MKR semi 2 – Anna and Jordan V Lauren and Carmine

It’s semi final 2 and, really, isn’t everyone tuning in just to see one team go down in flames? Still, stranger things have happened. Anna and Jordan aren’t used to the pressure of Kitchen HQ.
Let’s play Lauren bingo. Comment “bingo” once you hear her say any of these phrases:
Two fiddy Kay
We’re not going down without a fight
We got this
Anything in an accent
Bonus points if Carmine says “youse”

Eastern states have the advantage with this one, but play along anyway. Losers can just drink the Haterade.

It’s only a minute in and already she’s said “two fiddy kay”. BINGO! Bit sad Manu is not in purple velvet – perhaps they’re saving it for the grand final.
We start with speeches about how Carmine (gosh, he looks tired) and Lauren (who always looks fresh) are the fighters and Anna and Jordan are the frontrunners but can they handle the heat blah blah.
The menus
Lauren and Carmine
Entree: Seared scallops with pea cream and speck
Main: Sous vide chicken with smoked potato puree and brussels sprouts
Dessert: Grilled peach with yoghurt mousse and peach sorbet

Anna and Jordan
Entree: Lightly poached oysters with fennel and apple
Main: Chilli angel hair pasta with crab and pippies
Dessert: Cannoli with orange and mascarpone ice cream
Both menus sounds tasty. Anna and Jordan’s have more that could go wrong and the dishes need more technical skill than Lauren and Carmine’s menu. There’s a lot of work in making cannoli shells.

Finally - back in a nice shirt after a few shockers.

Finally – back in a nice shirt after a few shockers.

Everyone’s multi-tasking like mad and Lauren is “all good in the hood”. BINGO! Jordan’s oyster cream looks unusual – is this going to work? Anna is frying her cannoli shells now but Jordan is worried she hasn’t started her pasta dough for main yet. Surely they had a plan beforehand of what to do when? Is Anna just ignoring it?
To their credit Lauren and Carmine have planned every move they make – Carmine can’t take a breath without her permission. And it’s got them through a lot of sudden death cook offs.

In the ad break we learn House Rules starts Wednesday 7.30pm, so they’re getting the jump on MasterChef.

How  gorgeous do Tasia and Gracia look on the sidelines.

How gorgeous do Tasia and Gracia look on the sidelines.

Anna finally listens to Jordan and makes her past dough and is hilarious, referring to the dough as “she”.
Time to plate up and both dishes look good – Carmine and Lauren have obviously been studying plating techniques as the scallops look so much prettier than their usual dishes.
Time to chew

The oysters actually looked much more appetising than in this official MKR pic.

Liz likes the vibrancy of the scallops and says it’s a classic dish. Colin sums it up: “It’s good cooking, it’s got flavour, but I think it’s safe.” Guy likes the flavour of the pea cream – must have been that packet stock Lauren used.
The judges think Jordan’s oyster creation is an “interesting”-looking dish – interesting because they are not sure what else to say. Pete tastes the juice and puckers his lips and shakes his head. Uh oh. Colin is eating with his eyes shut.

Is Fass  blinded by the whiteness of his own jacket?

Is Fass blinded by the whiteness of his own jacket?

Liz gets a bit of oyster shell – disaster. Karen and Fass like the creativity of the dish but it hasn’t quite worked. Liz finds the oyster cream “slightly unpleasant” but the shell was the final straw. Manu likes most of the elements but the oyster cream is too “full on”.
So this round goes to Carmine and Lauren.

Main course round
L & C are only just starting their sorbet – hope it sets in time.
Over at the other kitchen Jordan is naming all the blue swimmer crabs he’s dismembering. The Sisters, on the sidelines, are worried. They’re doing angel hair pasta which, as Jordan says, is tricky as the finer the pasta, the more chance of it clumping.
Carmine is showing off a new skill he’s learnt: smoking potatoes. They bicker a little over whether they are smoked enough. Guess the judges will tell us who’s right.
They’s sous vided the chicken, which is smart as they know it will be perfect. Chicken is a little boring, though, considering the other team is confiting crab legs. I don’t order it when I go out for a fancy meal as it’s such an everyday protein at home. But then, as Lauren says: “This ain’t no Plain Jane chicken.” BINGO!
Jordan is starting to get flustered and it’s hard to watch.
Lauren is letting her jus boil furiously as she asks Carmine: “Where you at?” He deadpans: “I’m on the right hand side of the kitchen at the moment.” Good one, Carmine. So the dreadful accent comes out: “You know what I mean, boy!” BINGO.
Both teams are rushing. Carmine’s forgotten the brussels sprouts but the other team is much more disorganised. Jordan’s pasta is clumping a bit and the Sisters say the plating looks inconsistent. Even Manu – who is dead keen on trying their seafood sauce – is worried for them.
Plating done, Jordan and Anna look deflated, saying it looks worse than what they make at home.

Time to chew

The judges prepare to taste the chook and admire the pour of the soz. Karen notes it’s another classic, simple but well done. Guy thinks it’s not simple at all and he likes the soz. Fass thinks there is too much potato on the plate and Manu rates the jus as the best of the comp. The brussels sprouts were inconsistently cooked.
Karen loves the flavour of the pasta dish but notes she didn’t get a cherry tomato, whereas another plate had five. Fass would be happy to eat it while out for a meal but is not sure if it’s semi final worthy. Manu says the dish reflects the rushed finish.

Dessert time
Carmine fills his ramekins with peach sorbet and in his flustered state accidentally drops the churner container in the bin. Luckily they’d plated already.

Anyone for peach sorbet with cabbage leaf?

Anyone for peach sorbet with cabbage leaf?

On the sidelines, the Sisters are salivating over the look of Anna and Jordan’s cannoli, but note the praline is too warm for blitzing, so it’s not crunchy. Anna goes ahead even though it’s so warm she can stretch it in her hands but luckily Jordan tastes it and refuses to put it on the plate. They decide to try a ganache instead.
On the other side L & C are rushing and trying to put cold yoghurt mousse on to a hot crumb. Just put it on the other side, Lauren!
Lauren’s dessert is certainly more modern but the yoghurt and sorbet look runny and the cannoli is just begging to be chomped into.

Time to chew

Fass says peaches “sing of summer” and the yoghurt cuts through the sweetness of the mousse. Karen thinks they use simple ingredients well.
Guy says cannoli takes him back to his childhood and it’s “refined”. Karen says the pastry is textbook perfect. Manu loves the ice cream and he likes this dish more than the entree and main.

Karen is full of praise for their “celebration of the produce”. Ditto Guy. Fass says their chook was “a lesson how to cook chicken”. Pete knocks the sprouts but Manu loves the jus.
Guy 8, Liz 8, Karen 7 (seems low given her raving), Fass 7, Pete 8, Manu 8. Total 46/60

Looks like Anna and Jordan can only win if they get props for technical difficulty – and if the magnificent cannoli wipes out the memory of entree.
Fass tells them a better way to balance their oysters (he’s always good with constructive criticism) but Liz relives the horror of biting on oyster shell.

Shell shocked.

Shell shocked.

The judges rave about the flavour of the pasta but note the presentation was haphazard. More positive cannoli comments. Manu really “anchoyed it”.
Guy 7, Fass 6 (when Jordan see this he knows they are going home)
Defeat is in their eyes.

Defeat is in their eyes.

Karen 6, Liz 5, Manu 6, Pete 6. Total 36/60

Jordan is devastated but Anna is cool as a cucumber. A concerned Manu asks: “Are you all right, buddy?” So all that practise at the bottom paid off for C&L when the pressure was on, plus they chose smart dishes they could complete within the timeframe.

Who'd have thunk it.

Who’d have thunk it.

Pete gives a nice speech about the great food Anna and Jordan have produced and how they’ve inspired families to cook with their kids. Jordan may be crying now but he’ll fall on his feet. Surely a media career beckons – he just needs to find the right gig.
I wish the judges would give separate score for technical difficulty and creativity as well, so teams who push themselves can get a scoring boost.

See you for the grand final, 7.30pm tomorrow.

Final four. Go, Sisters!

Final four. Go, Sisters!

Who’ll be watching House Rules on Wed? And MasterChef on Sunday?



  1. Well, obviously I’m biased towards one of these teams (seriously, why are Carmine and Lauren still here?!), but even taking that out of the equation, Anna and Jordan haven’t really put a foot wrong (aside from their frozen dessert in the ultimate IR round) this whole series. Sure, they’ve never been in sudden death before tonight … but the reason for that is they’re bloody good cooks. More to the point, neither of them has ever tried to cook seafood in a bag.

    I mean, I’m expecting this to be quite one-sided. It may not be, and it’s possible that Lauren and Carmine will sneak through … but it seems unlikely. Not to mention, A/J are just generally nicer and more pleasant people, and any ego-driven moments, they backed up by cooking amazing food.

  2. Time for the tart turtle to be squashed by the karma bus. Pass that haterade, now. Brof ‘n tarts for eva. Nonna sucks. I coulda done betta.

  3. If the producers have their way, they will get L&C to the grand final. Imagine the meltdown like last year. It didn’t hurt them and then Tasia and Gracia win the grand final. Everybody will be happy!!!

  4. I know a good drinking game.

    Make Carmine and Lauren and all the nonnas drink poison.

    Hasn’t started here and I’m already maggoted on haterade. Bingo.

  5. If I hear ASAP one more time I’m going to throw something at the TV.

    Argggggh again with the ASAP!!??!!!

  6. I had to laugh at Carmine and Jordan trading barbs as they were cooking their mains.

    Jordan: Are you guys cooking pasta?
    Carmine: No, we’re trying to show off all the skills we’ve learned, and not just the same old thing over and over again.

    If I’d been there, I would’ve *immediately* responded with, “So you’ve learned how to actually cook seafood, have you?” But then I’m a terrible person.

  7. If ya ain’t first, you’re last. Just ask permission to use the vegetable peeler or youse won’t amount to nuffink. .

    • Yeah, at this point, I think Anna and Jordan are falling behind. It’s worrying me.

      Didn’t Lauren and Carmine get a “1” for something? The fact that they’re an increasing chance of making the grand final makes me both sad and annoyed.

  8. Like the look of the crab / pipi dish but it seems very oily.
    Meanwhile Lauren – “I’m actual shaking, hey” – their chicken looks nice, though.

  9. The plating from L&C has improved tremendously.

    Dessert from A&J sounds simple. They are in a lot of trouble. I hope there is a God up there!

  10. I think Anna and Jordan are gone. He is such an obnoxious young man, the way he talks to his mother. The other two are actually cooking well.

  11. A&J may win dessert by a point but the other courses have lost it for them. How obnoxious will Lauren be.

  12. I don’t care how well they cooked tonight – you can’t convince me that Carmine and Lauren deserved to get to the semis in the first place.

    • No, and it’s exactly that. There were easily half a dozen teams who were far more competent in the kitchen. They got this far because the producers liked them and they’ll guarantee a must-watch grand final, which stinks for the teams that should’ve been there.

      Meanwhile, it’s gonna be hours and hours of Lauren’s abrasive, obnoxious ego-driven attitude, and I can’t bear to sit through it one second longer. Gah.

      • I’m trying to think of a more eloquent way of saying, “Fuck you channel 7, fuck you so hard!”, but you know what, I think that’ll do it.

    • And Carmine and Lauren are not smart enough to realise how many teams there are that were better than them. They’ve bought into the hype.

  13. Isn’t it funny how, if a team serves a meal with hair that’s fallen into it, only the germ-phobic cares … yet if there’s a tiny piece of oyster shell in an oyster-themed meal, THAT’S IT, MEAL’S OVER, EVERYBODY GO HOME.

  14. At least we can genuinely barrack for the lovely sisters! That was truly the wrong verdict – I would eat Anna and Jordan’s dishes any day. But never ever want to touch anything from the other two. Yuck.

    So deflated. So astonished that one less perfect meal can see off one of the most consistently strong teams.

    What’s the lesson? Cook badly all the time so you can practice sudden death?

    • Future teams take note. Try to be mediocre and get through week by week. Then you can start showing your talent

    • I don’t like even considering this out loud but … Lauren and Carmine couldn’t actually win the whole thing, could they?

  15. Well. So. I’ll be having a DVD night tomorrow night. Anyone who wants to join me, feel free to drop around.

  16. Sounds good Windsong. I’m not sure I can face watching the final now.

    L&C winning the whole shebang would be too much.

    MC bloody well better improve this year. This has left me very flat. I need my cooking story shows but they’re not supposed to make you angry.

  17. Can’t contemplate a win by Lauren and Carmine. Can’t compute.
    I keep thinking I’ll drop MKR but finally this terrible season with blatant producer intervention has actually got to me. There are so many superior cooks – virtually any of the eliminated ones- that I can’t buy the fiction that the finals are the best of the best.
    I’m done. It’s just too staged to watch. And I hate even thinking that.

  18. Well that has truly surprised me. I definitely thought right along that we would see Anna and Jordan in the Grand Final. If you had said it was going to be these two gangsters I would have put money against it.
    Remember at the beginning Colin told us it was going to be a couple that were not very good at all that would end up in the finals, how right was he?
    If the sisters cannot win tomorrow night that is the end for me, I will not watch this show ever again…well maybe..
    My money is on the girls, go girls!

  19. The correct decision tonight. C & L work well together, appears she can cook sauces & pastry well. Two of the more difficult components to cook. He appears to cook protein well. Good for them.

    • I think it helps Lauren is the head chef and he is the sous chef – he does what he’s told. And they are both quick. They didn’t have to break down the chicken so that saved time, too, and the sous vide makes everything easy.

    • No, I don’t either … not compared to a handful of other teams we had to endure on our screens this year (one of which was practically domestic abuse. Telling somebody to hurry up because time is against you? Not quite in the same league, IMHO, no).

  20. I can’t get the picture out of my head of Lauren wringing out the “Rum Baba” with her filthy hands. That and the salmonella (raw seafood) in a bag should have been instant disqualification.

    • Yes, no argument that they cooked better tonight but should have been gone weeks ago. Just kept around for bitchiness and drama factor.

      Lauren and Carmen are filthy in the kitchen. No cameras and that receptacle from the bin would have been used , totes. Grubs. But these shows celebrate poor hygiene.

      Lauren’s unmarketable. If it’s close, as Pete intimates , they’ll be stitched up.

    • My sentiments exactly. ‘X’ many chances should mean elimination and undercooked seafood should have ensured concrete boots & a trip to Davy Jones’ locker.

  21. It means diddly squat what’s happened in the past few months, to be fair to C & L, they have really produced some strong cooking performances in recent times. Those sudden death cook-offs have really prepared them well. I know Lauren’s gangsta talk and general persona is bloody annoying, but she is one very determined and focused lady. They also work well together, which counts for a lot when the pressure is on. How will the sisters cope with the pressure of a GF???!!!! I think Jordan’s ego got in the way again tonight. It’s one thing to push the envelope, but you have to serve up edible food. He’s young, he’ll learn from this experience.

  22. C&L are just like Dan and Steph from previous years. Didn’t they said they practiced really hard in the apartment?

    I hope the sisters have more curry up their sleeves.

    • L&C have got a poor old Nonna gagged and bound in their apartment with a blowtorch on her to give up thousand year old secrets.

  23. Recap is up. At least we know Tasia and Gracia usually cook well under pressure. Barring a dish being dropped or burnt I can’t see them losing.

    • Would there be anything worse? Making it to the GF, losing and getting a big fat Zero. Lauren said it. “if you ain’t first, your last”… In saying that, they did cook well tonight, and if anything the judges appeared to score them lower than what I would have expected, given their positive critique.

      • The judges scores and critiques were all over the shop tonight. From the critiques both the teams should scored higher.

  24. I find it interesting that on MKR we never hear about their food dream, which is all MasterChef ever bangs on about. I can see Lauren running a juice bar/protein shake kind of place. While some other teams have gone on to open cafes or market stalls, launch a curry paste line etc, they never have footage on the show of what this season’s crop of contestants would like to do. I still remember Dan talking about wanting to open a sausage shop (and then failing spectacularly every time he made snags on the show).

  25. I figured I knew the result when I checked in here before the start and there were already many comments. I watched anyway, more fool me.

    Horseshit, MKR. Unconditional absolute horseshit.

    • Same for me. Great recap Juz.

      No house rules this year. MC all the way and since we got SBS food network I am totally addicted to it. Great new recipes to try and a lot elimination type shows as well.

      For me its all about the food.

  26. I only flicked over in time to see a bit fried chicken and mashed potato be raved over. Sorry, plus a basic gravy.

    This is the end for me. There’s only a certain amount of manipulation a viewer can tolerate, and this is the tipping point. Highly unlikely I will bother next year.

  27. Disappointed. L & C have had a lot of practice cooking in the MKR kitchen and have learned from their mistakes but I do think that A & J were scored a bit low by some of the judges based on the comments about their entree and dessert. Hope that this doesn’t happen in the grand final. Tasia and Gracia for the win.

    • Yes, high expectations = harsher judging. Low expectations = excitement over fried chicken and sloppy mousse.

  28. Thanks Juz for being so prompt with every single recap, you are awesome!

    I’m sad Jordan and Anna are out too.
    I’d like to know who got to eat all of the spare dishes as they made 11 each time. Lucky camera crew!

  29. I think it’s interesting that two of the three teams likeliest to beat Heckle and Jeckle went out on hair and shell. If a large shark finds its way one of the Sisters’ dishes and then jumps out and frightens the judges I will call foul.

    Seriously, fried scallops and mashed peas? Seriously, chicken and mashed potato? Seriously, peaches and cream? And all carefully made with stock that they bought with their own hands after the bollocking the Chops received for doing the same thing?

  30. L&C clearly have practised a lot and tricked up their ‘plating’ (god I hate that invented word), but this is supposed to be about the best home cooks. Not who can improve the most after a series of lessons.

    Contestants like Anna are the epitome of great home cooks- consistent performance, wide ranging skills and that instinctive 6th sense good cooks develop after years of practise. L&C just can’t compare with her in my book.

    T&G at least seem well practised for their age and have consistently performed well, so their presence in the GF has more legitimacy. If L&C win the whole concept of the show becomes meaningless, but I shouldn’t expect any different from Ch7 I suppose.

  31. Jordan and Anna became way too cocky and thought it was in the bag.

    To be honest their menu was pretty boring and safe from their perspecive and typical of them…

    So one important thing to be on MKR is to perhaps fail at least once or twice to get the feel of HQ and get to know the timings and routines.

    At least tonight everyone will be going for the sisters as opposed to a 50/50 split if Anna and Jordan went through.

  32. Unfortunately A&J didn’t cook well last night. Even with another 6 points they still lost to C&L.

    Same with the Curlies. They knew they were good and tried too hard.

    Hopefully tonight we will see the Sisters take it out. Except for last year, teams in chef white always win.

  33. Not sure if I am a tight arse , but I think using a whole chook, broken into portions to make gravy / jus is a tad wasteful.

  34. That extremely annoying woman, who is so delusional that she takes pride in having been in a lot of sudden death cook-offs, and her weenie of a husband, would have been eliminated long ago if this show were run fairly. I think the producers will continue this farce right to the end and L & C will win.

    I won’t see it however, since I won’t be watching tonight or any other time. What had been a watchable and somewhat entertaining cooking competition was this year turned into a soap opera with lots of fake drama and personality clashes, all of which became irritating more than anything else.

    I should have turned off last night right after Pete took a bite of the oyster entree, nudged Manu, then pulled a face and shook his head. What a sham.

    • Other viewing options. Cats vs dogs on channel 9. Bondi Rescue & Territory Cops on channel 10. Catalyst on 2 (short sightedness in children). Three hundred repeats of other shows on cable.

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