Well here we are, lovers – it’s MKR 2015! Let’s all follow the exciting lead of Skinny Pete Evans by flushing our activated almonds down the toilet and wallowing in a giant pool of 10 billion calories for the next TWO MONTHS. Hooray!
Thanks to Channel 7’s merciless marketing budget, we’ve had a fair few of the teams shoved down our throats and the opportunity to form a whole slew of small-minded first impressions, and first up to bat a hopefully decent meal into the communal trough are ‘country cousins’ Jac and Shaz.
Because they’re from some dismally hideous mining town called Mount Isa, we get a load of footage of smoke stacks, tin-roofed motels and Jac and Shaz striding down main street in children’s sizes
looking for customers greeting their many friends. According to the ‘girls’ (their words, not ours) the fact that they can walk from one end of town to another in less than ten minutes makes for an awesome life because just when you think you’ve lived the most boring day possible – oops! – here comes another 25 000!
Jac, who is definitely the looker of the two, owns a ‘fashion’ boutique which clearly specialises in overalls and knickers that give you double the pantyline. Shaz, who is potentially sexier than Deborah Lee Furness (if no-one else), works at the courthouse during the day and is one of those annoying Thermomix demonstrators who won’t quit until you’re thousands of dollars in debt and making your own chutney by night. She also says ‘we’ve got this’ a lot – because apparently that’s 90% of the approved script for this year too.
Anyhoo according to Jac she LOVES getting bossed around in the kitchen – which is great according to Shaz because if she isn’t carrying a spatula in one hand and knuckle dusters in the other, she’s just a grumpy old bitch.
Their menu is a mix of totally expected and totally revolting, because not only are they featuring Rico’s arch nemesis, the pear, they’ve also invited Satan to take a giant dump of MYSTERY INGREDIENT on their dessert.
Stay tuned, lovers!
The busy day starts with the big shop where the girls work hard to blow Skinny Pete’s diet with a BANG by filling up their cart with sugar. Once the sugar is paid for it’s off to the butcher where an oddly Marky Markesque creature is talking suggestively about lamb racks just to get some air time.
Back to their house and they reveal that their Instant Restaurant is called ‘Stacks’ – an homage to their town and all the families who will probably be filing a Class Action in 10 years time. Their table dressing will also be a tribute to the awesomeness of mining life, gushes Shaz, complete with corrugated iron, mining hats and a scattering of dead canaries.
Table finished and it’s time to strap on the aprons and cook something that will hopefully taste marginally better than the water. As Jac gets going with the main and Shaz the entree, Rico wonders if this will be the year that the other teams will vote the first Instant Restaurant with a bloody fist because, well, they really should have learned that lesson by now, right?
Speaking of the other teams, here come some people walking down the road who apparently haven’t just lost their way to the nearest civilisation.
‘It’s so cute!’ gushes a creature with a bouffant blonde afro and no ability to wake up in the morning looking attractive.
‘It’s cow country!’ trills another who clearly has no idea that cows need grass to survive and this dump doesn’t even have astro turf.
Back in the kitchen and there’s some discussion about whether the lamb went in the oven too early and whether Marky Mark really will turn up in an all-meat thong after this nightmare is over. In the end they agree that Marky Mark is a sure thing and that it won’t kill the lamb to hang out on the bench and call Manu a fat French bastard when he finally makes his way in.
Back to the guests because they’ve populated the table and have started to introduce themselves. First up is walking afro, Ash, and her plus-one brunette, and together they describe themselves as
this year’s Chloe and Kelly food snobs. Next is Texan Deadwood extra, Robert, and his uncomfortably attractive daughter, Lindsay, who appear to spend most of their waking hours riding horses and taking Western-style dumps in the woods after too much campfire chilli.
Third to introduce themselves are a scarily enthusiastic person with a fringe and her fiancée, Andre. Andre, according to the package, is a car salesman who sells ‘new’ cars, not ‘used’ cars – because apparently that makes him more likeable.
Next for the meet and greet is Group 1’s blush-happy lone redhead and her ‘high school sweetheart’ boyfriend who looks uncomfortably like her brother and who gives her a justifiable side-eye when she pronounces that if they win, they wed.
Last to take the stage are mother-daughter team Gina and some sort of Mediterranean Chuck Norris. Mediterranean Chuck likes bashing stuff and rather unsurprisingly talks about the unacceptable nature of losing, while mum waffles on about wanting to take chances now that – at nearly 50 – she’s old enough to convincingly plead the Alzheimer’s defence.
Back to the kitchen and the rosti mix for the entree has gone all sloppy because it’s been waiting in a bowl for the better part of three weeks and is totally over the fact that the judges are poised to ring the doorbell.
By the looks of our beloved judges, Skinny Pete’s quest for a thigh-gap has finally overcome his desire to swallow actual food, and Manu, terrified of looking even more so like the pasty fat guy who lost his way to the vending machine, seems to have finally invested in a set of Spanx. Rico reckons rather than shame him we should applaud Manu’s acceptance of the practical nature of fat-person undergarments and at least we can be certain HE isn’t dashing behind the hedges in between courses on the pretext of calling his mother.
Time for the menu-viewing, though, and while most teams are rambling on about ‘humble food’, the brunette half of Team Afro is missing the ‘creativity’, while Rico is just missing her top lip.
“Where IS it?’ he hisses at The Dog, who shushes him because it’s time for the entrée.
As they bring them out, Shaz worries that Manu is eying up his stack like he’s planning to go to third base with it behind the Rotary Club. But then the crunching begins and apparently that’s a good thing because deep fried grease.
According to Skinny Pete, it ‘can’t have been easy being first’ which causes The Dog to spit out his camomile and glare pointedly at the remote control. Pete continues by saying that the terror of being given even sevens across the board, because that’s what all first teams seem to get, didn’t affect their dish. Manu concurs with a note that, while stacks are a little dated, this one scrubbed up well and could potentially have passed for an under 30 with a bit more salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Jac and Shaz are, of course, thrilled and shuffle back to the kitchen to work on lowering their average.
While the other teams eat, it’s a contest between cowboy Robert who just won’t shut the hell up about horses, and the unlikely team of Afro Ash and Enthusiastic Person who reckon anyone who opens a packet rather than smoking their own salmon deserves to slow roast on a spit vagina-first. When queried further by the judges, Ash admits that she ‘wouldn’t order it at a restaurant’, which Rico reckons is not altogether surprising considering she looks like the kind of creature who feeds off the blood of innocents in dark alleys, not dining rooms.
In the kitchen and the signs that their entree is likely to be a one hit wonder are starting to show. The lamb, according to Jac, is cooked, but the potatoes are hard so that means back in the oven for the latter so that the meat can commence the exciting process of congealing on the sideboard.
Then it’s onto dessert and Rico gets his hopes up when Shaz pulls forth a bottle of port, only to be crushed to learn that it’s being wasted on the pears.
Back in the dining room and talk has turned to the fact that Afro Ash can’t stop Vogueing and is scarier in the face than a slavering rottweiler.
‘I can’t look at you!’ says someone, possibly the redhead’s brother/boyfriend, which Rico says is interesting considering said rottweiler at least has the skill to apply subtle blush.
Back to the kitchen and there’s panic on the dance floor because the lamb is stone cold and the fat has turned whiter than Pete’s old thighs. Back into the oven it goes and Shaz keeps rambling about how they’re ‘too prepared’ – not just a pair of idiots with no concept of time.
Back in the dining room and mother Gina has just revealed that her ideal piece of lamb is blacker than a Masai warrior’s foreskin. Daughter Chuck Jnr reckons she in no way shares this preference, and the only way she’ll eat her meat is if it’s bloodier than the faces of her competition.
Back the kitchen and it’s all about the white sauce which is too watery to spray with any grace out of the nozzle. They decide to go with ramekins instead and Rico mutters that Jac might want to remember this disgusting mess the next time she decides to forgo a recipe in favour of just shoving the grocery bag into the blender.
The sauce isn’t the only issue, though, because the portions of meat look less like something you might serve in a restaurant, and more like something you might throw to a pack of ravenous wolves to keep them off your Miniature Schnauzer.
Out they come and Skinny Pete’s emaciated limbs get a real workout trying to carve a chunk off his slab, which Jac reckons is a worse sign than Manu dipping a fork tine into the sauce and then immediately slapping it back on the table.
And their fears are answered: Manu is ‘disappointed’ because the potatoes are undercooked, there were big chunks of raw garlic on the plate masquerading as something edible, and not even a gluttonous piglet like him could justify swallowing enormous pockets of unrendered fat. Pete agrees that the fat is a problem, but more worrying is that nine out of the ten ingredients are a mystery to him – and the tenth ingredient is obviously shit.
Back to the kitchen they go, leaving Enthusiastic Person to be really, really enthusiastic, and everyone else to consider whether they’ve accidentally stumbled onto the set of The Flintstones.
Dessert, of course, is a pear crumble with pear wafers. What isn’t on the menu though, and which is absolutely going into the dish because these two clearly didn’t wear hard hats in their formative years, is Gorgonzola. That’s right, lovers. Blue. Fucking. Cheese.
Into this revolting scenario comes Manu who immediately spots the cheese and wants to know why it wasn’t featured in red on the menu with an accompanying Bio Hazard symbol. Shaz gushes that they love to surprise people, and what better way to make friends and increase their score than sending 12 people to the toilets simultaneously?
Manu reckons they’re idiots and that the only time a man wants something different from what he ordered is when he’s settled for ‘mature Doris’ and been upgraded to ‘Candy busty 18’.
Out comes the dessert and from the first second the smell hits the table, Jac and Shaz are congratulating themselves on their daring genius.
Pete goes in first, followed by Manu, and miraculously neither spits their mouthful into their napkin and hollers for their lawyer.
Manu starts the commentary kindly, saying that the flavour combo is right. For a cheese platter. In HELL. Pete agrees and says he struggled and that it reminds him of his early days doing the Paleo diet when he had to tap cigarette ash on his Tim Tams to stop him eating the fucking lot.
While Shaz and Jac flee to the kitchen to hoover up the rest of the cheese and wonder where they went wrong, the other teams attempt to clench their teeth and chew at the same time. Lone redhead says she’s ‘all up for surprises’ but this is like opening the Mystery Box and finding Woody Allen crouching inside. Afro Ash agrees and lets her impressive face tell the story of a group of innocent diners forced to satisfy their hunger from the contents of an adult diaper.
But what’s this? Rico’s prophesy has come to pass because instead of sevens it’s a mucky mix of fives and sixes!
‘Still too generous,’ Rico sniffs and The Dog agrees because if there’s ever a case for negative points, Blue Cheese is it.
With the team total of 28 given out, it’s time for Petey and Manu to dole out their judgement.
Starting with the entree, and it’s a solid pair of eights which has Shaz saying she’s happy, but looking like she’ll be drinking to forget until the bar tender cuts her off and sends her to sleep it off in the park. The main, of course, fares a lot worse, with a five and a four; but it’s the dessert that has the girls’ hopes of a marching band tribute in the town square in tatters with a – still generous according to Rico – pair of threes.
‘It’s not as easy as it looks!’ threatens Shaz, once again completely missing the Blue Cheese point.
‘It was just a practice run’ she mutters to Jac, when all the guests have buggered off. ‘Next time MORE CHEESE!’
The show ends with a preview of really enthusiastic person, Kat, and spanking new car salesman, Andre, which means this time tomorrow we’ll be in sunny Perth and, likely, praying for death.
Until next time, lovers!