So last night Western Australia was on the edge of its seat hoping that the generations of inbreeding hadn’t replaced fingers capable of great gastronomic dexterity with hooves incapable of holding a spatula.
They were to be gravely disappointed.
Lisa and Candice are mother and daughter arts teachers who, once upon a time, both held the title of Miss Busselton. We are treated to a black and white photo of Lisa and then a more recent photo of Candice, both wearing the obligatory sash and crown. Lisa looks attractive and suitably beauty queenish. Candice looks… well, like the rounder, squintier version of Elaine from Seinfeld. Next to me on the couch, Rico comes up from his wine glass long enough to suggest that Busselton is a small town and that the runner-up was probably a pig in a dress.
Lisa and Candice describe themselves as ‘two peas in a pod’. They wear matching clothes, style their hair the same and appear to favour the same beaten-wife approach to eye make-up. They also share a complete lack of taste when it comes to decor, with the entire set-up of their instant restaurant looking like it was filtched from the bins out the back of the $2 Shop.
With only 15 minutes left Lisa shrieks ‘we’re not even dressed!’ and the two hurry off to change into a pair of matching purple dresses they no doubt stole from some Supre-loving 13-year-old’s wardrobe. They seem thrilled with themselves and I suddenly realise they are no doubt the type of women who get all giggly when some bored old codger with one hand on his walker and the other on his faded testicles tells them they look like sisters.
The guests arrive and the fuckery begins with Smiling Sam and co gushing about the ‘friendliness’ of resident evils, Jenna and Joanna. These dimwitted gits are completely unware that the two Js are about as keen on friendship as a starving rat in a hessian bag. The girls admit to the cameras that they will refrain from eating their own young while it benefits them on the scoreboard.
The menu looks relatively painless: seafood casserole followed by meat and veg followed by pumpkin pie. Chunky Dan, the genius who is planning to open up a ‘sausage shop that specialises in sausages’, is looking forward to the food. He looks like the kind of man whose idea of dinner table conversation is to eye off your spuds and mutter ‘are you going to eat those?’. I suspect he’d look forward to anything food-related that didn’t put up too much a struggle going down his throat.
After some issues in the kitchen about fat in the stock, the entree is served. Pete and Manu both gush over it and for a moment Joanna forgets that she’s supposed to be a nice person and glares at the meal like she just caught it taking a dump in an elevator.
There isn’t too much time for anyone to notice, however, for the pre-main meal entertainment is about to start and the Godzilla of turds is about to hit the fan and splatter judges and contestants head to toe.
Lisa and Candice, you see, have a dream of opening up a ‘little bistro that combines food with music’. And apparently dance – because here they come decked out in matching flamenco costumes and posturing like the last grannies at a retirement village Christmas party. Things gets awkward when Lisa – who rips off talentless children and their Idol-obsessed parents for a living – starts moaning like my mother after too many sherries and a phone call from The Motherland. The other contestants think it’s pretty funny, but then the dancing begins and one by one it dawns on them that, if hell exists, watching these two prize hogs lurching around in their own stupidity is IT. Rico comments that it would have been less awkward to bareback a bar stool, while I wonder if the girls will further shame their ancestors by passing the hat around when the horror finally draws to a close.
And just like that, it’s over and the main is being brought to the table. Unfortunately for the girls, it looks VILE and with the judge’s stomachs already considerably weakened by the performance, Manu looks like he’s about to blow.
The meal itself is poorly cooked pork, blackened vegetables, cloudy liquid in a little shot glass and the contents of my dad’s hankie masquerading as onion puree. Pete throws a spanner in the works by asking what they are meant to do with the shot. Both women look utterly flummoxed but Candice recovers enough to tell him he can lick it off Manu’s dick for all she cares and that the idea is that she HAS No Fucking Idea.
The judges taste and Pete describes it as a ‘tragedy’. Personally I think that word has lying on his tongue waiting for an excuse to come out ever since the intermission spectacle.
The girls escape to the kitchen and miss the part where ten sets of jaws wrestle with the leatheriest crackling this side of John Wayne’s saddle. They are unhappy with their main, but confident their dessert will be a winner but then Candice pulls the pastry out of the fridge and – calamity of calamities – it is rock hard.
‘Mum, what do we do?’ she shrills. Rico suggests they should nuke the site from orbit but the girls go for the slightly less drastic option of microwaving the living shit out of it.
Manu, fresh from a rendezvous with the MKR emergency dental team, chooses this moment to enter the kitchen and bask in their cock-up. He then returns to the table, brushes the broken teeth off his chair, and lets everyone know they are in for a loooong wait.
With no food in front of them the guests have no choice but to talk. Jenna calls herself a ‘cupcake artist’ and claims she has a vision in her head of what a good dessert should look like. I’m looking at her blusher and thinking she should pay more attention to what a face should look like, but then dessert arrives and I have to pick up my pen again.
And it’s basically a pile of shit: undercooked pastry, chemical-laced cream and three little discs of banana that Joanna claims looks like something she would feed her children – if she ever let them out of the basement long enough to eat. Manu snarks that adding essence to food is ‘not real cooking’, while the rest of the diners just look grateful that, so far, there is no sign of a repeat of the pre-dinner show.
They end up with a combined score of 57 – a result they think is unfair in light of the fact that their cooking was certainly no more vomit-inducing than Smiling Sam and his invisible friend. Self-loving fools that they are they still don’t realise that their car crash of a musical interlude was the ambience equivalent of a lingering fart in a confession booth and may just have bought them a ticket on the Jessie and Biswa Barge to Buggeryville.