MKR – Sun, March 13 – the one that could be Lauren’s Sure Shank Redemption

Tonight is Lauren’s chance to see if she can improve upon her seafood pasta in a bag.

What score do we think the cops will give her?

I’m off to a late start (had a four year old not wanting to sleep), so recap will be bitsy tonight.
We start with a reminder of Lauren’s MKR history (how could we forget, Channel 7, when you promo her antics relentlessly) and the shots of her cooking to the tune of Eminem’s Lose Yourself – the theme from 8 Mile. Yeah, Lauren’s a scrappy underdog who grew up trailer trash and has come on a cooking show to prove herself. Perhaps these lyrics relate to the after effects of the aforementioned raw seafood pasta?
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti

Oh, yeah, and there are a few shots of Carmine, too. We’re reminded two teams will be eliminated tonight as none of them are “seff”.
We’re reminded they are from Adelaide with shots of Glenelg, Adelaide Oval, Rundle St and the bridge over the River Torrens… Pity the brilliant Central Markets did not get a guernsey.
They start with a morning smoothie (what’s the go – are they hoping to open a juice bar after MKR?) and we get flashbacks of their seafood disaster, so at least we get to see the lovely Rachel Khoo again.
Oh yay – they ARE at the Central Market getting their seafood. Please cook it properly this time, guys, and show off the beautiful SA produce. They also get their lamb shanks from a local butcher, then head to Coles.

Entree: Saffron cockles and mussels and croutons
Main: Oven-baked lamb shank on soft polenta with gremolata (if we were out and saw this on a menu, this is exactly what Mr Juz would order)
Dessert: Lauren’s famous mud cake (really – another cake? Someone, please do a panna cotta or a pav at least)

It sounds good but the main is going to take a long time to cook, so they’d better motor. We’re reminded they previousy scored 51, which was the lowest score of the remaining teams. So if the judging twist turns out to be “most improved”, they are in with a shot.
EXCEPT when they finally get in the kitchen the clock already says 2:38. Not good, guys.
They get started on the lamb stock and cleaning the seafood and, to the tune of Fame, Lauren starts making her famous mud cake, and at least we saw her buying decent Lindt chocolate. Only after the cake is in the oven does she start the gelato – it’s looking like it will be another MKR puddle ice cream.
And here come the guests and the Stepsies are back in their twinning outfits. Urgh. Paige and Rosie look nice but the Miners are back in their too-tight, too-buttoned-up shirts.

They always hide Nev and Kell in the middle.

They always hide Nev and Kell in the middle.

It’s a bit awkies with the greetings, despite Lauren being the kindest, nicest contestant in the history of MKR.
Carmine welcomes the guests with: “We hope youse have a lovely evening.”
They head back to the kitchen to take the cakes out and OMG they haven’t even browned the shanks yet, and they will take at least two hours to braise in the oven, and given they are doing so many, more like three. Lauren’s not fazed: “I don’t actually care. They can just wait because these lamb shanks are going to be perfect.”
Famous last words, Lauren.
And then, uh oh, they ordered 14 lamb shanks and they only have 12 so they don’t have spares for a tester. Lauren is rushing and the shanks aren’t that brown by the time they go in the oven.

And here are the judges and this is the first time Lauren and Carmine have cooked for them. They run through the menu and we learn Kell does not eat mussels and cockles (and Paige is not keen, either). We know Ducks Nutters will score low anyway, so it won’t make a difference. At the table the Stepsies remind everyone of last round’s disaster in a bag. Talk turns to who’s on the bottom and Man Bun Miner puts his foot in it, saying there could be some strategic scoring from people looking to save their skin.
Lisa is not happy that he was looking at someone (I think the Cops) when he said it. Shut up, Man Bun!

In the kitchen Lauren is making croutons out of shop-bought bread. This is the woman who bagged out other teams for using shop-bought breadcrumbs! Come on, Lauren: If you haven’t grown the wheat yourself I don’t want to know about it.
In the dining room Monique and Lisa have foot-in-mouth Miner in their sights and he is wishing he could hide under the tablecloth right now, until Hazel steps in as the voice of reason: “I think we just need to stop it and move on.” She seems like quite a nice lady – if only she had a different MKR partner.
Lauren is wisely separating the seafood from the hot broth so she can check if it’s cooked and they actually taste it this time. It’s a generous serve for an entree.

Lauren is confident of the outcome as the dish is “amazeballs”.
It’s chew o’clock … And Manu is happy they cooked the seafood with respect: “Fantastic, beautiful, gorgeous.” They kept it simple and delivered. They are rightly stoked and Carmine is tearing up. “Liquid gold,” says Pete. “If you travelled through parts of the Mediterranean, that’s what you’d get in a beautiful seaside restaurant. Just like that.”

The guests taste and Kell at least tries a mussel, then makes a face. Hazel: “I’m in love with this dish; I could inhale it.” Paige is converted to shellfish. Kell is not but she at least she makes it clear the dish is not to blame. Nev loved it, as did Feisty Cop.

In the kitchen, it’s time for a Manu pop-in and he asks Carmine for a cup of leftover broth.

"He likes me - he really, really likes me!"

“He likes me – he really, really like me!”

“Do you want a take-home pack?” Lauren asks. Yes, he does, and they put aside a container full for him. They are ecstatic. Now I really want to taste that broth! Hopefully they’ll start a broth stall at a market near me somewhere. Remember Jessica (as in Bree and Jess) from a while back? She runs a stall at a groovy market not far from my place and has just launched her own line of cake mixes in SA’s excellent Foodland supermarkets
Lauren and Carmine get to work on stirring their polenta and then fossick through their lamb shank trays for a piece of meat that’s fallen off for them to taste. They are happy. However, just because one scrap of meat is cooked it does’t mean a huge shank is. They plate up and don’t put much soz on. Where’s the soz guys? I would have liked some token broccoli to green it up.
Says Lauren: “This is our Sure Shank Redemption.” Yep, a producer totally just told her to say that.

Chew time … Manu says the meat is falling off the bone, the soz is a bit too thick but the polenta is way bland. Pete criticised the lack of soz, especially given the lack of seasoning in the polenta.
However, Man Bun is in heaven, picking up the bone to chew the last shreds of meat and suck the marrow out with a straw. “I’m getting into this bone like a ravaged [that’s what it sounded like] dog.” One of the others hands him their bone to suck.
And then Monique discovers hair on her plate, but when she is asked what she thinks of the dish she says it was divine. Kell calls BS on her for not being honest but, interestingly, Monique says she didn’t mention having a hair in her dish at a previous restaurant. Do we know where this was? I only remember Lauren getting a hair from Stepsies.

Lauren is checking on her famous cakes and she’s happy. She’s making a mirror glaze and for a while it looks as though the chocolate has seized, but she’s panicked too early and it seems fine.
They plate up and it’s all rather basic, with three teeny drops of coulis. Where’s the soz? Where’s a crunchy element? The ice cream looks overly frozen.

Time to chews: Pete says the sugar in the icing has not dissolved and the ice cream is icy and flavourless. Manu says the cake does not have the muddy texture it needs: “It’s a pleasant dish to eat, but it’s far from being perfect.”
The guests echo their comments and Monique is glad to finally let it rip. But it’s Lisa who goes for broke: “I think the ice cream is icy. It tastes like one of those $2 home brands. I would be embarrassed to put my name to this …” This is the woman who served lime cream pie with green food colouring and a sorbet slushie at her last instant restaurant.

Time to score … but we don’t get to see the team scores because it’s off to Kitchen HQ we go to finally find out the twist.
Entree Pete 9, Manu 10; Main Pete 7, Manu 7; Dessert: Pete 4, Manu 5.
Guest teams total: 33/50. Total: 75 – second place on the leaderboard.

And now to the twist … Yes, it’s determine by how much you have improved. Everyone is frantically trying to do the maths in their heads. Monique knows she’s done for.
It’s a bit rough on the teams who performed ok in their first round.
The Cops and Stepsies are gone, so, phew, there goes some of the drama.

And here come all the remaining teams and there are so many people I’d forgotten (Curlies, Chops, Sisters, Sweet Nellie and Whatisface who went looking for brulee torch gas). It’s going to take forever to get through this lot.
Zana and Plus One, Dad/Mates and Italianos are announced as safe for the first round as they won their initial rounds.
The promo shows some kind of Olympic Stadium challenge, then says that for the first time they’ll have to work together. Really – MKR is finally getting on the MasterChef team challenge bandwagon? They usually suck – I much prefer the individual rounds. Guess they have to up the drama with Stepsies and Cops gone. And I AM looking forward to seeing Zana cooking near a cow. Germs! Eeek!



  1. Where is everybody?

    Missed the slurping (Manu + the miners) but what can we say Fixer Upper and 5 Day Flip are far more interesting than the bitches on MKR.

  2. Looks like Lauren’s hair gets in the main.

    Instant karma.

    Only 15 mins in here.Loads of ads already.

    Hoping for polenta fail. Lauren is boringballs.

  3. The big twist: Final ranking is based on the difference between the redemption round score and the original round score.

  4. I loved Gareth calling out a couple of the teams for strategic scoring (unfortunately, he wasn’t calling out *enough* teams for that, but whatever). Lisa seemed offended, and her eyebrows seemed even more offended.

      • in Gareth’s defence at that point he wouldn’t have known that Duck’s Nuts hadn’t scored fairly.

        • Agreed. The poor guy was trying to calm down what he saw as strategic scoring by the two trailing teams. He did not know that the Ducknutters were the strategic scorers because Kel has been working quite hard (and with some success) to try and paint Monique as the Kat of this season, as with last night’s allegations of dishonesty.

          I say the Cops were entitled to feel hard done by. Their judges’ score was 47, against judges’ scores of 45 for the Besties, 42 for Lauren and Wotsisname, 38 for the Stepsies, 38 for the Miners. It’s worth noting that the Stepsies scored 3s as often as the Ducknutters.

          I also say there were two ridiculous judges’ scores: the double 10 for a fairly basic cheesecake and the 10/9 for a daily basic cockles and mussels in broth. One of those scores kept us on track for the Lauren/Zana apocalypse production so clearly believe we are hanging for and the other kept ‘rough diamonds’ Nev and Kel in play.

          Lastly, the improvement score was ridiculous and clearly designed only to keep Lauren on our screens. The worse you did on Round 1 the more advantage you have going into Round 2.

          • Basically, I think Gareth’s just an idiot. He referred to Monique as an “old duck” more than once. Best looking old duck I’ve seen on this show for a while. There’s just rubbish left in the eye candy jar.

            The twist was a last minute, made to order rort to avoid a Sore Skank Rebellion.

          • True. I was merely struggling to explain how devastated I am now that smokin’ old duck is gone.

            Windsong and others on the J train will understand, hopefully. It’s because I’m passionate, hey?

            If not , youse can raise your finger at me like a cockle cooking concreter would.

          • More seriously, the average scores of the teams are = revealing. They give a completely different picture of who scored fairly and who did not. The averages scored by the teams were:

            Stepsies 4.8
            Ducknutters 5.2
            Cops 5.8
            Villain and Sidekick 6
            Miners 7.2

            2 teams cluster around very low scores. 2 teams cluster in the middle. The Miners are out in left field with bizarre scores.

            Neither the Cops nor the Villains were scoring unfairly. If the Stepnutters (or if you prefer the Ducksteppers) had scored more fairly, and the Miners had scored more consistently it is hard to see how the Cops would have gone home.

            Kel’s campaign at Monique’s expense looks more and more calculated by the minute.

          • Have you got Rosie and Paige ‘s average score,Alan?. I expect they’d be near the middle cluster . Thanks for the analysis.

          • Besties 6.2, so they were part of the fair group with the Cops and Villains. What are we going to call the teams of Lauren and Wotsisname and Zana and Wotsisname when they come face to face?

            And where did production find quite so many women with a slightly psychopathic presentation and partners eager to take orders? I count 3 in this season. Luckily Dee and Wotsisname have already gone home.

          • I may be over-editing and over-thinking here. Lauren and Monique clearly each believed the other one was doing the low scoring. They had lots of fights which made them both look pretty strange.

            The Stepnutters used a thoroughly nasty and deceitful trick of saying nice things about the food and then scoring it low, so Lauren and Monique were both being reasonable to believe what they did.

          • Finally I got the time to do an analysis. To start the Redemption Round saying there will be a twist gave the producers various option to keep some teams in.

            Without any twist, Cops and Stepsies were the bottom 2.

            If combining the total scores from the two rounds, Stepsies and Lauren will be eliminated. Not what they want.

            Total scores:

            Rosie and Page 138
            Cops 130
            Miners 129
            Duck Nuts 127
            Lauren 126
            Stepsies 120

            If they only used the judges scores for the least improved teams, then Stepsies and Miners will be eliminated. But they want to keep the Miners.

            Also if they only used the judges scores in the Redemption Round, Ducks Nuts and Miners will be eliminated. Can’t use this twist as they want to keep Miners in.

  5. I laughed through my nostrils at the almighty twist for the redemption round … meaning absolute jack diddly squat, since the same two teams were still on the bottom of the leader-board. So it ultimately changed the game in no way whatsoever.

    Hazel, Botox and the two cops just got a bit too nasty in the closing stages of this round, though, so I can’t say I’m sorry to see them go. OTOH, keeping Lauren around means a possible Lauren/Zana showdown, and that’ll be worth sticking around for.

    In other totally unrelated news, Jordan and his very loud t-shirts are back YAY!

  6. I was hoping the twist was only Rosie and Paige and the Miners got to stay. But at least we don’t have to endure the two teams that went anymore.

  7. What was with amazeball all night from Lauren? I am glad they didn’t get the night off tomorrow night. They shouldn’t be at the top after tonight. Very strange twist.I must admit that entree looked rather delish and shanks yum but where was the sors and the mash potato?

  8. Looking forward to watching MKR tomoro as I’m at my sisters and she’s surprised me by whipping up the actual Ducks Nuts Cheesecake!! Ripper!!

  9. I did watch the entree and main tonight. That was long enough to hear “amazeballs” about ten times, which was ten times too many. Does that woman ever utter an original thought, or does she always speak in cliches from bad movies and terrible songs? There were big efforts tonight to soften Lauren’s image. She’s still a horrid woman.

    The first two courses did look good. But has anyone on this show ever got polenta right? Or ice cream, come to think of it? I missed the dessert and teams’ scores, but see that the nasty cops and the hand-holding stepma and daughter are gone. Yay. Someone needs to tell that stepbitch that eyebrows belong somewhere near your brow bones, not 60mm above, and not drawn in an arch that puts the Romans to shame.

    • I think she said “amazeballs” one less time than she said “I really don’t care”. Very clear that she has decided that pleasing her guests is a mug’s game. Bit ironic considering her absolute confidence in her ‘mud cake’ which wasn’t a mud cake at all.

  10. Chillax, amazeballs… The MKR slang is getting worse and worse.

    Anyway, glad that weird eyebrow lady and the annoying cop are gone. And Meister Proper and his annoying cleaning lady scored low again… She was going on and on about “Be honest”. Kind of laughable as she scored unfairly.

  11. It wasn’t a competition episode.

    Agree with Von on the amazeballs effort to soften Lauren’s image.

    You can’t polish an escrementi.

  12. Love the recap, Juz

    At some stage, they are cooking in group of two. With this format, some weaker teams can get through on others coattails. Just throw them into the deep blue sea and see how they cope.

    What happened to NIC and Rocco’s pattiserie? Gonski?

    • The one near my place, the lease ran out but I believe Nic and Rocco have at least one other venue going.

    • The sold their cafe in Rundle Mall (which is the main CBD shoppig strip) to Cotto, which is an ever-expanding Adelaide-born cafe/pastisserie franchise, second only to Cibo.

  13. Glad to see the Coppers and Stepsies leave. Too bad the Duck Nutters did not exit, too. Their scoring just continues to be unfair.
    I’m surprised Lauren didn’t name her cake Lauren’s Amazeballs Mud Cake instead of Famous Mud Cake. Not that it was amazing but it would have fit better with her vocabulary.
    Well, girlfriends I’m going to chillax now. Have an Amazeballs of a day.

  14. The cops did have an unfair run in the comp. Tasia and Garcia were lucky to avoid the Redemption Round. They only got 59 for their IR compared to 68 for the cops.

    Should have only used the judges scores for the most improved teams.

    • Maybe they should have put the six lowest scoring teams over all rounds into the Redemption round? As well as Tasia & Gracia, Eve & Jason (Chops) also scored less than the cops, nine points less.

      I agree that the final result was unfair. The first two IR rounds were scored quite highly by the teams compared to the last two which were scored totally erratically, and in general Pete and Manu scored much more generously than Colin and Rachel. Not a level playing field at all.

      With regards to the menu tonight, I would have to say that these were “not competition dishes”! I might be persuaded that the entree was a little complex, purely due to the broth, but absolutely no technique otherwise. They even bought the mussels already cleaned. The main was exactly the same as what many households produce on weeknights, although mashed potato is probably more common than polenta. And a basic chocolate cake – substandard icecream (and I still maintain that icecream is quite easy with an icecream machine, which seemed to be supplied to every contestant), no plating finesse at all. Slightly off topic, how come nearly every team had the same type of oval container that they put icecream/sorbet into when placing in the freezer. Was it a sponsor’s gift?

      Agree Littlepetal, using the judge’s score only would have been more fair.

    • You can’t compare scores across different rounds because different foods, good, average and bad; different judges are in the mix. Mind you, that goes for the whole “Instant Kitchen” concept. It’s only approaching fair when contestants cook the same ingredients, with the same equipment (some had very large ovens), in the same time and judged by the same chefs/knowledgeable foodies. Further, it’s not fair to “make up the rules as we go along” either but still we the viewers keep coming back for more punishment.

    • You are right, Cuisinaire, it is almost impossible to be totally fair, and I suppose it would be less entertaining if the result was predictable. And judging food is always influenced by personal preference/palate. It is just sad for those who get the raw deal.

  15. Numbers can say only so much of the horror of those who eschew marron claws and dare to drizzle “juss” over their foul creations. Youse know what I mean. Pretension over passion.

    • The Battlers (aka Rattlers aka Ducknutters aka Conniving Canards) along with Mum and Jordan, have been invited as special guests to the Polo in the Valley here in WA. I’ll just leave that thought to your imagination BDD.

      • Bogan Ducknutters and Polo. Not exactly a match made in heaven.

        Hopefully Mum and Jordan can do the catering and Ducknutters can be left to feed the horses.

    • It says that in the brochure…but often I think I’m watching Hell’s Kitchen.

      Maybe Manu just wanted that cup of Shellfish Juss to clean some mud off his shoes…

  16. Duck Nuts will go deep into the comp. He has MKR tattooed on some part of his body. I would vomit if they are in the final.

    My winner will come from The brother and sis, Italian, Anna and Jordan and maybe Zana and her husband. But I am usually wrong

    • There will be no winner. The production assistants telling Lauren and Zana what to do will get carried away and the pair of them will leap on the table and go for each other’s eyes with their nails. The series will have to be abandoned after most of the guests are hospitalised with serious stiletto wounds.

    • The Italians are great cooks but are they versatile enough? Time will tell. The Sis is right across cooking techniques and trends but bro is a willing but not so able helper. Zana and Plus One will go far if she can keep it together.

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