MKR – Tues, Mar 15 – the one where a watched pot never boils

I love that every phrase out of Lauren’s mouth is the way I speak to Mr Juz sarcastically: “totes unfair”, “amazeballs”, “devo” … I’m just waiting for her to drop a “whatevs”.
And here she is, “devo” that she was on the losing Black team from the Rissole challenge, despite getting a good critique from Pete and Colin.
At least she gets to be in the presence of the real Curtis Stone and not just the cardboard cutout they have at Coles.
And their cooking challenge? To produce a “fresh banquet” using seasonal produce. So, no bottled lemon juice?
Pete explains the rules: the judges pick the worst dish and its makers will cook against a team selected by the guest teams.
Cut to shocked Zana face and Lauren freaking out.

There's a camera guy whose only job is to get Zana reaction shots. He's a busy bloke.

There’s a camera guy whose only job is to get Zana reaction shots. He’s a busy bloke.

They have 60 minutes – not long at all given they have to find their way around the pantry and kitchen.

The dishes are:
Miners:
Asian omelette with soft-shell crab and citrus glaze. Does an omelette need a glaze? Is it more a dressing? At least the crab component sounds more complex than their pathetic filo cup effort.
Duck Nutters: Pepper steak on mushroom with feta salad. Sounds boring and not much work for 60 minutes, even allowing for resting time. And Nev is peeling the mushrooms. Why??
Laurine and Carmine: Mushroom ragu with crispy polenta. Better bam up the salt in the polenta, gice.
Sisters Tasia and Gracia: Crispy Pork Cakes with apple and pear slaw and sweet chilli sauce. And I know that sauce won’t come out of a bottle – looking at you, Mr and Mrs Chops.
JP and Nelly: Who knows what they are making. I’m too busy hurling after he tells her he needs to marinate the steak and her response is “I love you”. Apparently it’s Beef tostada with guac and mango salsa. Some decent technique required there.

The Miners are burning their mini omelettes – turn down the heat, Man Bun! And just make big omelettes and slice them up.
Pete is impressed by the Lovebirds’ energy but worried the others are looking stressed.
Hooray – the Miners decide to make a big omelette.
With 22 minutes ticked away it seems Duck Nutters have yet to put their mushies in the oven. This is what happens when you stupidly peel mushrooms. What have they been doing all this time? Seasoned and browned some beef and made a herb butter?
Carmine and Lauren reckon their polenta has heaps of cheese and seasoning so she starts cooking their (unpeeled) mushies.
The Sisters have made quite large pork “meatloaves”, in effect, to steam. Smaller ones would cook more quickly.
Over at the Lovebirds’ station Nelly reckons the fumes from the deep fryer hurt her eyes so JP has to come rescue the damsel in distress. Urgh. And why are they using whisks to hold down their tostadas? Metal whisks + boiling oil = accident waiting to happen.
Cut to Duck Nutters and the watery mushies look like rubbish and Kell feels the same, but as usual her face is so impassive we can’t tell what’s going on. She walks off to the wing with a “sorry, babe” and someone from the medical team comes over. Kell says she’s nauseous. Always a good thing to hear a cook say before you have to eat their food. The clock now shows 20 minutes to go. Nev carries on on his own and gets a Miner to taste his beef.
But the Miners have their own problems, one of which is their omelettes look overcooked and they do little cookie cutter circles out of it. Nooo! Just do big slices and fold them, boys!
Carmine and Laurine are stuffing up their polenta discs – they are sticking to the deep fryer. On the sidelines Zana says they’ve cut the discs too thinly. Her mushroom ragu looks very thin.
Nev is frantically plating up on his own – luckily he picked a simple dish.
All of the dishes look like they will be quite tricky to eat without a giant bib.
The judging
Lauren is confident they have a “crackin'” dish. Manu says it’s not a good-looking dish but the polenta is well seasoned. And Curtis backs up Zana’s call on the thin polenta. Some guests’ polenta is falling apart an Zana says the mushies have been stewed.

Curtis says Duck Nutters cooked the beef well. Manu thinks the feta and raw capsicum don’t really go and it’s underseasoned. (Unfortunately MKR’s Twitter account posted pix of several dishes that were not from tonight’s show – Kell and Nev’s supposed dish appeared to be seared tuna nestled in a pastry cup) – so I’m missing quite a few I don’t have time to get screengrabs for. If they rectify it I will update pix tomorrow.)
The Miners’ omelette is “too eggy”, says Curtis, but he likes the crab.

The Lovebirds’ tostada gets the thumbs up but Curtis would like less mango.
The Sisters’ pork dish inspires Pete to utter one of my pet hate phrases: “It’s quite a unique dish.” Pete, it’s unique, or not – there’s no quite unique. He says all the elements have flavour. Curtis: “If my local dumpling truck sold this I’d go there again and again.” But Manu thinks the sauce is too sweet, and Mrs Chops agrees.
The safe teams are handed scorecards.

Zanas thinking face.

Zanas thinking face.

Winners and Losers
It’s time for the critique and we learn Kell is feeling better. Otherwise, we don’t hear much new. The Sisters get the highest praise and Curtis says they are his faves. These girls are improving in leaps and bounds after a mediocre instant restaurant. Pete says Duck Nutters are in sudden death. The teams’ pick is Carmine and Lauren.
Lauren clearly thinks they’re being picked on but as Jordan tells the confessional: “Their dish was one of the worst. You deserve to be there Lauren.”

Sudden death
Oh, we’re doing sudden death tonight? This is taking forever. And there seem to be even more ads than usual.
They have 90 minutes to produce a salvation dish and Carmine and Lauren will surely win.
Duck Nutters: Crispy skin barramundi with puttanesca sauce. Sounds simple.
Beef ragu with fettucine. More ragu! More pasta! At least do a differently shaped pasta.

Chief Nut says he is going to top the fish with the sauce, which will ruin any crispy skin. Hopefully he changes his mind and puts the sauce underneath. Nev is freaking out under the pressure and massacring the barra, cutting it into different sizes. I noticed Kell wearing gloves in the previous round. Is that because they are worried she might have something contagious? The Miners show support with “Come on, Mum and Dad.” One of the Italianos throws Lauren a token cheer but it falls on deaf ears. Carmine puts his concreter muscles to use cranking out the pasta dough. Lauren comes out of the zone for a bit of banter with her fellow Italians.
Duck Nutters are cruising and Nev chargrills the eggplant but doesn’t want to it in the oven “too soon”. I see raw eggplant in his future.
With 22 minutes to go Lauren and Carmine’s pasta water is not yet hot. Put it in smaller pots, guys. Did you fill it from the hot tap to start with? They decide to split it into smaller pots – yay.
A watched pot never boils – especially when the watchers are your MKR rivals. They chuck the pasta in anyway so they can get something on the plate.
Plating up is a mad dash and while Carmine and Lauren’s looks sloppy it looks more enticing and they showed more skill.

barra

ragu

Time to chew …
Curtis has flown the coop so it’s just Pete and Manu at the lords of the manor table, looking down at the peasant cook.
Laurine and Carmine lie and say they like their pasta “very al dente”.

Pete says the pasta was cooked well and the sauce had decent flavour given the short-cooking time. Manu agrees the plate showed signs of stress.
The eggplant was undercooked – picked it – but the fish had crispy skin.
Manu reckons it was “thees close”. Surely technique will win out?
And it does. Bye, bye Duck Nutters. Kell finally shows some emotion. Manu thanks them for teaching him the phrase “the ducks’ nuts”.

Tomorrow night: An Olympic-sized challenge and everyone has to cook.



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65 Comments

  1. Of these five teams, there’s only one who can actually cook worth a damn, and the rest bounce between nice but ditzy (the miners, the lovebirds) and frankly annoying (Lauren and her better half, and Duck nuts and his brother’s wife).

  2. Regarding a post in the previous thread:
    Windsong I have to agree that Jordan is marketable.
    You want to love him, I want to adopt him. He appeals to a wide cross section.
    (I don’t think BDD has even given him a hard time – yet).

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  3. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Thank f**k for that. Miners should have been in the bottom two. Strategic voting again. Enough with the ragu, Lauren and Carmine..

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  4. Agree that the miners can’t cook. Their cooking is just in the infant stage where they are experimenting. If they have some skills and their passion is cooking, they should be working in the kitchen and not as wait staff

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  5. The miners should’ve been in the bottom two, but no, I can’t help but think that, yeah, the teams are still voting down Lauren and Carmine ’cause they just don’t like them very much. Lauren’s righteous indignation at the other teams is frankly hilarious (and I adored Jordan pointing out, sweety? You’re not that good). Someone keep the steak knives away from her.

    OTOH, a sudden-death cook-off with two of the least likeable teams (and one of them guaranteed to be going home)? Awesome. I’m sure if Lauren and Carmine survive, Lauren’s going to passive-aggressive the rest of the teams until they want to voluntarily quit. But eh, I hope Nev and Kell get eliminated as well.

    Meanwhile, I’d forgotten that Zana might be a really annoying table-guest, but her face is so oddly expressive that watching her watch the other teams is kind of hilarious.

  6. The message for Lauren and Carmine is – if you’re going to be in two rounds of instant restaurant – probably not a good idea to piss people off, there is more that don’t like you.

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  7. How much of Nev and Kell’s meal was the sauce, and how much of it was Nev’s sweat? Excuse me while I cringe in horror :(.

  8. I was amazed at Kel’s miraculous recovery or was it a case of when the going gets tough you bail out….or just bail out when it suits…e.g.her marriage. 😆

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    • The symptoms she described were classic I’m-about-to-faint ones. I suspect she was probably just dehydrated, hence the tea-drinking during the cook-off.

  9. On the one hand, thank goodness they’re gone. OTOH? Now I’m annoyed we’re stuck with Lauren and Carmine for another week, or so. But I’ll bet the producers were like, “Get rid of Lauren and all the drama her sense of self-importance brings? Hell to the no! Deep-six Ducknuts and his brother’s wife instead!”

    You can’t say we’ve lost much.

    But I still wish they’d eliminated them both.

  10. End of deluded Duck Nut and Kell plus I’ve won $14.00 on Oz Lotto. I can buy a No Idea with the Pete Evans Cookbook in it.

  11. The show has just started here. Don’t think I’ll be around long; they all seem so phony tonight. They might as well phone in it, for all the excitement that is being portrayed.

    The reaction to Curtis Stone was hilarious. Guys, IT’S CURTIS STONE! “oh. okay. yay.” He is such a dolt . Fancy walking onto the set of MKR and yelling something like “I expect great things from you!” Wrong show, Curtis.

  12. I don’t mind sharing this culinary secret. I always boil ze water in ze electrique kettle first ‘cos is much quicker than waiting for a saucepan of water to boil on ze gas. Stronzo happens, Lauren.

    I really feel that Iggy and myself have got what it takes to win MKR.

  13. I think the brief is the dishes must have a round base. Who serve omelette as a round disc. Soft shell crab wrapped with a thin omelette will be quite nice.

  14. I was torn, I hated the Ducknutters for their furtive strategic scoring. But the other choice was Lauren.

    If Kel actually had a panic arrack they really should not have let her back on stage. Panic attacks are serious. That weird moment when she decided to drink tea instead of cook was classic for someone who has just had one.

    I wonder if the Mum and Dad thing will survive people learning how the Ducknutters were actually scoring other teams.

    • I was thinking the same thing, Alan. These teams who have chummed up with Ducknutters would have had a shock when they saw the footage from the IR rounds. End of friendship, I’d say.

      I think Kell was only dehydrated, she described the symptoms of fainting. That is why she would be drinking during the next challenge.

  15. Juz – love the recap title – lol Maybe they all have to share one gas bottle?
    Duck Nuts dish was too disjointed, IMO. Char grilled undercooked eggplant served on top of aioli? That can’t be right? Puttanesca sauce in a little bowl on the side? Interesting I didn’t see anyone other than the judges eating the “salvation” dishes OR did I nod off and miss that part?

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  16. Hmm, there goes one half of my final 2 guess! 😀 Good riddance. Won’t miss the woman with the annoying voice and that resting bitch face and duck nut guy.

    The sisters seem to have improved by quite a bit. Two good nights in a row.

    I am actually also on the “We like Jordan”-train. He is so self-confident without appearing arrogant. Plus he has some humor. 🙂 Hope he does well, along with the Italians and brother/sister duo.

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  17. According to WA’s main newspaper, Kell said that she had been vomiting into a bag behind the counter before going off. Why was she allowed to continue cooking after this?

    Further “The Duck’s Nuts” said that they had never planned to win (what a surprise) but had gone onto the show for the social experience and to meet the chefs involved. Too bad for anyone out there with some culinary skill but no financial resources to realise a dream. Of course those fitting that description would only get a gig if they could meet the Channel 7 formula of marketable for ratings.

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    • The “social experience” of crawling up their opponents on camera and then kneecapping them with miserly scores privately.

    • The Ducknobblers had the most manipulative tactic I can recall on MKR, of talking food up before voting it down. Almost half their score of 71 in the redemption round came from a ridiculous double 10 for the cheesecake and a 9 from the Miners. They not only brought a manipulative tactic but it was working well for them.

      Manipulators quite often claim afterwards that they did not really want to win. It’s a story that just never makes any sense.

  18. I would have thought people vomiting into a bag when Nev and Kell are cooking would be an everyday event, like the sun rising. Get over it, sour grapes. Marron up, Duck Nutters. Youse wound up with eggplant on yer faces.

    Funny how only last week Duck Nut was dribbling about how bad he wanted this , that there was no culinary mountain he wasn’t going to climb to realize his passion. Youse heard it all before. What a lame, nutless duck he proved in the final rinse.

  19. I know Lauren is hard to take but I don’t think I could have taken another night of the Ducknutters and their shocking food.
    They said it was so close last night but I don’t believe that for a minute. I think Lauren was always going to win.
    I am just so glad to see the backend of Ducknutters.
    The miners continue to not make the cut. They need to smarten up or they won’t be around for much longer.
    It really did annoy me last night to see those people that dished up disgusting meals the night before eg. Chops and his missus for one, sitting back so smug when it should have been them up there cooking for their lives.

    • Yes but then we would have had to see Rosie and Paige challenged early and most of us would like to enjoy their kind and humorous banter a little longer. MKR is a lot like Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”…”He’s making it up as he goes along”.

  20. What is it calling Stew, Ragu? Lauren’s beef stew was quite basic, and almost impossible to get wrong if you are using a pressure cooker. The mushroom ‘ragu’ looked like chopped raw mushrooms swimming in water. None of the mushies had broken down at all to form a smooth sauce. Combined with the breaking-apart polenta, I’m not surprised that the teams voted them low. Don’t forget that it is possible that Ducks Nuts were voted lowest by the teams, with Carmine and Lauren second-lowest.

    But I can’t ever see Lauren musing that “maybe our food wasn’t so good this time?”. Oh no, the paranoia is entrenched and it will always be seen as vindictiveness or jealousy from the other teams.

    • Ragù. Personally I don’t see Lauren’s rather watery sauces as true ragù, but that may just be me. The Italians went almost hysterical when Jessica claimed one of her vegetarian concoctions was a ragù.

  21. I thought Kell looked stoned when she came back after her little break. She might have been out back inhaling a big fat doobie. She was vomiting on set, and then allowed back on? Damn, MKR, you are nasty. I reckon it was the bile of poor gamesmanship that gave her an upset stomach.

    How do you cook pasta, Lauren the Spiteful Pasta Queen? Put 40 litre pots full of cold water on only when everything else is ready. Whine, and tell Carmine that “his” pots aren’t boiling. Continually remove the pot lids and stick your hand in the water. Eventually get the pasta partially cooked. Be sure to handle every single strand of fettucine at least twice while plating. And that’s how YOU do it. You are obtuse, Lauren. Go away.

  22. Glad to see Nev and Kell leave. Watching them being cheered on by so many of the other contestants and hearing some of them call them mom and pop was sad especially knowing how the Duck Nutters had scored the other teams. Wondering what those teams reactions were after watching the episodes.

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