Oh lovers, the heartbreak! The devastation! This is just like that scene in The Notebook where Noah comes back from the war and catches sight of Aly cooking a really shit dessert with a fucking vegetable!
Is this the end of our MKR soulmates Steve and Emma? Will Jane hold Emma’s hand through the long, lonely nights? Will Will cradle a sobbing Steve in his arms and then attempt to cradle a different part of Steve in a loose fist?
Rico reckons it’s obvious from last night’s proceedings that Jane took a paid dive in order to rob her friend of a lifetime of standard English sex and Ploughman’s lunches with not enough pickle. The evidence, of course, being that Jane was the ‘Dessert Queen’ and yet served up something that looked pretty but tasted like a nuclear Gingernut.
Well, that and the bit where Will dipped his man boobs over the balcony and let a brown paper bag filled with cash drop onto Jane’s side of the bench…
The night itself consisted of three rounds, the first being who could segment their citrus neat enough that even pathologically tidy Skinny Pete would allow a piece to float around in his sugar-free daiquiri.
That round went to Ash and Camilla, Ash because she has certain blade skills perfected in the alleys of Chinatown, and Camilla because she did what she was told and lived to see another dawn.
Winning the round meant getting to choose which ingredient went to each team for the vegetarian dish cook-off and, to Jane’s horror, she and Emma ended up with ochra which, while quite lovely in a curry, gets angry when paired with shallots and feta and refuses to acknowledge any visiting taste buds.
Eva and Debs got the cauliflower and, in a shocking turn of events, made a curry. They also tore a leaf out of Drasko’s book of Paleo-suck-uppery and exchanged regular rice with blended cauliflower and Skinny Pete announced that if he could give them an eleven he would – but because it’s out of ten and the ‘rice’ was shit he totally wouldn’t.
Which left the win, and a place in the Top Five, to Ash and Camilla who gave themselves the mushrooms and served them braised with a ricotta gnocci that apparently tasted much better than that just sounded.
On joining the other teams on the sidelines, Ash announced that she had always felt like she belonged more on the winners’ side of the fence – partly because Emma is Hagrid-tall in flat shoes and partly because the knowledge that Eva and Debra like to dance together in their spare time makes her uncomfortable.
Onto the final cook-off, though, which was a ‘signature dish’ challenge and Eva and Debs announced that today they were not going to rely on their cooking, but rather on an emotional story about how both their fathers used to cook this dish and then punch each other to a bloody pulp to sort out whose was better.
‘Today we’re going to prove to our dads that ours shits all over theirs’ announced Debs, wiping away a tear.
‘Yeah’ agreed Eva. ‘They were so proud of this dish and now we’re going to make them wish we were never born!’
On the other side of the bench and Jane had already made meaningful eye-contact with Will and had come up with a cunning plan.
‘Jane is sweet and I’m savoury, so we’re going to do a sweet potato pie as a dessert’ gushed Emma. ‘But I’m going to do the sorbet and Jane is going to cook the vegetable part because… Ummm… Shit, I have NO idea!’
‘Because your sorbet is so wonderful, dear’ soothed Jane, loosening the necks of eight bottles of nutmeg.
Back to improving on the recipes of the fathers, and Eva was struggling with the bone marrow dressing because no matter how many cloves of garlic she threw in, it kept tasting like fucking garlic!
‘It just doesn’t taste right’ she worried to Debs.
‘Try more garlic’ advised Debs ‘and if the judges don’t like it, we’ll just change our story to being orphans!’
Back over with Jane and Emma and while Jane was stashing her newly acquired pay-off, Emma was gushing about how well they were doing.
‘My sorbet looks great, the pie is in the oven – this is, like, the best cook we’ve ever done!’
‘I know, right?’ squealed Jane, pushing all the empty spice bottles under the counter and pulling out the blow torch.
‘She’s going to set something on fire!’ whispered Will, admiringly. ‘That woman is an evil GENIUS!’
In the final minutes, Emma and Jane perfected their plating while Eva and Debs tried to emulate how their fathers would have served it if they were boxed wine drunk and had trembling hooks for hands.
Because Jane and Emma were Team Two and going to lose, they got their judgement first, which was basically a whole heap of gushing about the plating followed by a whole heap of WTF-ing about the use of spices.
‘Oops!’ trilled Jane. ‘We’ve made it so many times before I just have NO IDEA AT ALL what happened!’
Onto Eva and Debs and a neat little reversal of judgement, with everyone going mental about the flavours and then asking with concern whether the person who threw up all over the plate is now feeling better.
‘Much better!’ confirmed Eva.
‘Better than our dads, anyway!’ added Debra. ‘Mine is going to SHIT in his BOOT!’
And just like that, the Romance of the Century came to an end.
‘Don’t forget me Steve!’ wailed Emma as Jane dragged her towards the revolving door.
‘You’re a top bird!’ Steve hollered in response. ‘Thanks for the handie out the back of the Laughing Clowns!’
‘Any time!’ screamed Emma as she disappeared from view. ‘But next time don’t let Will watch!’
‘What did she say? Steve muttered to Will.
‘Something about her stretch marks’ Will replied. ‘Now come give me a nice big cuddle.’
Until next time, lovers!