Rosie and Hayley’s great risotto regret

Rosie and Hayley’s great risotto regret
Stills Photography By Paul A. Broben

Tonight on MKR, Queensland aunt and niece team, Rosie (53) and Hayley (29), took on the risky “death dish” of risotto

An emotional Rosie and Hayley served their Nonna’s recipe for Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Homemade Bread for their entrée. 

Judges Manu Feildel and Matt Preston agreed the sauce was the hero of the dish but said the team should have opted for a fluffier bread and taken more care with their protein choice.

Manu admitted it was hard to critique a dish that meant so much to Rosie and Hayley: “I think the tomato sauce was brilliant. My disappointment is the meatball, I’ve got to say. And I think you may have mistakenly chosen a mince that was not fatty enough.”

Rosie and Hayley returned to the kitchen to prep their main of Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Risotto, a tough dish to cook for 12 people. 

“It is very ballsy to cook risotto for a table of 12 in a competition. It’s one of those dishes that’s very fragile in how it needs to be eaten when it comes out of the pot,” Manu said. “Unfortunately, I don’t have good news for you. I think the confusion to start with is, why pumpkin and sweet potatoes? They both offer sweetness. The rice is overcooked. The rice is unseasoned.”

Matt told the team that risotto has a reputation for being the dish that finishes competition cooks, given the elements that need to be balanced: “The problem with this dish is that you needed more time for the sweet potato to caramelise around the edges. 

“Your risotto needed less time on the heat. It needed to be cooked less. The rice needed to be nuttier. I mean, the two problems you’ve got here is because you’ve overcooked the rice. And when you press it down, there’s no star of starch in the middle. It’s just totally sodden.”

Feeling a sense of failure after the feedback on their main, Rosie and Hayley set to work on their dessert of Vanilla Cake with Buttercream and Caramel Sauce. The team had hoped to turn things around but had to start their cake from scratch after Hayley dropped it on the kitchen floor.  

Tasting Rosie and Hayley’s dessert, Manu said they had executed the elements correctly, but overall it was too sweet: “Technically, I think you ticked all boxes. The vanilla cake, tick. The buttercream, tick. The caramel sauce is brilliant. And the macadamia nuts are a great addition for textures and a little saltiness. 

“The negative part of all of that is it’s sweet, on sweet, on sweet. It’s like a rush of sugar that makes you a little sweat under your eyes. Unfortunately, the balance of that dessert was wrong, even though the technique of every element was right.”

Matt said the caramel was “fantastic”, and the vanilla cake was perfect for soaking it up, but the dessert needed another component to give some freshness and relief from the sweet. “If you like sweet desserts, if you like your golden syrup dumplings, if you like your sticky toffee cake with your butterscotch sauce, this is the dessert you’d love, and it looked beautiful.” He commended the team for not giving up after the mishaps in the kitchen with their dessert.

Sadly, the pair followed in the footsteps of other MKR teams who failed to master the dish, scoring 57/110. 


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