I’m just going to call this the best episode of the season.
Last Night’s sudden-death showdown did little to impress the MKR judges, with both teams sending out under par dishes to diners.
While Eva and Debra wrestled the win from fellow WA foodies Kat and Andre, neither team was on fire with the finals rapidly approaching.
Despite the win, one of their dishes was deemed inedible by one judge. But with two from three good dishes, they sailed into the Top 6 teams.
For Kat and Andre, the disorganisation they’ve shown at other points in the competition came back to haunt them. From the start, fiery Kat told her fiancé: “If I’m a psycho chicken put me in time out.”
Things seemed to be running smoothly in the Kat and Andre kitchen early on. But a wobbly dessert saw them butt heads over what to do next. While Kat wanted him to put the crème brulees back in the oven, Andre decided they would set in the fridge.
“I’m just crossing my fingers that something magical is going to happen in the fridge and when I get them out they are going to be so amazing in taste that everyone is going to love it,” he said
Moving onto her gnocchi dough, Kat is mindful not to overwork the dough for fear of making it stodgy. But she’s happy with the tester, and she’s happier when Andre finally comes to his senses and puts the desserts back in the oven to firm up.
“This is the sloppiest cook I’ve ever seen,” said fellow contestant Ash of their prep time.
Meanwhile, Eva and Debra only just start to make their soup for entrée with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Kat is proud of the way her gnocchi with pumpkin and sage burnt butter looks. And the fact “I didn’t go mental, I didn’t go crazy” while cooking it.
But as the saying goes, it’s not all about looks and the gnocchi is off-putting for the judges. “There’s no getting away from the fact the gnocchi are dense and heavy,” said Guy Grossi. “It’s a shame because it is a delicious dish. But you don’t want to be eating bouncy gnocchi,” said Pete Evans. On the other hand, Eva and Debra’s hot and sour prawn soup is a “punch smack in the face” – in a good way according to Colin Fassnidge. “It has certainly made an impact,” he said.
Moving onto the mains, Kat is adding many different spices to her pork ragu including a new one – Kanye pepper – much to the amusement of her fiancé.
Eva is also going crazy with spices in her main dish, but absent-mindedly adds a double dose of shrimp paste. “Did I just do what I think I did. I think I might’ve actually ruined the dish,” she muses. But the taste test alleviates them of that fear and Debra moves on with cleaning the crabs because Eva can’t deal with the “icky guts and stuff”.
Kat is frustrated, then teary, at her husband’s dedication to the perfect polenta. “I’m really getting frustrated because I can see Andre is standing over on that polenta stirring it and stirring it and I really need help with this ragu. I’m not happy with how this is looking. I don’t think it is a ragu and I know that we’re going to get nailed for it,” she whines.
There are tears on both sides of the kitchen as an exasperated Eva also opens the floodgates after their dish almost doesn’t make it to the plate. And what did looks like “someone has just sneezed crap all over our dishes” according to Eva.
Kat forgets to plate the beautifully aromatic mushrooms with the ragu and is saddened by its appearance. “I’d like to think this isn’t us on a plate because it’s an ugly looking dish,” she says. In turns out both teams are right to worry as the judges are not huge fans of either meal.
Of Kat and Andre’s pork and mushroom ragu with polenta, Karen Martini says: “It’s a good home-cooked, tasty dish. It’s just missing time and concentration of flavour.” But Manu Feildel thinks it’s lacking: “I really had high expectations for this dish, but unfortunately it’s missing something that really combines it together.”
But their rivals Singapore chilli crab is absolutely slaughtered by the judges. “The crab is cooked nicely but there’s no point in having a nice cooked crab that’s inedible. I can’t get my face close enough to the bowl to eat the crab; it’s off-putting,” says Guy.
While Colin says the girls continued an MKR tradition with their steamed bun. “There’s too much shrimp paste in this sauce. I don’t like it. We haven’t had a good track record of steamed buns so far and I think that record still stands.”
Kat and Andre’s fate relied on that white chocolate crème brulee with baked figs which no one could agree on… and it hasn’t set.
“I can’t believe that brulee didn’t set. It’s the first time ever it hasn’t worked,” says an emotional Kat.
And to pound the nail in even further, Eva and Debra have delivered a perfect five-spice panna cotta with poached pear dessert. Says Guy: “I’ve seen a lot of panna cottas in my day and this one here is as close to perfection that I’ve ever seen.”
Polling 41 to 30 resulted in Kat and Andre’s ticket home. But Kat was mighty proud of their achievements throughout the competition, and not just related to cooking. “The whole competition we’ve always been ourselves. Through the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ve just been who we are. My only regret in the competition is not winning. But we gave it a good old Aussie go.”
Tonight, all Top 6 teams are in Kitchen Headquarters for the first time where they will be tasked with creating everything from street food to a 5-star dining experience. And those who succeed will be rewarded with a massive advantage.