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My Kitchen Rules - Recap, Week 1

[NB: I hate to open my FIRST EVER recap of My Kitchen Rules with a paragraph about myself and my “process”, but I want to acknowledge that last week I started recapping MasterChef: The Professionals and now I am not recapping that anymore and instead I am recapping a rival franchise in a rival timeslot. Let’s not turn this into the Montagues and Capulets of Australian reality cooking shows! There is no need to turn it into that. We can all love both MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules. Personally, I have no choice but to view both shows through the prism of my own experience, which involves writing 2.5 pages’ worth of recap once a week, and that is much easier to do when the source material is entertaining. The fact is that this season of MasterChef: The Professionals is a little dry. Sorry. Let’s move along!]

Sometimes the machinery of reality TV is so clunky and obvious and stupid it makes you hate a) it and b) yourself and c) yourself again, because you’re still watching it when you could be, I don’t know, listening to some kind of erudite American man talk smart things on a podcast or WHATEVER.

Clearly, there are rules to reality TV, which are never talked about but are so vulgar and unsubtle that everyone on them may as well be talking ONLY about them all the time. The other side to those rules and that machinery is that they are just as often outrageously fun and compelling! OBVIOUSLY. Nothing new there, I realise that. But it is exactly the case for this new season of My Kitchen Rules.

Is it full of archetypes? Yes. Is it full of archetypes that are just slightly exaggerated versions of the archetypes from the previous season of MKR? Yes absolutely. What else? Are there clearly defined heroes and villains whose story arcs begin from episode one? Yes and stop asking idiot questions, idiot!

Week 1 began in Melbourne, where childhood sweethearts Kerrie & Craig created an “instant restaurant” for the first group of people! (Problem: no. We should stop calling it an instant restaurant because it is not an instant restaurant. The only hallmark it shares with actual restaurants is that everyone is provided with a list of food that they will eat. They should call it a “Dinner Party With A Food List” and I don’t know why they don’t call it that!)

 

Generously, everyone flags IMMEDIATELY exactly what kind of character they are: Jake & Elle are bougie jerks who live too far north to be on The Shire; Josh & Andi are the nice ones who probably can’t cook; Mick & Matt are the wonderful heroes; Jessie & Biswa are just absolutely mystifying idiots. (Please don’t ask me what’s going on with Lisa & Stefano because I have no idea.)

Kerrie and Craig cook a bunch of average food. It’s fine, whatever. Roasted Vegetable Tarte Tatin (“Tartar Ten”, as Kerrie puts it, the PLEB), Game Wallaby with Basil Risotto and Caramelized Beetroot, Chocolate Jaffa Mousse Cake. Fine. Literally everyone is like, “there were good things and bad things”.

 

Except for Jessie and Biswa, who didn’t like the vegetables in the tarte tatin and thought the main course was too big and also didn’t care for chocolate desserts. Haha, what? Do they know what this competition is? If they are all, “we don’t like to eat food, especially certain kinds of food” in episode one then someone should probably tell them there is an ocean of eating food yet to come. Reflecting the food that they cooked, Kerrie and Craig score 72, which is neither good nor bad. It’s fine. The end!

Mick & Matt are the next team to cook. Mick is an abalone fisherman so he wants to cook some abalone. (Someone call the Abalone Police to arrest this guy for abalone inside trading! Ha ha! Just kidding, don’t. Tell the Abalone Police to stand down.) They buy some huge abalones from a man in a shed and chop them up and mince them and add potato and flour and breadcrumbs and no one can taste the abalone!

Manu is upset. Stefano is all, “Where the abalone?!” No one likes it. They also cook salmon with smoked eel brandade (it’s French for “mashed” “potato”) and an apple crumble. Those dishes are successful! The important thing, though, is that Mick & Matt are delightful. Mick is so proud of Matt he cries. He drops nugs like, “Let’s hope it doesn’t taste like shit”. Delightful! I hope that Mick & Matt win everything because I care more about nice people than ability. Good luck Mick & Matt! #teammickandmatt! They score 80, putting them ahead of Kerrie & Craig. It is a good start!

 

Josh & Andi, the “dating hipsters” (lol) from WA, are the final team of the week. Look, they’re nice. They are this year’s dating scientists (look it up), for sure. “I’m arty,” Andi says. “Airy fairy”, Josh replies. “Not airy, Josh, just left of field!” Andi clarifies. Ha ha ha that’s not an expression but whatever! We get it. Banter. Like Mick & Matt before them, Josh & Andi point out that they can get everything they need from Coles, because Coles is just the greatest supermarket, I guess. Gosh, Coles!

Unfortunately, Coles has run out of their normal brand of couscous, which turns out to be a huge problem. (SPOILER ALERT: the new couscous they buy sucks, Andi can’t cook it, their dish fails and everyone hates it. Haha, Coles. Shop at Coles, please!) They buy everything else then drive to a butcher an hour away, then return to their house in time to not have enough time to cook their entree properly. They’re forced to give everyone just ONE piece of dukkah-crusted lamb. Everyone grizzles.

 

Jake, this mouthy fuckin’ guy, is all, “there’s a fine line between an entree and an appetizer”. Manu wants a second cutlet. Mick grumbles because he is a man and he is HUNGRY. Mick, I love you and you're very warm & generous relationship with your son, but you should probably know that no one expects you to be full after an entree. An entree is just the first part of a meal! It’s like an “entry” to a meal, I guess, which you have to go through before you get to the “main” part of the meal. No one on My Kitchen Rules seems to understand this but hopefully one day they will read this recap and learn it. (Special message to Jake: please shut up more.)

Next, they cook their main without the couscous. Please go back and read the parentheses that began with “SPOILER ALERT” from before, if you didn’t at the time.

 

It’s a disaster. Everyone is bummed out. After that, they make a chocolate fondant and coffee creme anglaise and it’s fine and they end up with a score of 68, which is the worst score yet but not too bad, overall. It is still closer to 100 than zero, and it just goes to prove the old adage that if you cook garbage food that everyone is very upset about but still manage a decent dessert your score will be OK. That adage!

Next Monday: Jessie & Biswa call everyone else’s food boring!

 

Max Lavergne