our style,” offers Lispy. She’s en pointe, babes. Jake asks who’s gonna lead all the setup – Ashlee offers and is ignored in favour of Cupcake. Awesome simmering residual anger.

Kieran starts talking and narrating everything he’s doing, and again Nastassia has to tell him to SHUT THE HELL UP AND GET COOKING. He drops a steak on the floor and blames Nastassia. She stabs him through the soul and reanimates him and they get cooking as soon as Manu arrives.

They’re cooking:
Kieran & Nastassia – Kangaroo with beetroot relish and bordelaise sauce. (Wanna-be fusion chefs.)

Kieran tries to surprise Manu, which he does, but not in a good way. He’s happy to try it despite the “bordelaise” claims which he knows will be a disaster.

The two Victorian cousins reveal their menu:
Sam & Chris – Fresh Pasta with chorizo and pesto. (Wanna-be bludgers.)

That’s it? They’re labouring the fact it could all go wrong if they get the pasta wrong, but if they’re in this level of the comp they should be able to make pasta with their eyes closed. Pete arrives and questions their choices given they have to make the dish for 50 people in a small kitchen. “I hope the boys know what they’re doing,” says Pete. “After all, I gotta eat this shit too.”

The final mains team reveal their dish:
Josh & Andi – Salmon with asparagus and salsa verde. (Wanna-be safe.)

J&A are debating and second guessing everything. Andi is, as usual, free-thinking the ingredients and quantities while Josh alerts her to the macadamia crumbs that are burning in the oven. At least 35% are salvageable.

Kieran is experiencing “pan not hot enough” syndrome. Boo hoo. Nastassia is ready to kill him: “Kieran, I just need you to cook some kangaroo.”

Sam & Chris are in full pasta production mode. Angela is still crying about her “boiled” meat (on a frypan). Kerrie & Craig are 30 minutes out and have yet to start cooking their lamb – balance this with Angela & Melina’s crisis we can see where the axe is gonna fall already.

Dear producers: please stop using Sam & Chris to tell us stuff we already know.

Cupcake is so pleased with herself that she’s in charge. “I think it’s because I like to make everything all pretty,” she says. Yeah, just like that disaster of a dessert you served in your Instant Restaurant round, huh? Naturally Ashlee is critical of Cupcake’s approach. It doesn’t help when Cupcake gets them to start again. Everyone is NOT. HAPPY. JAN.

Kieran’s cooking one steak at a time; Melina’s laying down the law on the sweet potato; Craig is, understandably, being ignored.

Setting up for the dinner is proving to be awkward. Everyone’s pushed on and now doing their own thing and Cupcake’s taking credit for it. Jake proves he’s camp as a row of tents. Room set, Desserts team is off to start creating their magic.

It’s crazy in K&N apartment – she’s cracking the whip and he’s struggling to cook anything, with every complain in town. S&C are in control. K&N are in no way doing anything close to being in control. K&C are… well, they’re just doing something. “Just make room for the meat,” says Craig. Awkward. Oh, he meant the lamb.

Andi’s idea of a “crust” is to be challenged in the High Court. Angela & Melina are falling apart. Everyone’s running out of time. Last minute dressings and cheeses and oils and everyone’s done. They’re all confident of their dishes. The Mama’s have got their dish up and destroyed the kitchen in the mean time. Now all they need to do is carry their meal to the Block Party dinner without incident.

As it’s the first reveal for everyone there’s the standard bitchiness as to “it looks good but does it taste good?” Time and taste buds will tell…

The Desserts mobs are kicking in to deliver their dishes (90 minutes – I hope no one is making ice cream).

There’s compliments for the salmon, as for the pasta. The kangaroo is, surprisingly, cooked quite well and scores praise. The lamb isn’t as good as Pete & Manu want; the beef… gets no reveal from the judges to keep the tension high.

The dessert menus are starting to flow through:
Snake & Elle – Crusted Pear with berry compote. (Wanna-be fine dining.)

“We’re aiming for a different dish,” says Elle. “So we’ve only spat in every other one.” Snake thinks they’ve got a great chance to win because, you know, it’s him.

More dishes:
Dan & Steph – Pavlova with lemon curd and raspberry jelly. (Wanna-be New Zealanders.)

“What Aussie doesn’t love a good pav?” asks Dan, pre-profiling his audience. Steph’s in charge “unless you can make a pavlova sausage” she tells Dan. “How good would that be?” he smiles. STOP IT WITH THE SAUSAGE FIXATION. IT HASN’T WORKED FOR YOU YET.

The one we’ve all been waiting for:
Ashlee & Lispy – Chocolate Berry Tartlets. (Wanna-be popular, babez.)

“What I love about these tartlets is, you know, everything because I make them,” says Ashlee. She also says “chocolate” a lot. Lispy knows “everything” about chocolate except how to cook with it.

You know this was gonna happen:
Cupcake & Joanna – Croquembouche. (Wanna-be disaster.)

“We are ambitious,” says Joanna. “We’re the dessert queens,” says Cupcake.
“Croquembouche in 90 minutes? More like croquembullshit,” offers Ashlee. Call of the series ALREADY!

It’s choux pastry akimbo for the girls and it’s all panic looking at the small, small oven.

Snake’s prepping the poaching liquid and it’s time important. Steph on the other hand seems to be well in charge. Dan’s piping as she makes more mixture. Well in hand.

A&S have nothing but venom for Cupcake and Joanna. “I hope she’s crying in the corner,” offers Lispy. No Christmas cards will be exchanged this year. Joanna knows if they don’t get it right they’ll be crucified by the other teams. “If I stuff this up, don’t stab me,” says Cupcake to her teammate, who’s chosen to leave the passionfruit pips in the cream patissiere she’s preparing (note for later: failure imminent).

The second batch of choux isn’t coming together, but the “start again” method that the girls from Adelaide are so fond of is about to be enacted but then it’s realised the pastry is working. For some reason Joanna is again expected to keep it together for everyone.

Dan’s working on the lemon curd playing dancing hot plates because it’s not thickening. Steph restarts the lemon curd with only 35 minutes remaining on the clock. Ashlee & Lispy are happy with their chocolate pastry and know that time is tight with blind baking still to happen before the filling can go in.

Snake & Elle are starting to snark with each other as the crust burns while they work over each other. Cupcake’s first profiteroles look OK; Dan’s not happy to be working on more lemon curd. See how hard it is to keep up – it’s all over the place!

The original curd is thickening much to Dan & Steph’s surprise – they’re back on track. With few minutes to go Ashlee & Lispy have no time for their tarts to cool so are rushing through getting them out of the pans, and Lispy breaks one and drops another. “Oh well, that seems to be a shame,” says no one.

D&S are packing their pavs (not a euphemism); Snake & Elle are crusting their pears (also not a euphemism); Cupcake and Joanna are filling their dipping and sticking (definitely a euphemism). Once they’ve stacked all they have Cupcake starts to pretty up their tower but Joanna’s not happy. Someone’s gonna lose the plot and I hope it’s her – she’d go off like a firecracker.

Anger management issues for Joanna aside, when she takes the roses out of the top of the tower you almost think Cupcake is gonna smash her. Joanna wants to chuck it in the bin so Cupcake dissolves into tears. It’s literally the War of the Roses for them.

As the last 60 seconds kick in it’s chaos for all the teams. Be it zest or lack of roses nobody knows what they’re doing. For some reason, Pete & Manu down at the block party get everyone there to count down the last 10 seconds with them. This is met with great ambivalence at the table, and reasonably so.

Everyone completes their dishes, though if you count them the four teams haven’t made enough for 50 – just a segment of it between them (as with the mains). It sounded like a real challenge until you work out they only had to prepare 15 or so serves.

The dishes are delivered along with thoughts filled with confidence, hope and disappointment like so many croquembouches before them. The teams relax in a very dull looking green room as Pete & Manu pass judgement on the desserts.

Manu thinks the pavlova is quite unique; Pete thinks the same of the pear. The croquembouche gets a nod for looks but the inclusion of the pips in the creme patissiere makes it “very, very unpleasant” for Manu. The question for the tarts is “where’s the chocolate” – one guest expected there to be meat inside them. Well he’s not gonna get invited back with an attitude like that.

The guests are invited to cast their vote for dishes they may not even have tried, given the small servings. This will be interesting. There is great debate at the table as to what was good and what was not. Manu reminds Pete their job is to decide what was the weakest dish (because Pete didn’t bother reading the producer’s notes before filming).

Judgement time. Who did the guests pick as fave and who did Pete & Manu think were the worst? There’s promises of contestants not breathing and there’s gonna be some disappointment all round. Some teams only just survived and Pete reminds them that this could mean trouble. But first, the judges thoughts…

Josh & Andi’s salmon was consistent and a joy to eat. The best dish on the table.
Sam & Chris’s pasta was something Manu would not have attempted, but it was perfect.
Kieran & Nastassia’s kangaroo was beautifully cooked and moist, but the other ingredients didn’t match. The sauce was nothing like the french sauce Manu was expecting. Not the best dish in tonight’s comp.
Kerrie & Craig’s lamb was a disappointment. It was OK but not great – didn’t hit the mark.
Angela & Melina’s beef took Manu to Istanbul. He loved it.
Snake & Elle’s pear was something Pete have never seen and he loved the dessert, and he loved the reinvention.
Cupcake & Joanna’s croquembouche was very, very, VERY ambitious and Manu was gobsmacked they delivered, BUT the passionfruit pips ruined the experience. Pete thought it was hard to eat – and it’s all Joanna’s fault.
Ashlee & Lispy’s tarts looked great but Pete couldn’t find any “wow” in the dish. Not terrible, but not great.
Dan & Steph’s pavlova was great for Manu as the flavours were perfectly balanced – he was pretty impressed.

The guest’s vote proves to be a close call – congrats to Angela & Melina for their beef dish. They’re overwhelmed – they scream, kiss, cuddle and start to disrobe before they’re reminded where they are.

Manu gets to deliver the bad news – the team that’s going straight to the first sudden death elimination. It’s bad news for Kieran & Nastassia. They’re reminded that not only was their dish crap but that they failed miserably… but have one more chance to redeem themselves. Monday everyone else partakes in the first Kitchen HQ cook-off where we know what to expect – intimidation, a complete lack of time, and Manu calling to stop the clock for some unknown-yet-sure-to-be-underwhelming-reason. Delicious!