Tonight’s first MKR cook-off at Kitchen HQ came down to the wire. Three teams were shown the door, while two teams progressed to the semi-final after impressing judges Manu Feildel, Colin Fassnidge and new arrival Nigella Lawson.
Already fast-tracked to the semi-final, Radha, Prabha, Sonia and Marcus sat out of this round, while the next highest scoring team – Tommy and Rach – had a surprise in store. “We told you in the Instant Restaurants that every point would matter. Guess what? For this round, you are off the hook,” Colin said.
During the first round, the four remaining teams – Nick and Christian, Aaron and Chris, Claudean and Anthony, and Amber and Mel – faced-off in a mystery fridge challenge, with each team assigned a different hero ingredient.
The battle was intense between food maestros Nick and Christian and BBQ champions Aaron and Chris, when the former scored fruit and veg and the latter got their favourite meat: pork. “They cook pork more than any other protein. It’s a huge advantage,” Christian said.
Tasked with cooking beef, Amber and Mel opted for a Lebanese recipe from Mel’s mother-in-law; while Claudean struggled with the pressure of Kitchen HQ and over-compensated by loading up mountain-sized plates of food.
After tasting all four dishes, Manu, Colin and Nigella agreed that Aaron and Chris, Nick and Christian, and Claudean and Anthony were safe. Unfortunately after serving a split yogurt sauce with their kibbeh, childhood friends Amber and Mel were eliminated.
Mel expressed “so much gratitude that we’ve been able to get this far” as the team said their goodbyes.
In the second round, Tommy and Rach were back, as four teams were challenged to make competition-worthy desserts. When Nigella said she was expecting decadence on a plate, a nervous Claudean said: “There is a literal bad desserts club on MKR, we are all in it except for Sonia and Marcus.”
“We were proud cardholders of the bad dessert club. I believe we were the CEOs for a while,” Christian added.
With the last two spots in semi-final on the line, the pressure started to get the better of the teams. With just a few minutes to go, Claudean and Anthony discovered their zeppole was raw in the middle, Nick and Christian’s cheese cigars were failing in the fryer, and Aaron and Chris’ chocolate fondants were still in the oven.
At the end of the second round, Nick and Christian’s Blue Cheese Cigars with Red Wine Figs took the cake, landing the boys a spot in the semi-final. Manu loved that they went outside the box.
Tears of happiness started rolling down their faces when Nigella said: “As far as we three are concerned, yours was the best dessert of the night.”
Tommy and Rach were the second team into the semi-final. Sadly, it was the end of the road for Aaron, Chris, Claudean and Anthony.